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James Saunders (Jimmy the Needle)

Arrived: 1838
Country of origin:
Area in New Zealand: OtagoSource: Paperspast

James (Loder) Saunders was a whaler who arrived in New Zealand before 1838. He married twice, his second marriage was to Elizabeth Wixon. After his death, she remarried to Joseph Tepene Mutinui Harper in 1870. He earned his nickname by being tall and thin with disproportionately long legs and secondly he was described as 'cute, sharp and sly in his dealings' Letter from a descendant.

Papers Past; North Otago Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3983, 17 June 1885, Page 2

TIMARU. June 16.
In the Supreme Court a curious case is being heard. It is one which (Henry and James) Saunders brought against (Thomas) Cabot — an action to compel performance of an agreement. The plaintiffs (two sons of the late James Saunders, alias " Jimmy the Needle," formerly a ferryman at Waitaki, by his wife Wixon, a Maori half-caste) allege that in 1859, Cabot, a farmer in Timaru, sold town section 19 to deceased and that he subsequently burned the agreement and had held possession of the section, now of great value. It is sought to compel the defendant to carry out the agreement and restore the land with all the profits, rents, etc., since accrued.

Timaru Herald, Volume XLI, Issue 3355, 29 June 1885, Page 3
SAUNDERS AND ANOTHER v. CABOT. TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMARU HERALD. Sir, I noticed in the Waimate Times an advertisement about the Saunders' property, in which only two children are mentioned. There were four children, including John Saunders and Emma Saunders, the two children named being by James Saunders first wife. When my mother died I was only an infant, and my father left me to the care of my mother's aunt, until just before his marriage with Elizabeth Wixon. I lived with my father and stepmother until my father's death. The will, I believe, included the whole of the family as entitled to share in the property, but two of the children never saw anything of the money received by Mrs Saunders from the sale of the section in Timaru. At the time of this sale I was in service at Waimate, and she was present at my marriage, and owned me as a member of the Saunders family. I am, &c, Mrs Thomas Heath. Hampden, June 22nd.