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Dr William Ashburne Lightbourne was born July 30, 1836 in Lancaster, England. He was the son of John Lightbourne and Grace Derham of Lancashire; and grandson of George Lightbourne and Ann Ashburne.  John, his father, was a farmer of longhorn cattle in Inverary, for the Duke of Argyll. William was christened at Kilmore et Kilbride, Scotland on November 15, 1836. He first appeared on the 1841 census for Kilmore et Kilbride, Scotland at Stronchormaig, now Glenfeochan, Oban, with his father John, listed as a farmer, mother Grace, family and agricultural labourers.

William earned his MB from Marischal College at the University of Aberdeen on April 13, 1858. James Ashburne Lightbourne, his brother, also graduated from Aberdeen as M.B. in 1863 and as M.D. in 1874. William married Frances Dorothea Isabella Thompson on January 11, 1859 at St Bride's Liverpool. His residence was given as Udny, Aberdeen. On   September 11, 1859 William’s son, John Derham Lightbourne, was born at Rothes, Moray and later sons William and Reuben were born. William Ashburne Lightbourne registered as a doctor in England on April 9, 1860 and in 1861 through 1868 was listed as a resident of Liverpool, England.

In January 1861 The Constitution with William Walton Thompson as Master Mariner, sailed to the East Coast of the US and Gulf Ports.  Thompson's brother John Derham Thompson was mate on the Constitution and also a Master Mariner, like their father. It is assumed Thompson gave passage on the Constitution to his future brother-in-law and in January 1861.  On April 12, 1861 the first shots of US Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter and on May 18, 1861 W. A. Lightbourne as examined by the Medical Board of the Provisional Army of Tennessee; and received qualification to practice in the army as surgeon. He was described as "well qualified".

The 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was organized on June 1, 1861 at Camp Zollicoffer near Livingston and on July 21 saw the first significant battle of the war at Manassas, or Bull Run. On July 21, 1861 Lightbourne was enrolled for duty by Colonel Sidney S. Stanton at Sparta, Tennessee and the following month, on August 10, 1861, the 25th Tennessee Regiment was reorganized for State service. On August 10, 1861 Lightbourne was appointed by state Governor Isham G. Harris as Assistant Surgeon of Col. Stanton’s 25th Regiment and on October 1, 1861 the 25thwas transferred to the service of the Confederate States Army. That same day there was an accident in camp and Lightbourne was said to have been accidentally wounded. Lightbourne resigned on October 20, 1861, and was succeeded by Dr. B.M. Sitterfield. 

On October 21, 1861 the 25th under General Felix Zollicoffer encountered Union forces at Wild Cat Mountain, Kentucky. Records reveal that Lightbourne on November 20, 1861 received three month salary due him, some $330, for the period of August 16th through November 16th, so it appears Lightbourne was during this period reinstated to the 25th for active duty and assigned to the military hospital at Sparta. The following January 19, 1862  Zollicoffer while crossing the Cumberland River was killed, with the 25th being soundly beaten by the Confederates at Fishing Creek, also known as Mills Spring, in Kentucky. Following that defeat the 25th retreated to Livingston and was disbanded for some ten days.  On May 10, 1862 the 25th was reorganized at Corinth with the regiment being stationed there from April 29th through June 10th.

On September 8, 1862 Lightbourne received a payment of $87.98 per his contract of $80 a month for service as an assistant surgeon in wards 4, 5 and 6 in the General Hospital at Sparta from September 7th through October 10th.  Then on September 8, 1862 he received $123.70 for expenses expended for medicines. On September 17, 1862 the 25th  was at Munforville and in October at Perryville, Kentucky; having come by way of Sparta and Lebanon, Kentucky.  They participated in a number of other engagements including Murfressboro and Chickamauga before crossing the mountains and joining up with Lee’s Army of Virginia.

Lightbourne appeared on the roster of the Field and Staff near Camp Zollicoffer on April 7, 1864 where he was listed as 25 years of age. The age referring to his age at enlistment and he may not have been at the camp in person; he could still have been at the hospital in Sparta, but was still a member of the 25th.  The roster of July 1864 shows Lightbourne as being on detached duty in the Department of Richmond. Records indicate Lightbourne was present with Lee at his surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse.

“The Twenty-fifth Regiment was one of the last to stack their arms. Reduced from eleven-hundred stalwart men full of life, buoyant in spirits, and confident of victory to twenty-one war worn, conquered veterans, upon this memorable ground they saw their cause expire, and turned with sickened hearts toward their mountain homes”.

After the war Lightbourne was shown living in 1868 on Ainsworth Street in Blackburn, England. In 1871 he was residing at Bank View, Preston New Road in Blackburn and showed up on a will of William Walton Thompson on December 1, 1871; still in Blackburn.  It appears he remained in Blackburn through 1881. On July 25, 1872 Thompson’s will was approved, naming Lightbourne as co-guardian of his children and co-executor of his will; along with Nathaniel Reddington. In 1878 he was listed as living at “The Ferns”, Preston New Road, Blackburn. Lightbourne married Frances Dorthea Isabella and had a son, John Derham Lightbourne.   On October 30, 1879 William Ashburne Lightbourne, listed as “dispenser/Surgeon”, and his wife Dorothea left from Dover, England and on October 31, 1879 travelled in a salon cabin with their son William, in a detached second cabin, aboard the “Waipa” for New Zealand. The “Waipa” was built by Palmers Iron Shipbuilding Company at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England in 1875 for the New Zealand Shipping Company and she made 19 voyages to New Zealand. The “Waipa” was originally a fully outfitted ship but was later converted to a barque.  Lightbourne and his family arrived at Port Chalmers in Dunedin, New Zealand on October 31, 1879; settling  in Hawera, New Zealand and set up a practice as a physician at his home on Prince Street.

He was registered on December 12, 1879 as a Medical Practitioner in New Zealand and information relating to him was printed in the 1892 edition of the New Zealand Gazette. The Gazette ran a register of Medical practitioners in which was listed “William Ashburn Lightbourne: 1858 Bach. Med. Marisch. Coll. and Univ. Aberdeen. Registered as MEDICAL PRACTITIONER 12 Dec. 1879, 1882 resident of Dunedin”.

He attended people thrown from horses or getting squashed by falling tree, but did not become involved in local affairs apart from being an office holder in the Eltham Masonic lodge before his untimely death. He also made professional medical visits to nearby towns of Normanby, Manaia and Opunake. He was also a keen photographer, taking many photographs of the locality; many of his photographic works today displayed at the Taranaki Museum in New Zealand.  Lightbourne became quite famous in Taranaki in his day. On October 8, 1880 his son, John Derham Lightbourne, was appointed Public Vaccinator at Stewart Island and on December 17, 1880 as Public Vaccinator at Horseshoe Bay. On September 22, 1882, he was appointed Public Vaccinator in Fielding in the Otaki District. He was also listed on the electoral rolls as the Chemist in Fielding. His younger brother, Benjamin Derham Lightbourne, became a hotel-keeper in Carey’s bay, Dunedin and his wife Agnes ran a shop next door to the hotel. In 1882 Lightbourne’s third son was born, Reuben Charles Derham Lightbourne, in the Wairarapa District on North Island, New Zealand, not far from Taranaki. He eventually became headmaster of the school in Hamilton, New Zealand.

The 1887 electoral roll for the town of Hawera, New Zealand listed William Ashburn Lightbourne as a residential Surgeon and according to records of 1890 – 1900, Agnes Lightbourne, Benjamin Derham Lightbourne’s wife, owned the General Store and house next to the Carey’s Bay Hotel.  The 1899 electoral roll reveals that Benjamin Derham Lightbourne was a cab proprietor at Harper Street in Hamilton, South Island. He was also listed in the 1900 Wise’s Directory.

Dr William Ashburne Lightbourne died at his residence in Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand; Mt. Taranaki (formerly Mt. Egmont) in the North Island, on March 27, 1894 at 57 years of age. He had been unwell for a week or two past suffering from asthma but on the evening of his death was in town between six and seven o’clock. He had for some time been treated by Dr Pairman of Manaia. Feeling unwell on Tuesday evening he sent for Dr Westenra, who prescribed for him and Dr. Pairman was also sent for but his death ensued very rapidly. Lightbourne had been a resident of Hawera for some ten to twelve years and was always ready to assist his community, even though the prospect of remuneration was often remote. His death, however, was recorded by Shelia Weston of the University of Aberdeen as March 27, 1891. William Ashburne Lightbourne was buried in the Hawera Cemetery, south Taranaki, Section Episcopali, Plot 7, Block XV. The cemetery records however, provides, for some reason, differing information. In Record Number 37647 it lists W.A. Lightbourne deceased date as 5/03/1894, Interment date as 7/03/1894 and Plot Id 1,276.

Lightbourne was a member of the Eltham Masonic lodge and held the position of Deputy Master. His Lodge undertook the Masonic part of the funeral ceremony and had the advantage of using of the Hawera Lodge rooms and the assistance of the Hawera Masons, an act of fraternal kindness warmly appreciated at the grave. P.M. Bro. Ferguson gave the Masonic ritual, and the brethren dropped into his grave, sprigs of scacia, in accordance with the custom. Bro. J.F. Martin P.M. acted as marshal and director of ceremonies and Lightbourne’s coffin was covered with a wreathe provided by friends. At the time of his death, his wife was already in a deteriorating state of health.

His death was followed by that of Benjamin at Carey’s Bay, Port Chalmers, New Zealand on  February 21, 1899 and John Derham Lightbourne at age 43 on March 29, 1903. William’s wife, Frances Dorothea, died at age 72 at Hawera on June 17, 1909.

 

Hawera Cemetery Enquiry - Record Number 37647

Family name

LIGHTBOURNE

Age

57

Given names

W A

Date deceased

5/03/1894

Address

 

Interment date

7/03/1894

 

Plot Id

1,276

Area

Episcopali

Cemetery

HAWERA

 

Section

Episcopali

Plot

7

 

Block

XV

   

Grave/Ashes

Grave

Depth

ST

 

 

Hawera Cemetery Enquiry - Record Number 376476

Family name

LIGHTBOURNE

Age

72

Given names

Francis Dorothea Isabella

Date deceased

17/06/1909

Address

 

Interment date

19/06/1909

 

Plot Id

1,275

Area

Episcopali

Cemetery

HAWERA

 

Section

Episcopali

Plot

6

 

Block

XV

   

Grave/Ashes

Grave

Depth

ST

 

 

Arthur & Anne Fryer, New Zealand - Christine Clement, Te Puke, New Zealand

Dr. Peter Gardner - Hawera Borough Council Records

“Hawera Star”, newspaper - Jan Johnston, Hawera

Mike Creed, descendant husband

Military Annals of Tennessee”, 1886, Tennessee State Library 

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Proceedings of the Medical Board of the Provisional Army of Tennessee

Ron Lambert, New Zealand - Tennessee State Library

Tim Butler, descendant husband - “The Army of Tennessee”, Stanley F. Horn

 “The Rothesay News”, article, New Zealand - University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Veronica Nops,  New Zealand - Leigh Willoughby, Hokitika, New Zealand

Jan Johnston, Hawera

 

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