Dennis and his wife Johanna emigrated from Ireland in 1874 on the ship 'Waimate' arriving at Lyttleton in January 1875. Also making the voyage were Dennis' 7 year old son from a previous marriage and 2 children from his marriage to Johanna, Timothy, aged 2, who died on the voyage and Margaret who was born on the voyage
Cheap land was being sold at Kakahu Bush in Geraldine and the family made their way there. Dennis built a house for his family and set up business as a carrier with horse and dray. Seven more children were born in their new home, John 1878, Johanna 1879, Elizabeth 1880, Ellen 1882, Dennis 1883, Catherine 1885 and Cecilia in 1886. Tragedy was to strike the family again when Dennis jnr died at the age of 3 months from whooping cough.
On the evening of June 26, Dennis was on his way back home to Kakahu with the horse and dray. He never made it home. A search the next day found Dennis face down in the Hae Hae river beside his dray. An inquest held on the 28th surmised Dennis had attempted to cross the old ford with his heavily laden dray which had become stuck in the river. It was likely that Dennis had entered the river to extricate the horses. Witnesses at the inquest stated they thought Dennis may have been intoxicated prior to the accident. The coroner stated that it was easier for a slightly intoxicated person to drown in just a few inches of water, than when comatose from drink or sober. A verdict was returned of 'accidently drowned' whilst slightly intoxicated.
Dennis Sugrue died on June 26 1886 and was just 40 years old. nb - death index-1886/123 - recorded as Denis Shugrue
1878/8058 Shugrue John Johannah Denis 1880/7974 Sugrue Johanna Johanna Denis 1880/15372 Sugrue Elizabeth Johanna Dennis 1882/4170 Sugrue Ellen Johanna Dennis 1883/18996 Sugrue Dennis Johanna Dennis 1884/7605 Sugrue Catherine Johanna Dennis 1886/12744 Sugrue Cecilia Johanna Dennis
canterbury,nz-fatalities, deaths, inquests from various newspapers pre 1902, nzbdm index : nz death index-1886/123 - recorded as denis shugrue, paperspast.natlib.govt.nz : Timaru Herald - 29/6/1886-page 3-Inquest at Winchester, family descendant
"New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DW13-WL?cc=1609792&wc=MP7N-DT1%3A119046201%2C119083102%2C119044101 : 21 May 2014), Canterbury > 1875 > image 42 of 61; Archives New Zealand, Wellington.
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