MARGARET  COUGHLAN - MRS. MARTIN CONNELLY

1.5                        MARGARET COUGHLAN AND MARTIN CONNOLLY


1.5.1   Owen Connolly    Georgetown -  Temuka


1.5.2   John Connolly m.       Georgetown - Temuka - Invercargill


1.5.3   Martin Connolly m.        Georgetown - Temuka - Nelson  1925


1.5.4   Simon (Simmie) Connolly,  Georgetown - Temuka - Seadown, 1925


1.5.5   Agnes (Annie)  Connolly  - Sister Frances de Sales - Melbourne, 1925


1.5.6   Mary Connolly - Sister Frances de Chantel - Sydney, 1925


1.5.7   Bridget Connolly - Sister Mary Frances - Auckland, 1925


1.5.8   Margaret Connolly m. John G. Quinn  Georgetown - Temuka


1.5.9   Elizabeth Connolly    Georgetown - Temuka


The following is extracted from   "The Pioneer Catholic Women of New Zealand" by T. Illston, Marton:



"Margaret was born in Crinkle, Birr, County Offally, in 1845.  She was the youngest child of Bridget and John Coughlan.  Margaret was only a baby when her father died in the Great Famine in 1846.  Along with her new stepfather John Brown, her mother, sisters Honora and Catherine and brothers Simon and Michael, she went to Australia when she was eight years old.  In her late teens the family came to New Zealand in the early 1860's.


In May 1865, Margaret married Martin Connolly in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch.  They were married by Fr. Chataignier.  Her husband, Martin, was born in County Sligo and went to sea at the age of 12.  He arrived in New Zealand aged 21.


He became an expert bullock driver and was one of the first to take a bullock dray into the Mackenzie Country with station stores, returning to Timaru with wool.


In the early 1860's land was being opened up in the Temuka area.  Martin bought land at Georgetown, which is situated between the Temuka and Opihi Rivers, and it was here he took his bride Margaret.


When Fr. Chervier was travelling in South Canterbury, he stayed at Margaret and Martin's home.  On Sundays, families drove from the surrounding areas to the Opihi River where, if the river was low, they drove their drays across or else were ferried over.  Mass was said at the Connolly's home and many missions were conducted there.  When Fr. Fauvel was parish priest at Temuka, Margaret prepared a woolly sheepskin for the bottom of Father's buggy.  She dyed it a deep red and Father commented,


"Even Paris could not do better."


Margaret and Martin farmed all their lives at Georgetown and raised a family of nine. (see list above).


Margaret died in July 1925, in her 80th year.  The homestead and farm were carried on by the Eldest son, Owen, and the youngest daughter, Elizabeth, neither having married.  The eldest daughter, Margaret, who was widowed at an early age, also lived there.  The farm was sold in 1948, a span of nearly 85 years.



There is doubt as to whether Margaret was the youngest child, as stated previously.  We do not know for a fact that John Coughlan died in 1846 during the famine in Ireland.  Monique Kelly found evidence in Ireland to lead us to believe that he died later than 1846.  As previously stated it looks like John and Bridget had two more children after 1846.

Martin Connolly died at Georgetown, Temuka, on October 7, 1920 in his 85th year.


His Obituary in the N.Z.Tablet:

“MR: MARTIN CONNOLLY, TEMUKA.  There recently passed away at his residence, Georgetown, Temuka, at the advanced age of 85 years, an old and much respected member of the congregation in the person of Mr. Martin Connolly. The Deceased, who was a native of Co. Sligo, Ireland, left his home at the age of 12 years to take up a sea-faring life. He landed in New Zealand when about 19 years of age, and through all his wanderings remained loyal and true to his Holy Faith. In the early days when there were no churches, the pioneer priest, Father Chataigner, was accustomed to walk from Christchurch to Timaru, carrying the requisites for the celebration of Holy Mass, and always received a warm welcome from Mr. and Mrs. Connolly, at whose home he rested for a few days, heard confessions, and offered the Holy Sacrifice for the benefit of the few Catholics scattered throughout the district. The late Mr. Connolly helped, with others, to cart over a distance of nine miles the stone of which the beautiful church at Temuka lasting memorial to the late Father Fauvel was built. The deceased was a staunch member of the Hibernian Society, and was always proud of the fact that he was the first of his age to join the society in  Temuka. He also was a total abstainer, faithful to a pledge he took many years ago, and which he renewed during the memorable mission of Father Henneberry, and was a subscriber to the Tablet over many years. Always of a bright, cheery disposition, generous to a fault, the late Mr. Connolly made numerous friends by all of whom he was loved and respected. His familiar figure will be much missed from St. Joseph’s Church, in which for 35 years he took up the collection. During the few day’s illness to which he succumbed he was attended by Father Kimbell, S.M., and fortified by all the last sacred rites of Holy Church, he passed peacefully away on the Feast of the Holy Rosary. The deceased had a great devotion to the Holy Rosary, which he recited every evening in his home, surrounded by members of his family. His wife and nine children—4 boys and 5 girls— are left to mourn their loss. Of his daughters, three are members of the Order of St. Joseph —Sister M. Francis de Sales, Sister M. Frances de Chantel, and Sister Mary Francis, also a granddaughter, Sister M. Frances Olga, of the Convent, Whangarei.  The others are Mrs. John Quinn, and Miss E. Connolly. The sons include Mr. Owen Connolly (Georgetown), Mr. John Connolly (Invercargill), Mr. Sim Connolly (Seadown), and Mr. Mark Connolly (Nelson) Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated by Father Hoare, S.M., and members of the Hibernian Society, in regalia, followed the remains to the cemetery R.I.P.”



There are two pieces regarding weddings of two of the Connolly children and I have recorded them here.


John Connolly (1.5.2) “ A quiet wedding took place at St. Patrick's Church on Wednesday, July 5, 1905, when Mr. John Connolly, siecond son of Mr. M. Connolly, Georgetown, Temuka, was united in the bonds of Matrimony to Miss Celia Callinan, of Newtown, Wellington. The Rev, Father Regnault celebrated the Nuptiial Mass. The bride was given away by Mr. J. T. Quiinn. Misses Lizzie and Agie Connolly acted as bridesmaids, and Mr Owen Connolly was best man. After the ceremony the party drove to the Studnolme Junction Hotel, where the wedding breakfast wa,s s held. The young couple were the recipients of many valuable and useful presents. The groom's gifts to the bride were a gold chain and locket, and to the bridesmaids gold brooches. The happy couple left by the afternoon express for Dunedin, their future home, carrying with thorn the best wishes of all.”


A piece in the NZ Tablet of  August 3, 1911, tells of the wedding of Martin Connolly (1.5.3)

“ A pretty wedding took place at St. Patrick’s Church, Waimate, on July 5, when Miss Geneveive Mary O’Sullivan, second daughter of Mrs. O’Sullivan, Aro street,. Wellington, was united in the bonds of Matrimony to Mr. Martin James Connolly, third son of Mr. Martin Connolly, Georgetown, Temuka. A Nuptial Mass was celebrated by Rev. Father Aubry. The bride, who was given away by Mr. J. T. Quinn, was attired in a very becoming costume of cream corded silk, with wreath and veil worked in beautiful sprays of lily of the valley. She was attended by two bridesmaids Miss Gwen DeMuth and Miss May Quinn. The bride’s present to the bridegroom was a dressing-case. The bridegroom’s present to the bride was a gold bangle with name engraved, and to the bridesmaids pretty gold dagger brooches. The wedding breakfast was held at, the residence of Mr O. Connolly, Studholme, Rev. Father Aubry presiding. The happy couple left by the second express for Dunedin, from whence they were to proceed to Nelson, their future home.”