Frances Pople Pheney[1, 2]

Female 1856 - 1939  (82 years)

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  • Name Frances Pople Pheney 
    Born 27 Dec 1856  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5, 6
    Pancras, Marylebone 
    Gender Female 
    Baptism 3 Jun 1874  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 7
    Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Rd 
    _UID BEC8DC81CF4D41D6911CCEB8F0BD85239E1C 
    Died 9 Feb 1939  Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 8, 9
    Aratonga Rest Home, Aratonga Avenue, One Tree Hill (from Main Rd 
    Buried 11 Feb 1939  Panmure, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9
    St Matthias Anglican Cemetery 
    Person ID I1592  Treefive
    Last Modified 7 Feb 2017 

    Father Richard Cliff Francis Pheney,   b. 13 May 1831, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Oct 1869, New Plymouth, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 38 years) 
    Mother Emma Mitchell,   b. 20 Sep 1835, London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jan 1921, Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Married 4 Feb 1856  London, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [10, 11, 12
    the Old Church, St Pancras 
    Family ID F455  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    00014 Headstone - Frances Pople Pheney
    00014 Headstone - Frances Pople Pheney
    St Matthias, Panmure
    00211 Frances Pople Pheney?
    00211 Frances Pople Pheney?
    Very similar to photo 00343 - Emma Mildred Pheney
    00342 Is it Frances Pheney?
    00342 Is it Frances Pheney?
    Photo from Pip Jacombs collection
    00343 Emma Mildred Pheney
    00343 Emma Mildred Pheney
    Identified by Pat Hill 13 Jul 1998

  • Notes 

    • Frances was the first child of Richard Cliff Francis Pheney and Emma Mitchell. She was born on 27 Dec 1856 at Pancras, Marylebone in London. According to her bible, which was "A present from her grandmother Oct 8 1866", she was born at 1:30am. The bible also recorded the births of her siblings:
      Emma Mildred, born 8 Oct 1858 at 8:30am;
      Catherine born 5 Dec 1861 at 11:30am; and
      Robert Francis Vaughan born 22 Oct 1867 at 1pm.
      Catherine died in Nov 1863 and was buried at St Pancras cemetery in Camden, London.

      Frances appeared in the census in 1861 at 33 Arlington St, Pancras, Marylebone in London with her parents and sister Emma Mildred. She was then 4 years old.

      The ship Mary Shepherd left London on 8 November 1866, and arrived in Auckland on 5 March 1867. In the second cabin were R. Pheney, wife and 2 daughters (Frances and Emma Mildred) and Mrs F. Pheney and child (Louise Caroline Emma). The Rangatira sailed on 13 March from Manukau to New Plymouth, arriving on 16 March. Mr and Mrs Pheney and 2 children and Mrs F. Pheney and child were on board, in steerage.

      Richard Cliff Francis (‘R. C. F.’) Pheney and his family settled in New Plymouth, but it was not to last for long. R. C. F. died from consumption (tuberculosis) in Oct 1869. This was a turning point for the family, triggering their return to England before eventual re-emigration to New Zealand over a decade later.

      On 19 Jan 1870, the s.s. Lord Ashley left New Plymouth heading for Nelson. It arrived on 20 January. On board were Mrs Pheney and 3 children, most likely R. C. F.’s widow Emma with her children Frances, Emma and Robert (born in New Zealand in 1867). This may have been to visit Emma’s sister-in-law Marie Louise Pheney, who was to marry Thomas Larchin in Nelson in Jun 1870.

      Frances next appears in the UK census in 1871, after the family returned to England following the death of her father. She was a scholar, aged 14, living with her grandmother Emma Mitchell at 176 Stanhope Street, St Pancras, London. Her brother Robert then aged 3 was there too. Frances was baptised on 3 Jun 1874 at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Rd in London. Her sister Emma was baptised at the same time.

      As a 20 year old, Frances undertook a journey which must have been a very daring venture for a young woman in those days. She emigrated, unescorted, to New Zealand on the ship Dallam Tower in 1877, arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 13 Jan 1878; she first stepped ashore on 15 January. Frances kept a diary of her journey - among the highlights were a proposal of marriage (which she promptly but politely declined) and celebrating her 21st birthday on board. Although the marriage proposal may have been rather light-hearted, Frances may have thought back to it in later years, as she never married.

      She arrived back at Port Chalmers on the s.s. Taranaki on 19 Feb 1878, from “northern ports”. The purpose of this journey is not known. She also undertook other journeys around New Zealand on coastal ships, as was the usual mode of transport in those days. Some of these are noted below:
      Miss Pheney sailed on the s.s. Jane Douglas from the port of Foxton heading for Wellington, 5 May 1880;
      Miss Pheney left Lyttelton on the s.s. Penguin on 5 April 1881, and arrived at New Plymouth on 9 April;
      Miss Pheney sailed on the s.s. Grafton, arriving at Wellington from Greymouth, Westport and Nelson on 26 Mar 1882;
      Miss Pheney sailed on the s.s. Penguin, which arrived at Lyttelton from Manakau and way ports, 9 Jan 1886;
      Miss Pheney sailed on the ship Manapouri which arrived at Lyttelton from Wellington on 20 Jul 1886;
      She sailed on the s.s. Mararoa from Auckland as a passenger for Lyttelton on 22 Dec 1886;
      On 2 Dec 1891, the s.s. Takapuna left Lyttelton for Auckland via Wellington and West Coast ports. Miss Pheney was a passenger to Auckland;
      On 14 Jan 1892, the s.s. Takapuna arrived at Lyttelton from Manukau. Miss Pheney was on board;
      On 29 Dec 1893, the s.s. Rotomahana left Lyttelton for Sydney via Northern ports. Miss Pheney was a passenger for Wellington. About 2 January 1894, the s.s. Rotomahana arrived at Auckland from Lyttelton, Wellington and Napier. Miss Pheney was on still board;
      The s.s. Manapouri left Auckland about 26 January 1894 and arrived in Lyttelton on 30 Jan. Miss Pheney was a passenger to Lyttelton;
      On 25 Jun 1896, the s.s. Wakatipu arrived at Lyttelton from Melbourne and Hobart. Miss Pheney was on board.
      Miss Pheney travelled from Wellington to Lyttelton on the s.s. Maori, arriving on 5 Dec 1908;
      On 16 Dec 1908, the s.s. Maori arrived at Wellington from Lyttelton. Miss Pheney was a passenger;
      On 14 Dec 1912, Miss Pheney was listed as a passenger on s.s. Manaia, then at Onerahi after arriving from Auckland.

      Frances went to live with her uncle (William Mitchell, involved with Cobb & Co) and aunt in Christchurch. Her aunt has not been positively identified. Frances’ niece Constance Howell said it was “Phemie” (possibly Euphemia) or it may have been Phoebe - William Robert Mitchell and Phoebe Lee married about 1857 in Victoria, Australia.

      It is not clear how Frances supported herself, or how long she stayed with the Mitchells. Frances and her brother Robert shared their father’s interest in painting, and when she later moved to Auckland, Frances achieved at least some recognition of her efforts.

      Frances was friendly with Lilian and Irma O'Connor, great granddaughters of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the New Zealand pioneer.

      During Frances’ years in Christchurch, she led an active social life, participating in community organisations and assisting in organising public events in 1881–1888. Some of these are noted below.


      In February 1881, Miss Innes and Miss Pheney attended at the New Zealand Industrial Exhibition to deliver exhibits to the Ladies' and Juvenile Courts.

      Mrs S. Papprill and Miss Pheney organised the Ladies' Court at the Exhibition in April 1882. The Star reported: "Thanks to the unremitting exertions of Mrs S. Papprill and Miss Pheney, this court is thoroughly ready, and also in a great degree thanks to the tasteful arrangement by those ladies - into whose hands the charge of it was given - it is one of the most interesting and instructive in the building. It is a pity that considerably more space was not at their disposal in order to enable them to display more fully the beauties of the exhibits under their care. The excellence of these, in finish of work, artistic arrangement of colour and elegance of design, is far greater than could have been anticipated, and in the words of one of the promoters of the Exhibition: ‘There are articles in the court that would command prizes and honourable mention in a Paris Exposition.’"

      Fetes and Bazaars

      A Volunteer Fete was held in the Drill Shed Grounds in November 1885. Miss Pheney was in a group selling fancy articles, among them "wonderful cushions, a carved bedstead by Mr Swinnerton, with two babies in it, and a doll's house whose furniture is made of pins and wool, in a manner curious to see."

      In Aug-Nov 1888, Miss Pheney was on a committee of the Volunteers of Canterbury to assist in the work of a Bazaar and Fete to raise funds to repair the Drill Shed and to raise funds for improvements at the Rifle Range.

      In Nov 1888, Miss Pheney assisted in setting up a stall at the Volunteer Bazaar for the Christ Church Rifles. The stall was partly fancy articles and partly a large and various display of dolls of all sorts. The latter were present in all costumes, and were daintily and artistically dressed. They included military swells, a bride and bridegroom and ladies and gentlemen in yachting costume.

      St John Ambulance

      She was a committee member of the St John Ambulance Association in 1886–1905 in Christchurch, and regularly attended committee meetings.

      Among the Association’s activities was organising fancy dress balls. The third annual Fancy Dress Ball was held on 26 July 1888. Miss Pheney dressed as a lady of the time of Louis XV.

      On 22 Dec 1890 Frances attended a committee meeting of the St John Ambulance Association. On 28 Sep 1891 she attended a special meeting of the Committee of the St John Ambulance Association, with reference to the annual fancy dress ball. She was appointed to the Hall and Decoration Committee.

      There was a large attendance at the annual ball on 4 Nov 1891. Among the fancy dress characters was Miss Pheney representing Autumn.

      At the annual meeting of the Association on 30 March 1898, Miss Pheney was voted to the chair.

      At a committee meeting on 10 July 1905, Miss Pheney referred to complaints regarding the heads of patients being placed under the seat of the driver of the horse ambulance. It was decided that a placard should be placed in the ambulance directing the attendant to place patients in the ambulance feet first.

      Literary and musical

      Frances was elected as a committee member of the Avonside Literary Association on 7 Mar 1889 in Christchurch.

      At a meeting of the Christchurch Motett Society on 3 March 1890, Miss Pheney was elected as a member of the committee. The society had musical interests.

      Relief funds

      She subscribed to relief funds and other public good purposes in 1891–1915 in Christchurch:
      In Jul 1891, Miss Pheney was on the Richmond and Avonside Visiting Committee of the Press Relief Fund. The committees received applications for assistance.

      In May 1897, Miss Pheney subscribed to the Hawkes Bay Flood fund. She also made a subscription on behalf of Mrs Cuthbert and the Lancaster Park Trotting Club.

      In Apr 1898, she contributed five shillings towards purchasing a full set of brass and reed instruments for the Christchurch Garrison Band.

      In Aug 1915, Miss Pheney contributed ten shillings to the Belgian Relief Fund.
      She was a member of the Ladies' Sub-Committee (Richmond and Avonside) for poverty relief fund in Jun 1891 in Christchurch.


      On 7 Feb 1897, at a meeting of the General Committee for the Record Reigns Celebrations, Miss Pheney was appointed to the Canvassing Committee and the Demonstration Committee. She attended a meeting of the Canvassing Committee on 31 May 1897.
      On 31 Mar 1897, Miss Pheney attended a meeting of the Diamond Jubilee Committee. Her uncle W. R. Mitchell was also on the committee.


      In Sep 1898, Miss Pheney of Richmond was equal second in a garden competition held by the Beautifying Society and the Horticultural Society. In December 1890 she gained awards at a Rose Show - for baskets of roses and a basket of calceolarias. In the Horticultural Society's Garden Competition in Sep 1898, prizes were awarded for the best-kept garden of most pleasing effect. Miss Pheney of Richmond was second equal.


      Frances also had sporting interests. In Feb 1898, she was deputy-captain of the Richmond Amateur Swimming club. She was a referee at a swim meeting on 10 February. At a meeting of the committee of the club on 2 Dec 1898, Miss Pheney was elected captain.

      Move to Auckland

      Frances spent the later years of her life in Auckland, firstly at Grange Road, Mt Eden with her brother Robert from about 1914-1919. In the 1928 electoral rolls she was back in Christchurch at Bealey Avenue, and then she moved to the "Maisonette" in Pakuranga/Panmure.

      The Auckland Winter Exhibition opened on 4 May 1938. In the "Other tapestry" (tapestry other than pictures) awards, Miss Pheney gained 2nd place. In "any article cross-stitch embroidery", she gained 1st and 3rd place. In "Child's daintiest frock" Miss Pheney gained 3rd place for embroidery work (white).

      Frances died on 9 Feb 1939 at the age of 82 at Aratonga Rest Home, Aratonga Avenue, One Tree Hill (from Main Rd, Panmure) in Auckland. The causes of death were myocardial degeneration; hemiplegia; and cerebral thrombosis (2 months). She was buried on 11 Feb 1939 at St Matthias Anglican Cemetery in Panmure. Her will, made on 11 Nov 1931 in Christchurch, was filed at the Supreme Court in Auckland on 22 Mar 1939.

      The executors of Frances's will were Emma Mildred Howell (her sister) and Reginald Eugene Booker (solicitor). The estate was shared between her brother Robert (1/3), sister Emma (1/3) and Frances' mother's grandchildren (1/3) (i.e. Emma's children), all of this after minor bequests to siblings and friends Lillian Priscilla Wakefield (100 pounds) and Lillian Hulbert (100 pounds). The estate was valued at £8705/9/8 for the sealing fee on Probate payable to the Supreme Court. This considerable estate was most likely a legacy from her friendship with the Mitchells.

  • Sources 
    1. [S238] Biography Pheney, Frances Pople.
      See BIO022 for the same brief biography in text format

    2. [S510] Background Shipping Index New Plymouth Arrivals and Departures 1852-1880, Mr & Mrs Pheney & 2 chn; Mrs Pheney & 3 chn (i.e. including Frances), also "Misses Pheney"; 2 October 2000.

    3. [S25] BAP012 Baptism Pheney, Frances Pople, BAP012.

    4. [S372] BIR073 Birth Pheney, Frances P. - prepared by Heather Webber, BIR073.

    5. [S1628] DTH Death Index New Zealand, Frances Pople Pheney; 27225; 1939.

    6. [S2650] FreeBMD England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915, Jan-Mar 1857: Frances Pople Pheney.

    7. [S1002] London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, 3 Jun 1874: Mildred & Frances Pople Pheney.

    8. [S159] DTH075 Death Pheney, Frances Pople - transcript (Judy Sinnott), DTH075.

    9. [S2758] New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007, BUR193., Headstones: Panmure St Matthias.

    10. [S174] MAR011 Marriage Pheney, Richard jnr (RCF Pheney) and Mitchell, Emma, MAR011.

    11. [S1346] MAR184 Marriage Pheney, Richard, MAR184.

    12. [S2402] England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973, 4 Feb 1856: Richard Pheney and Emma Mitchell.