James Haldane Watt

Male 1799 - 1876  (77 years)


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  • Name James Haldane Watt 
    Born 1799  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Christened Y  [2
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1814  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    apprentice goldsmith 
    Misc 1825  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    was a jeweller 
    Address:
    41 New Street, Canongate 
    Misc 1831–1832  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    was a watchmaker/seal engraver/jeweller 
    Address:
    7 North David Street 
    Misc 1834–1835  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    was a watchmaker/seal engraver/jeweller 
    Address:
    17 Rose Street 
    Immigration Abt 1839  [1
    Misc 1842 
    engraved the plaque for the top of Governor Hobson's coffin 
    Occupation 1842 
    watchmaker 
    Occupation 1844  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    watchmaker 
    Location Oct 1844  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    purchase of land 
    Address:
    One Tree Hill 
    Misc kept a family bible  [2
    Immigration Oct 1849  New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Occupation 1876  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    jeweller 
    Address:
    Great South Road 
    _UID DC385C8E5222473FB0F6B54F71F7429FEB60 
    Died 28 Jun 1876  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4
    Address:
    Hopeton, Great South Road 
    Buried 1 Jul 1876  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Address:
    Symonds Street Cemetery 
    Person ID I1505  Treefive
    Last Modified 3 Apr 2016 

    Father John Watt,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Ann Hunter,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 14 Oct 1797  Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1956  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Isabella Kerse,   d. 5 Jan 1848, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1825  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1958  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Jane Sanders Neilson,   b. Abt 1829,   d. 26 Jun 1911, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married 25 Sep 1849  Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Children 
     1. Robert Henry Watt,   b. 26 Jan 1851, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1933, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years)
     2. David Bruce Watt,   b. 11 Feb 1853,   d. 8 Oct 1925  (Age 72 years)
     3. John Watt,   b. 13 Jul 1855, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1920, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
     4. Sarah Jane Watt,   b. 10 Sep 1857, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Dec 1906, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
     5. Mary Anne Watt,   b. 13 Apr 1860, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Oct 1862  (Age 2 years)
     6. James Irvine Watt,   b. 1864,   d. 21 Sep 1866  (Age 2 years)
    Family ID F453  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 


    • This biography of James Haldane Watt is reproduced her by kind permission of the author, Miranda Welch.

      James Haldane Watt

      According to the family bible held by Uncle Jim, James Haldane Watt was the son of John Watt and Ann Hunter, and that in 1799 he was the first child baptised by James Haldane, recently ordained pastor of the First Congregational Church, located at 1801 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland.

      The Old Parochial Register records the marriage of his parents, John Watt and Ann Hunter, in Edinburgh on 14 Oct 1797. At the time both were resident in Lady Yester's Parish. Ann is noted as daughter of William Hunter, threadmaker of Dundee. John is noted as Auctioneer, but years later, on his son's death certificate, he is recorded as Architect.

      In ‘The Edinburgh Goldsmiths l: Training, Marks, Outputs and Demographics', by Janice Dietert and Rodney Dietert, James Haldane Watt was indentured as an apprentice goldsmith in 1814, in Edinburgh. He is listed as an apprentice working elsewhere – as shown below.

      Possibly Aberdeen then
      Stewart, John 1809 Dumfries c. 1820
      Fenwick, George (2) 1812 Tobago 1821
      Watt, James Haldane 1814 New Zealand c. 1835
      Sutter, John 1815 Liverpool c. 1831
      Urquhart, Leonard 1815 Perth 1835
      McLean, George 1816 Dumfries before 1861

      Edinburgh Apprentices Working Elsewhere - 171

      At the time of James Haldane Watt's marriage in 1825, he is listed as 'Goldsmith of 41 New Street, Canongate. Later, as a watchmaker/seal engraver / jeweller, he had premises at 7 Nth David Street (1831-2) and 17 Rose Street (1834-5).

      James Haldane Watt married Isabella Kerss on December 18 1825. Little is known about Isabella. For a number of years we mistakenly believed she was Isabella Morton. However, in 2001, a Monument Inscription came to light in Roxburgh, Scotland, which reads: James Kerss, fisherman in Sprouston died 14 12 1838 aged 83. Isabella his beloved daughter and affectionate wife of James J Watt died at Auckland NZ 1848. From this information we located James and Isabella’s marriage details. At the time of their marriage they were both living at different house numbers in New Street, Edinburgh.

      We believe James Haldane Watt arrived in New Zealand from Australia, possibly on the Lady Lilford – although it is unclear whether he was accompanied by Isabella. We also believe he was Auckland’s first watchmaker / jeweller. The NZ Gazette for 1842 lists his occupation as a watchmaker, and we know that he engraved the plaque for the top of Governor Hobson’s coffin in 1842.

      After Isabella’s death, James Haldane returned to Scotland, where he married Jane Sanders Neilson of Dumfries on 25th Sept 1849, in Glasgow. Jane Sanders Nielson was the daughter of Robert Neilson and Sarah Hannah. James Haldane and Jane Sanders returned to NZ in October 1849, and their first son, Robert Henry was born in 1855.

      According to Uncle Jim, James Haldane used to have 2 properties in Shortland Street, and indeed Robert Henry’s birth was recorded as being in Shortland Street. In the early 1840’s, James Haldane purchased 400 acres of land from Greenlane through to Penrose. It seems he bought the land in at least two parcels, from a Maori chief called Wanganui (alias Tauteri), a Chief of the Ngati Whatua iwi. A copy of the deed for a block of land purchased in 1844 states that he purchased it for one silver watch, one gold ring, together of the value of ten pounds ten shillings sterling.

      James Haldane and Jane Sanders had six children in New Zealand. According to the family bible, it seems that their eldest son, Robert Henry, received his middle name from his paternal uncle, implying the James Haldane had a brother called Henry.

      According to the obituary for Robert Henry (James Haldane’s eldest son) reported that James Haldane and Sir John Logan Campbell were close friends, and together they selected two blocks of land , the One Tree Hill property and an area extending from Garland Road to Penrose. Sir John Logan Campbell first took up the Ellerslie block, and Mr Watt the One Tree Hill property, but they later exchanged their blocks of land, as Sir John expressed a preference for what is now known as Cornwall Park.

      James Haldane and Jane lived in a house called Hopeton along what is now Great South Rd. The Council put Great South Road through the middle of James Haldane’s property. The land on which Penrose High School stands is part of James Haldane’s block of land.

      James Haldane was actively involved in the affairs of the young colony. In 1854, James Haldane was one of a number of petitioners protesting against the City Building Bill, that was requiring them to erect expensive buildings “when not a single line or level of any street is determined” and requesting that the City not sanction the bill in its present form, or at least until “the lines and levels of the streets are fully determined and the footpaths and streets throughout the City formed”. The petitioners were also concerned that, in order to prevent fire in the city, that the City should prohibit further erection of wooden buildings and instead encourage buildings of brick or stone. The New Zealander, 11th February 1854.

      The graves for James Haldane, Isabella and Jane Sanders are in the Symonds Street cemetery, Auckland. According to the cemetery records digitised by the Auckland Public Libraries, the inscriptions on the tombstones are as follows:

      “In loving memory of Isabella wife of James Watt died 3rd January 1848" and "In memory of Mary Anne, daughter of J.H. and Jane Watt, aged 2 years 6 months died October 24th 1862, I shall go to her home but shall not return home, and James Irving, the beloved fourth son of J.H. & Jane Watt died September 21st 1866 aged 2 years & 8 months, J.H.W. fear not little flock for its your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom, in loving memory of J.H. Watt who died 28th June 1876 in his 78 year, yea though I walk in death's dark vale yet I will fear no ill for thou art with me thy rod and staff my comfort still Psalm 23.4, also his wife Jane Sanders died June 27th 1911 aged 82 years".

      Below is a transcript of the original deed by which James purchased 400 acres of land near One Tree Hill from Wanganui alias Tauteri

      Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, From the Year 1815 to 1840, with Pre-Emptive and Other Claims

      Deeds—No. 99

      One-Tree Hill (Land near), Onehunga, Manukau District.

      This Indenture made the 21st day of October 1844. Between Wanganui alias Tauteri 1844. 21 October.Manukau District.One-Tree Hill. J. H. Watt. a Chief of the Nate Whatua residing at Okahu near Auckland in the Territory of New Zealand on the one part and James Haldane Watt of Auckld. aforesaid Watchmaker on the other part Witnesseth that whereas the said James. Haldane Watt did on the 18th day of October current deliver to the said Wanganui alias Tauteri One Silver Watch and one Gold Ring together of the value of Ten Pounds Ten Shillings sterling as the agreed-on price for the piece or parcel of Land aftermentioned the receipt whereof he Receipt. the said Wanganui alias Tauteri doth hereby acknowledge And whereas he the said Wanganui alias Tautere did upon delivery of the said Watch and Ring as aforesaid execute in Maori a document of the tenor and contents following, "Akarana Oketopa Original agreement. 18, 1844. Kua wakaae a hau kia Himi Wati ki te wahi whenua hei utu mo te wati mo te Rini. Ki raro i te wahi kua hokoa e ia imua kei reira tahi ano e takoto tahi ana. Wanganui." Anglice—"Auckland October 18, 1844. I agree to let James Watt have the piece of ground in payment for the Watch and the Ring, the piece below the ground I sold him before both being Together." Now this Indenture also witnesseth that in consideration of the Articles paid by the said James Haldane Watt to the said Wanganui alias Tauteri for the absolute purchase of the piece or parcel of land aftermentioned as aforesaid and without hurt or prejudice to the document above quoted sed accumulando jura juribus the said Wanganui alias Tauteri doth hereby grant bargain convey and assure unto the said James Haldane Watt and his heirs All that piece or parcel of Land (delineated on the Map or Plan on the margin hereof) lying to the East or North East of One Tree Hill in the parish of Waitemata and county of Eden and bounded as Boundaries. [400 acres.] follows: on the North by land partly belonging to — Moffit and partly to Paora, on the East by the land of the Native called William Hobson, on the South by land partly belonging to Te Rawhiti and partly to —— and on the West by the Lands of the said James Haldane Watt formerly purchased by him from the said Wanganui alias Tauteri. In Witness whereof the said parties have hereunto put their hands the day and year first above written.
      Na Wanganui.
      J. H. Watt.
      Signed and delivered by the said parties (the whole deed having been previously read over and its nature and import fully explained in Maori to the said Wanganui alias Tauteri by D. R. Gale of Auckland) in presence of—
      D. R. Gale, of Auckland Gent.
      Barnet Keesing Storekeeper.
      A True Copy of Original Deed.No. 67.P.C.
      H. Hanson Turton.
      Wellington, 21st July, 1880

  • Sources 
    1. [S3793] DTH Death Register New Zealand, Auckland; James Haldane Watt; 28 June 1876; Registrar's Return of all Entries of Deaths in the Register Book for the District of auckland; 414; 21 July 1876.

    2. [S4437] BAC344 Watt, James Haldane - family bible.

    3. [S4040] LOC197 Maori Deed of Old Private Land Purchases, Wanganui alias Tauteri and J. H. Watt; Auckland, New Zealand; between 18 October 1844 and 21 October 1844; Land to the East or North East of One Tree Hill [400 acres] as described in the Deed and as on the map in the Deed ; Deeds - no. 99; consideration for the land was one silver watch and one gold ring plus ten pounds ten shillings sterling.

    4. [S2927] DTH379 Death notice Watt, James Haldane, James Haldane Watt; 29 June 1876; page 2.