Stories of love and devotion – Lyttelton Rescue

As St Valentine's Day approaches, our Local History Librarians at Tuakiri | Identity, Tūranga have been busy trawling through the library collection and archival material in pursuit of things romantic from years past. Here’s a random and eclectic mix of information they unearthed on the themes of love and affection (and a tale of jealously thrown in for good measure!)

Lyttelton Rescue

Love conquering fear was shown in an incident involving Elizabeth Watts Russell and her husband John Watts Russell. Elizabeth and John had arrived at Lyttelton on the Sir George Seymour ship on December 17th 1850. For some weeks they choose to live on the Sir George Seymour. This meant regular excursions to Lyttelton to pick up supplies and other sundries. On January 5th they and seven other companions were returning to the Sir George Seymour when their boat capsized. Elizabeth managed a firm grasp on rope attached to the boat. John was unaware of this and had assumed she needed help so had attempted to save her and began to struggle in this attempt as he was unable to swim. Elizabeth went to his aid and both floundered in the ocean until they were rescued by another boat that had been lowered from the Sir George Seymour.