Sadly, my Great Grandparents, Henry and Mary McKegney’s escape from the horrors of Ireland in 1876, by emigrating to New Zealand, only afforded them nine years of peaceful living before tragedy struck.

Their family in 1885, which now included four children, John, Henry, (my grandfather), Annie, and Mary were supporting themselves with Henry’s labouring work, when he was accidentally killed.

Snippetts taken from New Zealand’s, ‘Papers Past’, website, describe the events of the time.

henrys death 1

The funeral was in the Catholic part of the ‘Owaka’, now ‘Taylor’ cemetery at Blenheim.

Henry's death 2

Subscriptions were taken up to help provide for the widow and orphans by the Hibernian Society, added to by a collection at the Catholic Church, and a Charity ball held in the Odd Fellows Hall was  arranged to raise funds, by a Mr Chittenden.

Mary and her eldest son John were called upon to give evidence at the inquest.

Henry's death 3

Henry's death 4

After Henry’s death the donations raised for Mary and the children were used to build them a two roomed cottage.