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Obituary: Upper Plain identity James McGregor

Evening Post, Volume CXIX, Issue 111, 13 May 1935

"Balquhidder," Upper Plain, home of James McGregor - 07-168/4
The death occurred at his homestead "Balquhidder," Upper Plain, yesterday afternoon of Mr. James McGregor, sen., a pioneer of the Masterton district. Had he lived until next month, Mr. McGregor would have been 91 years of age. Though he had long enjoyed splendid health, latterly Mr. McGregor had been somewhat indisposed.
McGregor family, circa 1925:
Back row: William, Martha and James McGregor Junior
Front row: James' wife, Lois (nee Feist), James Senior and Duncan McGregor
07-168/5.digital
Mr. McGregor was born on a farm in Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1844. When gold was discovered in Victoria his father decided to try his fortune on the goldfields and left Scotland in 1853, taking his wife and three sons with him. They lived on the goldfields in Victoria for 12 years, coming to Masterton in August, 1865, and engaging in pit-sawing at Matahiwi.

Later the family took up land at Wangaehu. This they were deprived of as there was difficulty in those days in securing the title from the Maoris.

They next started a sawmill at Solway, and when the timber was cut out there they removed to the Upper Plain. This saw milling business was continued until 1885, when James and Duncan took up farming in partnership.

In 1900 James McGregor removed to Wangaehu, buying a farm upon which he reared stud sheep and cattle.

In 1917 he retired to a small farm on the Upper Plain, where he resided until his death.
Foundation stone, McGregor Hall, St Luke's Union Church, Masterton - 04-166/44
The chief interests of the late Mr. McGregor were the Knox Sunday School, of which he was superintendent for 50 years, the Prohibition movement, and the Masterton A. and P. Association, of which he was a foundation member. For a considerable period he was a member of the Trust Lands Trust.
Building erected in Queen Street, Masterton, by James McGregor
for the first Knox Sunday School, 1865
04-166/50

He is survived by three sons, Duncan, James, and William, all farming in this district, and three daughters. There are eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
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Mrs James (Lois) McGregor, nee Feist, died in 1918. Her obituary, in the Wairarapa Daily Times of 16 July 1918, read:
It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of an early settler of sterling worth, in the person of Mrs McGregor, wife of Mr James McGregor, of the Upper Plain, which took place at 11.30 o'clock last night.

Deceased was 77 years of age, and was born in Fransfield, Sussex, England. With her parents she landed in Wellington, in 1865, and in 1866 came to the Wairarapa, where her parents took up their residence.

The late Mrs McGregor was closely associated with the Presbyterian Church in Masterton, and rendered valuable service in connection with the work of the parish. Deceased was a devoted helper during the many years her husband was superintendent of Knox Sunday School.

The late Mrs McGregor was held in very high esteem on account of her kindly disposition, and her death will be deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends.

A husband, three sons (Messrs Duncan, James and William McGregor), and three daughters (Misses L., J., and M. McGregor) are left to mourn their loss. Mr K. Feist, of Masterton, is a brother of deceased. The funeral will take place to-morrow afternoon.


Photographs: Picture Wairarapa

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