No chronicle of the Bee family would be complete without a biography of one of the most colourful members of the family — namely Annie Bee. (Known within the family as 'Big Aunt Annie' her cousin Anne being known as 'Little Aunt Annie').
The second child of Francis and Anne Bee, she endured all the privations of the early pioneers and devoted her life to the care and attention of her immediate family.
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. She was a tremendous strength to her mother in caring for younger sisters and brothers under primitive conditions of pioneering days in early New Zealand.
As the rest of the family grew up and married, Ann devoted her attention to the care of her parents in their retirement at Patutahi, near Gisborne in 1893 until the death of her mother in 1910.
She then spent her time with either of her two Gisborne sisters, Phoebe (Newman) or Maria (McKenzie), occasionally with Fanny Ross at Willow Flat, George Bee at Mohaka, Kate Bourke at Eskdale, Lizzie Brandon at Nuhaka and Ellen Peacock at Poraiti. Although having no children she had a host of children in all her nieces and nephews.
The year 1916 saw Annie devote her care to the next generation of great nephews, when she came to Waipukurau to take charge of her nephew's household (Hutt Peacock) alter the death of his wife.
It was at this stage that my acquaintance with my Great Aunt Annie commenced, and my impressions of her character formed. A person of infinite love and understanding, and very capable of running a household, milking the cows, harnessing the horses into the buggy, driving to town to shop for provisions. Visiting neighbours and attending church.
A tremendous sense of humour always came to her aid in a predicament she directed the lives of my two brothers and myself during the formative times of our growing up. She retained this responsibility until 1927 when my father re-married. From thence she went to live with her elder sister, Ellen Peacock, who was then living in Napier, and when Ellen died in 1929, Annie went back to Gisborne to her sister Maria McKenzie, who died three years later in 1932. She lies buried next to her parents, Francis and Annie Bee, in the Patutahi cemetery.
H. B. "Barney" Peacock