KENDALL and MITTENS ANCESTORS

YOU ARE HERE: home>>family history >> kendall - mittens
 

Saint Helena
        Island Info Logo For information about St. Helena click here

THE STORY OF THE KENDALL and MITTENS FAMILIES

Thomas Yates was apparently an Englishman, who lived on St Helena Island. St Helena is a small  island in the Atlantic Ocean. It was on St Helena that Napoleon Boneparte was imprisoned after his  defeat at the hands of the British, arriving there in 1815, and dying there in 1821. The population at  the time was several thousand, of whom the majority were black slaves. Thomas Yates was a  publican and had a daughter, Sophia, to a mulatto woman (almost certainly a slave and not a wife). A mulatto is the child of a white person and a African slave (and therefore at that time a slave), and  Sophia could be described as a quadroon, (that is 1/4 African). Shortly after the birth of Sophia Yates, her father Thomas Yates married for the first time in 1771 to a Mary Paddom, who died 1781.  Thomas married a second time to a Sarah Seager in 1781 and had at least two children.

Joseph Mittens probably was also a Negro slave, as was almost certainly Joseph and Sophia's son, Thomas and his wife Margaret Thomas. A photocopy of a photo of Maria Mittens (with husband  William Kendall and one of their children, in which Maria shows some negroid features.

Joseph Mittens married Sophia Yates 16 May 1812 although the first of their eight children (Joseph) was born in May of 1791.
One possible explanation for this is that they were not free until then. Also in the 1814 census for St Helena Island, Joseph is listed as having 3 cows and 3 calves.
This would indicate that he probably owned land and to do this he would have to be freed from slavery.

Thomas Mittens and Margaret Thomas probably married about 1817 or 1818 on St Helena Island although the actual date may have been much later.
They had about seven children, all born on St Helena. It is of interest to note that an additional piece of information  (Both free) has been written at the end of the baptisms record in a different (and later style) handwriting.  This seems to confirm that they were slaves .

Mittens baptisms

Birth/Baptism records for the first four children circa 1823
Click here for a larger view

Maria was born on 15/1/1825, the fifth child. It seems that in the late 1830's or early 1840's the Mittens family moved from St Helena to Cape  Town.

In the late 1820's or early 1830's Britain freed all slaves in its dominions as a follow on from  Abraham Lincoln's decision in the United States. Thus the Mitten's family became free. Also, Britain  had acquired the Cape Colony (as South Africa was then known) as a war prize after defeating the  Dutch in a war at the start of the 1800's. By 1830 they were having trouble getting settlers to go  there, and as a partial solution they encouraged the Noble Negro's (as the freed slaves were known)  to move there. It seems that this is what the Mitten's family did.

William Kendall was born somewhere in England round about 1825. He may have been born at  Kingston-on-Hull, Leeds, Yorkshire, but there is also a family tradition that he came from  Nottinghamshire where the family engaged in the lace trade. How and why he came to Cape Town  is uncertain, although he may probably have been a soldier. In the early 1850's he met and married  Maria Mittens (although no marriage record has been found and it would appear that Maria may still have been married to Thomas William WATMAN, as he did not die until 1888). Charlotte, was born about 1847 at Cape Town  the father is unknown (most likely, Maria was unwed). Michael Thomas was born in 1850 in Cape Town, the son of Maria and Thomas William WATMAN. In the early 1850's Maria and William KENDALL got together and with Charlotte and Michael Thomas, they moved to Paarl, about thirty miles from  Cape Town, where another six children were born to Maria and William KENDALL and William worked variously as a labourer and  as a prison guard at the local prison. The last two children (making ten all told) were born at  Onehunga, New Zealand after the family's move there.

What brought on the decision to move from South Africa to New Zealand can only be guessed at   today. The feeling is that it was because of Maria being a African. Mixed marriages were certainly  frowned upon back then by the British and William may have felt that life would he better in New  Zealand, where mixed white/Maori marriages were looked upon much more favourably. There it  would be easier to pass Maria off as a Maori, or if not her then certainly the children. In any event  late in 1864, the family boarded the Eveline and sailed for New Zealand, where the settled at  Onehunga, living in Church St.
 
 

William KENDALL          Maria KENDALL
                      William KENDALL        Maria KENDALL (nee MITTEN)










The Kendall family's arrival in Auckland.

Extract from the shipping passenger list

the Eveline
Ship: 814 tons
Captain: James Taylor
Sailed from Cape of Good Hope 1864 - arrived Auckland January 22nd 1865

Kendall
                   William                     34          Stonemason
                    Mary                        33
                    Charlotte                 18
                    Michael                   14
                    George William       11
                    William Harry            8
                    Sarah Ann                6
                    Mary Jane                3
                    James                      3 months

Two more children were born in New Zealand, Charles Henry KENDALL, 25 June 1866 (it is belived he died in infancy) and Arthur henry KENDALL, 11 February 1868.
William Kendall's health apparently started to deteriorate after their arrival in New Zealand since he  apparently had an inflammation on the lungs about 1865 from which he never totally recovered. On  19/6/1873 he was admitted to the Auckland Lunatic Asylum suffering form "Melancholia". He was  discharged as "relieved" on 7/11/1873 but was re-admitted the following year. He died at the  Asylum on 29/5/1875. Maria apparently made ends meet by working as a washerwoman. She died  23/2/1877. Both are buried at St Peter's Church, Onehunga.

St Peter's Church, Onehunga,
          NZ
 St Peter's Church  circa 1866
Click here for a larger view

Kendall grave
 Kendall grave at St Peter's Church
Click here for a larger view


 

                                                                      Family tree for William KENDALL                                    Family tree for Joseph MITTENS 


Top of Page


I would like to acknowledge my immediate family, Peter McKay and the research of the Kendall researchers in NZ  for contributions to this page.