William Brown

#7586, (c 1853 - 2 Mar 1911)
     William Brown was born c 1853 at Rothes, Moray, Scotland ,

Parents: William Brown and Margaret Thom

(so William and John Leslie Brown are brothers.)

William Brown married Margaret McDonald, daughter of Robert McDonald and Elizabeth Grigor, on 14 Aug 1886 at Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand .1

William died on 2 Mar 1911 at Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand ,

William Brown, Builder, aged 58 years.
Parents: William Brown, Stone Mason & Margaret Thom
Born Glasgow, Scotland and 30 years in NZ
Married in Ashburton, aged 33 to Margaret McDonald

Living Issue:
2 Males: 23 & 11yrs
2 Females: 24 & 14yrs

Informant was Wm Fouley, Sergt Police, Ashburton.2,3

William's cause of death on 2 Mar 1911 was from Verdict of Coroner
Found Drowned.

William's death notice appeared on 3 Mar 1911 in the "Ashburton Guardian", New Zealand ,

On March 2nd, at Ashburton, William, the beloved husband of Margaret Brown; aged 58

The Inquest.
An inquest concerning the death of William Brown, builder and contractor, whose body was found in the Domain swimming bath early on Thursday morning was held before the Coroner, Mr V G Day, SM today.
William Brown, son of the deceased, said that his father went to bed at 10 o'clock on Wednesday, suffering from back trouble. He had been drinking of late, but not for the two days previous to his death. He heard his father get up about 4 o'clock on the morning of the fatality, and get a drink of water. About twenty minutes to five Mrs Brown woke him, and told witness that his father was missing. He waited for a time, expecting his father to return, but as he did not do so, witness went in search of him. As he passed through the Domain at the swimming bath, he saw his father's cap, which he found, was on deceased's head, the body being upright in the deep water. Witness tried to raise the body, but failed. He went for assistance, and brought back Mr J Readhead, the curator of the Domain, and together they got the body out. His father had not been in good health for some two years, and about the beginning of last month seemed to be worried by financial troubles. Deceased had also had a great deal of domestic trouble, but he knew of no reason why his father should commit suicide. He had never threatened to do anything of the kind.
David John, assistant curator of the Public Gardens, Christchurch, gave evidence as to assisting in getting the body out of the water.
Alexander McDonald, partner in the firm of Brown and McDonald, builders, said that deceased, who was his brother-in-law, was not of a despondent turn of mind. The firm was in a good financial position. He had seen deceased in bed on Wednesday, and decease told him that he might be well in a very short time. He had been drinking at the time, witness thought. He could see no reason why he should commit suicide. He certainly had domestic trouble, but that would not warrant any action of that kind.
Dr Hunter said that shortly after 6.30am on Thursday he was called to see the body, and when he arrived, Mr Readhead, was trying artificial means of respiration. There were no signs of life, and its appearance pointed to the cause of death being drowning, although, if deceased had been in a weak state of health, it was quite possible that death might have followed on the shock caused by jumping into the cold water.
The Coroner returned an open verdict of "Found Drowned".4

William was buried on 4 Mar 1911 at Ashburton Cemetery, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand ,

Loving Memory
Beloved Husband of
Margaret Brown
died March 2nd 1911
aged 58
So Loved So Mourned
Wife of Above
Died Nov 14th 1941
aged 85.5

William and Margaret Brown
Ashburton Cemetery
photo courtsey Alan Brown

William Brown's estate was probated on 9 Mar 1911 at Timaru High Court, Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand ,

Letter of Administration were requested to be granted to William Ernest Brown of Ashburton, Carpenter in the estate of William Brown late of Ashburton, Carpenter. 9th March 1911

The deceased was his natural and lawful father and that he left his surviving Widow Margaret Brown and the following children: myself his son and one other son namely Alexander McDonald Brown aged 11 years and two daughters namely Margaret Catherine Brown aged 24 years and Bessie Gregor Brown aged 14 years.

William stated he could find no Will or testamentary writing or papers signed by his father, and that the estate value was under £500.6

William and Margaret had 4 Children.

Children of William Brown and Margaret McDonald


  1. [S2] NZRGO, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, NZ BDM Indexes, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1886 NZ Online Database: 1886/ 196. Hereinafter cited as NZ BDM Indexes.
  2. [S1] Certificate held on file, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Hereinafter cited as Certificate held on file.
  3. [S2] NZRGO, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, NZ BDM Indexes: 1911 NZ Online Database: 1911/ 9627 aged 58.
  4. [S10] Newspaper, Various Papers, Ashburton Guardian Vol XXXI, Issue 8308, 3 March 1911 Page 2 - both on same page.. Hereinafter cited as Newspaper Article.
  5. [S3] NZSG, NZ Cemetery Records (Auckland, New Zealand & Online Council Databases: NZSG, 1988), Ashburton District Council Online Database: Area 148 Plot 38. Hereinafter cited as NZ Cemetery Records.
  6. [S40] Probate NZ, 1911 Timaru Court office- Christchurch - Item ID R21844087 Record No TU162/1911, Housed at National Archives New Zealand.