Taken From the Bee Family Reunion Book (1986)
Francis and Anne (Harrison) Bee
Francis and Anne (Harrison) Bee
Francis Bee was born in Nottingham, England in 1820. He married Anne Harrison of Nottingham born in 1822. They sailed to New Zealand on the sailing ship "London" and arrived in Wellington 1st of May 1842 with their baby daughter Ellen. Francis was a baker and flour miller by trade and assisted with the baking on the "London" during its voyage to New Zealand. He also brought two mill stones from Nottingham but these later got washed into Wellington harbour during a flood.
For a while they lived in huts and tents on the Petone beach but eventually they shifted to Thorndon where Francis started a bakery using the millstones that he had brought from Nottingham. Later he brought the Nelson Inn and about this time he took a voyage to Bendigo Australia and took part in the gold rush there. He left his wife Anne in charge of the Inn. By this time they had four children — Ellen, Anne, Frank and George. Francis did not make a fortune on the gold fields but Anne did quite well at the Nelson Inn and it was shortly after Francis' return that he decided to take up a sheep run on the East Coast of Hawke's Bay. He drove the sheep (merinos) up the coast arranging for a lease of the Waipuku Block from the Maoris. Anne and the children arrived on the "Salopian" in January 1853. Five more children were born while they lived in very primitive conditions on the Waipuku run. Unfortunately one son, Frank, was drowned at the age of thirteen at Ocean Beach (H.B.) when he was washed out to sea while crossing a stream in flood.
In about 1863 the family shifted to Havelock North and shortly after this in July 1864 the other branch of the Bee family arrived on the "Rangoon" from England.
At the time of the Land Wars Francis and his son George 'Shardy' were members of the militia. George fought at the battle of Omaranui just out of Napier. He was second Lieutenant while his father, Francis was a Private! Francis, Anne and their children (except for Ellen, who by this time had married Gavin Peacock) shifted at about this time. The unrest in the country and the threat of Hau Haus made land values drop and Francis took the opportunity to buy land and increase his flock of sheep. They first settled at Mangahararu (H.B.) and later leased Mohaka and Springhill stations. Later still George purchased Putorino and Kakariki stations (H.B.)
The family was at Mohaka at the time of Te Kooti's raid but unlike some other settlers in the district, they did not sell up and shift to safer quarters, but stuck it out. George 'Shardy', who was but a lad in his teens at the time, was often camped in the back country and it is said that he always slept with his pistol nearby in case of attack by the Hau Haus.
When peace between Maori and Pakeha eventually came in 1873, George married his cousin Ellen (Nellie) Bee with whom he had fallen In love when he first saw her on arrival from England. They were married at Havelock North and rode by horse to Mohaka after the wedding. They set up home at Springhill station where ten of their eleven children were born.
Francis and Anne shifted to Poverty Bay and lived there until their deaths in 1902 and 1920 and are both buried at Patutahi cemetery. Two of their daughters remained in the area and there are many descendants in the area.
The following chapters tell the story of their children as remembered by their descendants.