The ship Rajah did appear to come to NZ, into Otago and then on to Wellington in 1853, however this appears to be much earlier than Thomas arrived in New Zealand, he is not mentioned in the passenger list and there is certainly no mention of him prior to his marriage in 1865. Rajah did travel to Adelaide, South Australia from Plymouth in 1849 arriving on 6 January 1849. On board was a family, transcribed as "Nott" - father John, wife, seven children as well as an older child, Thomas "Nott", who is listed separately as a single man, but also noted as travelling with his parents (John and wife). Maybe Nott is a mistranscription of Nidd? Maybe not.
At the time of Robert Nidd's marriage to Isabella McCready in 1863 (Robert is likely Thomas' brother), Thomas was resident in Port Chalmers.
Margaret Maher came to New Zealand with family also in the 1860s, arriving in Auckland on 1 August 1862 upon the ship The Royal Charlie, which left London, England on 14 March 1862. Her name is variously recorded as Margaret Maher, Margaret Mahar and Margaret Meagher. She is believed to have been born in Co Tipperary, Ireland. I believe that she may have come with relatives - Johanna Maher, Mary Maher and Catherine Maher.
Letters written after the journey on The Royal Charlie were published in the Daily Southern Cross newspaper on 1 August 1862:
We subjoin a testimonial also presented to the Captain by Mr Poyser, the surgeon:-
July 30th, 1862.
"My dear Sir,-Previous to my leaving the 'Royal Charlie', I must beg you to accept this simple memorial expressive of my entire satisfaction of everything on board, also for your extreme attention to my personal comfort during a long and irksome passage, doing everything in your power to render the time as agreeable as possible.
" I also thank you for your assistance in maintaining order, &c., amongst the emigrants.
" Wishing you a prosperous voyage home, I am, my dear sir, yours faithfully,
"Samuel Poyser, Surgeon &c.
"Captain William Escott, 'Royal Charlie', Auckland, New Zealand."
Some time after her arrival in NZ Margaret married a fellow called Patrick Welby who subsequently died (7 September 1864 at the Governor Browne Hotel, Auckland, aged 29 years) apparently having had a tree fall on him. Until recently I had thought they had had no children, but I now believe that following his death, Margaret gave birth to a daughter, Marian Emma Welby, probably in late 1864, who died as a baby soon after birth.
On 17 February 1865 in the Catholic Church in Napier, Thomas Nidd, Storekeeper, a bachelor, married Margaret Mahar, a widow. Thomas and Margaret didn't stay long in Napier, and instead settled in Wellington in 1865, leaving Hawkes Bay on 18 March 1865.
Thomas and Margaret had four children:
- Margaret Josephine born November 1867
- Joseph Thomas born 19 March 1870
- Unnamed female born and died 1872
- William Michael born 22 July 1874
Thomas Nidd, boatman, sworn: Was in his boat near the Queen's wharf yesterday afternoon, and heard someone calling out; saw a person with the child in his arms, took it from him, and gave it to someone whom he did not know; it appeared to him to be dead when he took it from the last witness.
A year later, on 22 June 1867, an advertisement appeared in the Evening Post advising that Thomas Nidd, of Cuba Street, had commenced business as a Fruiterer and Greengrocer. Along with fruit he apparently had "a fresh supply of Oysters on hand, which he intends to keep up." Later he also sold tobacco.
Like most early settlers, Thomas 'had his moments', appearing in the Police Court on 30 June 1871, charged that by Sergeant Monaghan that he had breached Police regulations by "refusing to take his trap to the other side of the road when directed to do so." The matter was adjourned briefly, as Thomas had a local solicitor, Mr Travers act for him, and Mr Travers instructed the Court that Thomas' lack of action was borne of ignorance. The Bench then dismissed the charge but did fine Thomas five shillings (and costs) for profane language!
Again, on 10 January 1873, Thomas was fined in the Resident Magistrate's Court two shillings and nine shillings costs for allowing two horses to wander at night:
He explained that he had been unconscious of the fact, as he had never been in the practice of turning his horses into the streets; but he alleged that he had a mare somewhat difficult to keep inside the paddock, from her jumping propensities. He had tried all he could, but failed.
Thomas must have kept abreast of local politics, signing an open letter to the Evening Post on 29 August 1876, with a host of other local settlers, asking one Philip Moeller, a local Jewish fellow, to put himself forward as a candidate for the Te Aro Ward in the upcoming Wellington City Council elections. Mr Moeller graciously complied with the request. Mr Moeller appears to have been the Publican of the Occidental Hotel in Wellington. Mr Moeller appears to have been successful, and his son Frank Moeller also seems to have followed his father into local body politics.
Later, on 15 September 1888, Thomas was amidst a large number of local settlers, writing an open letter in the Evening Post to Mr T Kennedy MacDonald, requesting him to stand for Mayor of Wellington. Thomas Kennedy MacDonald (known familiarly as "Kennedy Mac").
Other years it was other candidates openly supported by settlers including Thomas - 1880 Andrew Young, for example.
On 21 December 1888, the Evening Post records Thomas as one of the subscribers to the Marist Brothers' School prize fund. This was to be expected, as both sons, Joe and Bill apparently attended at the Marist Brothers' School.
Thomas was obviously educated and literate - this is evidenced by his letters to the newspaper from time to time.
On 17 October 1876 he placed a notice in the Evening Post stating:
I wish to return thanks to the Constable McWilliams for the gallant rescue of my horse and carriage last evening, also for saving the lady who was in it.
On 23 July 1878 a letter entitled "A COMPLAINT" was published in the Evening Post. It read:
Margaret predeceased Thomas, dying aged 58 on 30 December 1900. She apparently died at 116 Manners Street, Wellington, which must have been their home at the time. She was buried at the Catholic Mount Street Cemetery in Wellington. Interestingly, the request is made for the death notice to be reprinted in the Thames newspapers, which indicates that she had family in that area. A funeral notice was put in the Evening Post on 31 December 1900 advising that the funeral procession would leave the Nidd's residence on the corner of Manners and Taranaki Streets at 2.15pm on Wednesday 2 January 1901 for the funeral at St Mary's of the Angels.