James Cox Thomson

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Family Tree


James was born while his parents were living in India and spent much of his childhood there. In 1854 he was sent back to Edinburgh, Scotland with his two brothers and a sister, to be educated in the care of his aunt, Anna Gordon (nee Pratt), and her husband James, an artist.

There were only two common routes to and from India at that time. Steamer ships operated between India and Suez Canal, Egypt, where passengers then travelled overland to Egypt to embark on another steamer to the UK. Alternatively, many sailing ships made the long voyage around the Africa, via the Cape of Good Hope.

When his parents finally returned from India in June 1863, it was said with a sizable fortune, they decided to settle in the South and rented a furnished home known as “The Cedars” in Enfield, then a country district near London. Two years later they moved to Bush Hill House near New Southgate, in Middlesex.

When the Agra and Masterman Bank in India failed, in 1867, James' father lost a large part of his capital. He decided to use what was remaining to emigrate to New Zealand. The family sailed from Greenock in the Brig “Maria”, in December 1867, all except James' eldest brother, John, who returned to Kolkata, India and settled there.

James' uncle, John Pratt, had died a year earlier, leaving a widow and four children. It is not known what happened to the only son, John, but the widow, Matilda, who was then only 26, married again and James' father took his three nieces, Margaret, Matilda and Bessie, with him to New Zealand.

Otago Province, where they settled, had been formed in 1848 and was still in a very undeveloped state. They leased “Fern Dale”, a 300 acre farm, at Mabel Bush, New Zealand. It did not prosper and eventually the family sold up and moved to Dunedin. In 1882 James was working as an accountant and living in Maori Hill.

Even though his father attended the Congregational Church, James became a member of the Knox Church, Great King Street, Dunedin, New Zealand, one of the early Scottish Presbyterian churches in Dunedin, rising to the position of Deacon.


Date Known

4 September 1846

James Cox Thomson is born to Margaret Justina Pratt and William Thomson in Kolkata, India. Sources: 1


John Thomson, James Cox Thomson, George Malcolm Thomson and Elizabeth Anna Thomson are sent to be educated in Scotland.

December 1867

William and Margaret Thomson emigrate to New Zealand with their children James, Elizabeth and George plus three neices Margaret, Matilda and Elizabeth.

19 February 1879

Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson marry at Hopehill, Allanton, New Zealand. Sources: 1

26 January 1880

Edward Allan Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson in Allanton, New Zealand.


Winifred Sutcliffe Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.


Harold William Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.


Agnes Hilda Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.


Maurice James Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.


Edith Jean Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.


Marjory Gordon Thomson is born to Agnes Allan and James Cox Thomson.

13 August 1914

James Cox Thomson dies in Hamilton, New Zealand. Sources: 1