Cornthwaite John Hector

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Cornthwaite John Hector
Gravemarker for Cornthwaite John Hector, Founder of Melbourne 001.jpg
Born(1835-05-06)May 6, 1835
DiedJanuary 6, 1898(1898-01-06) (aged 62)[1]
Resting placeMelbourne Cemetery,
Melbourne, Florida[1]
Occupationgrocer, postmaster[2]
Spouse(s)Ida Gard (m. October 10, 1895) [1]
ChildrenGeorge Nelson Hector[1]

Cornthwaite John Hector (May 6, 1835 – 1898) was the founder of Melbourne, Florida, and its first postmaster.

Early life and family[edit]

Cornthwaite John Hector was born May 6, 1835 in Van Diemens Land. (However, his application to start a post office lists his birthplace as Liverpool, England.) He was the son of Cornthwaite Hector and Elizabeth Budd.[1] Cornthwaite and Elizabeth had emigrated to the British convict colony, Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania, the southernmost of the Australian States) where they had been given a grant of land by the British government.[1] They had arrived on the ship Lang in December 1828.[1]

At ten years old, Hector was present at the Battle of Kororareka in New Zealand.[1] He became notable for his "gallant conduct" at that battle for "bringing up ammunition from the stockade during the heaviest fire,” according to a newspaper report of the time.[1]

Hector, along with his brother, George Nelson Hector, worked for Bishop George Augustus Selwyn, (the first bishop of New Zealand) on board various vessels he used to travel among the islands of the Pacific.[1]

The Maori Wars prompted many English people to leave New Zealand and the Hector family, with the exception of George Nelson Hector, moved to Australia. By 1850, Hector's mother had died.[1]

Hector in America[edit]

Hector came to America in or before 1878. At the time, Melbourne was known as Crane Creek. Hector became the first postmaster and operated a general store.[2]

He was influential in the naming of the city of Melbourne, although there are several versions of the story.[1][2] Mrs. R.W. Goode is credited with suggesting the name to honor Hector.[2] Hector is said to have favored a different name.[2] Straws representing various names were drawn by Grace Goode, and the "Melbourne" straw was the one drawn.[2]

Hector was confirmed at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on April 21, 1887 at the age of 51.[1]

Hector married Ida M. Gard on October 10, 1895 at Holy Trinity United.[1]

Hector died at Crescent City, Florida, on January 6, 1898.[1] Hector was buried at the Melbourne Cemetery.[1]

See also[edit]