Samuel Taylor was born in July 1829 in the parish of Sakenham in Hertford, a rural area where Sam’s future would have been as a farm labourer or in the army. When he was 18, Samuel enlisted for the 58th Rutlandshire Regiment of Foot on 24 June 1848, stationed at Chatham in Kent. In May 1849 Samuel left for New Zealand via Sydney with a detachment to join the 58th Regiment of Foot. He served in the army for 10 years and 59 days, and was discharged in 1858. Before marrying he lived in the barracks at what is now the Auckland Domain.
Eliza Jane Lawrence came out from England to Auckland aboard the Cashmere in 1853. They were married in 1854.
Amelia Taylor was born in 1858 at the barracks at Albert Park when her father Samuel was a member of the 58st Foot Regiment. During the days of the Maori Wars when she was a small child, she and her mother lived in a small house in the grounds of what is now the Auckland Domain. Eliza kept a large kettle continuously on the boil, her only defence in case of stray marauders.
On 6 October 1863 Samuel and family went to live at Government House where Samuel was employed as a gardener for Sir George Grey and Eliza a housekeeper. Two years later the family went to Kawau Island to work for Sir George and they lived there for 24 years.
The family left Kawau in 1887 for Auckland and in 1890, arrived at Swanson. A relative, James Smith, also from Kawau Island, had already settled in Swanson on the land on the corner of O’Neills and Swanson Roads, later owned by the Guy family.
John Taylor, who was born on Kawau Island in 1871 (Governor Sir George Grey was his godfather), married Margaret Muirland in 1893 in Swanson. Margaret died of pneumonia a few days after giving birth to their daughter Margaret May in 1894. Some years later he married the midwife Jane Osborne (she appears on the 1902 electoral roll as Jane Taylor), who had delivered Margaret May. Jane Taylor was known as “Nana Taylor” and is remembered for the safe delivery of most, if not all, the district’s babies up till the mid-1930s.
The family lived on the corner of Pooks Road and O’Neills Road for 45 years.
John Taylor took an active interest in local school affairs; he was an original member of the Swanson School committee and of the old Swanson Cricket Club. After following various occupations, he was employed for 15 years in the Auckland City Council Waterworks Department, Waitakere. He died at 66 years.
Rugged Determination, p131-132
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