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Across the seas . . . Archibald and Jessie McInnes immigrated to New Zealand as children. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/NOESA

In the 1800s, many people immigrated to New Zealand looking for a better life. As children, Jessie and Archibald McInnes both made the journey with their families from Scotland, and later crossed paths in North Otago. Ruby Heyward brings their past story to present.

From one corner of the earth to another, Jessie and Archibald McInnes both immigrated from Scotland as children and crossed paths in Otiake, North Otago.

Mr McInnes was born in 1863 in Argyllshire, Scotland to Murdoch and Sarah McInnes.

He was one of six children, and in 1876, when he was 13, his family travelled from Glasgow to Otago, on avessel called Invercargill.

They were assisted immigrants, which meant they were recruited and given cheap fares by the New Zealand government.

This was likely due to the fact that Mr McInnes’ father, who was 45 at the time, was a slate quarrier. The family lived in Otepopo until moving to Otiake, where they took up farming.

Similarly, Mrs McInnes (nee Grant), her parents and four siblings, left Glasgow in 1870 and arrived in Otago four months later.

The Grant family lived in Dunedin until about 1876 when they relocated to Otiake where Mrs McInnes’ father, John, bought a farm.

It was in Otiake where Mr and Mrs McInnes met, and where they married in 1888.
Mr McInnes had just turned 25 and Mrs McInnes was 24.

The couple took up farming, and by 1910, they had up to 1250 sheep.

Mr McInnes was also a member of the Waitaki County Council from 1914 and was chairman from 1931 to 1935.

While the couple did not have children, Mr McInnes was an Otiake School committee member.

The couple retired in the 1930s and moved to Oamaru.

Mrs McInnes died in 1942, age 79, and Mr McInnes 10 years later, age 90. They are buried together at the Oamaru Old Cemetery.

The Oamaru Mail is working with New Zealand Society of Genealogists Oamaru branch committee member Beryl Miller to shine a light on the people behind the glass in the North Otago Early Settlers Portrait Collection.