Later-Years-at-Pakuranga-Page-4-of-13

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Later Years of the Young Qualtroughs from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough" Pages 48-70

Elizabeth Jane Qualtrough (1838-1918) 
- Battleground their Farm

7-003

The eldest daughter ELIZABETH JANE, more commonly called BETSY, was named after two of her father's sisters. She was a buxom young woman of 20 when she accompanied her parents to the new land.

She appears to have been a practical, efficient sort of a girl, 'right hand' to a busy mother both on the Isle of Man and as a pioneering newcomer in a strange land.

She married in 1866 (around 27 years of age) WILLIAM ANDREW COWAN, a widower, son of Irish landowners in County Down, who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1863.

Acknowledgement:ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY

By 1885 the battle site at Orakau had been transformed into neat farmland bordered by English style posts and rail fences. All or part of the land in the picture was owned at this time by WILLIAM ANDREW COWAN and WILLIAM QUALTROUGH. The men in the picture are unidentified but one wonders if the afore-mentioned are included.

Bill Cowan had immediately been caught up in the defence service for war clouds were amassing on the horizon of South Auckland, a preliminary to the Waikato outbreak. All able-bodied males between 16 and 55 years of age were called up to train. He was stationed at redoubts in the Wairoa ranges between Auckland and the upper boundaries of the Waikato district. These would have included Howick and East Tamaki.

More than likely Bill Cowan would have met Betsy at church functions or socials to entertain the militia.

Following their marriage Bill and Betsy Cowan took up land in the Waikato, previously a grant to an officer of the Waikato militia, Captain T.C. Speedy, and sold to them. Part of the farm lay across the site of the famous Battle of Orakau.

(A granite monument erected in 1914 marks the site of the battle although only slight outlines of the trenches are now evident. An Historic Places plaque indicates the Maori and Imperial troop positions at a point where the Kihikihi-Arapuni road cuts through the pa site).

The young Cowans settled down to farming and bringing up their large family, in the first years living under threat of Maori retribution for confiscated lands. Bill Cowan was second in command of the Te Awamutu troop of cavalry under Major William Jackson of Forest Rangers fame. The cavalry patrolled the frontiers of the King Country frequently, protecting settlers from marauding Kingites. Many Maoris still bitterly resented the inroads the pakehas were making into the King Country.

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