Topic: Stephen Roebuck Memorial
Okato Cemetery, Okato
Stephen Roebuck Memorial
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Mary Ann Roebuck
Died 11th September 1902
Stephen Johnson Roebuck
Killed at Matitawa [sic]
23rd January 1865
Stephen Johnson Roebuck - who enrolled with No 9 Company Taranaki Military Settlers as 'Francis Johnson' was also known as Frank Roebuck. He was serving at Mataitawa redoubt - near present Lepperton - when he was shot and killed by a fellow soldier, John Harris, on 23 January 1865. (See the inquest in Documents below)
Harris, rumoured to be a convict from Australia, was charged with murder and although evidence from some witnesses indicated a deliberate shooting, he was eventually convicted only of manslaughter and given three years hard labour. He escaped from custody in August 1865 but was recaptured and four months was added to his sentence.
Roebuck was buried in Te Henui Cemetery on 25 January 1865.(Burial #123, Te Henui Cemetery Register) The plot is unlocated and unmarked. His memorial has been added to his wife's headstone in Okato Cemetery.
A subscription for his wife, Mary Ann - left destitute with 6 children between 4 and 17 - raised £191 from other TMS companies. In 1867 she petitioned the Defence Department for a pension but was declined. She later, in 1868, applied to the courts for her husband's allocation of land (or monetary equivalent) as part of his service agreement.(See Documents below)
[Privates in the TMS were due 50 acres - about 20 hectares - of rural land and a town section in one of the military settlements in Taranaki]
It is not known what the decision was on Mary Ann's application.
Under the Military Settlers Crown Grants, Stephen Roebuck was allocated one Town section (#114) and one Rural section (#150) in Patea by the Taranaki Provincial Govt in 1871 (See Document below) It is not known if the sections were able to be delivered to his wife.