1853 : 9 Jun 1853 - Christening record in Parish church of Llangattock .(Brother Thomas MORGAN christened in same church 9 SEP 1849.
1871 : Census - Servant in house of Thomas Griffiths,Llanfodwyg Parish - Facory Black Mill birth place Llangattwyg(Llangattock), Breconshire - cannot find in 1861 Census.
1873 : Married at Llangeinor, Glamorgan. husb Edmund PHILLIPS from Monm outhshire.
1875 : Emigrated to NZ - aboard the "Avalanche" which departed London o n 4 Sep 1875 and arrived Wellington on 3 Dec 1875
- Nat Archives Ref - IM 5/4/21 No 236 - also various reports.
Occ: Servant, Midwife
Eve was born in 1853 to David and Rachel Morgan(nee Williams) in the sm all Welsh village of Llangattock(Llangattwg) which is close to the town of Crickhowell and the mountain range of the Brecon Beacons in Central Wales. Eve's birth was not officially shown in Welsh civil records but the Parish records show that she was christened as EVE Morgan on 19 Ju ne 1853. In almost every record after this she is shown as EVA, except o n her Death certificate. She had an older brother, Thomas, who was born on 14 August 1849 and christened in Llangattock on 9 September 1849.
The 1851 Census for Llangattock shows:
David Morgan, head of household, age 42, married, Woolcorder and Spinne r, born in Brecon.>br> Rachel Morgan, wife, age 30, born in Pontypool, M onmouthshire.
Thomas Morgan, son, age 1, born in Llangattock.
David and Rachel Morgan were married on 12 August 1844 in the Trevethin Parish church, close to Pontypool.
The family apparently moved during the period 1853 to 1861 as there is n o trace of them in the Llangattock area in the 1861 Census records. Eve is next seen in the 1871 Census records where she is living as a serva nt in the household of Thomas Griffiths in Llanfodwyg, near Llangeinor. Two years later on 31 August 1873 she married Edmund Phillips at the P arish church of Llangeinor which is a small village just North of Bridg end in Glamorganshire. One of the witnesses to the wedding ceremony was Alfred Bowden, shown in the 1871 Census as the head of household where an Edwin Phillips was a lodger. It is not certain who Edwin Phillips w as but it is thought that he might be either a brother of Edmund's or a cousin (Edmund's eldest child was named Edwin).
EDMUND PHILLIPS (1848 - ?)
Edmund Phillips was born on 18 July 1848 to William and Amy Phillips (n ee Williams) in the small Welsh village of Mamhilad, Monmouthshire, clo se to Pontypool. It is not known if the couple knew each other before t hey met in Llangeinor but their birth places were only 14 or 15 miles a part, their mothers shared the same maiden surname(Williams) and Eve's p arents were married in Trevethin Parish church which is about a mile aw ay from Mamhilad.
EMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND:
Two years after their marriage, on 1 September 1875, the married couple emigrated to New Zealand under the Sir Julius Vogel's public works pro gramme. They sailed from London on the sailing ship Avalanche
which landed in Wellington on the 1 December 1875. In the passenger lis t Edmund Phillips occupation was shown as Platelayer which would appear to indicate that he had worked on the Railways in Wales. This occupati on probably qualified him for migration as the Vogel Government were re cruiting workers to help build the roads and Railway systems in New Zea land.
There had been some concern in previous years about the conditions on b oard the migrant ships - more so for those going to America than to New Zealand and Australia as the following quote from "The Immigrants" by T ony Simpson shows:
"Successive British governments passed laws which attempted to establis h at least minimum conditions of travel on immigrant ships. These inclu ded requirements as to victualling, the licensing of passenger agents, t he carriage of sufficient water, the space available to each passenger, the carrying of surgeons and cooks and facilities for the preparation o f food etc"
"The Avalanche was a smart looking iron-hulled sailing ship of 1210 gro ss tons built for Walter Savill by Alexander Hall of Aberdeen in 1874. H er fine lines and neatness aloft bore the impeccable stamp of that famo us clipper-ship builder who had turned out some of the fastest and most beautiful ships afloat" - a quote from "Sail To New Zealand" by David S avill.
Unfortunately she sank in a collision in the English Channel on 11 Sept ember 1877 when she was outward bound with immigrants. Almost all of th e passengers and crew lost their lives.
As will be seen by the final paragraph of the following article that ap peared in the "Evening Post",of December 4 1875, Wellington, people wer e aware of the concern about the conditions on board the immigrant ship s:
"The fine ship Avalanche arrived last evening from London, making a goo d passage of 89 days. She experienced very light winds until after leav ing the S.E. trades, when she encountered several heavy gales from N.W. and S.W., with high seas, and lost her starboard lifeboat. Made Cape F arewell Light on Thursday evening, and arrived at the Heads at 10am yes terday. Spoke the ship Cape Wealth, from Glasgow bound to Ceylon, on 21 st October, and was in company with her for three weeks. Sighted a brig -rigged steamer standing to northward on 22nd October. Passed an iceber g in latitude 46 deg. 48 min.S and longitude 32 deg. 5min East. The Ava lanche brings Government immigrants, numbering 180 adults.
The health has been excellent. Only two deaths occurred - both of infan ts. There were no births. The ship is remarkably clean, and the system o f management during the voyage appears to have been most admirable, esp ecially the arrangements in the event of fire."
EARLY LIFE IN NEW ZEALAND
In February 1877, 14 months after landing in New Zealand their first ch ild, Edwin Phillips, was born, in Sydney Street, Wellington. This is a s treet which is close to the northern end of Wellington and would have b een very handy for access to work on the developing Railways.
In January 1879, Edith Phillips was born in Mangaroa. This is a small s ettlement north of Upper Hutt and at this point in time there were camp s for the labourers who were clearing the bush and working on the Railw ay line and the hill road, both of which were being constructed over th e Rimutaka Ranges to the Wairarapa.
William Edmund Phillips was born in Upper Hutt on 19 October 1880.
Unfortunately there are no Phillips descendants as none of the Phillips children married and there were no children born to them. The last of t he Phillips' children(Edith) died in 1965.
THE "MURDER" OF EDMUND PHILLIPS
The "Murdered in the bush" family legend:
Sometime before 1882 Edmund Phillips disappeared from the scene and in 1 882 Eve set up house with Samuel Clifton in Aramoho, Wanganui. So, it w as thought that in the period between the birth of William Edmund Phill ips (October 1880) and the conception of the first of the Clifton child ren, Arthur Clifton (approx May 1882) - Edmund Phillips had died. The l egend as passed down by Edith Phillips (Auntie Edie) states that her fa ther was quote - murdered in the bush. She also maintained that she met someone later who told her that he knew who had committed the crime - b ut as this was much later no action was taken to report it to the polic e.
At first it was thought that there was some validity to the legend but t here was always the problem that neither a Coroner's Inquest report nor a Death record could be found.
After some perseverance the apparent truth was revealed when the Police Gazettes for the period were made available and examined(in NZ Nationa l Archives).
An entry in the Police Gazettes for Wellington (Page 65), Wednesday Apr il 21, 1880 would appear to indicate that Edmund Phillips deserted his w ife Eve. And there is no record to show that he ever returned.
The entry shows:
EDMUND PHILLIPS is charged, on warrant issued by the Wellington Bench, w ith deserting his wife at Mungaroa, Upper Hutt, since 5th Instant.(5th A pril 1880).
Description; English, a labourer, thirty years of age , 5 feet 7 or 8 i nches high, medium build, sallow complexion, thin features, brown hair, and small fair moustache, third finger of left hand off; wore dark coa t, light plaid trousers and vest, and dark twilled billycock hat. It is supposed that he has gone to Picton.
It would seem that the action of reporting his desertion was taken by E ve. This appears to have been a common practice in this period and pres umably it was done to try to enforce the return of the husband back to t he family with his ability to earn wages and keep the family from starv ation. One wonders how Eve and other deserted wives survived in the har sh days where there were no benefits from a welfare state.
A curious fact is that six months after Edmund deserted her, Eve gave b irth to his second son, whom she named William Edmund Phillips (after E dmund and his father, William).
Edmund's whereabouts after this are not known - no research has been ca rried out mainly because it is suspected that he would have changed his name. As for why he did it - it can only be conjectured that he wished to escape from the life of marital responsibility etc.
He did it when Eve was three months pregnant with their third child. It is possible that he left the country, re-emigrating to Australia where Victoria was having an economic boom, whereas New Zealand was putting o ff many of the recent immigrants brought in to build the Railways and r oad systems. It would seem that the "murdered in the bush" legend was c reated by Eve to explain the absence of their father to her children an d to keep up a semblance of propriety among friends and neighbours. The re is no evidence to show that Edmund ever returned and the fact that E ve never married Samuel Clifton suggests that she had no evidence that h e was dead. There appears to be no record showing that the charge in th e Police Gazette was ever executed.
It is interesting to think that there is probably a bewildered Great Gr andchild of Edmund Phillips(in disguise) who wonders from where he sudd enly materialised.
EVE FROM 1894 TO 1926
After the death of Samuel there are very few records showing what happe ned in Eve's life. But we can see from the Electoral Rolls the movement s of the family. Eve lived at Wellesley Road, Napier with her family of three Phillips and four Clifton children from 1894 until Edith Phillip s moved out to Station Street in 1905. At the same time the family move d to 86 Carlyle Street, Napier. In the same year Arthur, the eldest of t he Clifton children married Daisy Elizabeth Kirk - but for a short time they stayed at home at Carlyle Street.
In May 1907 Lillie Clifton married Robert William Martin and moved out t o Charles Street, Westshore and shortly afterwards(September 1907) Will iam Edmund Phillips (Wheeler) was certified and sent to Wellington Luna tic Hospital.
In 1908 Albert Clifton married Winifred Eveline Stitson and moved out o f the family home to live at his wife's parent's house at Westshore. By 1911 Arthur and Daisy had moved to Westshore and Edith had moved back i n. There were now just Eve, Edwin, Edith and Ernest left at the Carlyle Street house.
Eve, for some time, acted as a Midwife and was entrusted to escort pati ents when they were transported from Napier to other hospitals.
Eve died on 20 September 1926 at home, 86 Carlyle St, Napier. She was a ged 73 and died of a heart attack. She was buried in Park Island Cemete ry.
Eve's life had been a hard one. She came from a poor background of the W elsh mountains and countryside where her father was a Spinner in a time when the automation of this type of work was putting large numbers of p eople out of work, was put out to "service", married a labourer and ven tured into emigration to the other side of the world in the hope of a b etter life. After arriving and obviously thinking that she would be abl e to settle down she started a family but just three years afterwards h er husband deserted her, leaving her three months pregnant and with two children, aged 3 and 2 in a workers camp in Mangaroa. Fortunately Samu el Clifton was brave and kind enough to set up home with her - with thr ee existing children and both of them facing what would be a constant c riticism and slur on their marital status for years to come. After this she suffered the problems of several moves between Wanganui and Palmer ston North, presumably either to escape the slurs or to find work, rear ing seven children, until they finally settled at Napier. She must have thought that her problems were over , she could call herself Clifton a nd could settle down to a more or less normal life like many other marr ied couples. However, shortly after arriving at Napier(no more than thr ee years), her second husband, Samuel, had a stroke, was certified and t aken off to a Lunatic Asylum, from where he died a few weeks later. At t he time she was just age 41 and she still had children aged 5, 9,10, 11 ,14,15 and 17.
It seems that after this her life did settle down for a few years until her second eldest son,William Edmund, was also certified and was also t aken away to a Lunatic Asylum in 1907. Towards the end of her life she e xperienced something that most people do not have to suffer - that is, s he saw two of her children die before she did. Her youngest daughter, L illie, died of cancer at the age of 38 in 1925, followed by her eldest s on, Edwin, who died in an accident in 1926, just two months before she d ied.
These are the bare bones of Eve's experiences and it does not tell us o f the poor working and living conditions and the work that she would ha ve had to do to keep her and her children fed and housed when there was no income from a husband. Yet her story is probably no worse than what many of the women and children went through in those earlier days. The stories of the pioneering women of the very early days have been recor ded in books but the people like Eve who were of the "lower classes" an d lived "normal" lives are not considered heroic and their story will only ever be recorded in family legends and small works like this one.