The MIDDLETON boys and so much more...

My time away in Christchurch over the Christmas break was fantastic also in that I managed to snap over 2000 photographs, most of these at Bromley Cemetery.  I had this penchant to photograph as many graves as I could that mentioned deceased military members of family's on headstones but that had no official military plaque or similar.  Along with these, I try to photograph headstones  [like my work as a volunteer researcher for the Friends of Linwood Cemetery Trust doesn't keep me busy!], I feel will offer an interesting story if I dig further and so go by ages of the interred [very early birth years in comparison to New Zealand's European history]; multiple deaths that are close in date; 'accidental deaths'; other various military graves and unusual names. Many other of my grave photographs with bios can be found HERE

This cemetery like all others in Christchurch and outlying areas has been badly damaged due the the thousands of earthquakes in the past 2 1/2 years with many stones smashed and with the risk that the 'physical' information will be lost forever if not captured now.

Oh yesss I'm an enthusiastic taphophile but now I have to do biographies for them if I can.  Some are 'quick and dirty' biographies due to lack of information, others tend to weave their own stories and take on a 'life' of their own.  The MIDDLETON grave was one such grave.

Block 41 Plot 108 - Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch
Photographed 23 December 2012

In fond memory of
Gordon Selwyn
Cecil Clive [Tiny]
Loved sons of C.T. & B. MIDDLETON

A search on one of my very favourite sites 'Paperspast' came up trumps for me with the following items:

 For Gordon

For Cecil

So now it appears I had the reasons for both brothers deaths but how tragic both dying on the exact same date actually 2 years apart not 1 as was reported in the papers at the time of Cecil's death.   Using the Christchurch City Council cemeteries online database, it confirms:

Died 23 February 1930
Occupation – Clerk
Address: 33 Hawke St, Christchurch


Died 23 February 1932
Occupation – Clerk
Address: 35 Hawke St, New Brighton

Armed with the information that the young men's father was the Town Clerk of New Brighton, off on an internet search I had to go.  
It transpires, their father Clarence was born in 1869, the son of Osman Edward and Eliza G MIDDLETON.  Clarence's birth was registered at Morpeth, NSW.  

Osman and Eliza married 26th November 1856 at Gadarah, Tumut River, the residence of R.H. Broughton, Esq., by the Rev. Samuel FOX.  Osman was residing at Phoenix Park, Paterson River, and was the third son of the late Rev. George Augustus MIDDLETON, Episcopalian Chaplain.  His bride, Eliza George was the only daughter of the late Captain John STEIN
Osman Edward MIDDLETON, Esq., of Phoenix Park, Morpeth, was proclaimed the First Returning Officer of the Morpeth Municipality, and appointed the first meeting of electors of that municipality to take place at Morpeth on Thursday, 1st February 1866. [Sadly in November 1866 Osman's 9 year old son, also named Osman was drowned crossing the Hunter river at Morpeth].
Osman’s death notice in The Sydney Morning Herald - Friday 3 November 1882 - page 1] states:

"He died on 27 October at his residence, Phoenix Park, near Morpeth after 13 years of suffering from asthma. Third son of the late Rev. George Augustus Middleton, Colonial Chaplain, aged 56 years. The deceased was the oldest resident of Phoenix Park, having lived there for 48 years."   Osman was also a J.P.

I found a rather interesting article dated September 1930 regarding Clarence Tyrrell MIDDLETON, Town Clerk:

Click HERE for full article

I didn't find much information at all relating to Clarence's time as Town Clerk of New Brighton.
He died  aged 90[sic] in 1961 . Isabella [Belle] died 21 January 1959 aged 81.  They were both cremated at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland and ashes may have been scattered as there is no plot or columbarium information given.

Further searching came across a photograph of the grave of Gordon and Clive's great grandfather, and Clarence's grandfather Reverend George Augustus MIDDLETON mentioned above, buried with an infant child of theirs and who interestingly enough, years down the track - Clarence must have been named after.

Image sourced: Australian Cemeteries Index

It's been a good 4 hours of research and there will be so much more to the MIDDLETON story but I have thousands of other stories to write! Please feel free to add anything relating to this family in the comments section especially the New Zealand connection - Clarence and Isabella

Patriarchal line:
George Augustus and Sarah MIDDLETON

Osman and Eliza MIDDLETON 
[c1826-1882 m1856]

 Clarence [and Isabella] MIDDLETON
[brothers] Gordon and Cecil MIDDLETON

Australian Dictionary of Biography
Christchurch City Council cemeteries online database 
Dept Internal Affairs [NZ] online historic BDM indexes
National Library NZ - 'Paperspast' digitised newspapers
Waikumete Cemetery online database



  1. Hello Sandy,
    I am happy you enjoyed your time away. This post is just fascinating. I think a lot of us wonder what happened when we happen topp read a strangers headstone, it's fascinating that you actually unearth the story.
    Big hug,

    1. Well hello Giac :)
      Yes it is always lovely getting to see the family! Do you live close to yours?

      Thanks for your interest in my post :) I always do walk around cemeteries wondering about peoples stories. EVERYONE has a story to tell, it's just trying to unearth it [hehheh nice pun] as you say! We are so lucky, there is so much out there on the internet now and often it's just a matter of finding the right search strings to get a bit of information and thinking outside of the square - name spellings etc. I've often stumbled on information in the most bizarre ways!

      Hope your new year was fantastic! What does 2013 hold for you?

  2. It's amazing what the experts can do in only 4 hours. Good job, Sandy! Will add this to my family tree and alert other Middleton rellies.

    1. Well hello 'Anonymous' :o)

      Pleased you may have got something out of it! That's fabulous!

      Thanks so much for the feedback :o) please feel free to add more family information to the comments section if you can flesh out the story even more!



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