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Mary J. Carpenter

Signed family name
Signed given name
Mary J.
Given address
Sheet number

Biographical information provided by Canterbury Museum for the He Tohu exhibition:

Mary Jane Carpenter (nee Griffiths), the very first name on the main Petition, was born on 23 May 1850 in Worcestershire, England. Her parents were Mary (formerly Wyer, nee Harper) and John Griffiths, a boilermaker. Family traditions say that Mary was related to the first Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Henry Harper.

The family later moved to Derbyshire where Mary’s elder brother John was married in 1868. In 1870, Mary Jane travelled with her parents, brothers John and Samuel, sister Sarah, sister-in-law Hannah, and nephew John, to New Zealand aboard the Zealandia, arriving in Lyttelton on 23 December 1870. Mary Jane was listed as a domestic servant.

A year later, on 13 December 1871, Mary Jane married George Frederick Carpenter, a widower. They had a family of seven daughters and two sons; Harriet Frances (1872-195?), Margaret Alice (1873-1936), Ethel Mary (1875-1888), Edith Bessie (1877-1938), Emily (1879-1953), John Frederick (1881-1923), Daisy Sarah (1882), William James (1884-1947), and Evelyn Gladys (1887-?).

Mary Jane was very involved in family and church affairs, being an ardent supporter of the Methodist Church. After her husband died she lived with her daughter Emily at 415 Papanui Rd until her death from cancer on 8 October 1920, aged seventy. She is buried with her husband in Yaldhurst Cemetery.

Her mother, Mary Griffiths of Upper Riccarton, also signed the Petition.


Mary Jane Carpenter with her husband George and seven children. (Alistair Aitken)

Mary Jane Carpenter (seated, front row, in black dress and hat) at the wedding of her son, John Frederick Hyam Carpenter, circa 1915. (Alistair Aitken) 

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.