Edward McGraw/ James Clark

ID# 162, (12 Jan 1839 - 23 May 1883)
James Clark

Edward McGraw was born on 12 Jan 1839 at 20 Johnson Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, England,

Edward McGraw
at 10pm, boy
Parents: Joseph McGraw, Labourer & Margaret McGraw formerly Freel

Informant: Margaret McGraw her x mark, Mother. No 20 Johnson Street
20th Jan 1839.1,2

He was the son of Joseph McGraw and Margaret Freel.

Edward McGraw was baptised on 26 Jan 1839 in St Peters Priory, Liverpool, Lancashire, England,

Baptised 26 Jan 1839
Born 13 Jan 1839
Edward Magrath
Parents: Joseph & Margaret Magrath
Godfather: Edward Peal
Godmother: Bridget Martin.1,3

Edward McGraw/ James Clark was also known as Edward McGraw.

Edward appeared on the 1841 English Census of 6 Jun 1841 in the household of Joseph McGraw at Park Lane, Liverpool, Lancashire, England;
MAGRAY Joseph, 30, Labourer, Ireland
MAGRAY Margaret, 24, Ireland
MAGRAY Edward, 2, Born in county Yes
MAGRAY Patrick, 20, Ireland.4

Edward appeared on the 1851 English Census of 30 Mar 1851 in the household of Joseph McGraw at Forrest Street, No 2 Court, Liverpool, Lancashire, England;
McGRAW Joseph, Head, M, 45, Dock Labourer, Ireland
McGRAW Margaret, Wife, M, 40, Ireland
McGRAW Edward, Son, Un, 12, St Thomas School, Liverpool
McGRAW Joseph, Son, Un, 9, St Thomas School, Liverpool
McGRAW John, Son, Un, 5, Pitt St School, Liverpool
McGRAW James, Son, Un, 10mths, Liverpool.5

Edward McGraw immigrated c 1857 from Liverpool England to Otago, New Zealand ,

Edward came to New Zealand about 1857 on what ship as yet unknown. Most likely as a sailor as his occupation seems to centre around the sea.

Though on intention to Marry states he had been in Dunedin only 6 months, making arrival in Dunedin itself around October 1862.
Was he somewhere else in NZ before going to Dunedin ??

Edward McGraw and Harriett Jubber applied for an Application to Marry on 15 Apr 1863 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand ,

Edward McGRAW,
Bachelor, Mariner,
Aged 25,
Dwelling Place Dunedin;
Length of Residence 6 months
Harriett JUBBER,
Spinster, no profession,
Aged 27,
Dwelling Place Dunedin;
Length of Residence 5 months

Place where marriage to be solemnized:
In the Roman Catholic Chapel Dunedin.6

Edward McGraw married Harriett Jubber, daughter of Joseph Jubber and Harriett Smith, on 19 Apr 1863 at Roman Catholic Chapel, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand ,

Edward McGraw,
of Dunedin, aged 24, Bachelor, Mariner
Harriett Jubber
of Dunedin, aged 27, Spinster

Witnessess: Francis Johnson Cooper, Dunedin & Elizabeth Brice Mawson
Revd D Moreau, Cath Priest

There is no marriage notice in the papers.1,7

Edward and Harriett McGraw posed for a photo c 1864.

Edward and Harriet with their eldest child

In 1866 Edward after the death of their son John.
Family story goes that after the death of John William 1866, Harriet left Edward to go back home to her parents. While she was there she found out she was pregnant with Margaret, and her parents sent her back to New Zealand.

It is around this time either while Harriet was away or just after she returned that for some reason Edward McGraw changed his name to James Clark. He then started working for the Marine Department as a Lighthouse Keeper and all records from then onwards are under the name of James Clark and the family also adopt the Surname of CLARK.8

As of 1 May 1867,Edward McGraw/ James Clark was also known as James Clark.

James's occupation Mariner/ Lighthouse Keeper

He was first appointed to the Lighthouse Service on 1 May 1867 as an Probationally Assistant Lighthouse Keeper at Taiaroa Heads.
He later served at the Nuggets ( 1 June 1875) and then Dog Island on 1 February 1879 until his death by a fall down Dog Island Lighthouse on 23 May 1883.
Copies of paper work concerning his employment are held on file, along with various letters to the Marine Department, and a copy of the inquest papers into his death.

James Clark was on the 1867 Electoral Roll Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand ,

CLARK James, Port Chalmers, Freehold, Section 217, Port Chalmers.9

On 11 May 1867 James Clark was employed as
Probationary Assistant Lightkeeper at Taiaroa Head Lighthouse.10

Taiaroa Head Lighthouse

James received a Letter from Margaret
He had a sister living in Liverpool in March 1868 as a copy of a letter exists. It reads:

3 March 1868 Liverpool
To my brother
To thee, the lov'd companion of my youth This tribute of affection I address Trusting a sister's love may give a worth To that which otherwise were valueless The hollow world will meet thee with a smile While Fortune smiles but should she tickle prove the smile becomes a frown False friends desert This then still warmer Glows a sister's love.11

James Clark was on the 1870 Electoral Roll Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand ,

CLARK James, Port Chalmers, Freehold, Section 217, Port Chalmers.12

On 15 Apr 1870 James Clark was employed as
Principal Lighthouse Keeper at Taiaroa Head Lighthouse.10

James Clark was on the 1874 Electoral Roll Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand ,

CLARK James, Port Chalmers, Freehold, Section 217, Port Chalmers.13

On 1 Jun 1875 James Clark was employed as
Principal Lighthouse Keeper, Nugget Point Lighthouse.10

Nugget Point Lighthouse, taken Aug 2012

On 1 Feb 1879 James Clark was employed as
Principal Lighthouse Keeper of Dog Island Lighthouse.10

Dog Island Lighthouse, 36m High
Dog Island Lighthouse also showing the Keepers Houses
Taken Aug 2012

James Clark was on the 1883 Directory.

CLARK, J, Dog Island, Campbelltown, Otago.14

James Clark wrote a letter to The Secretary of Marine

Dog Island Lighthouse
30 April 1883

I beg to bring under your notice that there has been a serious breach of the 51st clause of Instructions to Light Keepers by Senior Assistant Harper.

Extract from letter:
It is with profound regret I have to say that on the night of 17th a male child was born the subject of immediate investigation. As myself and wife is in extreme trouble over this sad affair will you please send a magistrate and Government Doctor at your earliest convenience......

I have the honour to be
Your most obedient servant
James Clark
Principal Keeper.10

James died on 23 May 1883 at Dog Island Lighthouse, Bluff, Southland, New Zealand , at age 44 years, 4 months and 11 days

James Clark
Lighthouse Keeper
Aged 45
Died: 23 May 1883, Dog Island Lighthouse
Born: Liverpool, 26 years in NZ
Married: Dunedin, aged 25 to Harriett Jubear (sic)
Living Issue: M - 2 ages unknown; F - 4 ages unknown

Parents: Information required, Not Known.1,15

James's cause of death on 23 May 1883 was from
Verdict of Jury, accidently Killed by Fall through Dog Island Lighthouse

As per the article in the Southland Times, Monday June 4 1883

"The Coroner said he thought the Jury would have very little trouble coming to a decision. Collie's explanation of the necessity for putting on those weights and the finding of a weigh and the piece of quartering at the bottom of the shaft, pointed to an accident.
Mr W Henderson (a juror) remarked that the occurrence showed that the attention of the Marine Department should be called to the very dangerous position in which the keepers had to place themselves while adjusting the lights.
The Jury, without retiring, found that the deceased James Clark, was killed by accidently falling seventy=six feet while in the execution of his duty.16

24 May 1883 James Clark was mentioned in the "Southland Times", New Zealand , newspaper



Our Bluff correspondent informs us that early yesterday morning, signals were made from Dog Island Lighthouse that medical assistance was required, and that the principal light-keeper was dying. The pilot crew took Dr Closs, Sergeant Nickle, and the Customs officer across, when they found Clark dead. It appears that Clark went up the tower at 4am to relieve Wm. Collie, and he went home. Mrs Clark went out about half-past seven, and noticed that the lights were still buring although it was daylight. Not seeing her husband, she went up the tower, but could not find him. On coming down she called Collie, and he, accompanied by first assitant Harper, searched the outside of the tower without success, and on opening a door inside the tower, at the basement they discovered the body of Clark in the recess where the flasing apparatus weights are suspended. The last entry on the slate in the tower shows twenty minutes past six, and it is supposed that deceased had overbalanced himself whilst adjusting the weight, and fallen down the centre of the tower, a distance of about seventy-six feet. An inquest will probably be held.17

An Inquest into the death of James was held on 26 May 1883 at Bluff, Southland, New Zealand ,

The Southland Daily News & Times reported on the death of James as well as the inquest from the date of 24 May 1883 - 4 June 1883

Copies of the articles held on file.
Also copies of the Inquest held.

The inquest gave a verdict that the fall was an accident, as he had been depressed, not eaten or drunk much, and slept sparingly since his daughter Margaret had given birth to a child on Dog Island a few weeks previously.18

James was buried on 27 May 1883 at Campbelltown Cemetery, Bluff, Southland, New Zealand ,

Purchased 4 June 1883 by Mrs J Clarke.
No Headstone

Burial Index:
CLARK James, DOD 23 May 1883, aged 45 yrs.

There is a Headstone it just reads

James Clark Headstone at Bluff Cemetery
James Clark Headstone at Bluff Cemetery

James's death notice appeared on 28 May 1883 in the "Southland Times", New Zealand ,


The funeral of Mr Clark, late principal light keeper at Dog Island, took place yesterday afternoon at the Bluff.20

On 2 Jul 1883 James
A Letter was written to the Minister regarding James and payment to his widow Harriet.

Hon Minister:
The late James Clark having died from bodily injury received without his own default in the active discharge of his duty, his widow may receive an allowance not exceeding one .....

Deceased entered the service on 1 May 1867 so that at .... of his death he had served 16 years. He had .... attentive to his duties and was one of the best light..... the service. He leaves a widow and 6 children one .... whom is yet old enough to provide for himself.

I recommend that in pursuance of the .... 39th section of the Civil Service Act 1860 Clark's ..... £190 being the amount of one year's pay .....

For Cabinet 2/7/83
Granted 5/7/83
To Hon Major Atkinson 10/7/83.10

James Clark's estate was probated on 20 Jul 1883 at Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand ,

Letters of Administration of the estate effects and credits of the abovenamed James Clark deceased be granted to Harriet Clark of Port Chalmers Widow.

Under the value of £550
Debts owing at the time did not exceed £50.21

     Research Note:
It has been proved via DNA testing of various descendants from ones born under the McGraw as well as the Clark surname, that Edward McGraw and James Clark are the one and same person.

James and Harriett had 7 Children.

Children of Edward McGraw/ James Clark and Harriett Jubber

FatherJoseph McGraw (c 1806 - 17 Oct 1884)
MotherMargaret Freel (c 1818 - 7 Apr 1867)


  1. [S1] Certificate held on file, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Hereinafter cited as Certificate held on file.
  2. [S78] BDM Indexes online: England Civil Registration online, findmypast.co.uk . Online www.findmypast.com/ www.ancestry.co.uk;, 1839 Liverpool XX 314, March Qtr, Dale Street.
  3. [S54] Old Church Records, Parish Registers, Various Repositories, St Peters Priory, Liverpool, Lancashire Catholic Baptisms 1802 - 1906, via Ancestry.co.uk. Hereinafter cited as Parish Registers.
  4. [S26] 1841 English Census (www.ancestry.co.uk: PRO England, 6 June 1841), 1841 Lancashire, Liverpool, St Thomas, HO 107/ 566/ 22 pg 36. Hereinafter cited as 1841 English Census.
  5. [S81] 1851 English Census (www.ancestry.co.uk: PRO England, 30 March 1851), 1851 Liverpool Vol 21, Pitt St & Gt George Wards, HO 107/2181 Section 2 Folio No 253 (page 00486) St Thomas District 1a, recorded as surname of NEGRAW. Hereinafter cited as 1851 English Census.
  6. [S50] Records Housed at National Archives NZ, Archives, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand Intentions to Marry, Dunedin District 15 April 1863 - copy held; Housed at National Archives New Zealand. Hereinafter cited as National Archives Records.
  7. [S2] NZRGO, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, NZ BDM Indexes, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1863 NZ Online Database: 1863/5323 - 1863 Folio No 1071. Hereinafter cited as NZ BDM Indexes.
  8. [S4] Letter from Yvonne Chisholm (Wellington, New Zealand) to Ailsa Corlett, various dates; Held by Ailsa Corlett (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), Various copies of items over the years.
  9. [S6] Elections, Electoral Roll (Auckland, New Zealand: BAB Microfilming, 1853 - 1967), 1866 -67 NZ Electoral Roll, Otago. Hereinafter cited as Electoral Roll.
  10. [S141] Offical Letters, Marine Department NZ ) Letters held on file from Marine Department NZ, via Yvonne Chisholm research. Hereinafter cited as Marine Department NZ.
  11. [S4] Letter, Yvonne Chisholm to Ailsa Corlett, various dates, Various copies of items over the years.
  12. [S6] Electoral Roll, 1870-71 NZ Electoral Roll, Otago.
  13. [S6] Electoral Roll, 1874-75 NZ Electoral Roll, Otago.
  14. [S12] Directories, NZ PO Directory (Auckland, New Zealand: BAB Microfilming, 1866 - 1955), 1883-84 Wises NZPO Directory. Hereinafter cited as NZ PO Directory.
  15. [S2] NZRGO, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, NZ BDM Indexes: 1883 NZ Online Database: 1883/6457 - Aged 45 - 1883 Folio No 903, June Qtr.
  16. [S10] Newspaper, Various Papers, Southland Times, Monday June 4 1883. Hereinafter cited as Newspaper Article.
  17. [S10] Newspaper Article, Southland Times, Issues 4639, 24 May 1883, pg 2.
  18. [S4] Letter, Yvonne Chisholm to Ailsa Corlett, various dates, From Southland Daily News & Times.
  19. [S3] NZSG, NZ Cemetery Records (Auckland, New Zealand & Online Council Databases: NZSG, 1988), Invercargill City Council Online Database: Bluff Cemetery - General - Block 1 Plot 64
    Bluff k 1 Plot 64T01.33 pg 9 No 56 - CLARKE Block I Sec 64 & Alpha Index T01.33 pg 4. Hereinafter cited as NZ Cemetery Records.
  20. [S10] Newspaper Article, Southland Times, Issues 4642, 28 May 1883, pg 2.
  21. [S50] National Archives Records, Archives, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, Dunedin Archives, DAAC 9074 D239 A229.