Samuel Ludbrook Clarke

1824-08-13, Kerikeri to 1897-03-15, Wymondley, Otahuhu

The following is an adapted obituary contributed by an Own Correspondent to the N.Z. Herald:

It is with much regret that I have to record the death of Mr Samuel Ludbrook Clarke, an old and respected colonist who passed way at Otahuhu on the morning of March 15,1897. His life really forms part of N.Z. history. Mr Samuel Clarke was the second son of the late Mr George Clarke who, when Governor Hobson arrived in New Zealand, held the office under the Imperial Government, of Protector of Aborigines.

The deceased was born at Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, in 1824, in the first wooden house built by the Church Missionaries. The house is still standing and occupied. It is the oldest wooden house in New Zealand (North Island). Mr Clarke was 10 years old when he was sent by his parents in company with two other lads to England, under the charge of one of the missionaries returning to England, in H.M.S. Buffalo afterwards wrecked at Mercury Bay. The two lads who accompanied Samuel to England were Judge E M Williams, now living in the Mount Eden district, and Mr Henry Kemp, who, I believe, is still living in the Auckland area.

After spending seven years in England, Mr Clarke returned to Auckland and became a pioneer settler at Waipuna, on the Tamaki, in 1844 near the present township of Panmure from James Hamlin, until 1845. Early in the forties he bought the Wymondley estate, East Tamaki, known as Clarke and Ludbrook's farm (The partnership formally dissolved in 1857).

Married (at the home of the bride's mother 'Brick House, and her school' Queen Street Auckland) on 30th June 1857 Mary Lee (Hannah) Christopher. Born: 2 April 1826, in Thetford, in the County of Norfolk, England. Mary Lee Christopher was the daughter of William and Rhoda (nee Codling). Christopher, at birth was registered in Dr Williams' Library, Red Cross Street, near Cripplegate, London; she died September 3, 1903. Rhonda Christopher was the daughter of Jane Codling. Rev. Alexander MacDonald conducted the marriage ceremony. He was Congregational minister of High Street, Auckland. (Notes from the family Bible of Mary Lee Clarke, Wymondley, Otahuhu 30/6/1857).

In 1860 he sold this farm to Mr Archibald Wallace Snr., and went to live at Tauranga, first on the Church Mission property at Te Papa (as lessee) and then as settler on his own land. He was one of the first to use a plough in Tauranga district. He ploughed in the area now known as Cameron Road. In order to procure proper thoroughfare through his property, Mr Clarke fenced and put up a large gate at the end of his farm. (The gate was of the swing type.) When the (1864) war extended to the Bay of Plenty district, the Māoris used his fences and this particular gate in the construction of Gate Pa, hence the name of this celebrated pa. During the war Mr Clarke and his family were obliged to leave. They stayed in Poverty Bay

After he returned to Tauranga built 'Top Croft' in 1870 he took a great interest in everything connected with the growth of the district. He was an active magistrate, chairman of the County Council, chairman of the Road Board, and for many years chairman of the Tauranga School Committee. He subsequently retired from active life and came to Otahuhu to end his days near where he commenced his early career.

About two years ago he was seized with a stroke of paralysis from which he never fully recovered. He leaves behind him a widow, four sons, three daughters, (Christopher, Fredrick, Rebie Thomas, Bessie, Emily, and Reginald) and seven grandchildren. His surviving brothers are Edward Blomfield Clarke of Parnell, Messrs Henry Tacy Clarke, Hopkins Clarke, William Clarke, John Biss Clarke of Waimate and Rev George Clarke of Hobart.

Mr. Clarke was respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He was a man of great intelligence and of particularly kind and genial disposition. Died at Wymondley, Otahuhu, 15 March 1897.Mr Clarke's funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon in the Church of England cemetery Otahuhu. He was buried near the graves of his life-long friends. The service was conducted by, Canon Gould, Archdeacon Clarke being presently away on a missionary journey.

They had seven children, George, Frederick, Rebecca, Bessie, Emily, Thomas and Reginald.