Samuel Richard Taylor


my granddad Samuel Richard Taylor was born in Moneymore Ireland.

according to the 1901 Census

Saml R age 15 is a farmers son can read & write – and their religion is Christian.

father Samuel -mother Annie

siblings- Emily 18 Annie 13 Tommie J 10 Sarah 8 and Caroline 2.

they are living in county Derry at house 4 canuse ,lisson upper, Londonderry.

I found the family again in the 1911 census – they had moved to no 10 and had another child David who was two

which doing the maths meant that Annie was 53 when David was born…..

Samuel left Ireland in 1908 and sailed to New Zealand . some of his mothers side of the family the Palmers were already there.

he took on whatever work he could find and at one point lived on eggs for six weeks when he worked for uncle Joe Palmer who apparently was ‘a mean old bugger ‘.

Along came WW1 and Sam said No  to going to war. He registered as a conscientious objector and served time in jail.

Consequently no one in my father’s family showed up for WW2 either.

patterns run deep in families and this is one I am grateful for.

the pattern of peace – the pattern of no to war was established long before my birth and continues

fascinating that it should arise out of Irish blood.


I have a son that ventured into the NZ army for a while. I reckon he only did it to get up my nose because I abandoned him when he was a baby.

he did a stint in Timor- a peace keeping force they called it. I hope he was digging drains and making tracks passable and getting out of the way when the people staggered past with a bag of rice over their shoulders or maybe even stopping the jeep and giving them a lift.

I like to think that armies are useful and capable of good works – I see no other future for them.

Jess says oh that’s where you get your hippiness from Mum from your granddad.

may be.

he never looked hippie to me . I thought he  was a grumpy ole fella and a bit scary. I never understood much of what he said either .

once he had done his time as a farmer in Te Awamutu his wife had long died he retired to  a beachside suburb of Tauranga called Otumoetai. here we visited occasionally and I loved it for all its oddness.

the beach was just around the corner with sand flats that went on and on forever -a wandering paradise with a bucket and spade.

it was a clapboard house – asbestos probably – a wee bit smelly and dirty and full of jumble .

Mark Dads youngest brother lived in a shed over the garage and went off to work each day as a fireman which at the time seemed very exciting.

one day Mum asked Grandad if she could pick some apples off the trees in his yard. she asked because he had told us to leave them alone -he didn’t even like me climbing them and would yell at Mum or Dad to get me down.

no he said. we did anyway and Mum served up apple crumble which he was tickled pink about but didn’t get that they were his apples.

My bed was a camp stretcher in the living room – a room that was hardly ever used.

the kitchen was the centre of life and I can still remember Grandad stirring spoonfuls of sugar into his cup of tea tipping it into the saucer and drinking it.


Only 243 men served jail time in NZ and yet there were over 2000 registered conscious objectors. (WW1)

it must have been a brave thing to do to say No when all around you the fever of honour and glory is stirring – when it is manliness to fight.

sometimes standing up for what we believe in is difficult and I thank Samuel for this legacy.

he died in 1972 .



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