Saturday, 11 February 2012

William Musson and Catherine formerly Munton nee Bird.

My great great grandfather, William Musson was born about 1835 in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England. 

 In the 1841 census he was living at Stonesby with his parents Elijah and Mary and his little sister Emma age 2.
Elijah was an agricultural labourer.  
There were several other Musson families at Stonesby.

By the 1851 census there were three more children born.  Richard in 1843 followed by Elizabeth in 1845 and George in 1847.

William decided to head to New Zealand in 1861.  He sailed on the ship "Royal Stuart" which departed Gravesend UK on the 3 July 1861 and arrived at Lyttleton Harbour on the 8th of October 1861.  
His occupation was listed as Farm labourer on the passenger list and he was 25 years of age.

The following article appeared in the Lyttleton Times newspaper on the 9th October 1861

William Musson was mentioned in the G.R. McDonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies.
It reads:

Musson, William (1832-1917)  came out in the Royal Stuart arriving 8-10-1861
Having made a passage of 96 days.  He was born at Melton Mowbray, Leics.
He was delighted with Canty and sent glowing reports home.  Among those who came out because of his reports were Thos. Munton, tailor, his wife Catherine and 2 daus. And 3 brothers Winter.  Musson, Thos. Munton and Mrs Munton  had all gone to school together at Walton-on-the-Wolds, Leics.
Thos. Munton his wife Catherine a farm lab of Leics arrived by Lanc. Witch 13-10-63.  He died not long afterwards & Wm Musson marr. his widow Catherine Munton  7-11-65 at St. Johns Rangiora.
She died 3-6-04 age 75 
He died 19-2-1917 age 84 at the house of his son-in-law H.J Powell.  Harewood, ??. Marr. 24-10-97 Catherine Bird, youngest dau Wm Musson
Wm & Catherine bur Belfast cemetery
Mussons eldest son Wm farmed at Stonnington marr Kate Arnst of Tai Tapu
Youngest son James Christopher marr 16-2-99 Margt Ann Hay dau of  Robt Forsyth of  Coutts Is.
Wm Musson bought 46 ac. at  Ladbrookes ? (sic) from Vose Broc ? (sic) at 48 lbs p/a June 08.
Fam. mf. Ct 15-10-63 ? (sic)

William married Catherine Munton nee Bird on the 7th November 1865 at Rangiora Parish Church.  

Catherine arrived in New Zealand in 1863 with her first husband, Thomas Munton, and their 2 daughters.
They travelled from England on the Lancashire Witch.
Thomas Munton died shortly after arrival  leaving Catherine a widow  in a strange country but she was at least among friends.

William and Catherine had 4 children:
Mary kellam Musson b 1866  ( I have not found her death or any further information)
William Musson b 1868 d 1953
Catherine Bird Musson b 1870 d 1961
James Christopher Musson b 1873 d 1950

William and Catherine Musson are buried at the Belfast cemetery, Canterbury.  Their grandson, Walter Musson, rests with them.  Walter died from diabetes at the age of eleven.

Many years later, in November 1953 an article was printed in the Melton Mowbray Times.  

The article had been supplied to the news paper by descendants of Catherine Bird and her first husband Thomas Munton.


  1. Welcome to Genabloggers! I look forward to reading your post and following you on your Journey.

    1. Thanks Tracie, I'm loving it but still learning :)

  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

    1. Thanks Bill, still learning and it looks like some of your posts will be very helpful. Where do the blog themes like "52 weeks of abundant genealogy" come from? Are they static or do they change?

  3. Great stuff kerryn :) your blogs are good reading

    1. Thanks Corrinne. Catherine Bird was your great-great grand aunt.