THE WEST COAST "RED-HEADED CLIFTONS"
BENJAMIN CLIFTON (1857 - 1932)
The "Red-headed" Cliftons family legend:
When two red-headed children were born to one of Samuel's children(Albe rt) there was a contretemps over their parentage - between Eve and her d aughter-in-law - until Edwin Phillips, who worked on a Coastal steamer m entioned that he had met up with a red-headed Clifton family on the Wes t Coast, who were related to Samuel. Upon investigation this legend was confirmed in that Benjamin Clifton(sandy haired), living in Westport w as found to be the younger brother of the child Samuel, born in London. From following Benjamin's migration record and his marriage and death r ecords the London family's details were easily revealed.
Benjamin's background is clearly documented (unlike Samuel's) in that h is marriage and death certificates show the link to his parents - John a nd Mary Clifton, shown living at 11 Manchester Street, in Bethnal Green , London. This identification is also re-inforced by the names he gave h is children, Mary Lavinia(after his mother and his older sister) and Jo hn Richard (after his and his wife's fathers).
Benjamin came to New Zealand under the Government assisted immigration s cheme and travelled in the ship Gainsborough which left Plymouth on 3 N ovember 1877 and arrived in Wellington on 28 February 1878. It is belie ved that Benjamin's immigration was sponsored by his brother, Samuel. T he immigration record, in New Zealand Archives shows that his was a spo nsored trip but unfortunately the records, showing the details of the s ponsors, for the period between 1874 and May 1878, are not held and it i s thought that they have been destroyed or lost.
Benjamin stayed in Wellington and on 18 December 1883 he married Susan L echer, both of them being 25 years of age. In the marriage certificate h e is shown as a cook and his witnesses as cook and porter. He probably w orked 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 Z ealand with her parents and on 25 November 1882 at Courtenay Place, Wel lington she gave birth to a daughter, Susan Lecher, who later adopted t he 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 i n Bright Street, Westport on 19 July 1886. After this they had three mo re children, Mary Lavinia, born on 30 December 1887, Lucy Elizabeth bor n on 10 October 1889 and John Richard, born on 9 May 1891, all at Brigh t Street.
It can be clearly seen that the Victorian practice of naming children a fter the family was followed. John and Mary are Benjamin's parents, Lav inia, 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 w ith 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, We llington shortly afterwards. On 1st May 1932 Benjamin died in Wellingto n Hospital of Chronic Heart Failure. He was buried by Edward Morris(Und ertakers) in Karori Cemetery.
Ironically, although they appeared not to have kept in touch during the ir life both Benjamin and Samuel ended up being buried by the same unde rtakers 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 Samue l.