Henry Lyon Letter Book; Henry Lyon; 1855-1862; 1954.14.9


Henry Lyon Letter Book

About this object

Henry Lyon’s letter book contains carbon copies of letters written in Wanganui from 1855-1862, mainly to his family and friends in England. The letter book is a soft covered exercise book with tissue leaves. A transcription and an index have been made. Lyon’s letters are a commentary on life in Wanganui during this period of settler migration and the growth of the town of Wanganui. Many of the events that he records can be verified from other sources, and Lyon has proved to be a reliable observer. The letter book became, in effect, Lyon’s journal, a record of his life and thoughts. There are some gems. A letter to Lyon’s sister on 27 August 1860 tells, in his idiosyncratic style with a much personalised approach to grammar and punctuation, of his interest in a young lady: "I have been amused by the remarks that I have heard about it having began to pay attention to some young ladies of course it is at once put down that I intend taking a wife - no doubt I shall some time though not just at present as I really cannot afford it - speaking of young ladies it is a very difficult matter to tell their ages, I was one night escorting one home that I thought was at least 25, and a native of England, when I found her to be a 'Fern Stalk' (that is born here) and about a month under 18.” In May 1863 Lyon married the Fern Stalk, Helen Waters, the daughter of his employer Mr Thomas Waters, who owned a large store on Taupo Quay.


Henry Lyon

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

New Zealand

Place Notes

Wanganui, Whanganui, New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Tissue paper /card / ink


19.5 x 25 x 1 cm

Subject and Association Keywords

Fern Stalk

Subject and Association Keywords

Helen Waters

Subject and Association Keywords

Henry Lyon

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

Thomas Waters

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Description

Henry Lyon, Wanganui settler

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

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