MOUNTFORT, Charles Wheeler



Charles Wheeler Mountfort
(born 19 December 1826 - died 19 April 1918)

Charles Wheeler Mountfort was born at Aston now part of Birmingham, England on 19 December 1826 the son of Thomas Mountfort and Susanna Woolfield. He was baptised with his sister Susanna Wale Mountfort on 2 January 1829 at Saint George, Birmingham. His brother was the architect, Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort.

He married Mary Eliza Adnam on 10 August 1850 and they arrived at Lyttelton, on 16 December 1850 on board the first of the Canterbury Association's ships, the Charlotte Jane. Initially they settled in Lyttelton before moving to Christchurch in
October 1851.

A Windmill is in course of erection on Mr. Mountfort's land, near Christchurch Quay, on the Ferry Road. The works are progressing as fast as the wet weather will permit, and it is expected that every thing will be completed by the middle of July. The Mill is capable of grinding, with a moderate breeze, 5 bushels per hour; amply sufficient to meet- the requirements of the Plains. A practical miller assures us that the Mill is a first-rate one, and supplied with everything needful for dressing flour, cleansing corn of smut, &c. Mr. Mountfort is the proprietor, and the public are indebted to him for making available property which for a considerable time has been lying useless in the Colony.

Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 128, 18 June 1853, Page 6


Lyttelton Times, Volume III, Issue 136, 13 August 1853, Page 12

Three children were born in Christchurch, Mary Elizabeth Mountfort in 1852, Charles Adnam Mountfort in 9 February 1854 (Lyttelton Times) and Emily Kate Mountfort in 1856. Charles is shown as a civil engineer living in the Lower Heathcote District.

In November 1856 Charles Mountfort moved to Dunedin with his wife and three children following in February 1857. On 29 April 1858 Ernest Richard Mountfort the infant son of Charles Mountfort died in Dunedin. (Lyttelton Times) The family lived at one time at the Water of Leith in Dunedin. There is a report of furniture and household effects being sold by auction at the residence of Mr. Henry Argles "adjoining Mr Mountfort's house, at the Water of Leith. (Otago Witness , Issue 469, 24 November 1860, Page 4)

In 1862 he completed a survey on the route of the telegraph line from Dunedin to the Heads via Port Chalmers.
 

Otago Witness, Issue 528, 11 January 1862, Page 6






Otago Daily Times, Issue 1498, 16 October 1866, Page 6


Otago Daily Times, Issue 1541, 5 December 1866, Page 3

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW ZEALAND, OTAGO AND SOUTHLAND DISTRICT.
In the matter of the petition of Charles Wheeler Mountfort, late of Dunedin, in the Province of Otago, Surveyor, but now of Timaru, in the Province of Canterbury, Photographer, a debtor; and in the matter of the Debtors and Creditors Acts, 1862, 1865, and 1866.
Take notice, that Charles Wheeler Mountfort has presented and filed his petition for the sequestration of his estate, for the benefit of all his creditors, and for relief according to the provisions, of the Debtors and Creditors Acts; and that the said petition has been accepted by His Honor Mr Justice Chapman, who has appointed Monday, the eleventh day of November next, at ten of the clock in the forenoon, at the Supreme Court House, Dunedin, for the hearing of the said petition. HENRY HOWORTH, Solicitor for the insolvent. Dated at Dunedin, this twenty-seventh day of September, 1867.

Otago Daily Times, Issue 1793, 28 September 1867, Page 6

 

On 26 February 1867 he arrived in Timaru on the ship "Geelong" from Dunedin with his family.
Timaru Herald, Volume VI, Issue 187, 16 March 1867, Page 2

 

Photography - We observe that Mr Mountfort, of Dunedin, has taken the photographic studio lately in the occupation of Monsieur Cabot. Mr Mountfort has invited us to inspect the studio, which has been considerably improved, but still hardly fit for the work, and he intends shortly, we believe, to build larger premises. Our attention has been particularly directed to the process of taking likenesses and views by the instantaneous process which is adapted more especially for children and animals and for street views where life is in motion. The twentieth part of a second is the time occupied. We were shewn some views taken in the streets of Dunedin, which for clearness and fidelity we have rarely seen equalled. We observed one of Ross’ actinic doublet lens, constructed especially for landscape views, and for copying maps &c. We should think that Mr Mountfort’s establishment would be largely patronised, as his studio offers to the public many advantages which have not hitherto been within its reach.
Timaru Herald, Volume VI, Issue 188, 20 March 1867, Page 2


Timaru Herald, Volume VI, Issue 188, 20 March 1867, Page 3


Charles Mountfort continued to advertise in the Timaru Herald as a photographer, but at the end of August 1867 he was also advertising as a civil engineer and surveyor.


 
Timaru Herald, Volume VII, Issue 236, 31 August 1867, Page 1




North Otago Times, Volume IX, Issue 270, 24 December 1867, Page 3


On 7 December 1868 the shop and house occupied by Charles Mountfort on the east side of Main South Road was destroyed by fire, only the chimney remained standing afterwards. This was one of about 40 buildings destroyed in what was known as the "Great Fire" of Timaru. At that time one of the most disastrous fires to have occurred in New Zealand.
Timaru Herald, Volume IX, Issue 369, 9 December 1868, Page 2
In 1870 he was declared bankrupt 

 Star, Issue 793, 8 December 1870, Page 3.



Probate of the will of the late Mr. Thomas Robinson Woolfield, who was formerly in business in Liverpool, but about 50 years ago went to reside at Cannes, where he died on the 28th April last, in his 89th year, has been granted to the executor, his nephew, Mr Richard Peele Mossop, of Holbeach, Lincolnshire, solicitor. The testator devised and bequeathed all his property in England in trust for his wife, Mrs Catherine Woolfield (note 1), absolutely, but in the event of her decease in his lifetime, as to one-fifth of his residuary estate for the three daughters of his brother Charles; as to one-fifth for the children of his brother Samuel; as to one-fifth for his brother John Clowes; as to one-fifth for the daughter and two sons [Susanna Wale Luck nee Mountfort, Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort and Charles Wheeler Mountfort] of his sister Susannah Mountford (sic); and as to the remaining one-fifth for the three daughters of his sister Louisa Nicholls. By a will dated 26th November, 1884 the testator appointed his said wife the universal heir of his property in France, and his nephew, Mr. Leopold Hansbery, Mr. John Taylor, banker and his H.B.M's Vice--consol at Cahnes (sic), executors. The value of the personal estate in England is £4415.
Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Thursday, August 30, 1888; Issue 12680.

note 1. Catherine Mossop born 4 March 1801 Lincolnshire, died 28 April 1888 Cannes, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France or in 1894 in England.


Golden Wedding.
The golden wedding of Mr and Mrs C. W. Mountfort, senr, was celebrated in Feilding yesterday. In the forenoon a special service was held in the Church of England by the Rev. Innes Jones.

It is interesting to note that Mr Mountfort, and the other members of his family, were active promoters of the Church in Feilding in the early days of the settlement. In the evening Mr and Mrs Mountfort entertained a large number of relations and friends (Feilding being the most central point for the various families to assemble) at the residence of their son, Mr Charles Adnam Mountfort.

The following is a brief account of the important share taken by Mr Mountfort in the work of colonisation in New Zealand in the early days of its history :—

Mr Mountfort was born at Aston, near Birmingham, on December 19th 1826. Went to London in 1843 to serve his time to the profession as a Civil Engineer and was articled to Cockburn Curtis, one of the Engineers under the Tidal Harbors Commission of the Admiralty, Captain Beaufort being the head of the department. After the expiry of his time in this class of engineering he served a time with Mr Alexander Gerdon [perhaps Alexander Gordon], the Engineer for the Colonial Lighthouses under the Admiralty. Mr Gerdon was also the London Engineer for the Steam Men-of-War built by Robert Napier, of Glasgow. Under Curtis he acquired a knowledge of Marine and Land Survey, and under Mr Gerdon a knowledge of lighthouse construction, marine architecture, and all branches of mechanical engineering.

In the year 1847 he traveled for a time on the Continent and was enabled to inspect many of the fine works of French engineering which at this time was in great advance over the English in connection with suspension bridges which were very abundant and very beautiful in design, particularly at Lyons, over the Rhone, and the Soane, which were capable of carrying very heavy traffic; whereas, in England, at that time, suspension bridges were confined to pedestrians.

He passed on into the South of France to Cannes, where he stayed on a visit with Mr T. Robinson Woolfieid (his uncle), who had a beautiful estate, and chateau opposite Lord Brougham's. It was during, we may say 1848 that the Revolution took place in which Louis Phillippe, the King, had to flee to England and a Republic was proclaimed. An incident occurred at Cannes at this time which created much comment by the English Press, viz., — Lord Brougham wrote a letter to the Mayor of Cannes asking to have his name enrolled as a citizen of France, and then immediately started for England. The Mayor, not under standing how to act under the circumstances, but knowing that Lord Brougham was a frequent visitor at the Chateau St. George, Mr Woolfield's place, took the letter to him and asked his advice, and was recommended by him to write to his Lordship and inform him that he (Lord Brougham) could not be a Citizen of France and a Peer of England at the same time.

In January 1848 Mr Mountfort went on to Nice and shortly after his arrival the Governor of Nice opened the season with a State ball, given in honor of Sir Charles Napier, the old Indian General, who, with a number of his staff, was on his way to England, Mr Mountfort had the honor to be present at this ball. He stayed at Nice for about a month to participate in the pleasure of the season, which was a very brilliant one, as a great number of the English nobility spent the season at Nice in the year 48, and as, during the same year, the whole Continent was in a state of Revolution, a great many political refugees sheltered at Nice, it being neutral ground.

From Nice he travelled on along the shores of the Mediterranean, visiting those places which have now become such fashionable resorts, but in those days were only noted for their beautiful scenery and quaint old towns, and to which the picturesque bright colored dresses of the peasantry added a peculiar charm.

In course of time he reached Genoa, the city of palaces, where be stayed a few weeks, intending to go to Rome, but again revolution broke out and as it was not longer safe for foreigners to remain, he, with numerous English travellers, made their way back, partly on mules, through the mountains into Sardinia, the neutral country.

As matters in France had settled down pretty quietly under the Republic, with Lamartine at the head he took steamer to Marseilles, from whence he travelled on to Paris, where he hoped to spend some weeks as he had not seen all he wished to on his first visit. The time had now reached June, 1848. It was a notable time in French history. He had been in Paris about two or three weeks when a terrible revolution took place, instigated by the party called Red Republicans. Barriers were thrown up in all directions; cannon were roaring night and day, and a fearful scene of bloodshed took place. The old Archbishop of Paris, accompanied by his priests, went in procession to one of the main barriers in hopes of appeasing the people; but it was useless. He was shot down at once finding that it would be a considerable time before anything more could be seen in Paris, through the influence of friends he had made, he obtained his passport and was enabled to leave Paris for Boulogne and there took the first steamer for England, which he reached the same day that the Chartists riots were suppressed. A vast number of special constables had been sworn in for the occasion, one amongst them being Louis Napoleon, afterwards Emperor of France.

He was engaged for more than 12 months in engineering work, when everything relating to the profession came to a standstill. His brother, who was an architect, with himself, thought they could not do better than emigrate and just at that time the Canterbury scheme was brought before the public. After carefully considering the scheme they joined it.

Soon after his return from the continent be made the acquaintance of his wife's family, in London, which after a time became something more than acquaintance, and his wife then Miss Mary Adnam, the youngest daughter, fully entered into the scheme for colonisation. He immediately became, as required by the scheme, a land purchaser in the Canterbury Association, and also purchased everything necessary for starting in a new colony, in which he found his promised bride a very valuable assistant. When all this was arranged they were married on August 10th 1850.

On the 1st September, Mr Mountfort and his wife sailed from London in the Charlotte Jane, for Plymouth, when all the first four ships carrying he first body of colonists were to start the same day, September 7th, for New Zealand. The ship on which Mr Mountfort was entered Port Lyttelton at 11 a.m on the 16 December, 1850. The Randolph came in at 4 p.m. the same day, the Sir George Seymour came into port at 8 a.m. on the 17th, and the Cressy, a barque, three weeks afterwards.

Upon landing, the majority of the colonists pitched their tents and lived in them until such time as they could get their first houses in Lyttelton erected. In the October of 1851 he left his house and land in Lyttelton and went over on to his rural land on the plains, about 2 miles from Christchurch, where he had a house built ready for his use. There not being anything in those early days requiring professional men they cultivated their land by hand labor as the servants they brought out knew no more about such work than themselves.

In the year 1856 Mr J. T. Thomson (afterwards Surveyor-General) who was on the Indian Survey for many years, was appointed Chief Surveyor of Otago wrote to the Chief Surveyor of Canterbury asking if he could find any competent surveyors who would take service on the Otago survey. Mr Mountfort handed his testimonials to the Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, who advised I him to go as soon as possible, and gave him a letter to Mr Thompson. In about a fortnight a small coasting schooner, the Ocean Queen (about 30 tons) sailed for Otago, and in this he went, reaching Otago in eleven days (note 1), Mrs Mountfort and family followed him to Otago in a small schooner and arrived the last day of February, 1857, the passage occupying ten days. (note 2) When he arrived there then Mr Thompson was away in the interior, but the Government seeing Mr Mountfort's testimonial and letter from the Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, appointed him at once. Mr Thompson returned about a month after this.

He remained in the Otago service with Mr Thomson for 12 years, from whom he received a high testimonial upon his leaving to return to the Canterbury province. Mr Mountfort's eldest son, Mr C. A. Mountfort, who had chosen the profession of surveyor, and had passed his examination, came up to the North Island, and was appointed one of the surveyors of the Manchester Block in 1871. Mr Mountfort followed his son in 1875 to survey on the same block. For the past fifteen years Mr Mountfort has resided in Napier, having relinquished professional pursuits.

Feilding Star, Volume XXII, Issue 36, 11 August 1900, Page 2


note 1. - The schooner "Ocean Queen" of 20 tons arrived in Lyttelton from Sydney via Nelson on 26 October 1856, she departed Lyttelton of Otago on 4 November 1856, however Charles Mountfort's name is not shown among the 10 passengers who departed Lyttelton. No passenger's names are shown in the Otago Witness newspaper on the vessels arrival in Dunedin or Port Chalmers on 11 November 1856.
The Lyttelton Times, 5 November 1856, page 6

Otago Witness, Issue 259, 15 November 1856, Page 3

note 2. -
Mrs Mountfort, three children, Mr Adnam and J. Mills sailed form Lyttelton on the schooner Eclair of 30 tons on 18 February 1857 and arrived on 27 February 1857. Otago Witness, Issue 274, 28 February 1857, Page 2


Obituary
The death of Mrs C. W. Mountfort occurred at her residence, Napier, on Tuesday morning. The deceased lady was born at Islington, (London) on July 19th, 1829, and had thus entered her 77th year. She was the daughter of Benjamin Adnam, who came from an old Berkshire family, and niece of Alderman Hooper [John Kinnersley Hooper], sometime Lord Mayor of London. She married, on August 5th, 1850, ; Charles Wheeler Mountfort, civil engineer, who had, previous to his marriage, been employed in the Admiralty, but his attachment to the Anglican Church induced him to join the Canterbury Association and buy under them before he left London a selection in Canterbury.

The young couple sailed in the Charlotte Jane, the first of the four ships to arrive in Lyttelton with the Canterbury Pilgrims. In 1856 Mr Mountfort leased his farm, and accepted a professional engagement under the Provincial Government of Otago, returning in 1868 to Canterbury, where he and his family remained till 1875, when they removed to the North Island.

In 1884 Mr Mountfort retired from actual professional work, and settled in Napier, where the family have resided ever since. Mrs Mountfort was identified with religious and charitable movements, and, in Association with the Napier Cathedral, held various positions under the late Dean Hovell in his parish work.

The deceased lady leaves to mourn her death her husband and four sons — Messrs C. A. Mountfort, surveyor, of Feilding; A. J. Mountfort, surveyor, of Kawhia; E. P. Mountfort, manager Bank of New South Wales, Stratford; and H. B. Mountfort, of the firm of Lees and Mountfort, of Wairoa and three daughters, Mrs Metford Taylor, widow of the late Geo. Metford Taylor; Mrs W. B. Retemeyer, of Dannevirke, and Miss Mountfort.— H.B. Herald.

Feilding Star, Volume XXVII, Issue 175, 22 February 1906, Page 2





Death of an Old Colonist.
News was received this morning by Mr. E. P. Mountfort of the death of his father, Mr. C. W. Mountfort, which occurred at Napier East this morning. The late Mr. Mountfort had a long and most interesting career, in the course of which he was at one time resident in Gisborne, having resided here from 1878 to 1884, being then a member of the staff of the Lands and Survey Department. In the latter year he retired and settled in Napier, where he has lived ever since.

His death marks the departure of the last of the Canterbury Pilgrims, he having been the sole surviving member of the passengers by the Charlotte Jane, the first ship to ring colonists to Canterbury.

The deceased gentleman possessed a remarkably robust constitution and during the course of the past 55 years had never once had to take to his bed through illness. He retired to rest last evening in his usual good spirits, and peacefully passed away shortly before 3 o'clock this morning.

Mr. Mountfort was born at Ashton, near Birmingham, in 1826; he went to London in 1843 to serve his time as a civil engineer, and was articled to Cockburn Curtis, one of the engineers under the Tidal Harbors Commission of the Admiralty. He subsequently served with Mr. Alexander Gordon, the engineer for colonial lighthouses under the Admiralty, and for steam men-o'-war built by Robert Napier, of Glasgow. Under Mr. Curtis he acquired a knowledge of marine and land survey and under Mr. Gordon a knowledge of lighthouse construction marine architecture and all branches of mechanical engineering.

In 1847 he travelled for a time on the Continent, and was enabled to inspect many of the fine works of French engineering, which at this time was in great advance over the English in connection with suspension bridges, which were very abundant and beautiful in design, particularly at Lyons, over the Rhone, and the Soane, which were capable of carrying very heavy traffic. He passed on into the South of France, where he stayed on a visit, with Mr. T. Robinson Woolfield, who had a beautiful estate and chateau opposite Lord Brougham's.

It was during 1848 that the revolution took place, in which Louis Philippe the King, had to flee to England and a republic was proclaimed. An incident occurred at Cannes at this time which created much comment in the English press. Lord Brougham wrote a letter to the Mayor of Cannes, asking him to have his name enrolled as a citizen of France, and then immediately started for England. The Mayor, not understanding how to act, but knowing that Lord Brougham was a frequent visitor at the Chateau St. George, Mr. Woolfield's place, took the letter to him and asked his advice, and was recommended to write to his Lordship and inform him that he (Lord Brougham) could not be a citizen of France and a peer of England at the same time.

In 1848 Mr. Mountfort went on to Nice and attended a ball given by the Governor in honor pf Sir Charles Napier, the old Indian general, who was on his way to England. He stayed at Nice for a month to participate in the pleasure of the season, which, was a very brilliant one as a great number of the English nobility spent the season at Nice in 1848, and as during the same year the whole continent was in a state of revolution a great many political refugees sheltered at Nice, it being neutral ground.

From there he travelled along the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean, and in course of time reached Genoa, the city of palaces, where he stayed a few weeks, intending to go to Rome, but again revolution broke out, and as it was no longer safe for foreigners to remain he, with numerous English travellers, made their way back, partly on mules, through the mountains, into Sardinia, the neutral country.

As matters had settled down in France pretty quietly under the republic, with La Martine at the head, he proceeded to Paris in June, 1848. It was a notable time in French history. He had been in Paris, about two or three weeks when a terrible revolution took place, instigated by the party called Red Republicans. Barriers were thrown up in all directions; cannon were roaring night and day, and a fearful amount of bloodshed took place. The old Archbishop of Paris, accompanied by his priests, went in procession to one of the main barriers in hopes of appeasing the people, but was shot down at once.

Mr. Mountfort shortly after obtained a passport and left for England, which he reached the same day that the Chartist riots were suppressed. A vast number of special constables had been sworn in, one amongst them being Louis Napoleon, afterwards Emperor of France.

He was engaged for more than 12 months in engineering work, when everything relating to his profession came to a standstill. His brother, who was an architect, with himself thought that they could not- do better than emigrate, and just at that time the Canterbury scheme was brought before the public. After carefully considering, the scheme they joined it, their attachment to the Anglican Church inducing them to do so. Meantime Mr. Mountfort had married Miss Adnam, who came from an old Berkshire family, and a niece of Alderman Hooper, sometime Lord Mayor of London. His wife fully entered into the scheme for colonisation.

On September 1st, 1850, Mr. and Mrs. Mountfort sailed from London in the Charlotte Jane for Plymouth, where all the four ships carrying the first body of colonists were to rendezvous, and all four started from Plymouth on September 7. The Queen Charlotte arrived at Lyttelton at 11 a.m. on December 16, 1850, the Randolph at 4 p.m the same day, the Sir George Seymour on the 17th, and the Cressy three weeks afterwards. Upon landing a majority of the colonists pitched their tents and lived in them until they could get houses erected. In October, 1851, Mr. Mountfort left his house in Lyttelton and went over on to his rural land on the plains, about two miles from Christchurch, where he had a house built ready for his use. There not being anything in those days requiring professional men, they cultivated their land by hand labor as the servants they brought out knew no more about such work than themselves.

In 1856 Mr. Mountfort accepted an appointment under Mr. J. T. Thompson, chief surveyor of Otago, going in a small schooner of 30 tons, the Ocean Queen, his family following later in another small vessel, the passage occupying ten days. He remained in the Otago service for about 12 years, receiving a high testimonial on his return to the Canterbury province.

He remained in Canterbury till 1875, when he removed to the North Island, doing much valuable work in the development of the Manawatu. In 1884 he retired from professional work and took up his residence in Napier.

His wife predeceased him in 1906. The following family is left to mourn the loss of a good father a sterling colonist, and a fine old English gentleman: Messrs. C. A. Mountfort. surveyor, of Feilding ; A. J. Mountfort, surveyor, of Kawhia; E. P. Mountfort, manager Bank of New Zealand, Gisborne; and H. P. Mountfort. of the firm of Lees and Mountfort, Wairoa; and three daughters, Mrs. Mitford-Taylor, Mrs. W. B. Retemeyer, and Miss Mountfort, of Napier.

Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLV, Issue 14583, 19 April 1918, Page 4


Children of Charles Wheeler Mountfort and Mary Eliza Adnam
Mary Elizabeth Mountfort born 4 January 1852 bapt 14 March 1852 (Engineer in the Heathcote District)
Charles Adnam Mountfort born 9 February 1854 bapt 2 April 1854 (Civil Engineer - Christchurch District)
Emily Kate Mountfort born 28 August 1856 bapt 30 November 1856 (Civil Engineer - Lower Heathcote District)

Herbert Benjamin Mountfort born 4 January 1872, bapt 10 March 1872 (Surveyor - St Saviour's District)

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