Part 3
Part 1
Clifton Family Trees

The Descendants of Eve and
Samuel Clifton(Part 2)


EDWIN PHILLIPS (1877 - 1926)

Edwin Phillips, the eldest child of Eve and Edmund was born on 26 February 1877 fourteen months after they arrived in New Zealand. He would have been just five when his father left home and 17 when his step-father died in 1894. It is suspected that he would have borne a lot of the responsibilty for the household's income after this.

Not a great deal is recorded about Uncle Ted except his death. He is shown as a cook and later as a Marine Engineer, living with his mother at Carlyle Street in 1911 and it is known that he worked on board coastal vessels for some time, qualifying for his engineering certificate. It was whilst employed on these ships that he would have come across Benjamin Clifton and family in Westport - hence the story of the West Coast red-headed Cliftons. He became a Hawker and travelled with a lorry around the Hawke's Bay area. It was on such a trip that he met his death, which is recorded in the Coroner's Inquest report (COR 1926/786)now held in NZ National Archives. He died on 16 July 1926 when his lorry plunged down the Matahora Gorge (on the Napier to Wairoa road)

Part of the Coroner's Inquest Report on the death of Edwin Phillips shows the statements of two of the witnesses at the Inquest. The first witness was Edwin's half-brother Albert Morgan Clifton:

My name is Albert Morgan Clifton and I am an engine driver residing at Charles Street Westshore. I identify the body now lying at Napier Morgue as that of my half brother Edwin Phillips. He was a single man, 49 years of age, and he resided with his mother at 86 Carlyle Street, Napier. His mother's name is now Mrs Clifton. He was formerly an engineer but he is now a hawker and he owned a Stewart motor lorry, which he used for hawking fruit and vegetables about the country. On Thursday morning last at about 9.30 am he left home with the lorry and as far as I know he went on to Waikare Road. He has not been seen alive in Napier since then. The deceased was born in Wellington.

The Second witness to the crash that killed Edwin Phillips stated:

My name is Baden Powell Slade and I am a mechanic and sometimes employed by the Hawke's Bay Motor Coy, and I reside at Wairoa. I was driving the Hawke's Bay Motor Coy Service car which left Wairoa at 9.30 am on the 16th Inst(July 1926). Coming up the Matahora Gorge at about noon on that day and when nearing a bend in the road I sounded the horn on the car. I would be about twelve to fifteen yards from the bend when I first saw the deceased's lorry coming in the opposite direction. Instead of coming round the corner he drove straight over the bank. I stopped my car and then looked down into the Gorge and saw the lorry in what I thought was an upturned position in the bed of the creek. The driver of the car that was behind me and some other men went down into the creek and the body of the deceased was pulled up to the top by means of a rope. He was quite dead then. The body was placed in my car and taken to Napier Public Morgue. The deceased's lorry was travelling at about twelve to fifteen miles an hour. I cannot form any opinion as to the cause of the accident. He did not make any attempt to turn the corner. I noticed some skid marks on the road, showing that the deceased had applied his brakes.

EDITH PHILLIPS (1879 - 1965)

Edith Phillips - Known in the family as Auntie Edie Edith Phillips was the second eldest of the Phillips children - born on 3 January 1879 at Mangaroa, Upper Hutt she would have been just three when her father left home and 15 when her step-father died in 1894 - and would have been required to help in the house and look after the youngest children - Arthur, Albert, Lillie and Ernest aged between eleven and five, whilst Eve, Edwin(17) and William(14) worked.

Known to have been engaged to a soldier who did not return from the First World War, she was a family stalwart who was always ready to help other members of the family when required. She was never married although for some unaccountable reason for two elections (1911 and 1914) the Electoral Rolls show her occupation as "married"

As can be seen from a number of the family's marriage certificates she acted as witness at a number of the family's weddings. Although officially her name was Phillips she adopted the family name of Clifton at a fairly early stage in Napier.

She lived for some time with her mother at 86 Carlyle St, Napier but also worked at the Napier Woollen Mills. She moved to 108 Carlyle Street some time between 1931 and 1935. She looked after and raised Stanley Raymond Martin when his mother Lillie Clifton died in 1925 because he was only 14 and his father, Robert William Martin was a seaman.

She moved in with Ernest Clifton at 3 Moeller St, Greenmeadows after his first wife Amelia (Millie) died in 1948.

She died on 12 February 1965 at the age of 86 after being admitted to Napier Hospital from her Moeller Street home.


William Edmund Phillips, known in the family as Wheeler was Eve and Edmund's third child, born in Upper Hutt on 19 October 1880, just after Edmund had absconded. He is shown living at home with his mother at 86 Carlyle St in the Electoral Rolls of 1905 and 1908 - his occupation - labourer.

On 6 September 1907, just before his 27th birthday, Wheeler was admitted to Wellington Mental Hospital (known also as Mount View Lunatic Asylum - where his stepfather, Samuel Clifton, had been in 1894). The records of Porirua Hospital show that:

Prior to his admission to Wellington Hospital he was detained in the Napier Police Station and application for committal was made on 4 September 1907. No clear diagnosis was stated at the time except that in 1910 he was classified as a 'medium grade imbecile'. This would now be called 'paranoid schizophrenia'. Mount View closed down in 1910 and he was transferred to Porirua Hospital on 23 May 1910. His relatives, in particular his sister, Edith, supported him right through his stay at both hospitals by taking him out on leave and sending him parcels.

Wheeler died on 3 June 1968 at the age of 87 and was buried in Porirua Cemetery.


Arthur Morgan Clifton, Eve's first Clifton child, was born on 22 Feb 1883 at Aramoho, Wanganui and took up the trade of Painter and Decorator. On 30 August 1905 he married Daisy Elizabeth Kirk at the Registrar's Office Napier with Auntie Edie as one of the witnesses. Arthur was 21 and Daisy 22 years of age.


Daisy's parents Edward James Kirk and Frances Alice Kirk(nee Nugent), were both born in England(Reading and Holloway, London) and were married in Upper Norwood, London in 1872, but migrated to New Zealand in the same year and then settled in Paki Paki. Daisy, the eldest of eight children (two brothers and five sisters), was born the year after they arrived and is reported to be the first Pakeha child born in the area, which is a farming district south of Hastings on the main Hastings to Waipawa road.

At first the young couple lived with Arthur's mother, Eve, at 86 Carlyle St. Their first child, Muriel Alma Clifton was born in March 1906 when they were still living with Eve. Their second child Eva Francis Clifton was born on 10 January 1908 but died on 26 October 1910 of Congenital Heart disease. She was buried in Napier and the funeral was from the Clifton family home in Carlyle Street, Napier. By 1909 they had moved to Westshore.

They moved to Wanganui between 1911 and 1914 where at first they were located at 33 Harrison Street, from where Nola Liege was born, but afterwards to 27 Niblett Street where they remained until Arthur's death in 1930.

Arthur died at home in Niblett Street, after 15 months struggling with bowel cancer, on 7th June 1930 and was buried at Aramoho Cemetery in Wanganui. He was 45 years of age.

Six years later, in 1936, Daisy married George Sullivan .

She moved to Wellington where she worked as the Housekeeper for the Levin family at Miramar. She was not happy in her second marriage and after a very short period she returned to Napier.

She died on 23 August 1941 at 7 Nuffield Avenue, Napier at the age of 57 from Heart Failure due to Thyrotoxicosis. She was buried in Park Island Cemetery.


Albert Morgan Clifton was the second of the Clifton children - born at Lombard Street, Palmerston North on 20th June 1884. He would have been about 7 years old when the family moved to Napier where he would have attended the Wellesley Street school, before starting work at the Napier Woollen Mills.

Apart from a short spell when he worked in a Brewery, virtually the whole of his life Albert worked in the Napier Woollen Mills, first as a Spinner and then as a certificated Stationary Engine driver. After marrying in 1908 he lived for most of his life in the house at 118 Charles Street, Westshore, Napier. All of his children were born there and went to the local school - Westshore Primary. In later years his grandchildren came to visit him there on holidays. He seemed to defy the curse of cigarette smokers - lung cancer - and smoked "Roll-Your-Own" cigarettes right through to the end of his life. The biggest danger he appeared to be in was not from cancer but from the chance of setting himself alight with the live ash that dropped from his cigarettes on to his cardigan.

For the last few years of his life he moved into a Resthome run by the Little Sisters of the Poor Order at Hastings. He was a very respectable age of 89 when he died on 4 February 1974.

Albert married Winifred Eveline Stitson on 4th March 1908 at "The home of the Bride's parents" in Charles Street in Westshore, Napier with Auntie Edie as one of the witnesses. Both bride and groom were 22 - Albert at that time was a spinner at the Napier Woollen Mills and Winifred a Dressmaker.


Winifred Eveline, born in the small Devonshire village of Plymstock on 26 May 1885 was brought to New Zealand by her mother , Grace Stitson (nee Taylor) in 1888 on board the "Tongariro"


FRANCIS STITSON (1856 - 1936)

Francis Stitson married Grace Taylor in Plymouth, England on 8 November 1883. Eveline Stitson was born to Grace Stitson on 26 May 1885 in the small Devonshire village of Plymstock.One of Grace's sisters, Emily married Thomas Page.

The two husbands, Francis Stitson and Thomas Page travelled to New Zealand sometime before 1888. There appears to be no trace of their trip to NZ. It is possible that they paid for their own fares or travelled out as crew on board a ship. The two wives, Grace Stitson and Emily Page travelled out to NZ under the the NZ Government’s immigration scheme and their trip is recorded in NZ National Archives. They travelled out with their children, Winifred Stitson, Ada Page and Seymour Page. They travelled on the ship Tongariro which left Plymouth on 7 April 1888 and arrived in Wellington, NZ on 19 May 1888. It is recorded that they were destined to their husbands for Taranaki on landing. On 2 September 1889 Francis Samuel Taylor Stitson was born in New Plymouth.

According to Clifton family legend, the two families (Stitson and Page) travelled to Canada shortly after arriving in New Zealand - where they tried salmon fishing. There appears to be no evidence to prove this but there were some photos which seemed to suggest that they went to Canada. Their stay in Canada was obviously fairly brief as it would appear that they were living in Napier around 1893. This is indicated by a photo which was taken in a studio in Dickens Street in Napier when Francis Samuel Taylor Stitson was a very young boy. After this they first appear in NZ records with Emily on the 1896 Electoral Roll, living in Thackeray Street, Napier. In 1897 the Pages were living in Western Spit(Westshore), where they were joined by Francis and Grace Stitson in 1899.

Francis Stitson was employed as an engineer at the Freezing Works situated at the far end of Westshore where all of the boats ferried the meat out to the overseas ships. After work he cycled to Greenmeadows where he grew vegetables. They lived in Charles Street, Westshore - Grace dying in 1929 and Francis in 1936.

Both of the children married and settled in Napier, with Winifred marrying Albert Clifton in 1908 and Francis marrying Claire Wilkinson in 1918.

GRACE TAYLOR (1856 - 1929)

Grace was one of five sisters who were born in Brixton Coombe, Devonshire to Samuel and Jane Taylor. They had a brother Samuel who was a sailor. The sisters were Sarah, Emily, Susan and Louisa.
Grace Taylor’s family in England kept in touch with those sisters in New Zealand as the following letters show.

The following is a verbatim, typed, copy of one of the letters received. It is from Jane Taylor, the mother of the Taylor sisters to her daughter, Grace Stitson and her husband Frank. It records the death of her husband - Samuel Taylor. The black edging to the letter was customary in those days when a death had occurred. The letter was written in 1902.

Brixton Coombe
August 14 192

Dear son and daughter in answer to my last letter i hope by this time you are well i was glad to hear the rest wher all well sorry to say i am not well but much better my love to win (Winifred) i received her letter all right i thank you very much for it i will to her next it was twelve months ago to day father died been abel to rite since we are having a very cold and whet summer corn is not ripe potaties deseased very bad every thing backward susan bill and family are well the ????? is on the road dont nowse i told you luesi is well
hopeing this will find all well i must close with love to you frank and the children good by dear ones from your affectionate mother
J Taylor please excuse this scribel hop to do better next

The following is a typed copy of the original letter which was from the sisters, Sarah (Yabsley) and Louisa to her sister and brother-in-law - Grace and Frank Stitson. It records the death of their mother - Jane Taylor.

Brixton Coombe
Aug 23 1906

Dear Sister, Brother
Just a line in answer to your letter there is not much news but I know you are like me always glad to get a letter I am glad you are getting on alright & trust this will find you all well as we are ourselves at present all but Dick he has had a return of the fits again as long as he is taking that Cryerine he is better but it is expensive I could not send after more when his bottle was empty he was only without a week they returned he haves a bottle every fortnight he has been taking it 6months now it is 4/6 a bottle not quite as expensive as the Dr it seems to do him more good I must try to keep it on some way if it only stops it for the time I am so afraid of his brain it is a great trial but I suppose there is something for us all there is a lot of sickness around here now 2 children died in Brixton in a week or so of dyptheria I hope it wont spread it is a awful thing we are having funny weather it is awful foggy then it seems to be scalding hot the harvest is very late there is not much corn saved yet the fog makes it so wet I think it very unhealthy what awful earthquakes they are having ??? do you feel the effects or is it ??? way near you my dear we should be very glad to see you if you were to come but I am afraid you will not come home now our darling mother is gone

It does seem hard to go in not see her there but still we must be content to know she is better off you say about some of them coming out if any of them made up their mind to come I should not try to stop them but you know my dear we all like to have them near us if they were away I should be like Dear mother I should not see them again but still you must be thankful to know you always wrote helped her all you could she did not want for anything She was always saying they dear maidens write but Sam dont I do think he was very unkind but its too late to be sorry now he has not even answered my letter I have not heard from them since Christmas time had a letter from his wife so I dont think its her fault but never mind my dear
I must bring this to a close with fond love from all

give our love to Em (Emily Page)family hope they are all well
with love from your loving sisters
S Yabsley (Sarah) love to al from Louisa


Lillie,the third Clifton child, was born in Taonui Street, Palmerston North on 10 August 1885. She moved with the family to Napier in the early 1990s when she was only about 6 years old. She lived there with her mother, Eve, at Carlyle St., Napier and the rest of the family until she met and married Robert William Martin when they were both 21 in 1907.


Robert William Martin was born at Falsgrave Street, Sydenham, Christchurch on 22 February 1887 to Charles Anderson and Roseanna Martin (nee Cox). His parents were both English - his father being born in Poplar, London and his mother in Hull.

Robert William Martin married Lillie Clifton on 4 May 1907 at the residence of the bride's mother(Eve Clifton), Carlyle St, Napier. Robert William was a 21 year old labourer and Lillie a 21 year old house maid. Auntie Edie, Lillie's half sister, was a witness to the marriage.
After the marriage they set up house together in Charles Street, Western Spit (Westshore), Napier, where their two children, William Edwin and Stanley Raymond were born in 1907 and 1910. Daisy Clifton(Arthur's wife) signed as the informant in William's birth record. She was pregnant with Eva Francis (due in January 1908) at the time.
Robert William became a fisherman and in the early 1920s they moved to Wairoa. At first they lived on Marine Parade and then moved to McLean Street.
Robert William gained his Master's Certificate as a River Steamer Master in 1914. This is recorded in the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives.

Lillie died of cancer of the liver on 11 April 1925 when her children were only 14 and 17 years of age.
The eldest, William Edwin Martin, who was already employed, stayed in Wairoa but his younger brother, Stanley Raymond, was taken in by Auntie Edie at Napier where he stayed until he married.

Robert William Martin married again on 27 March 1926 to Rachel Hermine Logan(nee Shaw), a widow from Gore. They moved to Napier and lived in Avondale Road, Taradale, where their son Jack Martin was born. He settled there and joined a Masonic Order and was later rewarded with his 50 year jewel. He became the captain of a coastal oil vessel the "Tu Atu" which carried a crew of Master, Engineer and Deckhand and plied between Napier and Wairoa and was owned by the Richardson Company. In this position he was involved in what was termed the worst tragedy in waterfront history.


The Tu Atu, a coastal steamer captained by Robert William Martin was in Napier and at about 11 o'clock on the night of December 28 1932, left her berth from a spot on the west quay, known as the Iron Pot and proceeded to sea. At the same time a launch, Doris, which had carried two gangs of waterside workers out to work the ships Port Brisbane and Port Hunter in the roadstead was returning with 30 men at the end of a hard day's work when the two ships collided and 10 of the workers were lost overboard and died. It was considered the worst tragedy in waterfront history.

A Court of Inquiry in February 1933 was convened and the findings were reported in the Daily Telegraph as follows:

A finding that the collision between the launch Doris and the oil vessel Tu Atu, on the night of 28 December last, was directly due to the action of the launchman, Mentzer, in attempting to cross the bow of the Tu Atu from port to starboard, and that no other person was in any way responsible, was returned by Mr A.M. Mowlem, S.M, and the nautical assessors, Captain L.C. Worrall and Captain J.W. Holmes, in the court of inquiry today.

Before announcing the finding of the court, Mr Mowlem, as coroner, concluded the inquest into the deaths of the 10 victims of the disaster by returning a formal verdict that the men were drowned as a result of a collision between the Doris and the Tu Atu on December 28. In doing so, Mr Mowlem stated that the assessors wished to associate themselves with him in expressing their very deep sympathy with the relatives of the victims.

The finding was as follows:-

' The O.E.V. Tu Atu, about 11 o'clock on the night of December 28, 1932, left her berth from a spot on the west of the quay, known as the Iron Pot, and proceeded to sea. She was well found in all respects. She carried the regulation lights brightly burning. She proceeded to the west side of the channel which gives the deep water, and which is the usual course that vessels proceeding to sea take. As soon as she had turned from the Iron Pot into the channel she saw a white light approaching from seawards. She was keeping as far as possible to the starboard side of the navigable channel. Captain Martin, of the Tu Atu, was at the helm and the deckhand, Angen, was on the look-out. The light which was seen approaching from seawards, was kept in view by the look-out man and appeared over the port bow of the Tu Atu. It was presumed that it was the labour launch.
The captain kept to his usual course and was proceeding slowly owing to the low state of the tide in the fairway. Angen reported to the captain that the labour launch, the Doris, was coming in, and the captain replied that he could see it. When it was about 150 yards ahead, the look-out could see the two side lights of the Doris as well as the white light. Each vessel apparently held its course. The lights of the launch were seen to suddenly disappear under the bows of the Tu Atu, and on the look-out rushing forward to the starboard bow, he saw the launch tipping over as a result of a collision with the Tu Atu. In order to minimise the result, the engines of the Tu Atu had been stopped and put full speed astern. The result of the impact was that all the men in the launch were thrown into the water and 10 were drowned.

The Doris had left the Port Brisbane at the anchorage in the bay at about 11 pm with some 30 men aboard. Halfway between the liners and the shore, the launch picked up the masthead light of the Tu Ahu in the channel, and subsequently picked up the green light. The launchman steered to the west for the purpose of opening up the channel and proceeded on until he had opened up the channel, when he steered for the entrance, keeping the white sector of the eastern light in constant view. His attention was drawn to the light on the western pier by being asked if he could see the' blinker'. He indicated that he could see the light. He alleges that when halfway along his course from the Port Brisbane to shore he changed to the east, when he saw the lights of the Tu Atu in the channel. He alleges that he did not see the red light of the Tu Atu until just before the accident.

Hoping to avoid a collision he put the helm hard to starboard, just as saw the red light of the Tu Atu. This had the effect of putting the launch across the bows of the Tu Atu He was unsuccessful in avoiding the collision and the Tu Atu struck the launch a glancing blow with her stem on the starboard side of the launch about amidships and the damage complained of occurred.

The Court is, however, of the opinion that the launch came in on the western white sector of the east pier light and was on the port side of the Tu Atu, and by attempting to cross over , caused the collision".


The last of Eve's seven children, Ernest was born in Aramoho, Wanganui in 1889, just before the family moved to Napier. Like Arthur, his older brother he was tall compared to Albert who would have been only about 5ft 4 in. He became a painter and lived with the family in Carlyle Street, Napier until he reached the age of 25 (1915), when he met and married Amelia Prouse (from Torquay, England), in Napier. They stayed at the family home until he joined the Army in 1917.

Amelia Prouse (1880 - 1948)

Amelia (Millie) was born in Torquay, England to William and Elizabeth Cook Prouse(nee Cridge) and travelled to New Zealand, with her parents, in 1908 when she was 28 years of age. She married Ernest 8 years later when she was 35.

Ernest Morgan Clifton's Military Service:

On 19 September 1917 Ernest enlisted in the NZ Army at Napier and was posted to Trentham Military Camp on 18 October 1917.

His Army record shows the following details on enlistment:
Regimental No 69834, Height: 5ft 10in, Weight 155lb.
Occupation: Painter, Address: Moeller St, Greenmeadows.
Employer: R.Holt Sons.
Next of Kin: Mrs A. Clifton, C/- Mrs M Kettle, Cobden Rd, Napier.
Enlisted for the Infantry, Age 28yrs + 3mths.
Chest: 32 to 37in, Complexion: Dark, Eyes: Grey.
Hair: Dark brown, Religion: Church of England.

He commenced Active Service on 16 April 1918, became part of the NZ Expeditionary Force and embarked on the ship "Willochra", at Wellington, on 23 April 1918. He arrived and disembarked at Suez, Egypt on 31 May 1918, where he was stationed at the Australian Camp. He was admitted to the Government Hospital at Suez on 10 June 1918 suffering from Diarrhoea, where he stayed until he re-embarked on the "Ormonde"at Alexandria on 4 July 1918. He arrived at Fainza, Italy, and was admitted to the Military Hospital there, once again suffering from Diarrhoea. He was discharged from hospital on 26 August 1918. He arrived in Sling, (on the Salisbury Plains) England on 5 September 1918. Admitted to Military Hospital at Tidworth on 5 November 1918 with Influenza, discharged to Sling on 26 November and given 7 days light duty. He moved from a hut without permission and hesitated to obey a superior officer and was punished with 168 hours detention on 14 December.He left Sling for NZFA Ewshott on 22 Jan 1919 and on 25 February admitted to the Southern Government Hospital for chronic catarrh and discharged on 4 March. Moved to Sutton Coldfield from hospital.

On 17 June 1919 he embarked on the ship "Briton" bound for New Zealand. He was discharged from the Army in New Zealand on 20 August 1919.

After leaving the Army he settled back into civilian life as a painter, with his wife Amelia (Millie) in Moeller Streeet, Greenmeadows.

Ernest was very skilful with his hands and is remembered for the sailing ships that he built in bottles and the waterwheel that he constructed.


The waterwheel was constructed by Ernest at his property in Moeller Street, Napier. On his death in 1967 the wheel was presented to the Taradale Rotary Club who in1970, approached the Napier City Council and suggested that it should be placed in either Taradale Park or Anderson Park. It was agreed that it should be placed on the lake at Taradale Park after being brought up to a suitable standard. The Napier City Council agreed to it being sited in the Memorial Gardens at Taradale Park. It was constructed wholly of wood and was considered to be historic. In 1972 by an arrangement between the City Council and the Rotary Club the wheel was illuminated at the times when it was operating.

Unfortunately the original one no longer exists and has been replaced by a metal one.

One family legend has it that he made a model of the ship that brought his father(Samuel) out to New Zealand. Another states that it was the Avalanche - which brought his mother and step-father to New Zealand. This was enclosed in a glass case and was a prized possession.

After suffering from breast cancer for two years, on 20 January 1948, Amelia died of cancer of the spine. They had no children.

A year later, on 24 January 1949, Ernest married Violet Jane Eden(nee McConnell) - known in the family as "Jenny Munn" (her first husband's name). There were no children from this marriage either. His second wife died on 13 July 1959 of a stroke, in Napier Public Hospital, aged 71.

Ernest Morgan Clifton died of a heart attack on 27 August 1967, at the Napier Public Hospital, aged 78 and was buried at Park Island Cemetery on 29 August 1967.

Part 3