The Royal Mail service was a very indefinite thing. The mails, after reaching Riverton by sea, were conveyed up country by waggon, squatter, shepherd, or any .stray traveller. The rare treat of a trip to Riverton was done in an open dray, and the road was along the banks of the Jacobs. On one such occasion, the worthy couple, with such members of the family as there were, got bogged on the return trip in a creek close to the spot where the homestead now stands, and from which Mrs James has now left for the Great Beyond. The dray stuck, and father and mother each had to carry a child to Wreys Bush, six miles away. Crab holes, tussocks, and boggy parts formed a good part of the journey, and Mr James had to carry wife and children in turn across the worst parts. From Gropers to Wreys Bush no fence was to be seen, and the neighbours were certainly not crowded. Mr Martin, of Waicola Station, Captain Raymond, of Avondale and Heddon Bush, and Captain Holt, of Birchwood, pretty well ringed in Messrs Stevens and Howell’s Station, which stretched from the Double Cabbage Tree to Etal Creek, and from the Jacobs to Nightcaps and Beaumont. Mr James is not quite clear, but be does not think there was a railway station in Southland when he first settled at Wreys Bush, and the site of the present Invercargill station was a swampy patch that would bog a duck.
In 1870 Mr and Mrs James removed to Aparima, and carried on a conjoint business of farming and an accommodation house. The market town was Riverton, but as cartage of grain put that centre beyond the pale, in making sales, the market, really was in supplying teamsters passing to and fro to the diggings. From the foregoing very brief and imperfect narrative, it will be seen that the blessed lady has lived a strenuous life, into which was blended many stirring experiences, and through all of which she retained the gentleness and kindness of her English forbears.
Mr Richard James, who survives hia wife, and has reached the ripe age of 82 years, having been born in the parish of Bodmin, in Cornwall, England, left his native land in 1853 in the barque “Ascendant” for Australia. He landed at Brisbane after a voyage of 16 weeks, and spent two months in the capital of Queensland, from where he shifted to Maitland. After a short time in that western town he sailed in a round about way to Tasmania. From Brisbane, be went to Sydney in the schooner, “Uncle Tom,” from Sydney to Newcastle in the steamer “Boomerang,” and from Newcastle to Hobart in the brig, “ Alarm.” In Tasmania he met the lady who has been his help-mate and companion for almost 54 years since, through fair weather and foul, through hardship and prosperity. In 1862 he came over to Invercargill. A short spell of 6 weeks, on the Wakatipu diggings did not attract him to that life, the land always claiming his attention.
Mr and Mrs Jamies have been steadfast friends of the Western district, and have taken their part in all matters, relating to its welfare. The memory of the deceased lady is revered by a large family, comprising Messrs R. S. James, S. James, G. James, all of whom are farming in the Aparima, Mrs M. Newton, also of Aparima, Mrs John McNanghton, Riverton, Mrs T. J. Coombes and Mrs E. Cleat, Aparima, Mrs C. Crighton, Riverton, Miss C. A. James, Aparima, also by 33 grand-children. The funeral cortege to the Otautau cemetery was followed by a large concourse of people, and the burial service was very solemn as conducted by Rev. S. Bailey.
—‘ Otautau Standard.’