Family of Michael O’Connor (1854-1931) and Catherine Lynch (1854-1939)


Michael and Catherine O’Connor family at daughter Margaret’s wedding, 1904: back: Paul, Vincent, James, Archie; middle: –, Catherine nee Lynch, Richard Ferris (Best Man), Patrick Holland, Margaret (bride), Mary, Michael (father), –; front: Catherine, Dominic, Tom, Matilda, Isaac.

Michael O’Connor was born in Glin, County Limerick, Ireland around 1854. He sailed from Glasgow on March 25 1876 on the ‘City of Dunedin’ and landed at Lyttelton on July 1 1876. Catherine Lynch, born in Athea, Co Limerick, Ireland 1852 arrived in Lyttelton on ‘Dunedin’ November 9 1876 accompanied by her brother George and his wife Johanna. They all lived in the Lincoln area and worked on the land and Michael and Catherine married on February 5 1878. By 1883 Michael and his brother John were granted by ballot 200 acres Section 614 at Longridge. In 1894 Michael bought Section 503 on Dunn & Cody Road from Samuel Mee. The triangle shaped 210 acres was farmed until 1908 when Michael sold it to his brother in law George Lynch. In 1901 Michael bought Lot 19 Pt of Section 51 containing 180 acres from the Official Liquidator of the New Zealand Agricultural Company. This land, which bordered McAlister Road, was sold to Maria Cooney, widow of David Cooney in May 1908. In 1908 Michael and Catherine shifted to Gore, then to Timaru where Michael died in 1931. Catherine died at Waimea at her daughter Tilly’s home in 1939. Michael and Catherine had eleven children: James 1879; Teresa Mary 1880; Margaret 1883; Vincent Joseph 1884; George Archibald 1885; Paul John and Thomas Michael 1887; Catherine 1889; Dominic Bernard 1891; Matilda 1893; and Isaac William 1896.

  • James married Jessie Stephenson Coutts, Catholic Church Gore on February 2 1910. Jim was a labourer who lived in Riversdale most of his life before retiring to Invercargill where he died in 1955, Jessie in 1956. Family: Catherine Lynch b 1910 married John William Duffy; Teresa Mary b 1912 married Daniel Bray; Archibald George b 1914 married Catherine Ann Hawke; William Patrick b 1917 married Teresa Mary Ellen Newson; Ernest James b 1919 married Doris McDonald; and Leonard Michael b 1925.
  • Teresa Mary married William John Holmes in 1910. They had one son Michael James and lived in Rolleston. He was a farm labourer. She died in 1946.
  • Margaret married Patrick Joseph Holland, a blacksmith, at her home in Kingston Crossing 1904. Family: Mary Amelia 1905 married John McKay; Thomas Michael 1906 married Jeannie Smyth; Patrick James 1908 married Moira Isobel Shea; Margaret 1910 married George Condon; Isaac Joseph 1911 died in infancy; James 1920 never married. Patrick [the husband] worked in Gore and was kicked by a horse and died young.
  • Vincent never married. Michael’s half of the original ballot of land was sold to Vincent in 1912. Vincent later farmed at Waimea on 379 acres, part of Section 120, which he bought in 1918 at the auction of land belonging to George Lynch, his uncle. Prior to this he owned a traction engine and mill and worked in the local area. He was killed in May 1956 when his tractor rolled carting a load of coal from Gore. He is buried with his parents in Riversdale Cemetery. His farm was looked after by Fred Perwick and family until it was sold to Reg Moffatt, then J. Cullen and now owned by David McLean.
  • George Archibald died of Typhoid fever in 1905, buried with his parents in Riversdale cemetery.
  • Paul John, who was a carpenter, bought 294 acres Allot 4 of 407A as No 715 also Section 196 and Pts of 147 and 639 from Elias Butel in 1909 and sold it to George Butel in 1911. He was engaged to Margaret (Dol) Holland in Gore when he went to war and was killed in action in 1917.
  • Thomas Michael was unmarried and owned one of the first Case tin mills. He lived in Gore and worked mainly in the Waimumu area. He died in 1981.
  • Catherine married Alfred Perwick.
  • Dominic Bernard worked as a labourer sometimes for his Uncle, George Lynch, and latterly at the Balfour Lime works. He was never married and died in Dunedin and he is buried in the soldiers’ plot in Andersons Bay Cemetery.
  • Matilda was engaged to Stephen Perwick when he died of tuberculosis in 1924. She married Gregory Perwick in 1928 and lived at the Black Swamp.
  • Isaac William was a motor driver in Timaru before he enlisted in 1915 and went to WWI in January 1916. He was badly gassed in 1917 and spent eight months in England recuperating before he rejoined his unit. He arrived home in June 1919 and returned to civilian life driving taxis. He married Margaret Nolan in 1938. He later drove the Municipal buses in Timaru but suffered ill health with lung damage from the gassing and died in 1952. He is buried in Timaru Cemetery. Margaret shifted to Christchurch and died in 1978. Family: Michael Bevan b 1939 married Catherine Flora Corby; Carole Mary b 1942 married Alfred Joseph Perwick; and Paul William b 1949 married Anne Katherine Craven.

Extract from: Doug Wing, Balfour: Pioneers to Present, Balfour and Districts Historical Society, Gore NZ, 2004, pp. 412-413.