Friday, June 10, 2011

Margaret Cornes, mother of Three Thames settlers

Three Cornes brothers settled on the Coromandel Peninsula in the 1860s; Clem (a well known miner), Alfred (Also a miner and early President of the Thames Miners' Union) and Edmond (First headmaster of the Tararu School). Family story available at The Treasury.

The message in this post for genealogists is never, never give up hope of finding new information. Leave as many footprints as you can about your family. For example on newsboards, mailing lists, send emails fill out a pioneer form for The Treasury and ask all possible sources. Just recently I was emailing an expert on mining matters and mentioned my family of miners; and was amazingly given an unpublished document on Clement Augustus Cornes, my GGGrandfather. Within that document was a clue about Margaret Cornes nee Graham (Clement's mother), we had long thought this was an unsolvable brick wall..but now we have a new lead.  Below is a transcript from her obituary that appeared in the Auckland Weekly News 16 Feb 1895.


A late mail brought news of the death of Mrs. MARGARET CORNES, widow of the late Major John Cornes, 2nd Battalion 18th Royal Irish. The deceased lady has three sons living in this province, one of whom is the well known "Clem" Cornes, of mining celebrity.

Major John Cornes was formerly Cornet in the 6th Inniskillen Dragoons, Paymaster of the 53rd Shropshire Regiment (in which regiment he fought the Sikhs at Feroneshab, Allababad Buddewal, the campaign of the Sutley and Sobraon. After the Sikh war the Duke of Wellington asked "Paymaster" Cornes to become a "combantant" officer, and gazetted him to a Lieutenancy in the Guards. He afterwards exchanged into the 79th Highlanders after the close of the Sikh war (when the 53rd went home), and in the gallant Cameronians saw service in India, China, Persia, the Cape, Canada and in the Crimea. He was the last man over the bridge at the Alma. A shell exploded on the bridge just as he had ridden across (he had no business to be there, as he was a non combatant officer: but, like an old war horse, he liked the smell of powder}. After being invalided for two years he joined the 2nd Battalion 18th Royal Irish, with whom he served two years.

Mrs. Cornes was no unworthy helpmate of "The fighting Paymaster." she too, had seen service. Indeed she was born a soldier, and was daughter, wife, mother and sister of soldiers. Her age was greater than that stated in the Obituary notice in the Belfast papers of 85yrs.

She was at Sir John Moore's retreat to Corunna in 1809, when a child. The writer of this notice has often heard her tell of a curious story of the retreat...Mrs.Cornes was eight or nine years old at the time of Waterloo and was with the baggage at Brussels. She marched into Paris with the allied armies and afterwards saw the great Napoleon on board the Belleraphos, or "Billy Rough-in" as "Jack" used to call her, en route for St.Helena.

Photo believed to be the Cornes Brothers: Alfred, Clement and Edmond

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