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Plew Family


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Friederich Wilhelm Plew (b. 1838–d. 1913) was born at Klaipeda and fled Prussia by sea to avoid conscription into the German Army. His twin brother, Wilhelm Friederich, a carpenter, went to Russia and was never heard from again. Friederich travelled widely, working as a sail maker aboard ship. It is believed that he fell from the mast of a ship injuring himself quite badly with little treatment. Having had enough of the sailing life, he possibly jumped ship arriving in New Zealand in the early 1860’s just when the gold rush was attracting prospectors from Australia and further abroad.

Friedrich first worked in the goldmines at Gabriel’s Gully 1861-62 before settling at Lauder as a gold miner on the Blue Duck claim. Later he tried his hand at farming on 150 to 200 acres in the same district. His name appears in the list of Life Members of Gabriel’s Gully Pioneers Association. He journeyed from Lauder to Lawrence in May 1911 to attend the Gabriel’s Gully 50th Celebrations. Friederich married on 26 May 1875 at Tinkers to Mary Ann Miller (b. 1851 at Kilkenny–d. 1914). The family born at Lauder were: Barbara (b. 1875–d. 1970), Mary (b. 1876–d. 1876), Caroline (b. 1877–d. 1931), John Frederick (b. 1880–d. 1955), Frederick Morgen (b. 1882–d. 1940), Margaret (b. 1883–d. 1955), Thomas Huddleston (b. 1885–d. 1886), Esther Mary (b. 1887–d. 1979) and Dorothy (b. 1889–d. 1938). Barbara was born in a tent her father Friederich made, an art he learned on board ship. In 1888, Friederich was the first chairman of the Lauder School committee and was an astute man of considerable music ability particularly on the violin. He died at Lauder on 12 May 1913 aged 75 and is buried at the Drybread Cemetery in Omakau. Mary died on 8 November 1914 and is buried at Port Molyneux Cemetery.

Research Sources

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973, FamilySearch.

Cashman, Fairfield, supplied family information.

New Zealand Stone’s Directory, Dunedin Public Library


Compiled by Paul Klemick (2021)

(note from webmaster ;-     I was unable to find and place in Poland named Klaiped, so have mapped Klaiped in Lithuania)