FOSTER of Launceston, Australia, Chapter 6.

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Continuing story of Annie & her family (from Chapter 5)

Ann (Annie) FOSTER Photos

Associated with the information on this page is the Annie STEVENS (née FOSTER) Photo Gallery . The STEVENS gallery contains the outstanding photos originating from Annie STEVENS (née FOSTER), which are kindly shared by Jill Gooden, Lorna and Murray Barclay. In addition, Lynette Hill kindly took photos of the STEVENS grave. I am delighted to show you one of Lorna Barclay’s photos (beneath), which is also included in the photo gallery. This is of Annie’s family about 1904. A detailed caption is included separately in the photo gallery.

The Story

Annie FOSTER FamilyAnnie FOSTER’s family, c1904.
Courtesy: Lorna Barclay

The story continues………we take up the account of Sydney Pope STEVENS who would marry Annie FOSTER. Sydney had immigrated to NZ at the age of 14 (in 1861 on an unknown ship) i). His older brother Francis had arrived earlier at Nelson NZ on 24 Dec 1859 on the ‘Golconda’ xxxiii), xxxiv). Records show that Sydney Pope lived with his father (Francis Worrell STEVENS) at Grafton-road Auckland, at least from 1863 to 1865 xxiii—xxvii). He commenced working for the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department (P&T) at Auckland, when he was 16 (13 May 1863) xxxvi). In 1864, Sydney STEVENS, postal clerk at Auckland Post-office was a witness in a criminal case xxxi). He left the P&T at age 18 (31 Oct 1865) ii—v), which was about the time his father's home in Grafton-road was probably sold xxvi).

Note: Sydney's career with the Post Office is further described in this chapter. Note also that the appendix contains a fascinating account of an “annual smoke concert”, which described Sydney STEVENS’ work history with the Post Office, as well as the history of the Post and Telegraphs of NZ… a document of historical interest demonstrating the attitudes and customs of the time… see here.

In 1866 Sydney's father advertised the distribution rights for sale of his patent shingle machines, giving his new address as Ingestre-street Wellington xxxv). Next year, in 1867 Francis STEVENS had published a million pound prospectus for a railway from Nelson to the West Coast (South Island) xxix. He failed in this venture, and in 1869 he applied for a discharge from bankruptcy, as a clerk living in Wellington xxx). Around the same time, Sydney may have struck out on his own on the gold fields… his next record is when the New Zealand Gazette describes Sydney living in Shortland in Nov 1868 (at age 21), when he was a shareholder and also "pro tem" Secretary for the "The Star Gold Mining Company” vi-a, vi-b). The Star operated on the Karaka (river tenements) in the Thames Gold Field, with an office in Pollen Street, Shortland. Shortland had just been proclaimed a gold field in Aug 1, 1867 and the Karaka River was the boundary between Shortland and Grahamstown. This area had over 112 hotels to serve the influx of miners in the early 1870’s. Later, in 1881, Shortland combined with Grahamstown and was named Thames. It is possible that Sydney may have managed his father's stockbroking firm in Grahamstown at that time, which may have not worked out:

NOTICE is hereby given that the PARTNERSHIP hitherto existing between us, Francis W. Stevens, Herbert V. Stevens, and Sydney P. Stevens, as Sharebrokers in Auckland and Grahamstown, under the style or firm of "Stevens and Son," is this day DISSOLVED by mutual consent. Dated at Auckland this 11th day of January, 1870.
IN reference to the above notice, the business “Will be conducted in future in the Office at Queen-street, by Mr. FRANCIS W. STEVENS.” xxxii)

Sydney Pope STEVENS became victim of "identity theft" in 1871. NZ marriage records tell us that he married 19 year old Elizabeth PAUL on 7 Sep 1871, at the dwelling House of Mr PAUL, Symonds Street Auckland. "Sydney" stated his occupation was a broker and the marriage witnesses were James Roberts PAUL, publican of Shortland and James PAUL, settler, Auckland vii), xlii), xliv) . I was puzzled, since there was no record of divorce or the death of Elizabeth PAUL prior to Sydney Pope STEVENS’ marriage to Annie FOSTER. The answer was on the Elizabeth PAUL marriage register. At the bottom of the copy of the register was: “NB See Letter from the Rev James WALLIS attached hereto”. A further enquiry to the Registrar-General and I received the letter attached to the register, which stated that the person concerned "passed himself off as Sydney Pope Stevens", and that the minister heard later that the false Sydney Pope had “a wife living in Parnell”. This letter would have been written to the Registrar, to protect the Rev. Dr. WALLIS’ position as a Marriage Celebrant viii).

News travelled quickly…. shortly after, the real Sydney Pope STEVENS placed notices of dissociation on page one of the various papers, which also showed his new occupation and that his father Francis was back in Auckland also as a stockbroker: "NOTICE. MARRIAGE, STEVENS—PAUL. The name of P.S. Stevens, so like my own, having been published, I beg leave to say I am not the person alluded to as having married a Miss Paul. SYDNEY POPE STEVENS, Queen-street.” ix) Beneath this notice was another one, also signed by Sydney Pope. Perhaps it had something to do with the false marriage? This other notice said: “NOTICE. HERBERT V. STEVENS has no business connection with the firm of STEVENS & SON, Sharebrokers, nor has he since January, 1870. Signed FRANCIS W. STEVENS, SYDNEY POPE STEVENS" x). This latter notice arose from allegations of fraud and forgery xi)! Herbert Vickers STEVENS had previously married 21 year old Jane Elizabeth HAMLIN on 18 Oct 1864. Elizabeth was the daughter of a Church Missionary Society missionary Rev. James HAMLIN of Waipuna, Panmure and there were 4 children to this marriage xii), xxxvii), xxxix).

Auckland society was shocked! Herbert bigamously absconded with Elizabeth PAUL using our Sydney Pope's name, he left behind a wife and four children, and “disposed of various parcels of shares entrusted to him, drawn the money and decamped with the whole proceeds.” Then “in company with his paramour he left Auckland for San Francisco in the ‘Nevada’.” xiii) Herbert and Elizabeth travelled first class on the 'Nevada' under the name of Mr & Mrs S.P. STEVENS, leaving at 7 pm, 7 Sep 1871… the day of their marriage! xxxviii) Herbert’s real wife Jane Elizabeth lived in Waipuna, died and was buried at Remuera Auckland on 9 May 1918 at the age of 75. She was described as a widow in her death registration and named her previous husband as Herbert, showing that she did not divorce her bigamous husband. xxxvii), xxxix), xliii). The Letters of Administration record for Herbert said that he died on or since 31 December 1874 at some place unknown, which would mean in this context a notional date for his death after his disappearance from Auckland. Jane Elizabeth's children waited 50 years (in 1923) to make a claim on Herbert's estate of £344.12.7. This period was presumably a statutory time after which he could be deemed dead xl) . It appears that Herbert's fate in America remained a mystery to Jane Elizabeth and her descendants, and information about the Herbert's scandalous departure and possible fate was not talked about and did not even appear in the HAMLIN family history xli), xxxix). Similarly modern-day PAUL descendants of Elizabeth PAUL's family were unaware of her marriage to Herbert STEVENS xliv).

Back to the real Sydney Pope STEVENS… Sydney left sharebroking and was then re-appointed to the P&T on 17 Nov 1873 ii) as a chief clerk at Timaru iii—v). He was then recorded as Postmaster at Invercargill when he married Annie FOSTER at the age of 29, on 1 Mar 1876 xiv) & then moved around NZ, due to the demands of the Postal Service. Sydney became accountant of the Money Order and Savings Bank Department at Dunedin ii, iv, v). While he was at Dunedin, he went overseas to San Francisco USA in 1883, possibly to see his fugitive brother, Herbert xv). Sydney was promoted to Christchurch as chief clerk iii, iv, v), subsequently becoming Assistant Inspector of Post Offices for the Dominion in 1895 xxviii). School records for their son Sydney Foster xvi) show that they lived in East Christchurch in 1901 and then transferred to Pollen St. Thames, when Sydney Jnr. attended Thames High School in 1902, and where Sydney Snr took up the promotion position of the Thames Chief Postmaster. In 1904, he was the Chief Postmaster of Nelson , and subsequently in 1907 was appointed to the charge of the Christchurch office iii, iv, v). Sydney retired from the P&T due to ill health in July 1911. He had just completed 40 years service on 28 May 1911, when he had an annual salary of £575, and had risen to the 3rd most senior postal officer on the NZ clerical list ii). Sadly, he did not live long after this. He had heart problems for some years, and died at the age of 65 on 3 Dec 1912 at 3 Harakeke St, Lower Riccarton, Christchurch, and was buried on 5 Dec 1912 in Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch i, xxii).

Sydney’s obituary stated:

Mr S.P. STEVENS. The death occurred yesterday at his residence, Riccarton, of Mr S.P. Stevens, who was for several years Chief Postmaster at Christchurch. The late Mr Stevens joined the Postal Department in Dunedin 1865. He left the service for a time, but returned, and was appointed chief clerk at Timaru. He became accountant of the Money Order and Savings Bank Department at Dunedin, and was then promoted to Christchurch as chief clerk, subsequently becoming Assistant Inspector of Post Offices for the Dominion. Afterwards he went to Thames as Chief Postmaster, and from there was transferred to Nelson as Chief Postmaster, and in 1906 was appointed to the charge of the Christchurch office, retiring in July of last year on superannuation, on account of ill-health. The late Mr Stevens was a most efficient officer, and an excellent disciplinarian, and possessed many friends in the Department. He was an enthusiastic bowler, and held office as president of the United Bowling Club. iv)

Source: iv). Note: This account of Sydney's early history is contradicted by a 1907 work history, given to the press while Sydney was still alive to verify it. It said: “Mr Stevens joined the Postal Department as junior clerk at Auckland in May, 1863, 44 years ago…” iii) This is verified by his address of Grafton-road Auckland at that time,xxiii)—xxvii) as well as the exact date of 12 May 1863 given in the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department records ii). The 1907 Nelson account gives additional information about Sydney's church activities: ”Mr Stevens was a vestryman of Christ Church Cathedral, also a member of Synod and the Standing Committee.“iii)

Probate documents declared that the value of his estate was less than £3,000 xvii).

Annie remained at the family home at 3 Harakeke St, Christchurch, at least until the beginning of World War I, when her son Sydney Foster enlisted in the Field Artillery xviii). After Sydney Foster returned from the war, Annie lived with him at his farm at Takapau, Hawkes Bay NZ xix), until she died at Takapau at the age of 77 on 20 May 1928 xx). She was buried with her husband at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch on 24 May 1928 xxi, xxii). In present times, most of the graves in Linwood Cemetery have unstable headstones. Accordingly, vandals have pushed over and broken many headstones, including Annie and Sydney’s grave… see the photos of their headstones xxii).

Annie and Sydney Pope had the following children :

  1. Sydney Foster (b. 28 Aug 1890 — d. Apr 1990)
  2. Wyon Vickers (b. 3 Dec 1891 — d. 18 Sep 1959)

Please see here for a full descendant report.

i)    Death of Sydney Pope STEVENS. Reg# 1912/8083. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
ii)   The 1911-12 New Zealand Post and Telegraph Departmental List (P&T List) Wellington Archives.
iii)   Nelson Evening Mail; 10 Sept 1907: 2.
      Mr S. P. Stevens, Chief Postmaster, leaves Nelson to-morrow.
iv)   Star Christchurch; 4 Dec 1912: 2 or 3.
      The death occurred yesterday at his residence, Riccarton, of Mr S.P. Stevens.
v)     Evening Post; 7 Dec 1912: 7.
      Mr. S. P. Stevens, for several years chief postmaster at Christchurch, died last Tuesday.
vi-a) New Zealand Gazette; 1869: 91-92.
      Application to register “The Star Gold Mining Company
vi-b)  Daily Southern Cross; 24 Nov 1868: 1
       PROSPECTUS. The Star Gold Mining Company.
vii)  Marriage of Sydney Pope STEVENS and Elizabeth PAUL. Reg# 1871/147. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
viii)  Attached letter to registration of Marriage of Sydney Pope STEVENS and Elizabeth PAUL.
       Reference No. 20060111546. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
ix)   Daily Southern Cross; 12 Sept 1871: 1.
      NOTICE.- Marriage : Stevens - Paul.
x)    Daily Southern Cross; 12 Sept 1871: 1.
      NOTICE.- Herbert V. Stevens has no business connection with the firm of Stevens and Son.
xi)   Daily Southern Cross; 12 Sept 1871: 1.
      …been victimised… over £200 by the absconded Sharebroker Herbert Vickers Stevens.
xii)   Daily Southern Cross; 21 Oct 1864: 4.
     MARRIAGE of Herbert Vickers STEVENS & June Elizabeth HAMLIN.
xiii)  Daily Southern Cross; 4 Oct 1871: 7.
     One of the most disgraceful cases that have ever been reported in Auckland.
xiv)  Marriage of Sydney Pope STEVENS and Annie FOSTER. Reg# 1876/668. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
xv)  Photo of Sydney Pope STEVENS in San Francisco in 1883. Courtesy of Jill Gooden. See here.
xvi)  Thames High School enrolments. NZSG.
xvii) Probate record and Will for Sydney Pope STEVENS. Christchurch Archives Reference: AAOM 6029 15190/1913.
xviii) Army record of STEVENS, Sydney Foster - WWI, record# 0109164. Archives NZ.
xix)  Information from Jill Gooden, Canada.
xx)  Death of Annie STEVENS. Reg# 1928/ 1928/1654. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
xxi)Christchurch Library Cemeteries Database.
xxii) Photos of vandalised graves (courtesy of Lynette Hill)… see here.
xxiii) Daily Southern Cross; 15 May 1863: 1.
       (trespassers) will be prosecuted; FRANCIS STEVENS, Grafton Road.
xxiv)  Daily Southern Cross; 8 Apr 1864: 5.
       List of Voters: Stevens, Francis, Grafton Road, Auckland.
xxv)   Daily Southern Cross; 30 Jun 1864: 1.
       REWARD…BAY MARE…bring the same to SIDNEY P. STEVENS, Grafton-road.
xxvi)  Daily Southern Cross; 24 Jun 1865: 1.
       FOR SALE, an ALLOTMENT…with COTTAGE…Apply to Mr. Stevens, Grafton-road.
xxvii)  Daily Southern Cross; 1 Jul 1865: 6.
      Sidney Stevens was found guilty…by suffering a horse to stray on the Grafton Road.
xxviii) Evening Post; 11 Dec 1895: 2.
       Mr Stevens, Chief Clerk Christchurch Post Office, appointed Assistant Inspector of Post Offices.
xxix)  Nelson Examiner & New Zealand Chronicle; 6 Aug 1867: 4, 7-8.
      Commercial Report… re Mr Stevens and his Railway Prospectus… page 4.
      Mr. Stevens' proposed prospectus… pp 7-8.
xxx)  Evening Post; 30 Aug 1869: 3.
      Application for discharge from bankruptcy by Francis Stevens, of Wellington, clerk.
xxxi)  Daily Southern Cross; 24 Aug 1864: 5.
      Embezzlement. William Ernest Whitlow, clerk in the Post-office. S.P. STEVENS, witness.
xxxii)  Daily Southern Cross; 14 Jan 1870: 1.
      Dissolving partnership of Francis W. Stevens, Herbert V. Stevens, and Sydney P. Stevens.
xxxiii)  Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle; 28 December 1859: 2.
      Shipping intelligence. ARRIVED. December 24, ship Golconda, from London.
xxxiv)  Evening Post (Wellington); 16 Feb 1911: 8.
     Death of Mr Francis Stevens.
xxxv)  Wellington Independent; 9 Oct 1866: 6.
     Patent shingle machines.
xxxvi)  Nelson Evening Mail; 20 Jul 1903: 2.
     Postal and telegraphic staff annual smoke concert.
xxxvii)  Death of Jane Elizabeth STEVENS (née HAMLIN). Reg# 1918/2873. Registrar of BDM, NZ.
xxxviii) Daily Southern Cross; 8 Sept 1871:2.
     Port of Auckland, cleared outwards: Nevada, U.S., N.Z. and A. mail steamship, 2,466 tons for Honolulu.
xxxix)   Rosalie-Ann Nicholson. 1826 onwards in the life of James & Elizabeth Hamlin: the family tree of
      Elizabeth & James Hamlin : Job & Rhoda Hamlin, Joseph & Elizabeth Osborn.
R. Nicholson; 1986:72-73.
xl)     Letters of Administration of the Intestate Herbert Vickers Stevens, held by the Principal Probate Registry, England
xli)    Pers. comm. Roger Thornton; 2012.
xlii)    North Otago Times, 13 Oct 1871: 4.
      The Auckland bigamy case.
xliii)    Pers. comm. Rosalie-Ann Nicholson; 2012.
xliv)    Pers. comm. belynb43; 2012.
      Note: belynb43 has a well sourced family tree in AncestryCom. Her data combined with the Elizabeth's marriage
     details in vii), viii), xlii) show James PAUL of Symonds St, was Elizabeth's father, and James Roberts PAUL her brother.

The Story Continues