This page details the childern of William Henry Free and Mary Garde-Brown

Biographical Details:

William Robert Hurworth Free ‘Micky’ and ‘Micheal’
Born, 24 November 1876, New Plymouth, NZ
Baptised St. Mary’s New Plymouth on 7 December 1876
Married, Margaret Robertson Sloane, 1908
Died, 15 July 1942, Auckland, NZ

Receives a Good Conduct prize December 1885 from the Central School Taranaki (Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1885, page 2)
The seriousness of attempting to pass the railway crossing in Devon-street when a train is near was impressed upon a young man named William Free at the Police Court to-day (Monday). It was explained by Sergeant Stagpoole that the porter had to dash his flag in the defendant’s face to keep him back. The Magistrate imposed a fine of 20s and costs. (Taranaki Herald, 18 February 1901, page 2).


Appears in the 1900, and 1905/6 Taranaki Electorial Rolls as a Clerk.

Newspaper clipping, 2 December 1908 – source not identified

Free – Sloane Wedding

An unusually pretty home wedding took place on Wednesday afternoon when Miss Margaret Sloane, youngest daughter of Mrs Sloane, Marine Parade, Ponsonby, Auckland was carried to Mr. William R. H. Free of New Plymouth post office. The ceremony was performed in the drawing-room at “Dunbar”, the residence of the bride’s mother.

At half-past two o’clock, to the strains of “Lohengrin”, planed by Mrs Thorbourne, the bridal party entered the drawing-room, and stood under a beautiful wedding bell. The Rev. A. Macaulay Caldwell conducted the service. The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr. Dunbar Sloane, of Wellington, looked lovely in a soft white crepe de chine, with a V and panel in front of skirt of tucked chiffon lace, embossed with silk flowers. She wore a soft white tulle veil, arranged over real orange blossoms, and carried a beautiful shower bouquet.

Miss Lassie Sloane and Miss Bessie Watt attended as bridesmaids, and were charmingly frocked in white Indian muslin with pick tucks and French Valentine lace, made semi-Empire, with fichus, and large white crinoline hats wreathed with white daisies. They carried lovely shower bouquets of pick sweet peas, and wore handsome wreath brooches set with turquoises and pearls, the gift of the bridegroom. Mr. H. Free acted as best man, and Mr Marples as groomsman.

After the ceremony afternoon tea was served in the dining-room and on the spacious verandah. The tea table was artistically decorated with pink sweet peas and trellis of pink silk ribbons, while four tiny wedding bells, with ribbon, were suspended over the table. The Rev. Macaulay Caldwell proposed the health of the bride and bridegroom.

The presents were numerous and valuable. Later Mr and Mrs Free departed amidst rose leaves for Howick, the bride wearing a stylish electric blue striped cloth costume and blue crinoline hat with large pale pink roses and foliage. Mrs Sloane (mother of the bride) wore a black toilette, with touches of white lace; Miss Free (New Plymouth), cream frock, with lace threaded with pale green ribbon; Miss Sloane, white silk and cream skirt; Miss Robertson, black and white floral gown, Misses M. and T. Sloane wore cream and white respectively.

Among others present were:

Mrs T. F Robertson, Mrs Sotham, Misses Tizard, Walker, Hall, Kennedy, Scott, Bellhouse, Mrs and Miss Thorburne, Mrs H. Cooke, Mrs R. Watt, Mrs Oxley., etc

Appears in the 1911 Electoral Roll as clerk, Devon Street East. Margaret Robertson Free is also at this address as ‘married’.


Appears in the 1914 Electoral Roll in Tauranga as a Postmaster for Matamata. Ans again in the 1916-17 NZ Army WWI Reserve Rolls – still as the Postmaster in Matamata.  In the 1919 Electoral Rool he has moved to Waikato, and appears as a Telegraph Supervisor, living at Queen’s Avenue, Frankton in Hamilton.


By 1928 he’s in Waihi (half way between Thames & Tauranga) as the Postmaster. But, in the supplementary roll for Auckland West for 1928, he’s listed as Retired and lliving at 8a Hackett Street (2016 YouTube walkthough video). Then again in the supplementary roll for Parnell in 1928 at 18a Laurie Avenue Henderson – still retired. 

In the next Electrol Roll, 1938, he’s living at 2 Westbourne Crescent Remuera. 


Obit, NZ Herald (Auckland) 17 July 1942:


FREE, on July 14, 1942, at Auckland Hospital, William Robert Hurworth (Micheal) loved husband of Margaret Robertson Free, of 2 Westbury Crescent, Remuera, aged 65 years. Private Cremation yesterday.




  • Was a Mason, and worked in the Post Office (telegraph).
  • In the 1905/6 Electoral Roll he is listed as a Clerk in Taranaki.
  • In his 1908 Marriage entry he is listed as a Telegraphist.

Children: (picture, left to right, May, Margaret & Fredie)

May Aroha Free (1911-1981)
Margaret Rutherford Free, (1915-1994) Married, 8 April 1939, George Anthony Ball (G A Ball died 11 December 1986)
Frederick Henry Free “Fredie” Born, 4 October 1909 at New Plymouth NZ Died 25 January 1924. Fredie tragically fell 70 feet down the cliffs at Karekare on the West coast of Auckland.

Biographical Details:

Henry John Free
Born, 22 February 1878, New Plymouth, NZ
Christened St. Mary’s New Plymouth on 22 February 1878
Died, 9 July 1940, Auckland, NZ

Little apart from the following is currently known about him. He appears in the Taranaki Crown Land Grants as being granted Section 26, Block II, Upper Waitara on 16 July 1900, and again Section 4, Aria Suburban on 28 November 1905. He witnessed the wedding registrar of the 1908 wedding of his older brother W R H Free to M R Sloane. He listed his address at the time as being in New Plymouth.

And, in Standard 4, in 1889, he was award the ‘extra’ prize – which is the most popular child in a class who has not otherwise got a prize. Source: Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1889, page 2.

In the 1905/6 Electoral Roll he is listed as a Storeman living in Mokau, Taranaki.

In 1911 he’s a Book-keeper in Taumarunui. 

In 1914 and 1919 Electoral rolls he’s a bookkeeper at Te Kuiti.

In the 1916 WWI Reserve Rolls, he is listed as a Stablekeeper in Te Kuiti.

In 1928 he’s living at Mangarion Rd Te Kuiti as a Farmer.

By 1935 (and still here in 1938) he has moved to 19 Kingsway Ave in Mt Roskill, Auckland as is a Clerk.

Buried at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland – Anglican G Row 7 Plot: 18.

Stage Coach Pioneer

Mr. H. J. Free Passes

Carrying the mail in the early days.

Roads but tracks deep in mud.

By the death in Auckland last week of Mr. H. J. Free, a link with the past has been severed and the writer of these notes was moved to recall much that will be of interest to many people still resident in Te Kuiti and the districts immediately surrounding the town. The late Mr. H. J. Free, or as everyone knew him, Henry Free, came to Te Kuiti from New Plymouth in the year 1908, and immediately afterwards founded the firm of H. J. Free and Co., livery stable proprietors and mail contractors, in the premises now occupied by Te Kuiti Motors, Ltd. In a short time the firm acquired the mail-carrying business of Mr. Bert Lewis who ran daily to Pio Pio and Aria, returning next day. The service was provided means of coaches drawn by six horses, these being changes at Pio Pio, and it will interest many to know that these coaches were made in Te Kuiti by the firm of Rutherford and Wright, Mr. Wright still being resident in Te Kuiti. They were considered as being wonderfully adapted to the needs of the roads of those times, These so-called roads cannot possibly be envisaged by the younger generation of residents, and it needed courage and skill of the highest order to negotiate them, they for the most part of the year being nothing but deep muddy tracks. One of those drivers of these coaches, Mr. Dick Pratt, is still living at Wairere, where he farms and is affectionately remembered by many who travelled on the coaches of Free and Co.

Service to Waitomo Caves,
The firm acquired the business of Mr. C. Kirk, of Waitomo Caves, who ran a service from the Caves Hostel to the Hangatiki station. This service was very popular, being provided by means of a large covered waggonette and six horses driven by Mr. Charles Benjamin. It was a task of magnitude in those days to visit the Waitomo Caves, the roads in that direction being if possible worse than those leading to Aria.

Pioneer of Motor Buses,
Mr. Frees’ firm was never daunted, and long before the roads were considered to be good enough for motors, Free and Co. put on between Te Kuiti and Aria a large passenger carrying bus. It was a De Dion and a magnificent specimen of the motor engineer and bodybuilders’ art. They also about the same time introduced motors on to their Waitomo Caves run. It will be seen that Te Kuiti had amongst its earlier settlers business men of vision, and to those who to-day speed over the roads of the King Country they will never be able to form any idea of what such people as Henry Free had to encounter in those far away days.

Mr. Free had a very engaging personality which stood him in good stead in surmounting the many difficulties encountered.


Source: King Country Chronicle, July 15, 1940

Biographical Details:

Louisa Kate Free
Born, 5 August 1882, Hurworth, New Plymouth, NZ
Christened at St Mary’s, New Plymouth on 16 August 1882.
Died, 11 August 1960, New Plymouth, NZ

Very little is known about Katie. The picture (right) is from the group photograph at W R H Free and Margaret Sloane’s wedding in Auckland in 1908. On the back of the photograph (written close to the time) she is described as Katie.

Appears in the 1911 Electoral Roll as a ‘spinster’ living with her parents at Eliot Street, New Plymouth. By the 1919 Electoral Roll she is the only resident of the Eliot Street house. She is still there in the 1928, 1935 1938, 1946, 1949, 1954 rolls. On the 1954 & 1957 rolls she is joined in Eliot Street by Margaret Robinson Free, widow.

Obit from Taranaki Herald 13 August 1960
Free, Kate Louisa – (76 Elliot Street, New Plymouth.) On August 11, 1960, at the Westown Hospital, beloved younger daughter of the late William and Mary Free; aged 78 years. Cremated this day.

Her will contains the following bequeath;

  • May Aroha Young, (among other items);’ the framed photograph of my grandfather William Grade-Brown, and picture of his Coat of Arms’.

Left:  This is Margaret Free (nee Sloane) outside 76 Eliot St, New Plymouth in the late 1960s. The picture is belived to have been taken by Julie Hensley and one of her childern is standing next to Margaret.

Biographical Details:



Mary “Mamie” Gretia Annie “Anna” Free
Born 22 June 1880 in New Plymouth
Christened at St Mary’s, New Plymouth on 3 October 1880.
Married Owen Marvell 29 July 1918, at St Mary’s, New Plymouth.
Died 14 March 1955 (aged 74, Cremated, Hawkes Bay)

Very little is known about Mary.


Received an honourable mention in the ‘Hand Bouquet by school children’ at the 1893 Taranaki Horticultural Society – Spring show. source, Taranaki Herald, 25 November 1893 page 2.

Appears in the Taranaki High School awards 1896; receiving awards for; Attendance, Latin & French (she was third), and Tennis Singles. source Taranaki Herald, 19 December 1896 page 2.

She may have become a school teacher. As her first year pupil teacher exam pass (scored 608 out of 1100) is published the Taranaki Herald 28 July 1898 page 2. Although, in the 1905/6 Electoral Roll she is listed as a Librarian in Taranaki. In the 1911 Electoral Roll she just ‘spinster’ and living with her parents at Eliot Street, New Plymouth. In both 1905/6 & 1911 rolls her name is listed as ‘Mamie Greta Free.’

The engagement is announced of Miss Manui Free (sic), eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Free, New Pymouth, to Mr. Owen Marvell, Leicesterershire, England. Free lance, 4 July 1918



MARVELL – FREE. One July 29, 1918, at New Plymouth, at St Mary’s Church, by the Rev. F. G. Evans, Owen Marvell, Leicestershire, England, to Mamie Great, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Free, of Eliot Street, New Plymouth.

Women’s World (Taranaki Daily News, 10 Aug 1918)

Mr. and Mrs. Owen Marvell are at the present staying at the Red House Hotel, and Mrs. Marvell (nee Miss Free) intends continuing her duties as librarian at the Carnegie Library.

At Monday’s meeting of the New Plymouth Borough Council the Library Committee reported recommending the acceptance with regret, of the resignation of Mrs Marvell, and that the committee desires to place on record its high appreciation of the capable and courteous manner in which she has always carried out her duties, and in consideration thereof further recommends that she be granted three months’ leave on full pay. The committee recommended the Council to invite applications to fill the vacancy.  Taranaki Daily News, 2 October 1918

 Appears in the 1919 Electoral Roll twice; as;

  • (Pahiatua, Manawatu-Wanganui) Marvell, Mary Greta, Swinburn Street, Dannevirke, married
  • (Pahiatua, Manawatu-Wanganui) Marvell, Owen, Swinburn Street, Dannevirke, traveller
  • (Waikato) Marvell, Mary Great, Wellington Street, Hamilton East, married (no matching listing here for Owen)

Mrs. O. Marvell, who has been staying with her mother, Mrs. Free, has returned to Hamilton.  Taranaki Herald, 10 July 1920

In the Hamilton Magistrate’s Court, presided by Mr H. A. Young 4 April 1921;  Owen Marvell is fined (pounds) 2 and 7s for costs for breaches of By-Laws.

False Representation – Napier Man Guilty
In the Napier Supreme Court on Tuesday Owen Marvell was found guilty on a charge of attempting to obtain by fraud (pounds) 225 from the Hertford Insurance Company by falsely representing that he had paid (pounds) 500 for a motor car for which he actually paid (pounds) 175. Sentence was deferred. Patea Mail, 6 November 1931

Appears in the 1938 Electoral Roll as;

  • (Waipawa, Hawkes Bay) Marvell, Mary Greta, Farm Road, Waipukura, married (no matching listing here for Owen)

Appears in the 1946 and 1949 Electoral Rolls as;

  •  (Waipawa, Hawkes Bay) Marvell, Mary Greta, Farm Road, Waipukura, married
  • (Waipawa, Hawkes Bay) Marvell, Owen, Farm Road, Waipukura, farmer

Appears in the 1949 & 1954 Electoral Roll as;

  • (Hastings, Hawkes Bay) Marvell, Mary Greta, Park Road South, married
  • (Hastings, Hawkes Bay) Marvell, Owen, Park Road South, retired

Owen Marvell, immigration recorded as arriving 16 June 1908 Wellington on the Corithic after departing London. He is aged 18 (born 1890) and with an occuption of Grocer. Fron his wedding notice appears to be born in Leicestershire, England.

He appears in the 1911 and 1914 Electoral Rolls as; ‘Marvell, Owen, Kaiparoro, Eketahuna, milker’.

He appears in 1916 as ‘Marvel, Owen, Farm Labourer, Alfredton, Ekatahuna’ in the WWI Reserve Rolls, Wairarapa.

Appears in the 1926 Wise Directory, as resident in Mt Edgecombe St, New Plymouth, as a Salesman. And, again in 1930 in Hamblyn St, New Plymouth, as a Salesman.

Appears in the 1946 and again the 1947 Wise Directory, as a Farmer in Waipukurau.

We know from his Will (at National Archives) that Owen Marvell died on 30 November 1955 in Hastings. He was a farmer and left his house and property in Haumoana (near Hastings) to Thomas Waterman Harland and his wife Vola Harland (perhaps Vola is his daughter). He also left (pounds) 2,000 to Margaret Robertson Free of New Plymouth (a widow), and to (pounds)500 to Eileen Joyce Yortt of Hastings (married woman). The absence in his will of any mention of Mary suggests she pre-deceased him.

  • Eileen Joyce Yortt (JP), died 7 Oct 2003 and cremated Plamerston North. Has an Obit in the Dominon Post 9 Oct 2003 (no online version found). She appears in the immgration records as arriving NZ at age 38 (and married) in 1951 with an occupation of Nurse. This suggests that she is either a distant relaive or more likely was Owen Marvell’s carer in the later stages of his life.