Clifton Family Trees
Part 2

The Descendants of Eve and
Samuel Clifton(Part 3)


BENJAMIN CLIFTON (1857 - 1932)

The "Red-headed" Cliftons family legend:

When two red-headed children were born to one of Samuel's children(Albert) there was a contretemps over their parentage - between Eve and her daughter-in-law - until Edwin Phillips, who worked on a Coastal steamer mentioned that he had met up with a red-headed Clifton family on the West Coast, who were related to Samuel. Upon investigation this legend was confirmed in that Benjamin Clifton(sandy haired), living in Westport was found to be the younger brother of the child Samuel, born in London. From following Benjamin's migration record and his marriage and death records the London family's details were easily revealed.

Benjamin's background is clearly documented (unlike Samuel's) in that his marriage and death certificates show the link to his parents - John and Mary Clifton, shown living at 11 Manchester Street, in Bethnal Green, London. This identification is also re-inforced by the names he gave his children, Mary Lavinia(after his mother and his older sister) and John Richard (after his and his wife's fathers).

Benjamin came to New Zealand under the Government assisted immigration scheme and travelled in the ship Gainsborough which left Plymouth on 3 November 1877 and arrived in Wellington on 28 February 1878. It is believed that Benjamin's immigration was sponsored by his brother, Samuel. The immigration record, in New Zealand Archives shows that his was a sponsored trip but unfortunately the records, showing the details of the sponsors, for the period between 1874 and May 1878, are not held and it is thought that they have been destroyed or lost.

Benjamin stayed in Wellington and on 18 December 1883 he married Susan Lecher, both of them being 25 years of age. In the marriage certificate he is shown as a cook and his witnesses as cook and porter. He probably worked in one of the many Hotels that existed in Wellington at that time.

SUSAN LECHER (1858 - 1923)

Susan was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1858 to Richard and Mary Ann Lecher(nee Plenglase). At the age of 6 she travelled to New Zealand with her parents and on 25 November 1882 at Courtenay Place, Wellington she gave birth to a daughter, Susan Lecher, who later adopted the name of Susan Lecher Clifton.

Benjamin and Susan moved from Wellington to the South Island West Coast shortly after their marriage and their first child, Marriot was born in Bright Street, Westport on 19 July 1886. After this they had three more children, Mary Lavinia, born on 30 December 1887, Lucy Elizabeth born on 10 October 1889 and John Richard, born on 9 May 1891, all at Bright Street.

It can be clearly seen that the Victorian practice of naming children after the family was followed. John and Mary are Benjamin's parents, Lavinia, Lucy and Elizabeth are his sisters and Richard is Susan's father. The family moved to Derby Street, Westport shortly after this. At some point before 1923 they moved to 32 Sydney Street, Wellington to stay with their son and daughter-in-law, Marriot and Alma Sophia Clifton.

Susan died in 1923 in Wellington Hospital of Myocarditis

They moved to Buick Street, Petone and then to 26 Happy Valley Road, Wellington shortly afterwards. On 1st May 1932 Benjamin died in Wellington Hospital of Chronic Heart Failure. He was buried by Edward Morris(Undertakers) in Karori Cemetery.

Ironically, although they appeared not to have kept in touch during their life both Benjamin and Samuel ended up being buried by the same undertakers in the same cemetery.

Not a lot of detail of the Benjamin descendants has been covered simply because this is a family history of those descended from Eve and Samuel.



As stated in the Introduction this family history was intended to cover the first two generations of those descendants of Eve and Samuel Clifton coming to live in New Zealand. However as can be seen by the family trees there are a number of generations following these two and a brief mention should be made of them

The stories of the third generation have been included - thanks to a number of co-operative members of the extended family and wherever possible the photographs of the succeeding generations - but it would be too big a task to cover the lives of all of the living descendants. It was therefore decided to call a halt to the stories at the third generation.

The third generation members comprise:

Arthur Clifton’s Children:

Muriel Alma Clifton and Hugh Hays Jones
Nola Liege Clifton and James Girvan

Albert Clifton’s Children:

Gordon Albert Clifton and Doreen Todkill
Winifred Eveline Grace Clifton and David McKinnie
Colin Samuel Clifton Phyllis Mabel Pirie
Eileen Grace Clifton & Douglas Henry Waugh

Lillie Martin’s Children:

William Edwin Martin and Joyce Margaret Jefferson
Stanley Raymond Martin Evelyn Grace Solomon


Arthur and Daisy Clifton had two children
Muriel Alma and Nola Liege.

Muriel Alma Clifton was born in Napier on 23 March 1906 and married Hugh Hays Jones on 30 December 1931. Hugh was born to Thomas and Laura Jones(nee Hays) in Dunedin on 20 February 1909 and was employed as a Vulcaniser when they married. They moved to 910 Caroline Rd, Hastings for the next few years and then in 1937 they moved to 9 Paul Street Wairoa.

Then, after a spell spent in Wairoa, in 1949 they are shown living at 14 Leonie Terrace, Mount Albert, Auckland. At the end of World War 2 Hugh joined the National Airways Corporation (NAC). He flew on the Sunderland Flying boats to the Islands – Fiji and Norfolk Island. Then in later years he flew the run between Auckland and Christchurch.

They remained at 14 Leonie Terrace, where they spend the years until Hugh died at the age of 59 of Multiple Myeloma in 1968. He had worked in various occupations starting with Vulcaniser in Hastings when he married, a Bowser attendant in Wairoa in 1938 and at the start of the war, an Airman, a Flight Steward and a Civil Servant in Auckland.

They had three children, Pamela, born in Hastings on 10 December 1933, Terrence, born in Wairoa on 30 October 1937 and Lesley, born in Wairoa on 9 May 1942.

Muriel lived on for many years and died in 1982 at the age of 76 at Atawhai, Gloucester Street, Napier of a heart problem. She was cremated at Hastings.

Nola Liege Clifton born at the nursing home in Dublin Street, Wanganui on 18 July 1914, married Jimmy Girvan on 29 March 1937 at the Methodist Church in Hastings. Jimmy was 27 and Nola 22.

Jimmy Girvan was born in Belfast on 7 February 1910, to James and Sarah Girvan - the second eldest of six boys in the family. The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1927. Originally settled in Wellington, shortly after, the family moved to Napier.

One of Jimmy’s first jobs was in Humphries Grocery store in Carlyle Street where he first met Nola who was in Napier on holiday.

Jimmy was a loyal and respected member of the local Albion Lodge for 63 years, joining in August 1934. He achieved the office of District President, serving the Lodges in Napier, Hastings and Waipukurau. In common with his five brothers, Jimmy was an ardent enthusiast of firstly motorbikes and then cars. Even when he had half of his index finger cut off in the chain of his motorbike, his enthusiasm was not affected.

Nola was born in Wanganui and spent all of her childhood and completing her schooling there. In her teenage years, she often spent her holidays in Napier and stayed with relatives( Auntie Edie- Edith Phillips) in Carlyle Street. Opposite the house where she stayed was a grocery store and one of the employees in the store was a handsome young Irish lad who had emigrated from Belfast to Napier five years previously –Jimmy Girvan. Even in those days Jimmy had a flair for chatting up the customers and he and Nola soon developed a relationship.

On her return to Wanganui in February 1931, Nola must have had a premonition as the day after she left, the Napier earthquake struck. Fortunately for all of the family, the Irish charm and magnetism of Jimmy drew her back and they were married at Easter 1937. In 1940 their first child Wendy was born and two years later Jimmy was called up to serve overseas in the War. Tragically, during his overseas service, Wendy died of a brain haemorrhage – one month before her third birthday. Wendy’s illness and death must have been a traumatic experience with her husband serving overseas but she handled it all in her determined way with the help from her sister Muriel. Myles and Cheryl’s arrival into the world followed Jimmy’s return from the War. Myles being born in 1947 and Cheryl in 1949.

In 1951 Jimmy was given the opportunity to buy the Clive Grocery Store from the Weathered family. He had worked in several shops – Waipawa, Whakatu, Napier and decided he wanted to go into business himself. He was quite shocked at the run-down state of the shop but took Nola out to see what she thought anyway. Conditions were spartan – only two 40 watt bulbs to light the shop and no hand basins. The toilet (no lights) – was outside at the end of the building. It had been previously operated as a Bakery. The site was later developed and Motels built on it. The conditions of the shop and living facilities presented a challenge to both Jimmy and Nola but they made the decision to buy the shop. This decision was very significant to Myles and Cheryl who did all of their Primary schooling in Clive and established lasting friendships there. Myles now lives three doors down from where the shop was on the other side of the road.

The shop soon became an established meeting place in Clive where customers met and passed the time of day in between getting their groceries. Nola contribution to the success of the business was considerable – cooking meals for Jimmy and two staff members every weekday and also providing morning and afternoon teas for all the commercial travellers who called in.

In 1966 the shop was sold to the Devon’s and the family moved to Napier. Firstly to Logan Avenue and then to Alpers Terrace.

Nola was very community minded and was a driver for Meals on Wheels, was involved with the Crippled Children, and helped with St Augustine Church work and Wanganui Old Girls Association.

Nola died on 2 September 1994 and Jimmy on 2 November 1997, aged 80 and 87 years of age.

They were both cremated and their ashes are in the Memorial Wall at Wharerangi, Napier (Park Island)



Albert and Winifred Clifton had four children - Gordon Albert, Winifred Eveline Grace, Colin Samuel and Eileen Grace.

Gordon Albert Clifton joined the old P&T Department (Post Office) and like a lot of Government employees at that time he was frequently transferred around New Zealand. Some of the places he served in are - Nuhaka, Paraparaumu, Feilding, Napier, Palmerston North, Martinborough and Masterton.

Whilst he was in the Wairarapa (at Martinborough) he met and married Doreen Todkill

Doreen had migrated, at the age of five, with her mother in 1922 in the ship Waimana, which sailed from Manchester, England, arriving in Wellington on ANZAC Day (25 April).

Gordon and Doreen settled at 19 Oxford Street, Palmerston North. World War II broke out and Gordon joined the New Zealand Air Force.

Gordon's War Service:

He joined the RNZAF recruiting centre at Harewood, Christchurch on 29 August 1942 - his service record shows:

Service No - 4210343

He was given recruitment training in Harewood until November 1942 when he was transferred to Ohakea.

His record shows his physical appearance as:

Height - 5'4", Chest - 34", Hair - L/Brown, Eyes - Blue with fair complexion.

Overseas Postings:

On 26 May 1943 he was posted to the RNZAF Station at Espiritu Santo (Vanuatu), from there he went to Guadalcanal on 11 August 1943 and then to New Georgia on 19 October 1943.

In May 1944 he returned to New Zealand, stationed temporarily at Mangere and then back to Ohakea. On 30 November 1945 - whilst unloading equipment at Ohakea, a case fell off a truck and struck Gordon's big toe and he was in plaster until 18 January 1946.

He was discharged on 3 March 1946 with a Gratuity of $150.80.

He was awarded the medals of 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and NZ War Service Medal. During his service he was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant.

After living in Palmerston North for a while Gordon and Doreen moved to and settled down in Masterton. Gordon, at one stage, went into business on his own making concrete posts but returned to the Post Office where he became the Supervisor of Postal Services in Masterton. They had four children who are now living in Coventry(England), Auckland, Lower Hutt and Hawke's Bay.

Gordon and Doreen stayed in Masterton until Gordon died at the age of 70 in 1978. Doreen died on 14 November 2000 in Watsonia, a Rest Home in Lower Hutt, NZ

Winifred Eveline Grace Clifton was born on 2nd September 1909 at Westshore, Napier and married Dave McKinnie in 1929 at Napier. Dave was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1910 to William McKinnie, a Brass Moulder, and Martha Harper. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1925, at the age of 16.

Winnie and Dave met at the Westshore movies where Dave was the projectionist. Apparently Winnie was very attracted to the tall dark Irishman and confessed to flicking a lollie paper at him (to catch his attention) which became caught up in the film projector – the rest is history.

They married and lived at 120 Charles Street, Westshore.

Their two sons were Reginald David born in1930 and Gordon Colin Albert (known as "Jum")in 1933

Eventually they moved to Main Road, Westshore adjacent to the Airport.

The two sons, Reg and Jum had left school by this time and worked for the family timber and cartage business.

During the early years of their marriage Dave was employed as a Waterside worker. He was a Wharfie in 1932 when the boat "Doris" was sunk and 10 workers were killed (see previous notes about Robert William Martin and the "Doris Disaster"). He was due to go on the boat but didn't because he was feeling ill. The Police, believing that he was on the boat, called at his home with the intention of informing his wife (Winnie) that he was missing - but were told that he was in bed, sound asleep.

During the strike of 1950 he didn’t return to his job as a Wharfie.

Owing to this strike Reg who had been employed by the firm – T G Smith Carriers refused to cart fruit to the wharf and also left his job.

Dave and his son, Reg, then started a wood business with a car and trailer. They eventually bought an Austin truck which they used for carting slab wood for firewood. They gradually added further trucks, so enabling them to diversify their business to contracts for Public works, phosphate, metal and roading. Eventually they formed the Company of D and R McKinnie in which they employed 64 staff and 90 odd items of Plant. The Company was involved in many different aspects of the development of Napier City, suburbs and Hawke’s Bay Works and Roading.

Dave and Winnie lived in Napier until Dave died in 1979 and Winnie in 1989 Their sons and later generations have continued in the business which is still flourishing.

Colin Samuel Clifton - Born on 21 April 1914, at Napier,

His early years were spent Market Gardening with his father, Albert Clifton, at Poraiti, situated at the back of Napier Aerodrome. They drove from home in Charles Street, over to the site every day. There was a small cottage situated on the property that had been purchased by the family after Francis Stitson died in 1936. The main crops that they grew were tomatoes which were railed to Wellington to the Market garden Auctioneers - Turners and Growers.

Later he was employed by Thompson and Hills, a cannery factory in Wellesley road, Napier. He obtained a Ticket (Certificate) to work the boiler at the Cannery and became a Certificated Stationary Engine Driver. At this point in his life he met Phyllis Pirie (whom he married) who also worked at the factory. During World War II he joined the Army and was stationed at the camp at Dannevirke.

Colin married Phyllis Mabel Baker(nee Pirie) on 16 January 1953 at the Trinity Methodist Church, Napier. Phyl had been previously married but had divorced her first husband in 1952. She was born in Gisborne in 1917 to Albert Spencer Pirie, a Salesman and Evelyn Pirie, nee Mun-Brown.

After their wedding Colin and Phyl lived in Bedford Street, Marewa - moving, later on when the family grew, to Ward Crescent, Napier. Colin worked for Thompson and Hills until it closed when he moved to the Whakatu Freezing Works. Always a keen gardener he always grew plenty of vegetables for his family.

They had five children - Beverly (1953), Colin Albert (1954), Linda Margaret (1956), Kristine Joy (1958) and Susanne (1960).

After a year battling cancer Colin died in 1983 at the age of 68, was cremated and buried in the Taradale Cemetery, Napier.

Phyl died in 1997 and was buried in Taradale Cemetery, Napier.

Eileen Grace Clifton born on 23 June 1922 at Charles Street, Westshore, Napier, married Douglas Henry Waugh on 29 November 1945 at Trinity Methodist Church, Napier.

Douglas was a radio operator, an officer in the Merchant Navy, during the Second World War between 1939 and 1945. He worked for Union Steamship Company and Eileen worked for the State Advances Corporation in Napier, as a clerk, during the war. They met and married in

Napier and then moved to Nelson(Tahananui) From there they moved to Porirua where they set up and ran a Radio and TV repair shop. Later on they moved back to Napier where Doug took up the building trade, building Town houses and where he also built their two houses on Hospital Hill - one of which became their home.

They had two sons, David Clifton - born in 1946 and Warren Henry - born in 1951.

The family settled in Napier and basically are still there except for the younger generations wanderings overseas etc.



Lillie and Robert William Martin had two children – William Edwin and Stanley Raymond:

William Edwin Martin, born on 14 September 1907 at Western Spit, Napier, married Joyce Margaret Jefferson on 14 September 1933.

Joyce Margaret Jefferson was born on 19th November 1903 at Wairoa. She was the daughter of Robert Ewan Jefferson who was a sheep farmer originally from Cumberland in England – and Jessie Emma Jefferson (nee Eastwood). Joyce had worked for Solicitors and other clerical work before being married. In 1943 Joyce and Bill bought a grocery Dairy at North Clyde, known as Martin’s Corner which she ran until about 1962. The business took all of her time to run and she had very little time to pursue her interests in sketching and piano playing. During the war her children had to help out at night by counting the butter, tea and sugar ration coupons. Once they retired they were able to relax and enjoy life more and travelled each year around New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Norfolk Island, Malaysia etc.

William Edwin Martin (known as Bill) started work at Williams and Kettle (an Agricultural Servicing Company) at the age of 16 in Wairoa (just before his mother died) and stayed with them for 49 years until 1972, when he retired, having been the Wairoa manager for the previous10 years. Over that time he had been offered advancement in other towns but had turned these down to stay in Wairoa.

He was a great sportsman in his younger days, being a Wairoa representative in rowing. He played rugby and bowls – becoming the President of the Wairoa Bowling Club. In his work he and two of his colleagues were renowned for their handwriting and Williams and Kettle’s ledgers were a picture to look at. During the 1931 earthquake (when Napier was virtually destroyed) he noticed a house burning and remarked upon it – only to find that it was the house in which he was a boarder and he lost all of his possessions. He participated in the community, becoming a North Clyde School Committee member and a Mason. His services to the Masons were rewarded with a 50 year jewel.

Stanley Raymond Martin was born on 7 May 1910 at Napier. When he was 14 years old his mother Lillie Morgan Clifton died and her step-sister, Edith Phillips took Stanley in and he stayed with her, in Napier, and trained as a Plumber, first as an Apprentice and then obtaining his Master Plumbers Ticket.

Stan travelled down from Napier to Wellington to get work in 1937. He got work with a Plumber and was up a Steeple when an earthquake struck. Whilst on this job he helped to move a lodger into Mrs Solomon's house, in Kilbirnie, where he met her daughter,

Evelyn Grace Solomon.

Six months later they were engaged. On 7 August 1937 they were married at St Giles Church, Kilbirnie.

They had four children, Valerie Edith, born in 1934; Cynthia Gale, born in 1935; Wilma Vivien, born in 1937 and Marcia Lesley born in 1940.

William Edwin died on 19 June 1987 at the age of 79 and was cremated at the Hastings Crematorium and his ashes were buried later with his wife in the Wairoa Cemetery. Joyce died at the age of 91 on 30th May 1995.

Grace was born on 13th October 1915 to William John Solomon, a Carter – originating from Cornwall – and Caroline Kathrine Solomon(nee Sorenson), originating from Denmark.

After their marriage they set up house in the house on the hill (31 Houghton Bay Road).

In about 1941 Stan went into partnership with Ted Morgan, a welter weight boxer, who went to the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 and won New Zealand's first Olympic Gold medal in its own right. They set up business right up the top of Cuba Street, Wellington.

In 1945/6 Stan and Grace travelled to Otaki, where they set up a Plumber's shop in the Main Street, in partnership with Bill Creighton. They were in business for ten years in Otaki until Stan suffered a hurt knee and had to give up his own business. After this he went to Murapara and then to Wairakei to get work whilst Grace stayed in Otaki, rearing the children. In 1949 he joined the Ministry of Works and in 1950 applied to go to the South Pole - but didn't go in the end. They moved to Trentham and Porirua and Stan was promoted - first to Inspector of houses and then later to the Top Overseer for the whole of New Zealand. Stan retired in 1975 and they moved to Foxton.

They had five children. Peter Graham William born in 1938; Stanley Trevor, born in 1941; Carol Ann, born in 1945; Grace Gay, born in 1949 (who died in 1973)and Neil Regg, born in 1959.

Stan died on 5 November 1981 at the age of 71, when they were living at 36 Avenue Road, Foxton. Grace moved to Levin in 1990 and is still living in her own home. She is one of only four left in the family from the third generation.

Part 1
Part 2