My tree at this webpage starts
1. THE WHITSON FAMILY TREE
The probable parents of our ancestor Thomas WHITSON of Prestonkirk are
James WHITSON and Elizabeth WATT. They married at Prestonkirk about 1723
and had there Elizabeth (b. 1725), Jean (b. 1731), and Janet (b. 1736).
[Jean married Adam KING and had Patrick (b. 1756), James (b. 1757),
Jean (b. 1759) and Adam (b. 1763).]
Adam KING was a witness at the baptism in 1756 of James (3), the
first child of Thomas WHITSON and Agnes HOGG.
It is possible that this was the same
James WHITSON (died 30-31.7.1756) brewer in Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland
I have a copy of the inventory of his goods July 1756: 34 Pounds Sterling & in
Scots money to the sum of 411 Pounds.
They had a daughter,
m Sinclair INAITER Master in the Regiment of Light Cavalry
m2 29.7.1756 Agnes RIND (or RHIND) (died 1769 before May 14). They had a
postnuptial contract. I have a copy of the inventory when she died.
She was sister of
John & David RHINDS (alive 12.7.1769). John RIND, tobacconist of Prestonpans
was cautioner on 18.3.1757.
Searching in www.familysearch.org/
under Agnes RHIND gives a large number, e.g.
Born:28 Oct 1764 Christened:4 Nov 1764 Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland
Father: David RHIND
Mother: Giles/Giels WEIR
0 0--Thomas WHITSON of Prestonkirk, East Lothian
m 9.12.1755 Prestonkirk sp-Agnes HOGG of Prestonkirk.
The probable parents of Agnes HOGG are William HOGG and Elizabeth
CUMMINS who had at Haddington Parish Robert (b. 1720), John, Agnes
(b. 1727), and Elizabeth (b. 1729). William and Robert HOGG were
witnesses at the baptism in 1768 of Agnes WHITSON (5).
Searching in www.familysearch.org/
Agnes HOG Christened: 15 Oct 1727 Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland
Father: William HOG, Mother: Elspet CUMMING
Thomas WHITSON and Agnes HOGG had at least 5 children (1 to 5 below.)
1 1--Thomas WHITSON
m sp-Mary SHIELS (probably the Mary born to Thomas SHIELL and
Christian HENRY on 30.4.1774 and baptised at Prestonkirk on 8.5.1774
before Andrew SHIELL and Peter HAY). They had at least 2 children (11
and 12 below.)
NOTE One can subscribe to HENRY-Lemail@example.com
11 2--Robert WHITSON (24.3.1805 East Lothian-26.11.1883 Auckland). The dates
are from the tall red stone edifice on his grave (in the WHITSON plot in the
Presbyterian Cemetery, Symonds Street, near Grafton Bridge,
Auckland).The Auckland Public Library records that Robert (aged 50)
Elizabeth (aged 48) and their children John (111, aged 18), Elizabeth
(112 aged 16), Mary Ann (113 aged 14), Jessie (114 aged 14), Tom (115
aged 12) and Louisa (116 aged 10) left London on 14.6.1857 and arrived
in Auckland on 9.10.1857 on the "Anne Longton". "White Wings" Vol. 1
p 356 records that the ships passage was "somewhat sensational" giving
details of mutinies on board and the captain being obliged to obtain
volunteers from the passengers to work the ship.
The Auckland Public Library has a letter he wrote on 5.4.1860 requesting the
land he was lead to expect as compensation for the passage money he paid for
His first brewery in Auckland was at Hobson Bridge,
formerly a flaxmill owned by Mr. WHYTLAW, where the Electoral Rolls record
him as living in 1867-77. Later he moved to 25A Princes Street. The Auckland
Civic Trust tried to save this house but it was demolished in 1977.
The Auckland Almanac for 1869 lists him and
Thomas (115) as officers of St. Andrew's Masonic Lodge (No. 418).
The Auckland Weekly News of 26.2.1870 p 16 col. 3 and 3.12.1870 p 22
record the plan for and opening of Robert's brewery in Queen Street - "The
Albert Brewery", sometimes referred to as"The WHITSON Brewery". They record
that his first 4 years (in New Zealand) were in farming, in particular
growing the "Whitsondean hops" at Mahurangi, that he had been brewing for 32
years (16 years In London), and that "the site is behind the Coach & Horses
Hotel, near the present building of Messrs. WHITSON & Co." The Strand Arcade,
Queen Street, has a plaque to show the spot where it stood.
See also NZ Herald 31-7-1870, Auckland Weekly News 3-12-1870 and
Daily Southern Cross 1-12-1870.
The Auckland Electoral Roll for 1874-75 lists him having
1. leasehold Albert Brewery, Queen St, in his occupation
2. freehold Lot 214 80 acres Hunua
3. freehold Mahurangi river 114 acres registered 307B
4. leasehold Edinburgh Castle Hotel, Symonds St.
5. leasehold Hobson's Bridge Brewery, Newmarket.
Notes by Nola Easdale: Whitsondeane, Mahurangi, The Pa
"A return of the freeholders of NZ" 1882 records the value of his land in
Auckland at 18,000 pounds, in Manukau at 45 pounds, while Robert WHITSON &
Sons, brewers, had land in Rodney, Eden, Auckland and Onehunga valued at 550,
2500, 2050 and 2200 pounds respectively.
Wise's Post Office Directories: 1883-4 Robert WHITSON & Sons, brewer, Queen St,
Auckland; 1885-8 R & Son, brewers, 219 Queen St.; 1885-6 Robert, Waterloo
The Auckland Public Library has a letter he wrote on 21.5.1883 not long before
he died, which indicates he knew the Governor socially.
The Auckland Weekly News gives his portrait and obituary on 1.12.1883 p 11
and 20.9.1884 p.
1:- "in business as a brewer in Leith... started brewing at age 19 ...
conducted one of the largest breweries in Scotland for over 20 years... the
oldest Freemason In New Zealand ... the oldest member of the St. Andrew's
church ... nephew James WHITSON (225 below - actually a son of his cousin)
manages the brewery".
His death certificate says he died of renal and cardiac disease.
GAR JOHNSTONE (11214) has a copy of his will.
Here is a letter he wrote at age 78 to an old friend
m sp-Elizabeth FENDER (8.6.1807 Haddington?,East Lothian - 27.7.1884
Auckland), daughter of Robert FENDER, farmer, and Elizabeth WILSON.
They married about 1828 at Dunbar (according to his death certificate)
or Haddington (according to her death certificate, which records
her as born in Dunbar and dying of 4 years paralysis, 2 years diabetes, and
11 days bronchitis). The discrepancy is probably because Haddington, as well
as being the name of a town, is also the name of the parish that the town of
Dunbar is in.
111 3--John McNair WHITSON (1838-20.10.1875 at Waterloo
Quadrant, Auckland) The Auckland Electoral Roll for 1874-75 lists him at
Mahurangi having freehold 14 acres in his occupation.
He died aged 37, of pneumonia, 4 days (death cert.)
112 3--Elizabeth WHITSON (30.9.1840 Leith,Scotland-18.10.1899 Makaraka)
m 9.2.1865 by Rev. McKINNEY of Mahurangi at Hobson Bridge,Auckland to
sp-George JOHNSTONE (31.1.1839 Stirling,Scotland- 16.8.1886 Makaraka.)
See Gisborne Herald, 17.8.1886 for his inquest.
He sold his Albert Brewery interests to the WHITSONs in 1880 and in 1881 went
to Gisborne. He moved his family there in 1882.
George had a sister Janet Graham JOHNSTONE (5.7.1840 Stirling-28.4.1844
Stirling). Their father was
Ebenezer JOHNSTONE (5.12.1789 Roxburgh,Melrose,Scotland-25.10.1864 Stirling)
A private in the Forfarshire Militia. Schoolmaster in his own school about
1822. Bookseller, printer. Founder of the Stirling Observer 1836.
m1 25.5.1808 at Stirling to Helen CHALMERS (29.7.1789 Stirling)
They had a child Agnes JOHNSTONE (14.6.1809 Stirling).
m2 13.11.1837 at Stirling to Elizabeth GRAY (1800 Currie,Midlothian)
Ebenezer's father was
George JOHNSTONE (Dalkeith,Scotland) Woollen cloth manufacturer in
Galashiels. His father was a candle-maker in Dalkeith, and proprietor
of a considerable property in the same town, known by the name of the
Cross-Keys Inn. His father married again. His father's father was a
farmer about the neighbourhood of Ettrick.
m 1788 at Galashiels to Agnes WATT (Dunkeld, Perthshire) 2 children:
George above and Mary JOHNSTONE (12.9.1791,Roxburgh,Melrose,Scotland).
George (1839-1886) attended Edinburgh University and arrived in
Auckland in 1861. He and Elizabeth went to Scotland in 1865 to attend
to the estate of his father. On returning to Auckland in 1869 George
worked with his father-in-law as brewer in the family firm of WHITSON
& Co. Their carriage had a footman and its harness had
silver-plate. George sold his Albert Brewery interests to the WHITSONs
in 1880, and in 1881 went to Gisborne and started his Gisborne Brewery
in opposition to Mr. CRAWFORD who had purchased the Gisborne WHITSON
Brewery in 1875. In 1882 George was in partnership with L.G.DIREY in
the business of Johnstone & Direy: land, stock, station and general
commission agents. George moved his family to Gisborne in 1882. The No
8 stone china dinner set they brought out from Scotland had 96 dinner
plates alone. The set was split equally among the children of their
first son George. They had 10 children.
Their first three children (1121-1123) were born in Scotland. They
returned to Auckland 1868-9 where their other 7 children were born,
the last one in 1881 at their house at 29 Princes Street, built in
Here is an old photo of Government House
in the foreground (now party of the university) and 3 houses on Princes St.
The one on the left is Number 27, home of 115 Thomas and Lisa WHITSON.
The one in the centre is Number 29, home of 112 Elizabeth and George JOHNSTONE.
George was another founding member of the St. Andrew's Lodge.
Their carriage had a footman and its harness had silver-plate. He had
a fine shell collection.
They moved to Gisborne in 1881-3 possibly to supervise the
building of WHITSON & Co.'s brewery there. (The Gisborne Herald, about
July 1976 records that Capt. Geo. Ed. READ's cottage, built about 1867
at 126 Peel Street, Gisborne, is to be the first building in
Gisborne's colonial village complex; it was rented by Major Westrupp,
then Dr NESBITT the magistrate; then let to WHITSON & Co., then to the
employees of W.F. CRAWFORD, who built the original breweries in
Gisborne and became mayor in 1877. I gather CRAWFORD later bought this
brewery from the WHITSONs). See `Breweries of Gisborne' (1995) by Ian
JOHNSTONE, Dunedin. George died 16.9.1886 and Elizabeth 18.10.1899
(or possibly 18.8.1900) at Makaraka, Matawhero. (112152 has his paper
of Commission as a Captain in the No. 2 Company of Auckland Naval
Volunteers 9.9.1872, his naval sword, some of his hand painted stone
china with a coat of arms on it, the Johnstone family bible, and a
ring with the Johnstone Crest - a spur between two wings.
MOTTO: NEVER UNPREPARED
It is said that this is to symboIise the days when their ancestors
were border thieves Alexander TODD (11233) had a sugar basin with the