Visiting Family History
Lucy, Harry and Ella Fenwick visiting family history in the Old Cromwell Cemetery.Photo supplied

Greg Fenwick has recently relocated to Cromwell, and it was his family history that brought him to the region.

“I definitely ended up here because of this ancestor,” says Greg.

The ancestor was John Marsh, who died 130 years ago in February 1892, 15 months after the death of his wife, Emma Marsh.  The Cromwell Argus wrote of his death,

“The deceased is numbered amongst the pioneers of the goldfields…making his way amongst the very first to Cromwell.”

It described him as ‘a man of wonderful vitality and energy….whether at the Municipal Council table, the Hospital Board, the Church Committee, or the Jockey Club’.

His grave in the Old Cromwell Cemetery was recently visited by his Great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren Lucy, Harry and Ella Fenwick. Together with their father Andrew and grandfather Greg.

Greg was delighted that the children showed great interest in their ancestor.

“They really enjoyed visiting the old cemetery and were very curious about the gravestones and the stories of the lives behind them.”

John Marsh, born near Oxford, England, in 1831, came to Cromwell, via Dunedin, in 1862, after meeting his wife Emma in the Victorian Goldfields.  

They had twin daughters, Mary-Anne and Jeanette, in Cromwell – the first European children to be born in Central Otago.

The twins were born under a rock forming a cave in the Carrick Range, at Cornish Point on the banks of the Clutha River – the family’s home at the time.

John Marsh developed a trading post before becoming a carrier and subsequently opening the Bridge Hotel in Cromwell in 1863.

Emma Marsh assisted young mothers to deliver their children and helped organise the social life of Cromwell in the 1860’s.

John became the mayor of Cromwell from 1883-1885.

John and Emma eventually commissioned the villa now known as McNulty House to be built as their family home.

Their daughter, also named Emma, married William Whittle Tizard, the brewer and manager of Cromwell Brewery at Brewery Creek.

This couple had a son, Percy Tizard, born in Cromwell in 1894.  Peter met his wife Kate in England after he served with the Canterbury Infantry in the battle of Somme and Gallipoli.

They had only one child, ‘blue-eyed Daphne’, who married John Fenwick and had three sons, Graeme, Euan, and Greg.

Greg is very happy to be back in Cromwell, continuing the family’s long history here, and sharing it with his grandchildren.