Tuesday, May 27, 2014


(4 May 1820 – 23 June 1854)

In recording his death, the Lyttelton Times declared that the names of the Deans brothers should always occupy a place in the history of Canterbury.

(21 April 1823 – 19 January 1911)

Three short years have hardly yet passed away since the painful task devolved upon us of recording a loss in the person of Mr. W. Deans, which deeply affected the whole community of our then infant settlement. To almost every one of the first body of Canterbury Colonists, Mr. William Deans was personally known, by all of them highly respected. Few amongst them indeed there are who have not had cause to preserve a grateful recollection of many a hospitable reception, much serviceable information unreservedly given by the two brothers who at Riccarton first commenced the arduous task of colonizing the Canterbury plains.

In but a slight degree less known to our now numerous band of settlers, but not less universally respected and esteemed by them, Mr. John Deans has been summoned from among us. On the 23rd instant after many months illness, he died of consumption, brought on originally by a violent cold caught when crossing the Isthmus of Panama.

If energy and perseverance, rewarded by success, can exercise an influence to lead others on in the road to prosperity and independence, then neither John nor William Deans have lived in vain. They whose example have encouraged the struggling and cheered the fainthearted on to renewed hope and to exertion not unavailing at last, have accomplished one part of the mission each of us is sent here to fulfil — to help his fellow-man.

But for the assurance which the visible results of the Messrs. Dean's industry at first gave of that prosperity which now surrounds them, the majority of the early pilgrims would soon have left the settlement, dispirited and in disgust. And the Province would at this day be very far indeed in arrear of that flourishing condition which already bespeaks for it the third rank among the settlements of New Zealand. For those who thus contributed to produce them, such material benefits deserve and demand that lasting record, 'ære perennius' [more lasting than bronze], which should be found in the lively and grateful remembrance of the settlers.

We hope that the names of the Brothers Deans, may ever occupy a place in the history of Canterbury as prominent as that which their memory now fills in the hearts of many deeply attached friends, and of numerous acquaintances from among all classes in the Province.

Lyttelton Times, Volume IV, Issue 182, 1 July 1854, Page 6

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