Annie Hercock

BORN: Upper Hutt, 12 July 1859.1

DIED: Porirua, 26 June 1927.2


Shortly after arriving in Wellington in 1857, Annie's father William Hercock, along with his father Charles and mother Ann, moved to Upper Hutt. In the 1850's the whole valley was dense bush. Settlers filtered up the valley as the road was pushed through. The lands were opened up, and saw-milling and rough farming became the local industries. Both William and Charles were sawyers and wood dealers by trade and commenced work at one of the early mills at Te Marua.

In August 1858 William, then aged 22, married Kate Reid, a minor of 15 years, at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Wellington. Annie was their first child.

Annie and her younger brother William were among the first children to attend the first school in Upper Hutt. This was intially established in St Joseph's Catholic Church in 1864 until a school house was built in Trenthem in 1866.

The road across the Rimutakas was opened in 1859 and an increasing amount of traffic passed through Upper Hutt on its way to the new townships opening up in the Wairarapa. About 1870 Charles and Ann, together with William, Kate and the children, left Upper Hutt for the Wairarapa where Kate's mother and father had already established themselves as farmers in Clareville, just north of Carterton. The family settled in Carterton where Charles and Ann purchased a ten-acre block of land and William and Kate purchased another ten acres.3

Shortly after their arrival in Carterton, William and his father Charles established themselves as general carriers between Wellington and the Wairarapa. This partnership was dissolved in 1876, but William continued with the business. While the details are sketchy, the business seems to have been based in Taueru and the family may have lived there for some time in the late 1870s, were Annie may have met Daniel Cross.

Daniel and Annie were married at James and Maria Reid's house at Taratahi on 26 September 1876. James (Annie's uncle) and Maria were also the witnesses. Daniel was 25 years old and a storekeeper. Annie was 17 and registered as a spinster.4 No doubt Daniel's uncle Lot and his wife Annie attended the wedding.

Daniel and Annie lived in Taueru (now spelled Tauweru) during the early years of their marriage. Taueru was a small bush settlement about 10 km from Masterton. Their first child was Charles, born there on 11 August 1877.4

Daniel owned a clothing store in Taueru and supplied clothing to the farms and sheep stations in the local area. In those days the large sheep stations employed large numbers of shepherds, cooks and blacksmiths, and were like small villages. Daniel travelled from settlement to settlement with his stock of clothes carried by packhorses. These trips would have taken him away from his home for considerable periods of time. Annie would have struggled on her own to bring up the family in the somewhat primitive conditions of a bush settlement such as Taueru. There is a hint that she left Taueru and returned to Carterton since Charles is on the role of the Clareville School. At some later date she moved to Homebush, a short distance from Masterton.

Daniel and Annie had a tempestuous relationship for a number of years and finally separated, a Deed of Separation and a Deed of Marriage Settlement being both completed on 19 August 1891. The Deed of Marriage Settlement provided for Annie Cross to have use of 8 acres of land at Homebush during her life only, with the land going to their surviving children on her death.

This settlement seems not to have been the end of their relationship, however, since Annie had three more children subsequent to the separation date, namely Annie (1893), Eliza (1894) and Francis (1896). Sadly, young Annie was drowned in 1894 when she was only 14 months old. The inquest into her death revealed that young Annie had wandered out the back door while her mother was at the front door talking with the butcher, and had fallen into the nearby creek. 5 The two Annies are buried together in Masterton Cemetery.

After the birth of Francis in 1896, Annie's relationship with Daniel seems to worsen. Their differences certainly became more public, aired both in the Magistrate's Court and the local newspaper. They ceased living together. Annie continued to live at Homebush with the younger children. Daniel was possibly in Martinborough attending the "storekeeping business" he had purchased there in 1890.6 Daniel payed Annie an allowance, but in September 1896, Annie sued Daniel in the Masterton Magistrate's Court for an increase, indicating that their relationship had deteriorated to such an extent that Annie felt justified bringing her grievances to Court. 7 We are not sure of the outcome of her complaint. However the issue flared up again when Daniel became involved in a dispute between Annie and a W. H Hosking, over her failure to pay a debt of £1.8s.6p . Daniel "considered the liability was not his as a separation order had been granted and he allowed Mrs Cross upwards of £2 per week".8 Not only was Daniel required to pay back the debt, plus 10s costs, Annie ensured the editor of the Wairarapa Daily Times ran the following correction:

Sir. - I see...that in Court Mr D. Cross stated that he allows me £2 per week and residence. That is misleading; he allows me 30s per week and has no interest in my residence whatever: it is my own freehold. - I am, etc, Mrs D. Cross 9

A year later in 1899, Annie charged Daniel with desertion and once again the case was heard in the Masterton Magistrates Court and reported in the Wairarapa Daily Times.10 The tone of the Court report is more sympathetic to Daniel than to Annie and after calling a number of witnesses, the magistrate dismissed the charges against Daniel and ordered Annie not to bring similar charges again. The magistrate, in summing up, said that because "Cross had well provided for the payment of six pounds per month due to the plaintiff, and considering that he had been paying the money for a number of years past regularly, it was unreasonable to expect that he intended deserting his wife".

However, it may have been reasonable for Annie to expect more from her husband than just money, however regular. While it is impossible, at this distance, to understand the reasons for their rift, the magistrate admitted that Daniel's business as a hawker meant that he was away from home for weeks on end, and Daniel had recently been living in Wellington; all his mail was being sent to the City Buffet Hotel. It can't have been easy for Annie to bring up the children on her own. In 1899 most of the children would still have been living with her, with the two youngest (Eliza and Paddy) still only 5 and 3 years old.

One of the witnesses in the court case was James Reid, probably the same Uncle James that was witness to Anne and Daniel's wedding 20 years earlier. He related a converstion he recently had with Daniel where Daniel hinted at visiting the Paris Exhibition. In retrospect, it is highly probable that Daniel was planning to return to England at this stage, as James possibly suspected.

Daniel did leave for good soon after, returning to England in about 1900. He seems to have been determined to leave the past behind. He married again in 1902, to Emma Geary, seemly without telling her about his family in New Zealand. When he died intestate in 1930, the Probate Court in England, not knowing of his past life, declared Emma the heir to his estate, since she was his lawful wife and because he had no other family.

Two more of Annie's children died before her own death: Cecil died as a result of an accident on the Wanganui River in January 19181, and Arthur was killed in action in France on 18 July 1918.

Annie was admitted to the mental hospital at Porirua on 26 June 1926 and died there, of "senility and heart failure" on 28 September 1926. She was buried in Masterton on the 29th of September2, next to her daughter.


  • William Teahan, Biography: Margaret Joyce Teahan Ch 1.
  • Annie Hercock death certificate
  • Dudley Graeme Hercock, Green Is Our Valley: A History and Genealogy of the Clifford and Hercock Families, 1980
  • Wedding Registration
  • Wairarapa Daily Times Tuesday, August 21, 1894
  • Wairarapa Daily Monday, September 22, 1890
  • Wairarapa Daily Times September 18, 1896
  • Wairarapa Daily Times August 25, 1898
  • Wairarapa Daily Times August 31, 1898
This page last modified 23 December 2009.
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Dan Cross: Ph: (09) 6290052