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ALFORD the district the NEALS family left from, is still a thriving area to this day

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ALFORD in Lincolnshire is the town the NEAL family was born and lived in. They moved to Grimsby just before they left England for the great adventure. They were bound for Lyttleton New Zealand on the "RAKAIA" and then on to Te Aroha in the North Island. They had been accepted in the "Grant and Foster" scheme to settle British immigrants 12,000 miles away on the Hauraki Plains in the North Island of New Zealand. Under the conditions imposed, Mr. Grant and Mr.Foster were to purchase 17,600 acres of land at an average price of 34 shillings an acre and survey it at their own expense. Two hundred and twenty five adults were to be brought to the colony by 1882, and by 1883, an additional 185, to whom the land would be sold by Grant and Foster.

Within six months at least 45 houses were built of durable materials and each was to contain at least 3 rooms. The settlers were to be in continuous occupation of the land for three years, and if, after that time one-fifth of the land had been brought into cultivation, the settlers would be given title to their sections. On open land the cultivation involved grassing or cropping. In bush land it was sufficient if the area was burned and the surface sown in grass. Swampland was to be drained and the surface sown. This drainage work was the major cause of failure by the immigrants who were faced with a major task. Many after extremely hard work had to walk off their holding and admit failure.

The Inspector Westminster Chambers London SW
20th April 1882

Sir, I have the honour to report that the "Rakaia" sailed from Plymouth for Canterbury at noon on Thursday 20th April, having on board 152 Souls 127 and half Statute Adults embarked under your orders as per qualified list and Surgeons certificate. Herewith endorsed and 33 souls 26 and half Statute Adult Paying Passengers engaged by The New Zealand Shipping Company.

The single women are berthed in the after part of the between decks, their compartment is lighted and ventilated by 8 side scuttles, a large iron ventilator, through the Poop, and half the Booby Hatch over the after hatchway. They have a ladder-way through the Poop Deck, the starboard poop ladder, being enclosed with a strong bulkhead, so that the young women go on to the poop deck without having access to the main deck. Their Water Closet is the foremost poop cabin on the starboard side, the cabin immediately abaft of it being fitted with as a Bath Room, and the cabin abaft that as a Hospital.

The Matrons cabin is in the between decks on the starboard side. The berths are in Fore and Aft blocks with passages towards the ships side. The married people are all berthed in cabins, their compartments extend from the Single Women's bulkhead and takes in about half the Main Hatch. This is fitted with a Booby Hatch and is the ladder-way. The compartment is further lighted by and ventilated by half the After Booby Hatch, by a Saddle Skylight in Midships and by 6 side Scuttles. The Hospital is the foremost Poop Cabin on the Port side, and the Dispensary is a cabin abaft it. There is a bathroom and Water Closet for the Married Women and children on the Starboard side, and a Water Closet on the Port side adjoining the Awning Cabins of the Poop. The Issuing Room is abreast the Main Hatchway on the starboard side between decks. The Single Men are in the Port part of the Between Decks, they have the front hatchway properly fitted with a Booby Hatch for their ladder-way, and their are 4 side scuttles and shaft through the Midship Deck house on the after end of the Compartment. The Hospital is in the Fore part of the Midship DeckHouse. I examined the Provisions and Stores with the Emigration Officer Mr. Waite. They were all very good. I furnished the Surgeon Superintendent with copies of the list of Stores and copies are enclosed herewith.

The 2 quarter Boats are properly fitted LifeBoats, and the boats were got out at Plymouth and were in good working order. The Crew were told off to their respective boat Stations and Fire Stations. The ship left the Docks on Sunday the 16th instant and after adjusting her Compasses at Greenwich proceeded to Plymouth where she arrived on Tuesday the 18th instant at 10pm. Previously to the Ship leaving London, the Manager of The Company after consultation with me on the subject, had the crew and passengers who embarked in London, examined by a Surgeon and in compliance with my request they were again examined at Plymouth by the Medical Inspector Dr Morris and the Surgeon Superintendent before the Emigrants were embarked.

The Emigrants were inspected by Emigration Officer Mr Clarke. And the Medical Inspector Dr Morris in the presence of the Surgeon Superintendent Dr Crawford and myself on Wednesday the 19th instant and were embarked at 6.3Opm. On the morning of the 2Oth I went on board and finding everything in good order I gave your Sailing Instructions to the Captain and the ship got underway at noon and proceeded on her voyage. I appointed Martha Stubbs as Matron and requested the Surgeon to select one of the young women to act as Sub-Matron and also to appoint a Schoolmaster or Schoolmistress if he could find a suitable person to fill the office.
I have the honour to be,
Sir, Your most Obedient Servant Edward A Smith.
Despatching Officer. 20 April 1882


RAKAIA, ship, 1400 tons, Capt Bone, from London via Plymouth.
The ship sailed on the 28th of April 1882. After the vessel had put to sea one of the crew took with the dreaded small pox, then another and then a passenger Barry Brown. One can only imagine the terror and worry that gripped the families with this news. Dr Crawford the Ships Doctor, himself a consumptive person advised the Master, Captain Bone to return to Plymouth, and there Dr Crawford left.
His place being taken by Dr Husband, an old acquaintance as Surgeon Superintendent of emigrant ships. At Plymouth a decidedly intense application of soap and sulphur was served out to both crew and passengers, every one of whom was not only lathered with carbolic soap and scrubbed but also afterwards enveloped in a sack up to the chin and sulphur dried.This process over they were taken from the ship to a steamer, and by the latter taken down the Sound to get the sea air. The three sick men were removed to a hulk used for a hospital, and after the Rakaia had put in a month at Plymouth, and undergone the regulation fumigation and white washing, she was permitted to resume her voyage on the 28th of May.

From Plymouth to the Cape of Good Hope the winds were so light and the weather so fine that the small sails of the ship were kept steadily set. The Equator was crossed on the 2nd of June in 23'W, and the Cape of Good Hope was passed a month later. Good westerlies prevailed for the first week of August, but grew poor as the easting was made. The Leuwin meridian was made on August 12th and that of Tasmania week after and the Snares sighted on Monday last. The RAKAIA arrived at Lyttleton on the 2nd of September 1882.


Mr and Mrs Bell and [1]. Mr and Mrs Best and family [4]
Mr and Mrs A Brown and family [3]. Mr and Mrs Long.
Mr and Mrs Matheson and family[3]. Mr and Mrs Milnes and family [5]
Mr and Mrs Murdoch. Mr and Mrs Sinclair and family [2]. Mr and Mrs J Smith
Mrs Willoughby and family. [4]. Messrs. J and M Bideman. 0 Bronach
R and G Brown. P Corrigan. D Cumin. A Davidson. L Doyle.
S Evison. L Hadderman. E Hughes. P McDonald. H and J McDonnell.
J Mackle. I Murray. P Ohara. M Groerney. M Scanlan.
J Weir R Whally. W S Butler. 0 Boyle.
Mrs Grinly and family [8]. Mrs Cameron and family [4].
Mrs Barr and family [7]. Mrs Marshall and family [5]
Mr Robinson and family [3]. Mrs Rober and family [2].
Mrs Sharp and family [5]. Mrs Swan and child.
Mrs Stubbs and child. Mrs Voyce and family [4].
Messrs. J White. R Wallace. M Tweedie. F Share. N Reynolds.
K Redmond. A Queenan. L and L Pearson. J Mercer. A and K Drury.
A M and J Long. E Kirk. A and M Davis M and E Harrington.
M and E Gray. K and B Gavin. J Doyle. 3 Browne. B Barry.
S Allen. C Corrigan. M McDonald. N 0'Hara. M O'Sullivan. E Scanlan.

Ordinary Steerage:
Mr and Mrs Dove. Mr and Mrs Davis. Misses. Dent. Edgcombe.

For Grant and Foster's settlement.
Mr and Mrs Madans. Mr and Mrs Neil [sic] and family.
Mr and Mrs Newcombe and child.

Messrs: Marlick. Thackeray. Wilkins.
New Zealand Shipping Co. Agents


Old Lincolnshire Census Records showed that on the 1st April 1851
James NEAL. age 37. occ: Ag Lab, and Diana nee THORNDIKE. age 39.
were living in Thursby with their family.
Teresa. age 17.
Moses. age 13.
Mark. age 9.
Charles. age 7.
Iley. age 6.
Amos. age 3.

George HEWSON. occ: blacksmith, and Maria Mary nee KEAL.
were living in West St Alford with their children.
Sarah Ann. age 9, the future wife of Moses NEAL
William. age 7,
Isabez. age 3,
Ann Elizabeth. age 1.

Next door in West St lived George’s father and mother
Thomas HEWSON. age 62, occ: blacksmith, and Mahala nee NORTH. age 63.
Their family at this date was
Martha. age 22
Emma. age 4 a grandaughter.


The next record is in the 1881 Census as follows: Dwelling: 114 Macaulay St
Census Place: Great Grimsby, Lincoln, England
1 Nov 1860 Moses and Sarah Ann married at the Parish Church Alford.

Moses NEAL. 41. M. born Bilsby, Lincoln, England
Sarah A. NEAL.38. M. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Moses NEAL. 18. M. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Tom NEAL. 15. M. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Willie NEAL. 12. M. born Alford, Lincoln, England Rd:
Annie NEAL. 8. F. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Rose NEAL. 7. F. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Eliza NEAL. 5. F. born Alford, Lincoln, England
John NEAL. 3. M. born Alford, Lincoln, England
Ada NEAL. 1. F. born Alford, Lincoln, England

There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.

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