McNeur Family Home
From Scotland to New Zealand

Family Tree

So what do I owe to them, then,
To the strange names? Those far places?
With their clothing old fashioned and stiff
But the oh, so familiar faces?
My own face, then, my thoughts,
My health and delights - do I owe them
To those who have long ago gone,
Who have died - and how should I know them?
To what extent am I, I?
How much those who begot me,
Who formed and fashioned and led.
Who influenced, and have forgot, me?
From them I have being and life,
I have movement, decision and pleasure.
From me they have all they could ask -
Immortality now is their measure.
And such I bequeath to my own -
And to all who may follow after,
Whether they knew me or no -
Life, in its fullness, and laughter.

PS. It is a strange thought
That to a chance meeting and mating of long dead names
I owe my life,
and how much more!
I do not recognise this debt
It was an unconscious gift.
A quick deed conceived and cheaply bought.
I owe them my life
And they owe me their immortality.

Anne Jacques (nee McNeur)

James McNeur + Margaret Hunter

Much of the history of James McNeur was researched by Archibald James (Jim) McNeur, Ian's brother.

The entry of James McNeur into the World was recorded in the Port Glasgow OPR thus:

"October 1836. James McNeur, Shoemaker in Port Glasgow and Mary McGaw his spouse had a lawful son born 25th September and baptised 30th October 1836 called James".

The Port Glasgow census of 1851 lists "James, aged 14, errand boy".

This photo presumed to show James around age 12 - 14. Probably his older brother Archibald beside him, and presumably William the Mariner was at sea.

We know that James' older brother William was a mariner, and captain of the "Dunedin" at age 25. James would have been 19 when big brother William left the UK to captain the "Dunedin" to New Zealand. William returned to Scotland in 1856 for a few months, and no doubt his stories of New Zealand stirred his brothers' imaginations. William made a second trip to NZ in 1857, probably returning to Scotland sometime in 1858.

Written in the family bible held by Jim, "James left Scotland for Otago in SS Sevilla, 19th August 1859. Arrived Port Chalmers 1859"

An excerpt from Pg 159 of "White Wings" by Sir H Brett gives information on the Sevilla as follows: "This vessel, a barque of 598 tons was a new ship when she was first placed in the New Zealand trade, but never made any fast passages out. She was built in Jersey for G Turnbull + Co of Glasgow, and chartered by the new firm Shaw, Savill and Co. She made three voyages to New Zealand. In 1859 she sailed from the Clyde on the 19th August and arrived at Port Chalmers on the 1st December, three days after sighting land, and brought a large number of passengers."

According to the passenger list for this voyage, Archibald McNeur was a passenger, but James was not. For many years this caused confusion. Family stories say that Archibald followed James but now we know that brother William had been here a year or so before, it makes sense that both Archibald and James came together on the Sevilla. Perhaps James worked his way over as a crewman, and thus was not listed on the passenger list.

So, 1859 brings James , aged 23, and Archibald, aged 30, to Port Chalmers, and Dunedin.

James McNeur, Center front

What was life like in Dunedin in 1859?

The following letter, dated from Dunedin, 20th August 1858, having appeared in a home paper, was written by an unnamed passenger bound for NZ on the "Strathfieldsaye" - the ship Capt William McNeur took over for it's journey from Dunedin to Melbourne.

"We left Glasgow in the Strathfieldsaye on the 15th January, and parted company with the pilot at Cumbrae Point on the 21st, and on the 28th April saw the mainland of New Zealand. With what feelings of emotion we caught the first glimpse of land of our adoption, after being so long tossed on the mighty deep, can only be described by those who experience it. Disappointing as it was to what we fancied, instead of green hills rising in gentle acclivity from the shore, you see a rocky, rugged-looking shore, with sterile bare-looking mountains covered with snow, and extending as far as the eye can reach. This is the general feature of the country so far as I have seen; but I am told there are fine plains in the interior.
Owing to the wind, we were obliged to lie at anchor about half-a-mile off the mouth of the harbour for eleven days. On the 10th we landed at Port Chalmers, a small hamlet with about a dozen wooden houses, when the married people left for Dunedin in a small craft. The captain was caught taking liberties with one of the girls, and was so enraged at the exposure consequent upon the discovery, that he fired amongst us in the dark, the ball carried off the second mate finger, fortunately without injuring any one else, though it passed through a crowd of us, and lodged in the forecastle. We rushed upon him, and, having tied him with a rope, gave the mate charge of the ship. Next day he was sent a prisoner to Dunedin, when he was bailed for £700. He never made his appearance at court for trail, but went off with the Strathallan, by which he forfeited his bail. He was also tried for ill treatment and withdrawing our stores, for which he was fined £30, and the owners have to pay £300 for short provisions and damages sustained by the passengers. This will give you an idea of the treatment we received onboard.
On the 11th all the young people on board sailed for Dunedin, a distance of 8 miles, in small boats, and landed at 1 p.m. To give you a description of the place nothing could be more disappointing - a few straggling wooden houses without order or regularity merely temporary as if built on a ..... serve for two or three days; the streets, if they can be so termed, ankle deep with mud, their stores paltry little shops, such as you will find in a country village at home. The face of the country hereabouts bears a sterile, hilly aspect, except where covered with wood. What a feeling of disappointment is exhibited by all new arrivals to what they were led to expect from the government agent's (Mr Adam's) description! Had he been in reach of us he would have had to run hard for his life..... The Government agent was well aware when he strongly recommended young men to take wives, that they would not be able to leave the place, and if females were scarce when he left they are at a discount now, not only that they can not obtain husbands, but places. Some who came in our ship have not got the offer of a place yet, and most of those have had to go 50, 60 and 70 miles, no easy task in this country. Instead of £25 and £30, £15 and £20 are the highest wages, of which they have to do the work of two or three at home. Several left their places unable to stand it. The demand for men is equally dull, and the wages from £30 to £50; very few above £40. Characters and introductory letters are of no use.
Cabin passengers who could talk of nothing during the voyage but horse races and coursing dogs, had to shoulder the pick and off to the quarry and the road. Here you will find men of various artistic skills at the barrow, the shovel or pick; and wonderfully well content until wages were reduced to 5s. per day, when the young men struck and spread throughout the country. The poor unfortunates who cannot leave cannot be well off, owning to the rate of provisions accommodation. The meanest hut they can get is 10s a week - board and lodgings of a common description 1 a week - with one wet day weekly. we have no regular mails here, only some stray vessel once in a month and sometimes in three months."

Not an easy place to begin a new life, and far different from what they had obviously been promised! This is the Dunedin that James and Archie found when they arrived. I expect life in the first few years would have been difficult in this fledgling community.

Nothing is known of how James and Archie fared in this new land, but they were obviously working as tree fellers in the hills behind Dunedin.

The first information of the brothers after their arrival is the news of Archie's death. The "Otago Witness" of Sat 14 September 1861 reports on the inquest:

"The particulars of this sudden and fatal accident are thus stated by the deceased's mate who was working with him at the time. James McNeur, brother of the deceased, stated: on Thursday the fifth inst I was working with the deceased and Mr Renwick in Saddle Hill Bush felling a tree. Deceased and I had been working the saw together for some time and then Mr Renwick relieved the deceased. Shortly afterwards the tree showed signs of falling in the opposite direction from where we were cutting, but in falling it was checked by vines and creepers that were growing about it. The trunk of the tree swung around on the butt and Renwick and I were entangled in the vines and thrown to the ground but not struck by the tree. On extricating myself, I could not see the deceased anywhere. I called to him but got no answer. I felt almost certain that he was underneath the tree and I endeavoured to get under the mass of rubbish that surrounded the tree and after some difficulty I discovered that the tree was lying across the deceased's neck and shoulders. By the time further assistance had come to hand and we proceeded to cut away the creeper with a billhook, and we also cut the tree apart in two places, on either side of the deceased, and lifted away the portion that was lying on him. The body was apparently in a sitting position with the head bent down between the legs. When the deceased was removed we found life to be quite extinct. The accident happened on Thursday last at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. We were just about leaving off work; the deceased had the two axes in his hand ready to take home and they were found alongside the body.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death."

Archibald was buried at East Taieri Church.

According to Lily McNeur, James worked for a Mr Edmund Bowler and also that he followed the gold diggings to Hindon, Dunstan etc and that she had a locket made from a nugget that he found at Hindon. Another locket made from a Hindon nugget is listed among the possessions of Alec McNeur's family.

The Otago goldrush started at Tuapeka in early Spring 1861 and surged through Central Otago, but by 1864 many were returning to the cities or moving on to new fields and James was probably part of this pattern. During the first unorganised rush, some disorder and violence occurred, but the gold fields settled down to disciplined and orderly hard work. A few made fortunes and some became destitute, but the average miner was making about 3 times a labourer's wage. This is presumably where James earned enough to pay for his teachers training and probably put some by for retirement. It is interesting that his first Teaching appointment was at Waitahuna, where he could possibly continue gold mining during the school holidays.

His main career of teaching was preceeded by a one year course at the Dunedin Training College, after which he taught at Waitahuna, and thence to Te Houka in 1869 at the age of 37. Te Houka was west of the Clutha River and James was it's first teacher. Three schools were opened in 1858, one of these being Inch Clutha.

The Otago Witness report on Archie's death

The Inch Clutha schoolhouse - approx 1970

In 1872 at the age of 35, James married 36 year old Margaret Hunter, daughter of a coal mining family from Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Coal mining was a brutal business, with women and children working in the mines alongside their men.

Margaret had left Glasgow in June 1870 on the "William Davie", arriving on 06 September 1870 in Dunedin, and went to join her sister Susan, wife of Robert Neil, schoolmaster of Wangaloa. After this she became housekeeper at Pillan's home "Myres" at Inch Clutha. She probably had to go upriver to help at Pillan's Manuka Island station near Te Houka, where James was teaching, and that is presumably how they met.

Margaret's family story is told in a booklet "The Hunter Story", so we will not repeat it here. Kathy McCormack (nee McNeur) has a copy of this if anyone would like one.

James McNeur was chosen from 9 applicants to take over the Inch Clutha school in 1873. The roll was 59 and the average attendance 32. All children were taught singing, but no sewing was taken. James' salary was £157 pa. He received glowing reports of his work, such as:

"School and residence now co-joined. Playground and garden beautifully kept. School admirably taught in all respects. Master intensely devoted to his work and has infused the same spirit into his pupils, a number of whom are far advanced for their years and attendance".
By 1883 he was earning £259pa.

In 1878 a big flood swept the school away and debris was later washed up on the North Otago coast. The school house was threatened and the family, including 4 day old baby Archibald, were lowered from the attic window into a dray and evacuated by boat. A new school was later erected but the original schoolhouse still stood until 1984, when it was destroyed in a fire. By coincidence, Ian's daughter Kathy's first husband actually lived in this schoolhouse as a baby and young boy, and she saw it several times before it burnt to the ground.

James and Margaret had 6 children; 5 boys and 1 girl - more on them shortly

James ran the District Library, was auditor for the Matan Road Board and a member of the Sterling Athenaeum Committee. He was also registrar of the North Molyneux District; see his beautiful copperplate handwriting on the sheet of entries on son Archibald's birth certificate. James was also a faithful elder of the Presbyterian Church with a deep and abiding faith in God.

Apparently he was not completely cured of the gold bug, as his son Alec recalled that he used to go off by boat to Australia fossicking for gold in the school holidays. At some stage James and Margaret moved from Inch Clutha to the Sterling School about 12 km north, and younger sons Willie and Alec were born there, with David being born at Port Molyneux.

When James left Port Molyneux school (held in the church building) on 02 April 1885, the district presented him with a gold watch and the Sunday School gave him a gold fob to go with it. He retired in 1899 after 30 years of teaching and took up a farm "Parklea" at Wairuna about 3 km from Clinton, which he worked with the help of his sons.

Her son Alexander (Alec) remembered Margaret going to the polling booth the first time women were allowed to vote. She considered it a solemn occasion and dressed in her best clothes, even though the booth was just over the lawn from the house.

After the death of his wife Margaret in 1909, James sold the farm and moved to 14 Millar St, North East Valley, Dunedin, close to Knox College where his sons attended Theological College. Daughter Mary looked after him until he died on 03 Sept 1913 at the age of 77 years. He was buried in the family plot in the old Balclutha cemetery.

James' obituary from "The Outlook" says:

"Mr McNeur's life was comparatively uneventful in the ordinary sense of the word, but it attained a higher excellence; it was a life of quiet usefulness and strong faith, such as noone who was brought into close contact with him could question. He had inherited a blessing, for his father, who was engaged in business in Port Glasgow, was an elder of the church and universally esteemed as a man of prayer and good works. When Mr Archibald McNeur was at Home a few years ago, after his preaching at Port Glasgow ,a number of the old people came to him and said "This is in great measure the answer to your grandfathers' prayers."
"The writer of this notice enjoyed for many years the privilege of Mr McNeur's friendship and it was no ordinary privilege. He was a man of few words and his feelings were under habitual control, although the "perfervidum ingenium Scotorum" which slumbered in him could awake when occasion called. He was much interested in the young and took an active interest in their Society of Christian Endeavour."
A poem written to Margaret Hunter McNeur by her son George for her 63rd birthday, 20 July 1908.
Our Mother
When fields were green and ships were blue,
And flowers were decked in brightest hue
And bees hummed where sweet heather grew
Then you were born, Our Mother.

Now fields spread out their furrowed earth
Awaiting Spring's renewing birth
To usher in with cheering mirth
To brighter days, Our Mother.

Once more we join to wish you joy
And golden years without alloy,
Filled with bright hopes and kind employ
Til resting time, Our Mother.

For whether 'mong the heathered hills
Of fair Zealandia's snow fed rills
Or plain where Chinese peasant tills
We aye remember Mother.

May God whose love has made us one
Where 'ere we dwell beneath the sun
Grant us the strength our race to run
As having such a Mother.

And when at length our sun has set
And each the others once more met,
Where partings cease within heaven's yett
We'll all meet there, Our Mother.

James McNeur and Margaret Hunter's marriage certificate

James and Margaret Hunter McNeur in older years

A staunch Presbyterian Family

James and Margaret had 6 children, all brought up steeped in their deep faith. Between the First and Second World Wars, the McNeur name became fairly well known in Presbyterian circles throughout NZ. 4 brothers became Presbyterian Ministers, one a missionary in China and Mary the sub-matron of a Presbyterian Old Peoples Home.

Photo of exhibit on James McNeur at Otago Early Settlers Museum, Dunedin.
They have a large McNeur collection.

James and Margaret's children:
James born 26 Feb 1873. Died 27 June 1895, aged 22 years. After leaving school, James worked on George Aitcheson's milk run in Kaitangata. He also seemed to be working on a farm in the year he died. A copy of his diary for 1895, held by the Hocken Library in Dunedin, mostly consists of weather reports and entries about thinning, grubbing and weeding turnips, plus Scripture notes. He was engaged and had hoped to become a missionary.
Unfortunately he contracted pneumonia in June and died. His final entry in his diary was made on the day he died, 27 June and reads:
"Farewell, this world of grief and woe,
A fairer shore before I see.
Jesus has called, Goodbye dear friends.
At Heaven's gate I'll wait for thee."
An eulogy written by his sister Mary many years later states:
Our brother Jim, Born February 26th 1873, called away June 27th 1895
After 45 years of his passing I write a few lines about our brother Jamie, Mother's eldest, daughter as well as son to her, a bright and lovable boy, resembling the baby boy David. While at Ashley Downs he trusted Christ and straight away brought his mate William Roy to Jesus, a great work was going on at Waiwera at that time. After this Jim moved to Kaitangata, where the Christian Endeavour Movement was very strong under Rev. R Fairmaid. Jim entered into work in connection with it heart and soul, and was much used by God.
Shortly after this, our brother George, one night in the Balclutha Sender office, knelt down and accepted Jesus Christ as his own Saviour, and rose up and followed Him.
In June, during very cold snowy weather, Jim caught the "Flu", later "pneumonia". Mother went to nurse him. In his delirium, he lived over again the Christian Endeavour meetings. When there seemed no hope of his recovery, Father was sent for. As the end drew near, Jim thought we were all there and mentioned each one, lingering on Davie. "Tell them all to trust in Jesus". Mr Fairmaid was present and Jim asked for a service. Mother said that in Sankey's "I am thine O Lord", in the refrain "Draw me nearer, nearer", he seemed to be reaching right up to heaven.
Mother missed him so much and I am sure that for both Mother and Jim, it was a glad meeting on that further shore. So shall we be "for ever with the Lord".
James was buried in the family plot in the old section of the Balclutha Cemetery. He left his savings to his brother George to help him train as a missionary.

James Jr's diary, showing the final entry on the day he died.
Rev Dr George Hunter McNeur Born 24.12.1871 Inch Clutha (Clutha District); brought up at Stirling. He was an excellent swimmer. After leaving school George first worked on the newspaper "The Clutha Sender", then after his brother James died, George used the money bequeathed to him to enter Bible Training Institute in Dunedin and the Belair Missionary Training Institute in Adelaide. Also, his Uncle Alex in Scotland paid his passage so he could study at the Glasgow Training Institute, and finally the NZ Presbyterian Church paid for further training at Knox Theological College in Dunedin.

Accepted by Otago Synod as Missionary 1899. Theological Hall Dunedin 1900-01
Ordained by Synod of Otago & Southland as first Missionary to Canton Villages 31.10.1901

During this time, George spent two summers with Rev Alexander Don, tramping the Central Otago hills visiting Chinese gold miners, learning their language and gaining their friendship before leaving in 1901 to become a missionary in China. As most of the NZ Chinese came from villages near Canton, this was where the Church set up it's mission buildings and hospital at Kong Chuen. George was able to contact many relatives of the gold miners he had known in NZ. This became his home for 40 years and his work was described as "truly apostolic".

Margaret (Maggie) Sinclair ( b 1.10.1869 m 12.11.1903 d 25.3.1957), eldest daughter of James Sinclair of Milton, previously engaged to George's deceased brother James, sailed to join him in November 1903 and they were married in Hong Kong. She was a public school teacher who was one of the first 3 students at the PWTI in 1903 when it was taken over by the Presb. Church. George and Maggie's daughter Jean was brought up in China and educated in China and NZ, before returning to Kong Chuen as an evangelist until her marriage to an Irish missionary doctor, Dr Samuel Moore (Mooi), when she moved to Kukong and Hong Kong.

In 1911 he began teaching in Fatei Theological College Canton. In addition to his evangelical work, George also lectured at the American Presbyterian Seminary.

In 1920 he was threatened with the loss of his eyesight.
In 1927 he was brought home as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of NZ. During the 1 year appointment, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Aberdeen.

He was a member and chairman of important Committees in connection with Chinese Mission work. Rev McNeur taught for 25 years at the Union Theological College, Canton.
George and Maggie remained in China until 1941 when they retired to NZ, where for many years George was pastor of the Chinese church in Dunedin.

Degree of Doctorate of Divinity conferred on him by the University of Aberdeen in 1948.
Retired from Dunedin Chinese Church after appointment of the Rev YT Fong 31.1.1951

George Died in Dunedin 27.4.1953 after a period of ill health. He is buried in Dunedin, and his gravestone was erected by the Chinese.

Much has been written about, and by, George. Presbyterian archives, the Hocken Library and Alexander Turnbull Library preserve many of his letters and sermons, and "Jade engraved", by Paddy Jensen is about his life in Kong Chuen. "Daughter of China" is an autobiography of Jean Moore, his daughter.

Jean and Mooi had 3 children, John (doctor in Nelson), Deidre who lived for many years in Hong Kong but in 2007 returned to NZ, and Margaret, teacher in China and NZ, living in Auckland.

Jean Moore (nee McNeur) and Family Margaret Jean was born in Canton, China, on 21 January 1907, the only child of George and Margaret (nee Sinclair) McNeur. From 1916 to 1920 she studied at boarding school in Chefoo, China. In 1920 Jean was sent to stay with her maternal grandmother, Margaret Sinclair and her Aunt Jessie, in Milton where she attended the Tokomairiro District High School. After two years there as a pupil teacher, she went to Teachers' College and University in Dunedin, graduating with an MA in history. After six month's training, she was ordained as missionary in First Church, Dunedin, and sailed for Hong Kong, in September 1931, where she joined the NZ mission community as an evangelist in the countryside north of Canton.

Missionaries from many countries spent summer holidays on Lantau Island, Hong Kong and it was there that Jean met her future husband, Samuel Moore (Mooi), an Irish doctor with the Methodist Mission. They were married in Canton on 27 May 1936 and lived in Kukong. In 1937, Japan began its invasion of China so Hong Kong was filled with refugees. Jean went there and was later joined by Mooi. They sailed for Britain, via Bluff and Cape Horn to Mooi's family in Dublin where in December 1938 Margaret was born. By March they had returned to Hong Kong. Mooi carried on to Kukong but Jean and Margaret remained in the relative safety of Hong Kong. By 1939, war had been declared in Europe and in 1940, when European women and children were evacuated from Hong Kong, Jean opted to return overland through Japanese lines to Kukong in "Free China." During this period, John (March 1942) and Deirdre (January 1944) were born. Japanese bombers flew over Kukong and various refugees stayed in the Moore household, including escapees from Hong Kong after its occupation by Japan. By mid-1944 the foreign women and children were evacuated from Kukong, so that Jean and her three young children traveled to Kunming and were flown over Burma into India where they stayed with the New Zealand missionaries, in the Himalayan foothills and at Jagadhri in the Punjab. Mooi managed a couple of visits from China where he was working with the British Army Aid Group.

After the end of the war, Jean and the children returned to New Zealand, staying with her parents in Dunedin. After nine months they sailed to Hong Kong where Mooi had begun work with the Government Medical Department. The family lived in Hong Kong from 1947 whilst the regime changed in China. In 1962, Jean, Mooi & Deirdre left for New Zealand where Margaret & John had already gone for school and university study. Mooi became Medical officer of Health at Invercargill, but he and Jean returned again to Hong Kong in early 1964 to be Medical Superintendent of the drug rehabilitation centre on the small island of Shek Kwu Chau. John had qualified as a doctor, married Robyn Jones and settled in Nelson. Both Margaret and Deirdre returned to teach in Hong Kong. At the end of 1969, shortly before his retirement, Mooi had a sudden & fatal heart attack. Jean decided to stay on in Hong Kong, working as Executive Secretary for the same drug rehabilitation organization, SARDA. In early 1974 Jean and Margaret were able to join a group of New Zealanders on a brief visit to Canton, much changed from when Jean once lived there.

Jean and Margaret both left Hong Kong for Auckland in mid 1974. Margaret had taught for ten years at Ying Wa Girls School and then taught at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland. Deirdre had returned after a time in Britain, met and married Australian engineer, Doug McLearie and their children, Stephen (1974) and Janet (1976) were both born in Hong Kong. John had stayed in New Zealand, moving with Robin to Te Anau where Helen (1968), Rachael (1970) and David (1971) were all born. In 19.. the family went to live in Nelson where John continued to work as a GP. The McLearie family went to Australia for some years before returning to Hong Kong again.

Jean suffered a severe stroke on April 30 1985. From then until her death on 20 March 1992, Jean remained in hospital care. Margaret stayed on in Auckland, as a relief teacher at Epsom Girls, then as an ESOL tutor at UNITEC until her retirement. John remained in Nelson and is now retired there. His eldest, Helen, is a radiologist in Auckland, married to Stephen Simighean, and they have two daughters, Lauren (2001) and Claire (2004). Both Rachael and David work in outdoors education and live in the South Island. Doug and Deirdre (Dee) have retired after many years in Hong Kong and are also now living in Nelson, although Doug still travels frequently for his engineering firm. Their children both now live in Sydney. Stephen, an artist, is married to Katya and have 1 child. Janet, a doctor, married Dave in November 2007.

Jean's Autobiography.

Margaret, John and Deidre (Dee) plus families at Nelson 2012
Mary McNeur Born 20.08.1876. Died 1959

Mary was James and Margaret's only daughter. She was born at Inch Clutha in 1876 and remained at home helping with the home and taking over as housekeeper after her mother's death in 1909.

After her Fathers death at North East Valley Dunedin in 1913, she continued to keep house for all her brothers as they attended Knox Theological College. Once the boys were all established, Mary became a nurse at Ross Home , the Presbyterian home for the elderly, which was also in North East Valley. She later became a matron there.

After 20 years at Ross Home, she left to keep house for her brother Willie, after the death of his wife. Later she became a live in companion for Mrs Wilding at Fairfax St, Dunedin.

She was a kindly and helpful lady who always remembered the birthdays of her nephews and nieces.

She finally became a resident of Ross Home, and died there in 1959.
Rev. Archibald McNeur Born 23 September 1859. Died 1959

Notes from Presbyterian Archives
Born 23.9.1878 Inch Clutha. At 4 days old was rescued by boat from the roof of their schoolhouse at Inch Clutha in the big flood of 1878.
Married Lily Abercrombie (b 20.4.1884 m 25.8.1914 d 7.4.1963)
He had studied at Glasgow BibleTraining Insitute;
HM Glenomaru ClP 1908
Hokitika Outfields WestPort 1909
Ashburton Outfields 1910
Opoho Dunedin 1911 (while in Knox College)
Knox College 1911-4 (classes clashed & he took a 4th yr voluntarily).
Ordained as Minister Knapdale Southland 12.6.1914
Winton SP 6.3.1918
Milton ClP 24.6.1925
St Andrews Canterbury SCP 2.7.1937
Westport 28.4.1942 ret 13.6.1945
Morven AsP supply minister 1953
New Brighton ChP supply 1954-5; then they moved to Palmerston North.
Died 10.11.1961 Palmerston North
Archibald was brought up at Inch Clutha, Stirling, and Port Molyneux. Upon leaving school he worked on the farm of Mrs James Bell of Inch Clutha until joining his parents on the farm "Parklea" at Wairuna. He did a very creditable painting of his hut on Mrs Bell's farm, and this is now held by Ruth Ussher (nee Milne) in Dannevirke.

Archie trained for the ministry initially by spending a year at the Glasgow Bible Training Institute, then at Otago University and Knox College, while also serving the parish of Opoho. He was ordained into the ministry in 1914 at Knapdale in Southland, where he brought home his bride, Lily Abercrombie. Lily was the daughter of John and Luendah Abercrombie of 68 Valley Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland. She and Archie were married at St David's Church in Auckland on 25 Sept 1914.

Their children, Luenda Mary and Archibald James (Jim) were born at Knapdale and Areta Hazel, and Ian Abercrombie at Winton, where they were from 1918 to 1925. After that came 12 years at Milton parish to allow for uninterrupted schooling for the children. Archie taught them to fish, to shot rabbits and grow vegetables. They kept poultry, milked cows and mowed half an acre of lawn. Archie enjoyed the outdoors and headed for the lakes or coast whenever possible.

After Milton, Archie served parishes at St Andrews in South Canterbury from 1937 - 1942, Westport from 1942 - 1946 and Morven from 1946 - 1953. He then semi-retired at New Brighton, Christchurch for a year, before finally retiring to Palmerston North where son Jim lived with his family.
He died there on 10 November 1961 and was buried at Kelvin Grove cemetery.
Lily died 07 April 1963 and her ashes were added to Archie's grave.

Descendants of Rev Archie McNeur at a Family Reunion in 2007.

Archie and Lily
Archie and Lily's wedding

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