The Elliots

William Elliot, Shepherd,1817-1897 married first Helen McVittie, born 20 August 1821, Fiddleton, Ewes secondly Elizabeth Little. William died at Peelbraehope 17 December1897 and was buried in Ewes Kirkyard.

William Elliot 1817

Elliots who came to New Zealand

By Ellen McVettie Elliot (daughter of John Elliot 1861)

Big sheep runholders in North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand sent to Scotland for shepherds to come out to care for their sheep.

Four Scots came out at one time whom we are interested in...

William Elliot born  Arkleton, Valley of the Ewes,  27 Nov 1856

Jasper Stewart, Will Anderson and Robb Scott. Supposing William was 22 years old when he came out that would be in 1878, he would be working as a shepherd until about 1896.

The government in power at that time believed in cutting up big estates into liveable size farms for a family’s needs. The Cheviot estate was one that was cut up in the 1890s. While William did not ballot a farm on Cheviot but bought it later from a fellow shepherd who balloted it, Robb Scott. He made “Liddlebank” his home, took his bride there, raised a family – Susan, Helen, William and Isobel.

Three of the four shepherds married sisters. William married Isobel Uprichard about 1895, Jasper Stewart married Esther Uprichard and Will Anderson married Mary Uprichard. So three of the four friends became closely linked and their children became cousins.

All these shepherds procured farms of their own in time. “Liddlebank” has now its third generation of William Elliots in residence. The second William has three sons (William who makes his home in “Liddlebank”, 

Ranald who is a veterinary surgeon in the North Island and Michael who is a surveyor, was for some years working in Borneo but is now in Auckland.

 All the boys have children so that branch of the Elliots should not run out. William and Isobel were the only ones to marry. Isabel has 2 daughters married with families of their own. Susan and Helen you have seen – they have a nice home in Christchurch.

William died after the 1914 – 1918 war of the flu.

John Henry Elliot  

This is John Henry Elliot with his wife, Marion Armstrong and son William.

Born Arkleton 11 Nov 1861, was the next Elliot to venture across the water. He came out in the steamship “Rimutaka” taking 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days on the journey. I don’t know just when he came out but this is as near as I can make out. If he was 22 when he came out that would be in 1883. John, like the others, worked on different sheepruns in North Canterbury. He later worked in the Waikari district on a run called Broxton. (John had been working in the North of England immediately before he came out, at Lumly Ling, near Wolsingham and his oldest sister, Jane, saw to his clothes before he came away. Jane was living there herself keeping house for her brother, Henry.

John Elliot married Marion Armstrong 31 Aug 1893. He was married shepherd at Broxton later where their two little boys were born. Marion Armstrong was a daughter of John Armstrong of Holmhead, Dalry and Janet Campbell whose home was Barlucca, Twynholm, Kirkcudbright.

About the time the boys were about 4˝ and 2 years the government cut up a large estate in South Canterbury called Waikakahi; 47,836 acres into 140 agricultural farms and 14 grazing runs.

These sections were balloted on 29th March 1899. 140 farms were on a lease from the government for a certain yearly rent on a lease-in-perpetuity. Both John and Michael were successful in their ballot and drew farms about 9 miles apart so the two families saw a good deal of each other, visiting each other in turns.

Michael was the next Elliot to come across, born 21 September 1869. If he was 21 years old when he came out that would be in 1890. He, like the others shepherded on some of the North Canterbury sheep runs.. Then in 1899, he like Father [John Elliot] drew a section on Waikakahi. Michael came over to John’s section and helped him build a three roomed lean-to. When that was build John sent for his wife and two little boys to come down. Then John went over and helped Michael build what he had need of.

Michael married a year or so after he settled in Waikakahi a lady from North Canterbury Ephemia Barnes - they had two children, William, who has a daughter married in Australia with three children, and a son, David, who is farming the old farm and Emily who married and had two daughters and two sons. Emily died in 1951. Her family are doing well, two married and two single yet.

Michael & Effie Elliot

Michael was very interested in sheep – he had stud corriedales. He also took great interest in dog trials and used to judge at the trials. He used to work in wood and made some very lovely inlaid things; stools, fire-screens etc.

David born 7 Dec 1877.

Adam born 7 Oct 1880.

Came out together, this is only guess work – I think Adam was 20 years old, that would be 1900. On board ship David let his whiskers grow and his shipmates mistook Dave for Adam’s father so he shaved straight away.

They both worked about harvesting, fencing and whatever work they could get. David made his headquarters with Michael and Adam made his headquarters with John.

David bought a farm in the North Island and farmed there. He married Agnes, they had no family.

Adam drew a farm on Stewart settlement just a little south of here which he farmed for quite a number of years until he retired to live in Oamaru. He married about 58 years ago, and they had six lovely daughters – all married but one daughter, Mina, named after Auntie Mina Scott who married Tom Scott – did they live at Kelso? Mina works in a law office in Oamaru. There mother is still alive. We love Auntie Winnie who is the only Aunt-in-law we still have.

Times were tough for the settlers. Not many of them had much money but many settlers held on and made good. One generation passeth away and another generation cometh but each has been given strength for the journey and now many of the farms are occupied by the third generation.

The farms needed to be fenced, draughthorses to be bought, implements, trees planted, firewood bought, lignite coal brought from a mine about 14 miles away but these things take time. Mother used to take her two little boys along the road with an axe, cut scrub and matagouri and bring it home to burn in the range. Some of the field were let out to a neighbour who would plough, work and sow wheat on a share basis until a little money was forthcoming to buy the necessary things.

I remember going down the field with the little handcart gathering dried cow dung to be burned in the copper to heat the washing water.

Children had to walk two and three miles to school. All children had to walk in those days but the present generation go to school in a school bus, much better too, as the children do not get too tired."

With grateful thanks to Jude Elliot of Waimate, New Zealand.

Interested in the name Elliot or Elliott? - then click here to visit the 

Elliot Clan Society