The Abercrombies



6/11/1840 Peter Abercrombie almost drowns at Coromandel Harbour

On Friday 6th Nov. 1840 about 10 o'clock in the evening while the schooner Harlequin was lying at anchor at Coromandel Harbour, one of her boats having her sail fastened, was upset by a sudden blast of wind, and two sailors and a Maurie were drowned. Mr. P. Abercrombie narrowly escaped by clinging to the bottom of the boat, and was drifted ashore. One Maurie saved his life by swimming to the schooner.

 Source: NZ Gazette & Brit. Sp  21/11/1840  page 3, column 3


Charles and Robert Abercrombie arrive in Sydney from Liverpool, 12th November 1840

Shipping Intelligence


From Liverpool, same day [arrived 12th November, 1840] whence she sailed the 14th July the barque Anne Mary, 659 tons, Captain Backham with merchandise. Passengers Mr and Mrs Dixon, Mr and Mrs Galen, seven children, and two servants, Messrs Charles Abercrombie, Langley, Goodman, Samson, Robert Abercrombie, and three in steerage.

Source: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser    Thurs, 19th November, 1840, p2.


Charles Abercrombie advertises in Sydney for ships carpenters to work in New Zealand.


Several ships carpenters to proceed to New Zealand.

Apply to

            Charles Abercrombie

December 9

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Monday 9th December, 1844   p3


Barrier Island
19th Jany. 1845

Mr. D. McLean.
Dear Sir

Yours of September came duly to hand but you are aware I am not the best of correspondants at any time and since yours came to hand I have really been very busy, the most of the time since you left I have been on the Barrier getting Timbers for another Vessel which I have nearly completed. She is 98 feet keel and will register 300 Tons and upwards it was only last night I was making a calculation and with the Miners I find I am feeding 91 hands and expect an additional force of Carpenters and Miners this week of 20 more so you see I am not quite idle. We have got a shute made at the Mine for sending the Copper ore down and we loaded the Tryphena there this week in 2.5 days. I wish you would try and send me some samples of Copper Ore or Manganese or any other mineral you may fall in with, by the bye I never got the account books McDonald says there is a box of yours in the house but he does not know what is in it, please send him authority to open the Box if they are within if not say where they are to be found; Their are likely to be a fight with the Natives soon at the Bay in consequence of Honi Heki having again cut down the Flag Staff and taken away all the Blocks and ropes belonging to the same the sooner it comes to a fight the better as they have now got so saucy there are no living for them. The Governor is such a Weather Cock that it is not safe to do anything, as the Mauries may come and destroy all one has in the Country, and still you have no redress he is again sending to Sydney for Troops and says he is determined to give them a thrashing this time I sincerely hope he will do so or the sooner we all leave the Country the better.

Capt. Nagle desires me to ask you whether you have received some money from Mr. Webster of your place which he authorised you to do, if not let him know the reason. If you can send me a little for myself by return you will oblige as I intend visiting Sydney in 2 months hence so as to get all my affairs put straight but I must conclude by wishing you all success in your new Billet and hope you like it trusting this will find you well

I remain,
Yours truly
P. Abercrombie
New Plymouth


Source: Letter from Peter Abercrombie on Great Barrier Island 19th January 1845 to Donald McLean in New Plymouth District.   National Library- Object #1022316 from MS-Papers -0032-0141




5 Decr., 1846 (?) [probably earlier -dja]

My dear Sir,

It certainly is a most unconscionable time since I wrote to you, and I fancy that long before this you will have decided that I have given up all thoughts of writing to Taranaki again. But when I tell you that I have not written to my own father for upwards of six months, you will perhaps make some allowances for my neglect to your epistles.

Almost ever since my return from Taranaki I have been running about from place to place, until within the last three months, and during that time I have been very steady and kept at home. I have been about a dozen times over to Cormack's place, but finding it perfectly useless and that I could do nothing I have given it up. There is not a cargo of spars yet in the salt water, nor likely to be soon from the difficulties of the river, so that Cormack has bought a cargo from Brown and Campbell ready for shipment at Hokianga, as there is a vessel on the way out from our friends which they intended to take home some of Cormack's Spars.

An old man has called here half a dozen times for letters for you, and he said he would call once more this morning, so in case he should be soon I had better tell you the news of this place at once.

First of all, you will be sorry to hear that poor old MacDonald has had a paralytic stroke and that one half of his body is useless, the right side. For the last four months he has had almost constantly a headache and occasionally a dizziness, but it was not till about three weeks since that he consulted a medical man, who immediately bled him and capped and blistered also. A few days after this he had the paralytic stroke, and then he got dosed with mercury to a frightful extent to try and recover the use of his leg and arm; he seems to say that it has had a good effect and that he can use two fingers already. Mrs. Anderson has been his nurse and a most excellent one too. Campbell McIntosh has remained in town to be a companion for the old man, and to look after a farm of his up the river.

Your friend McKenzie has got on remarkably well since he started business on his own account. He went to Sydney about a month since for a fresh stock of Goods.

The Grahams are doing a large business in Drapery. Robert Graham has been complaining for the last six months; he is rather delicate still and trying what the hot springs at Mahurangi will do for him.

Your friend Dr. Martin seems to have no idea of returning to New Zealand for some years to come; Brown however is expected by the first vessel, the ''Hope'', and you will probably have an opportunity of seeing him at Taranaki before he comes here. Dr. Campbell is going along smoothly, not much to do, but taking everything easy.

Kennedy, of the Bank is at length off; he starts for Sydney today in the ''Jawa'' as you will observe by one of the newspapers I send you. MacDonald and I have taken the management of the affairs of the Bank for six years by which time everything will be considered as at an end.

You will observe by this day's paper that we are about starting a Savings Bank, which we expect will be of great advantage to the labouring classes here.

Peter Abercrombie was here the other day; he says he is getting on very well with the new vessel lately and that he expects to launch her in March. His brother William has gone to Sydney, the Distillery had been set a going and they found they could not get on well without him.

Downing has a small schooner now with which he tries to keep the pot boiling. The old man has got into better health and spirits lately.

Old McLeod is still I believe at your place, but I have not seen him for some time.

Cassels is I believe on the other side of the island. Halls is in the old place, and pretty extensive in the timber line, but bothered considerably by law business.

Billy Moores has been sadly pestered with law business and has quite ruined himself by it.

Webster has been working hard at Kaipara loading vessels with spars for England, the last was the ''Haidee'' by which you will observe in the paper your acquaintance Whitaker has gone. Webster is always at law as before; he is at present engaged in a case with Mr. Soloman the owner of the ''Strathisla'', I believe it is an £800 affair.

John Alexander Smith whom I suppose you remember at the Stores in Fort Street two or three years since, has returned from home with an assortment of Merchandise; he was very sanguine when he arrived, but he now feels disappointed and thinks Auckland is not better than it used to be.

Tom Stewart has sold the ''Dolphin'' to Mr. Yule at Poverty Bay, and he is now running the ''Maid of the Mill'' between the Bay and here.

You will be sorry to hear of poor Thorpe of the Thames; he came up to town the other day with Mrs. and Miss Thorpe leaving the house in care of the children, and two days afterwards the house caught fire and everything was destroyed.

Young Sampson and Broadbent are living at Waiorua; they are building a vessel.

The elder Sampson is with Waetford at the Wuhapu Bay of Islands.

The 58th - 96th - and 99th are starting today for Sydney in the Java. They have been relieved by the 65th. I think some of the 65th will be sent to Wellington immediately.

I hear that the Governor intends going to the south soon, and that he is likely to remain away three months.

I hope that everything will remain quiet in your quarter and that you will not require any soldiers to protect you.

I hope Mr. Webster is quite well, give him my respects as also to Mr. King.

Have you any prospect of coming to this quarter soon? You will see a great difference in the appearance of Auckland from the number of new buildings that have sprung up.

Your friend Mr. Thatcher is kept pretty busy at Government House; he appears to like his employment.

Are you acquainted with Mr. Savage who used to be in the Colonial Secretary's Office? He goes down in the Steamer next week to Wellington and from thence to Wanganui to the Rev. Mr. Taylor's.

Although this Letter is pretty long I am considerably busy writing home by the ''Java'', so you will excuse my haste.

Yours very truly,
John MacDougall.

Part of:
Inward letters - John MacDougall, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0413

Series 1 Inward letters, Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters

McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551

In the Insolvent Estate of William Abercrombie and John McKay late of Sydney, merchants, trading under the firm of William Abercrombie & Co.
Notice is hereby given, that a first and final plan of distribution of one farthing in the Pound, upon all claims proved, now  lies at my Office, at the Supreme Court House, Sydney, for the inspection of Creditors, and any Creditor or other person interested therein, objecting to the confirmation thereof, must lodge a caveat at my said Office, stating the grounds of such of their objections on or before Monday, the twenty-first day of October instant, otherwise the said plan of distribution will, on Wednesday, the twenty-third of the said month, be confirmed, - Sydney, 2nd October, 1850.
                                William H. Kerr
                                   Chief Commissioner of Insolvent Estates.
Source: New South Wales Government Gazette, Friday, 4th October, 1850. 
Death of William Abercrombie. 
On the 24th inst., William Abercrombie, Esq., an old and respected colonist, aged 57 years.
Source: The Argus (Melbourne, Vict. Australia)  Mon. 25th February, 1861,  
 Death of Peter Abercrombie            

In the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

To the Next of Kin, if any, and all other Persons in general having or claiming any interest in the Estate and Effects of PETER ABERCROMBIE, late of Freemantle, Auctioneer, deceased, who died at Freemantle on the 9th day of November, 1863, intestate: Notice is hereby given ….etc etc etc

                            E.W. Landor

                                    Solicitor, Perth.

November 18, 1863.

Source: Western Australian Times.  Thursday, 3rd December, 1863, page 4.



Death of Robert Abercrombie 29th June, 1895 aged 80.


ABERCROMBIE - On 29th June at Wellington Point, Robert Abercrombie, native of Stirling, Scotland, aged 80 years.

Source: The Brisbane Courier. Saturday 6th July, 1895 p4.