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Corporal James Riley (........1881)


Back To . . .Surnames of the 65th Regiment's Soldiers who stayed
This information was kindly supplied by
Ann Thompson
Area Settled :
New Plymouth New Zealand
Children :
1 . James Lawrence, born in 1860. 
2 . Elizabeth Eileen, was born in Auckland in 1862
History & Achievements :
 "Pearn Pioneers - Cornwall/ Taranaki" published by PEARN descendant, Auckland 1986 it gives some insight into James Riley life:  
When Lavinia was nineteen she married James Riley, aged 36, a private in the 65th regiment, part of which was stationed at New Plymouth at that time.  James Riley had come to New Zealand on the Java with the 65th Regiment in 1846, and had been stationed in the Bay of Islands, Wanganui and then New Plymouth.  Although James's parents were Irish, he was actually born on the Island of Zante, Greece.  His father Bernard had been stationed in the Mediterranean with his regiment, the 90th, for ten years. In 1861 James was promoted to Corporal,
. In 1865 the 65th Regiment prepared to return to England. As many of the soldiers had married and had families in New Zealand, they were given the option of taking their discharge and remaining in New Zealand.  James applied for a discharge on health grounds in 1865 and he finally took it in 1866.  He was suffering from chronic rheumatism which was the result of his service in the army.
Question 6 on the discharge papers asks: "And whatever may have caused the disability etc., describe the present state thereof, and the probable effect in future on the invalid's capability of contributing towards earning a livelihood, adding how far it is considered to have been caused or aggravated by the use of intoxicating liquors, or indulgence in other habits or vices".  The acting army surgeon wrote on his discharge papers: "Is quite worn out, sick, suffers from pain in limbs which will make him unfit to earn a livelihood by hard work, but he can work at light dutires. Not been increased by vice or intemperance". The family settled in Wanganui for a short while, and then moved to New Plymouth.  They lived in Fillis Street, opposite the area now known as Pukekura Park.  Section 1095 was originally granted to a Richard Old, who did not uplift it.  There is no documentation as to how it came into the possession of James Riley, and the title was applied for, and issued to, James Riley (Jun.) only in 1910 following the death of both his parents. James was granted 80 acres under the Waste Lands Act of 1858.  This was Rural Allotment 124 which lay on the east side of Upland Road at Tarurutangi. The grant was documented on 16th October 1874 but was effective as from 13th February 1861.  It is not know whether James made any attempt to farm this land. In 1872 James was awarded the New Zealand Medal.  This was granted for service in the colony during the wars of 1845-47 and 1861-64. Records found so far list James merely as a labourer for his final decade.  However there are indications that he was a prison warder when the New Plymouth jail was first opened in 1871. James was ill for some time before his death in July 1881. James was only 57 when he died.
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