Dowie Family History



Charles Stuart Taylor portrait


Taylor (\ta(y)-lor\) is a Middle English occupational surname of Old French origin, derived from the Norman French word taileur (“a cutter-out of cloth”). First historical evidence of the surname dates to County of Somerset in 1182. Its increasing popularity through the centuries is attributed to refugees from continental Europe with the equivalent surname (Russian/“Portnov”, German/“Schneider”, Hungarian/“Szabo”) entering Britain, and switching to the English language translation “Taylor”.

Taylor Roots

The earliest descendant I can find is Charles Taylor , 1840, my GG Grandfather who arrived in New Zealand at Port Chalmers on 09/11/1852 aboard the ship the “Slains Castle”. Charles was aged 12 years and was an orphan. Documents from the family indicated he was from Kent however research indicates he was from Bradford in Yorkshire. I would assume that he may have been at a Kent workhouse prior to leaving England. I also assume that he would have been sponsored by either the New Zealand or British Government as an orphan to be repatriated to a Commonwealth country.
Charles had been befriended on board by the Maitland brothers who ended up caring for him and taking him to Port Molyneux where their Uncle (F Pillans) owned land. The Pillans and Maitland’s were well known in early New Zealand. The Pillans eventually moved to Tauranga and would be recognised by the name Pillans Point as a suburb in Tauranga (my home town).
Charles worked and lived with them around Inch Clutha and eventually went into the butchery business where one of his sons James Stewart opened the first butcher shop in Kaitangata New Zealand.
Two of Charles’s sons moved to South Africa where they resided and eventually died.

My Grandfather

He was a quiet unassuming character that I remember quite fondly and yet again I never knew him or his life as this was rarely talked about. He was from Balclutha New Zealand in the deep south. He owned and operated one of the first garages in that part of the country and was well respected. I believe that he would have been one of the first to own a motor car.
I was lucky enough to visit Balclutha with my Mum during 2005 and his garage is still standing albeit now a drive through bottle shop. Amazingly it is huge and surprised me.

Future Research

Due to the common surname, research is very slow however I hope to find some records of Charles repatriation from England to New Zealand and hopefully confirming his York heritage and what happened to his family.