A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

Theophilus George Love

FamilySearch Code L1MX-6M7

T G Love c.1904

From an obituary in the Wanganui Chronicle, January 20th, 1913:

Arriving in Auckland as a lad he soon found that idling was not to his liking, so, to simplify matters, went to sea, making several trips to Australia, but eventually finding his way back to the place of his adoption. He has seen some stirring times here. In the Maori troubles of the West Coast of this island he did yeoman service in the commissariat department of the colonial troops. When the war was over he took up other pursuits, such as fell to the pioneers of those days, and finally settled in Wanganui, which he has seen grow from a one-street village to the position which it holds now.

Though his private work did not bring him into the public eye, it was as an able advocate of labour he became so well known and respected. In 1903, he, with others, formed the Timber Yards’ Employees’ Union and Drivers’ Union, and in 1904 he represented Wanganui at the Trades and Labour Conference in Christchurch, also in 1905. Since which time he has expended both time, energy and money to further the cause of labour. He has represented many unions on different occasions, being the first secretary of the General Labourers’ Union and the Gas Stokers’ Union, also the Hotel Employees and Drivers’ Union, for which he represented the drivers in Wellington when they obtained the first Dominion award in New Zealand He was ever a “straight goer,” and I don’t think he leaves on enemy behind him. Labour in Wanganui will miss his genial and smiling face in more ways than one. He died in harness, his last thoughts being of those for whom he did his best.

Clearly, the above is a sanitised version of his early life, omitting all reference to his marriage to Mary Flanigan and the birth of his son Peter.

In fact, he had arrived in New Zealand on the same ship as Mary Flanigan, as the son of William Love, a private in the British Army, but originally from Dublin. Also on board were his three brothers, Hugh, John and Benjamin.

After Theophilus and Mary split up, he found his way to Wellington and Lower Hutt, gaining employment in timber yards and sawmills. In about 1875, he moved in with Maria Grainge and her young son.

In 1893 he was involved in a court case about a domestic disturbance. Maria had locked him out of their house in Parliament St after an argument and he then approached the house wielding an axe, destroying a window and breaking open the door, whereupon Maria’s son, then aged 21, shot Theophilus in the shoulder with a pistol.

Although Theophilus recovered, the relationship did not.

He eventually moved from Wellington to Wanganui, where his father and at least one of his brothers (John) were living. At some point, he met up with another woman, Isabella Loveday Burrows and her daughter Emily. In 1907 he applied to the court in Wellington for a divorce from Mary on the grounds that she had deserted him. The application was granted and in 1908 he married Isabella.

He died in Wanganui in 1913, receiving a warm send-off from the Union with which he was still heavily involved, his headstone inscribed with “A grateful tribute from the workers of Wanganui, to the memory of one who did his utmost for their welfare”.