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Henry Davis Snowden

Arrived: Abt 1929
Country of origin: Australia
Area in New Zealand: Whangaroa Harbour
Source: Paperspast


Supreme Court Sittings 1855, Snowden vs Busby, in which he stated: My name is Henry Davis Snowden: I have been called Davis Snowden ; the document produced signed 'Henry Davis' I think is my signature; the date is 23rd Oct 1836 ; I have changed my name, I got involved in debt in NSW and came here under a different name ; that was the only cause ; for four or five years I bore the name of Davis.

The Snowden family has been exhaustingly researched by family members and the material was collated by Ralph Byrne.

Born in 1811 at Paramatta, NSW to Andrew Snowden and Sarah Darke, Henry grew to share his father's talent for enterprise which frequently got him into trouble. Andrew Snowden is supposed to have helped Hongi Hika exchange the many presents he'd received in England for muskets and powder and later do some gun running across the Tasman, in the family schooner and Henry of course was travelling backwards and forwards across the Tasman Sea as well.

Henry Davis Snowden acquired a large area of land on the western side of the harbour from the chief Ururoa as early as 1829 - where the township of
Whangaroa is now located.

Henry married Sophia Jaques and their first child was born at Parramatta, Andrew, in 1834 and their second child, Ann, a year later. The family removed to Whangaroa in 1837 along with Sophia's brother and two more children came along. Sophia died.  With seven young children to care for and frequent trips away from Whangaroa on business, Henry took the daughter of Chief Ururoa, Erana (known as Ellen) to wife and had a further nine children to her. They officially married in 1858.

This story here is only a small part of the whole. Henry died 
at Sea aboard his schooner 'Helen' on the 3 May1864 whilst on a voyage between Whangaroa and Auckland. Aged only 55, it was a great shock to the whole district.

See also 'The Snowdon Saga' by Gwenyth Frear

From Gwenyth Frear -
The youngest daughter of Sophia and Henry Davis Snowden was born on a coastal ship before her mother could get to shore. Mother Sophia subsequently died as
a result of the birth. The baby was named Sophia after her mother and was given to a Maori wet nurse to breas feed. The baby and the other girls in the family were subsequently taken to Russell by a Maori family and this was where they were brought up for a few years.
This story was re-enforced by something that Lizzie Dangen told me when I was visiting her . She said that her grandmother Sophia was brought up by the
Maoris at Russell and couldn't speak English when she was young. On one visit that Governor Sir George Grey made to the area, he notice these four young Pakeha girls with the Maori folk at Russell and the fact that they had no Engliah upbriging. He felt sorry for them and took them to Auckland where they had some education in English ways. Their father, Henry Davis Snowden, by this tie had a second family with his Maori de facto wife, Erana ururoa, and was firmly entrenched in his wheelings and dealings in the Whangaroa area.
The Governor must have continued to take an interest in the girls as one of his English visitors who was a very wealthy man, took a fancy to Ann, and they
were married, and he took her off back to England!