Sunday, July 5, 2009

A George Hemus compendium

I've received emails this morning from Meg Smith, great great-granddaughter of George Hemus, who has featured or been included in a number of past Timespanner posts. Here's the list:

Bell & Gemmell Tannery update (George Hemus was involved with the Riversdale Manufacturing Company as a shareholder and Auckland bootmaker).

The George Hemus Scandal, 1884.

A further update on George Hemus.

Even more on George Hemus (includes headstone image from America).

The list of Riversdale Manufacturing Company shareholders.

Here's Meg's email:
"According to family lore...

George and Frances had 8 children (4 did not survive childhood).
The eight children were named Ernest Howard Hemus (1874-1951 Topeka, KS),
Janet Mary Hemus (1870 - ? died as a baby),
Frances Hemus (1871-? married Arthur Blake and had 1 child Frank Butterworth),
George Harwood Hemus (1873 - died 1944 Colorado Springs, CO, married to Blanch Herman), Leonard Gray Hemus (1877 died the same year),
Percy Turner Hemus (3/7/1878 - 12/22/1943),
Harold Hemus (1878-1879),
Ethel Maude Hemus (1880-1881).

While in New Zealand, Frances Harwood Keane Hemus was abandoned by her husband who left for America. She told people in New Zealand he was setting things up and she was to follow with the children. She tracked him down in San Francisco where her husband gave her some money and put her and their four surviving children on a train to Kansas. Her son Ernest became the bread winner at the age of 9 when he started working for the Santa Fe railroad to support Frances and his siblings. He was a very bright man who worked for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad throughout his life. He married Lucy Riggs and had two daughters Marjorie Riggs Hemus (later Marjorie Hemus Crane) Feb 2, 1902 - Aug 25, 2000 and Bernice "Babe" Hemus. Marjorie was my grandmother and a wonderful strong woman. She married Alfred Harry Crane and had two daughters Marjorie and Judith Ann Crane. Marjorie had two sons with Donald Schnacke (Gregory and Timothy). Judith had two daughters with Robert Harold Elliott, Jr.; Kathryn Crane Elliott and Margaret Harwood Elliott Smith.

George's son Percy Turner Hemus had success as a singer and actor. He cut the first gold record for RCA and was an actor on the radio for the show "Tom Mix" as the character The Wrangler in the 1930s.

George's son George Harwood Hemus settled in Colorado Springs, CO and taught in the State School for the Blind. In 1937 he and his sister Frances Butterworth visited Auckland.

I don't know what happened to George after he abandoned Frances. Needless to say we don't think highly of him ;0)

Hope that helps.

Meg Smith"
My thanks to everyone who has emailed me on the subject of George Hemus. I now know much more about him than when I first started out, and all your contributions has meant that the information provided can now help others. Cheers!


  1. I am looking for relatives of the Hemus family line as I have photographs from Frank Butterworth, son of Frances Hemus. I would like to pass them on to family members.

    1. I am Gracen Smith, grandson of Bernice Hemus Farquharson and great, great grandson of George Hemus. We would be interested in any pictures you might have available as we have no photographs going back this far. I can provide additional contact information if you are still willing to share.

  2. Send through your email, and I'll forward it on to Meg Smith.

  3. Thank you! I have not located your email address, so I am posting mine to you. It is: Mahalo for your assistance.

  4. Cheers for that (my email is actually at my profile page -- a link which says "email"). I've passed on your email to Meg Smith.