Birth about 1839/40 (Birth Certificate unknown), Born at sea between Australia and New Zealand.
Not much is known about Mary’s early years in Hokianga, but we know she is not recorded as being with her father in the 1846 Census which gives weight to the story that she was adopted out to either the Marriner’s or the Hobb’s.
It may be that Mary was by her early teens back living with her father now living in Tokatoka, performing domestic duties and running the house for him. (Cannot confirm this) – Maybe she was friends with her future mother in-law Sarah Clark.
The first record we have of Mary is of her marriage to Thomas Russell she was 22 years old (Marriage certificate number 1864/8994) – From Ada Clark’s family records chapter eight entitled “A WAGER” we have the following account of Mary Ann Stanaway’s Wedding;
Christmas 1863, many friends and the family gathered at Whakahara. It was the custom for many years to come. From nearby Tokatoka came John James Stanaway with his family, wife, Sarah Ann, and first child of his third wife (Annie). Captain Stanaway was renowned for his witticisms and amusing stories gathered from his sea-faring experiences when he had travelled the world. He was reputed to be lively and jocular.
Everyone no doubt discussed the forthcoming double wedding that was planned for January. The brides were to be Hannah Maria Clark and one of Stanaway’s daughters from his second marriage. Captain Stanaway challenged William. He bet William £5 that he wasn’t sufficiently courageous to propose to Wilhelmina Paton, so that the forthcoming event would become a triple wedding. If anyone dared William he would do anything. They shook hands on the bet. Stanaway lost the wager. William proposed; Wilhelmina accepted.
On 16 January, 1864 in the dwelling house of Mr Charles Clark, Whakahara, the triple wedding ceremony took place:
- Hannah Maria Clark married John Paton (Jnr) – (Son of Joseph Paton & Margaret Douglas, nee Lowe – lst marriage “Paton”)
- Wilhelmina Paton married William Clark (listed as farmer)
- Mary Ann Stanaway married Thomas Russell (listed as engineer)
The original marriage certificate of William and Wilhelmina is still among the family papers, witnessed by Charles Heath and James Bell. Although it states Wilhelmina’s age as 16, she would not have turned 16 until November. Also among the family papers survives a photo of Mary Ann Stanaway; fine-featured, elegantly dressed in a crinoline, she holds herself straight and tall.”
Taken from the book “The Great Northern Wairoa” by E.K Bradley – Page 98
“There were two couples getting married, John Russell to Miss Stanaway, and John Paton to Miss Clark. Mr Stanaway Snr was a very lively, jocular man and he dared William Clark to propose to Miss Wilhemina Paton, Well, he did and she accepted and a triple wedding was arranged. This took place on 16th January, 1864.”
From “Women of Northern Wairoa” by Jane Wordsworth page 113 “Wilhelmina Clark 1845-1906”, nee Paton.
“The week soon passed and Mrs Clark invited a few friends over on Christmas Day, they included James Russell and the Stanaway family. James Russell was engaged to one of the Miss Stanaway’s. Captain Stanaway was a fine jolly man full of fun. We had a good Christmas dinner.
My brother John was engaged to Miss Clark and that with Mr Russell’s engagement, there was to be a double wedding in January. So Captain Stanaway, out of fun, went to Will (William) Clark and said to him, “You are not game to ask Miss Paton to be your wife and make a triple wedding of it”.
The wedding was taken by the Rev. William Gittos.
It is not known what happened to her husband James, but the marriage ends or he dies with five years of their marriage.
One child came of this marriage, a girl named Isabella Russell, born in 1864. She was later raised as a Johnson when her mother remarried and became Mrs William Henry Johnson.
Five years later Mary remarried William Henry Johnson on July 15, 1869 (Marriage certificate number 1869/4158) at the Mission House Rangiora, she was 27 years old. (Note – she has listed herself as Mary Stanaway).
The only other record we have is from the Electoral Roll of 1900, which has Mary and William living in Aratapu, she is listed as domestic duties while he is listed as a labourer.
Mary Ann passes away 23 September 1932 at the Auckland Hospital at the age of 92. (Death certificate 1932/7433 – which states her age as 93). She is buried at Waikaraka Cemetery.
The Auckland Star 28 September 1932 states;
MRS. MARY ANN JOHNSON. The death occurred on September 23 in the Auckland Hospital of Mrs. Mary Ann Johnson, wife of the late William Henry Johnson, in her 92nd year. She was born in Hokianga and spent the early part of her life in Northern Wairoa, where she was a well-known and highly esteemed resident, and later came to Auckland, where she remained until her death. She is survived by her three children, Mr. A. H. Johnson, of Herne Bay, Mrs. F. Stanaway, of Grey Lynn, and Mrs. F. Curtis, of Dominion Road; also 17 grandchildren and twelve great -grandchildren.
James Thomas Russell ???? – ????
All we know of Thomas Russell is that he was from Glasgow and that he was an Engineer helping to build the Aratapu Mill at the time of his wedding – refer “Women of Northern Wairoa” by Jane Wordsworth page 113.
He was known as Thomas more than his first name James.
No further information could be found on James, we do not know if he suddenly died or if they separated. No death certificate can be located.
William Henry Johnson ???? – ????
We have no records of William’s birth, and early life until he marries Mary.
Our only other record of William other than his marriage was we have him mentioned in an article in the New Zealand Herald 15 February 1875. An inquest was held at the Kaihu Hotel, at the instance of the manager of the New Zealand Insurance Company, to enquire into the origin of the fire which burnt the store and the greater part of its contents, situated at Mangawhare, and known as Marriner’s store, on the 18th and 19th of January 1875. William gives testimony;
“William Henry Johnson, on being sworn, said:
I am in the employ of Brown, Campbell and Co., and live at Mangawhare. Between nine and ten in the morning my wife cooed for me she told me to look towards the store to see the smoke. I ran at once to the store and met Mr. William Marriner. He asked me what made me be going over in such a state of excitement. I told him that I thought the store was on fire, and he said no, the smoke that I saw was from rubbish he had set fire to on the beach. He then showed me where to go into the bush to work.
After I had been at work some time I heard a cooey, and then I heard the bell ring, also a cry of fire. I then ran to the store, went in and brought out what I could. We got the fire out, and shifted a lot of things back into the store and I was there till half-past five in the evening.
In the night, or very early in the morning, I again heard the bell, and immediately ran to the fire half-dressed.
I saw Henry Wilson dragging Mr. Marriner out of the store. We then began to throw water on the other sheds. After the first fire the books were taken back to the store. They were always kept in the store. William Marriner took down the transactions into books there. They were afterwards entered on slates, which when full were taken into the office and copied into books there.”
From this we know that they lived in Mangawhare (This is the bend in the Northern Wairoa river just before modern day Dargaville). And that he was an employee of Brown, Campbell and Co. (Dr John Logan Campbell).
We have been unable to find either a birth certificate for William or a death certificate (although we can narrow it down to approximately 11 possibilities). We do know however that he does pass away some time before Mary.