Flood In 1858

Colonist 2 February 1858
Inter-Provincial News.
(From the Spectator of January 23.)
In our last we gave such details of the disastrous flood which had occurred at the Hutt as had reached us, we now furnish the following particulars which we believe may be relied upon, as being substantially correct. The number of bodies at present actually recovered is nine, namely,— Mrs. Stanway (sic) and two children, one 4 years old and the other 6 years; Mr. Sollars, his wife and child; Mrs. Hegan and infant, and; Mrs. Price; the – other persons known to be missing are the husband of Mr. (sic) Stanway, and three more of his children, who were all seen to be washed away together. The particular locality where this fearful loss of life occurred was near the “Barley Mow Inn,” at the Upper Valley of the Hutt. When the flood was at its highest about one o”clock, a.m., Tuesday morning, the force of the water at this point is described by an eye-witness as having, been terrific. The water was seen rushing along like an immense wave, crashing and roaring, and carrying everything before it; huge trees, portions of buildings, timber, furniture, and debris of every description, were borne away by the force of the current. To witness the havoc and destruction which the flood has caused is most painful and baffles all description. Many acres of land which only a few hours before to all appearance promised a plentiful crop, are now covered with sand and shingle, and not a particle of vegetation remains. The quantities of drift timber, in many instances large solid trees, which have been deposited by the flood is perfectly incredible, and will take many months to remove. The unfortunate persons who have lost their lives by this calamity are mostly late arrivals in the country. Mrs. Hegan (a daughter of Mr. Dew, an old settler at the Hutt) was living in a small wooden building near the first gorge; Mr. Price and a man named Charles Hartley were also residing in the house. Upon seeing the water rise so rapidly some fear was entertained for the safety of the building, and the survivor Hartley proposed to go for a rope to secure the house; when he left the water was up to the window, and the house was actually shaking. He almost immediately lost his footing, and was swimming, with the current for nearly half-a-mile, until he succeeded in getting up a tree, where he remained for 14 hours, until rescued by some passers by on the following day. From the position he occupied he could see everything around him; he states that he soon after saw the house borne away with the current; the inmates Mrs. Hegan (who was only confined that morning) and the nurse Mrs. Price, were climbing on to the roof of the house; they passed by close to where he was in the tree, and he describes the shrieks of the females as fearful; a minute after the house turned over, and nothing more was seen of them. The bodies were recovered about a mile from the spot on Wednesday morning, the infant was found firmly locked in the dying grasp of the mother, the nurse was found close to her, the body was very much mangled. The bodies were removed to the house of Mr. Dew, and an inquest held on them, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned. The husband of Mrs. Hegan is absent in the country, and of course is ignorant of the desolation of his home. Mrs. Price, who was much respected, and who arrived in the Ann Wilson, leaves a family of young children behind her; her husband was absent from home at the time. The other family, Mr. Stanway, wife and five children, were all seen together on the roof of their house; the water rose rapidly and submerged the whole of them, and they were seen, to sink one after the other. The blacksmith Sollers with his wife and infant perished in a similar manner; they imagined themselves secure, but the house was borne away with the current, and he was heard by persons on the hills to say “good bye.” The bodies were found mostly together, one, completely buried in the sand. A man and his wife named Smith, living near to Mr. Dew, were saved after remaining on the top of a building for many hours, whilst all around them was borne away. To give-anything like a detailed account of the losses sustained by residents at the Hutt would be impossible, we may however state a few of the most important particulars of individual loss of which we have been informed: — Mr. D. Riddiford has lost about 120 sheep; Mr. Barton has also lost a number of sheep; Mr. Thomas Mason a number of cattle; Mr. Arnott cattle and sheep; Mr. John Leverton has lost entirely 50 acres of crops, and a large number of cattle; Mr. C. Mabey lost a number of sheep, and also a large quantity of fenced and cropped land; Mr. Buckridge, of the Albion Hotel, has had his crops destroyed and the river has taken a course completely through his property; at Mr. Wm. Tandy”s the river now runs through his ground and has destroyed a large amount of property; Mrs. Speedy”s land is completely cut up in all directions by the different channels the rain has made, in many cases large fissures 12 feet deep have been formed; Mr. Still has lost a number of sheep, &c.; Mr. John Russell 10 head of cattle; Mr. Dew, an old settler, estimates his loss at not less than £500; a property which a week ago was worth many hundreds of pounds is now comparatively worthless, five acres of grass land have been completely swept away. A large number of men had volunteered to assist in removing a shingle bed which had been thrown up, and which prevents the river from taking its old channel, and nearly all the residents at the Hutt were endeavouring to contribute either in labour or otherwise to this object. The destruction of the roads between Poad”s public house and the Taitai (sic) is almost incredible, scarcely a vestige remains at some places of the original road; at one place (a bridge near McDonald”s creek) the river runs right through the road, making it very dangerous for passengers at night, the banks descending abruptly to the depth of 15 feet; other dangerous places occur along the whole line of road. The Waiwetu and Second River bridges have both been carried away. It is to be hoped that the Provincial authorities will lose no time in removing the large quantity of drift timber now lying on the roads, and in making it again passable.

(From the Spectator of January 27.)
A public meeting was held at the Hutt Mechanics” Institute, on Tuesday, 26th January, to consider the best steps to be taken under the circumstances. About 200 people were present at one time during the evening, Mr. Braithwaite was in the chair. Great regret was expressed at the non-attendance of any person to represent the Provincial Government. Mr. Ludlam, as one of those who had signed the notice calling the meeting, opened the proceedings by explaining his objects in so doing. The following Resolutions were unanimously carried after considerable discussion.
Moved by Mr. Ludlam, seconded by Mr. Hart,—
That this meeting is of opinion that immediate and energetic action is required in order to repair the serious public danger done by the recent inudation of this Valley, and in order also to guard against the recurrence of the attendant calamities as far as human means can avail.
Moved by Mr. Wakefield, seconded by Mr, Jillett,—
That the following gentlemen be requested to act as a Committee for the purpose of communicating with the Government on the subject,— of obtaining accurate information as to the causes of the damage and means of remedy,— and of collecting subscriptions towards the necessary expenses, viz:— Messrs. Ludlam, Hart, Corbett, Phillips, Wilcock, David Hughey, Lynch, Mason, and Wakefield.
Moved by Mr. Hart, seconded by Mr. Riddiford, —
That the Committee be requested to open a separate Subscription List for the purpose of relieving serious cases of private distress among the sufferers by the recent inudation.

An inquest was held at Mr. Robert Blade”s the Traveller”s Rest Inn, Taitai (sic), in the Hutt district, on Wednesday, 20th January, by Dr. Buck, Coroner for the Hutt, upon the bodies of Mrs. Hagan and infant son, Mrs. Price their nurse, Charles Sollars, blacksmith, his wife and child, and two children named Fanny and Jane Stanaway, residents on the Upper Hutt, who had been drowned, by the flood on January 18th. It was stated in evidence that on Monday, 18th January, and in consequence of the heavy rains of the previous days, the river rose rapidly and soon overflowed the whole valley, and as the rain continued to fall incessantly during the same day the water rose to an alarming height. The greatest injury was done near the Silver Stream (sic), where the deceased parties resided, the water gradually rising in their houses until they had to betake themselves to the roofs, the current being strong around them, and the ground lower, than where they were situated, their escape was cut off. Charles Hartely, who was residing with Sollars, swam from one house to another, and assisted the immates in getting into (sic) the roof,— and as the water still rose he endeavoured to get them to land by means of a rope, but without success, and was at last obliged to save himself by swimming. The houses were at length carried away. On the roof of one was Mr. Stanaway, a carpenter, his wife and five children, and on the other, Mr. Sollars, blacksmith, his wife and child, Mrs. Hagan, her infant and the nurse, Mrs. Price. The houses were carried down the stream some distance before they broke up, and then all perished. The eight bodies were found on the previous day, January 19th, between Mr. Dew”s and Mr. Dalgetty”s.
An inquest was held at the same place on January 21st, on the body of Mrs. Stanaway, which had been found on the evening of the previous day, January 20th. Verdict, Accidental death by drowning.
The jury at the same time wished to express the high opinion they had of the conduct of Charles Hartley, in his strenuous exertions to save the sufferers at the risk of his life.
Jan. 25.— The body of Richard Stanaway was found this morning, near Mr. Ebden”s, leaving now three bodies unfound, viz., Mr. Stanaway and two more of the children.

Wellington Independent 20 January 1858
query Barley Mow

Bodies recovered
Mrs Stanaway and two children, one 6 years and one 4 years
Mr Sollars, his wife and child
Mrs. Hegan and infant
Mrs. Price
the other persons known to be missing are the husband of Mr. (sic) Stanway, and three more of his children

Thomas and Eliza must be child aged 6 years and 4 years

Thomas Stanaway

Death Details
1858/331, Thomas Stanaway, NR

Thomas Stanaway, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

Eliza Stanaway

No Death Registration shown

Eliza Stanaway, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

Richard Stanaway

Richard is noted as found on the 25 January 1858

Death Details
1858/332, Richard Stanaway, NR

Richard Stanaway, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

Sarah Stanaway

Death Details
1858/330, Sarah Stanaway, NR

Sarah Stanaway, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

Other children could be Fanny and Jane Stanaway from newspaper article

Mr Sollars

Death Details
1858/322, Charles Sollars, NR

Charles Sollars, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

No burial record

Mrs Sollars

Death Details
1858/323, Mary Ann Sollars, NR

Mary Ann Sollers (sic), J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

No burial record

Two other Sollars listed under Death Registrations in 1858

1858/324, Charles Samuel Sollars, NR
1858/325, James Sollars, NR

No inquest records or burial record

Mrs Hagan

Death Details
1858/133, Charlotte Hagan, NR

Charlotte Hagan, J46/3, Coroner Report, Date 1858, Archives NZ, Wellington

Hutt Valley Cemetery Records Charlotte Hagan, Date: 18 Jan 1858, St James Anglican, Lower Hutt, Burial Record

Male Child Hagan
Death Details
1858/134, Male Hagan, NR

Hutt Valley Cemetery Records Baby Boy Hagan, Date: 18 Jan 1858, St James Anglican, Lower Hutt, Burial Record

Marriage Details
1857/1595, Bride: Charlotte Dew, Groom: James Hagan

Mrs Price

Death Details
1858/277, Sarah Price, NR

Hutt Valley Cemetery Records Sarah Price, Date: 19 (sic) Jan 1858, St James Anglican, Lower Hutt, Burial Record

Shipping List found for The Ann Wilson in 1857
Ann Wilson arrived March 1857; Sophia & Emma Askin; Mr Walter Askin; Mary A & Catherine Baird; James Barnes; Samuel, Eliza, Sydney, Eliza & Kate Parks; Robert & Elizabeth Price; Phillip, MaryAnn & Eliza Putman; Ritson family; John Roberts; James & Jane Robinson; John, E, W, MaryA, Josephine Roland; Thomas, Jane, Richard & John Seymour; Charles, Ann, Charles, Thomas & Catherine Simmons; Francis, W, Edmond, Alfred, Oscar & Walter Sign; Henry Smith; W Smith; Stanway family; Charles Stone; Thomas C Swaft; Charles; Charles, Maria & Jane Tarener; H & Harriet Vickerstaff; John, Ann, Job, Catherine, Ruth, W & Emma Vile; Benjamin West; Richard Whittaker; Charles Wills; George Wilson; Able, Kate, Ann, Jane & Able William; George Wright; John & W Wright;

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