William Henry Batson and Emily Sarah Crooks married on
26 August, 1889 in the Office of the Registrar of Marriages, Dunedin. They stated they were living at Bluff at the time of their marriage.
William Henry Batson (an experienced diver) and a team of six men including Mr Sherwin and Mr John Sutherland tried to salvage the silver coins on the wreck of the ss "Tararua" off Waipapa Point from around October 1889 to March 1891 when William Batson retired from actively participating in the work and Mr Elliott bought in to this salvage operation. The salvage operation was being conducted from Fortrose.
This information was found in Papers Past newspaper cuttings from the Southland Times and and the Nelson Evening Mail.
"The wreck attracted several salvage attempts as it apparently went down with a cargo of silver" - documented in New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Author Joan Macintosh wrote a book called "The Wreck of the Tararua" and I am wondering if there is any mention made of the men who were involved in the salvage operation in her book. She was upset that unauthorised divers boarded the wreck and removed items none of which should be held in private collections she maintained - she in fact bought the wreck from the Union Steamship Company, researched it and wrote its tragic history.
My interest is in William Henry Batson and his new wife Emily Sarah Crooks who is my paternal grandmother.
I am trying to find any information I can about them while William was involved in the salvage operation.
William had in fact married my grandmother bigamously.
In February 1891 his wife Emily Lucy Julia (Hicks) Batson arrived in New Zealand from England. This was at the same time Batson withdrew from actively participating in the salvage operation.
From 1889 to 1894 I have no further information on what happened to my grandmother Emily Crooks. I am seeking information on her and hope that some small fragment may come to life by posting this message.
William Batson went on to own The Prince of Wales Hotel in Tapanui among other exploits including growing flax on the banks of the Pomahaka river each side of the mill site he owned with Mr Dodd.
By December 1892 William Henry Batson was declared bankrupt in the Supreme Court of Bankruptcy Dunedin stating he arrived in NZ with 1,000 pounds free of liability. He expended all his money in his endeavour to recover the bullion. Here I will add that Emily Sarah Crooks had inherited 500 pounds from her late employer Dame Mary Jane Flower of 24 Lowndes Square, Chelsea, London in early 1889 just before her marriage to Batson and I wonder whether this was his reason to marry her bigamously??????
Further research has revealed that Emily Sarah Crooks and Emily Lucy Julia (Hicks) Batson were listed as inmates at the same workhouse the Hanwell School in London in 1871.
For now any little thread of information will be gratefully received.