John Cargill (politician)

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John Cargill
John Cargill, 1881.jpg
John Cargill in 1881
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Dunedin Country
In office
1 October 1853 – 1858
Preceded by first representative
Succeeded by John Parkin Taylor
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Bruce
In office
7 March 1866 – 1870
Preceded by James Macandrew, Arthur John Burns
Succeeded by James Clark Brown
Personal details
Born 1821
Died 2 January 1898
Okanagan district, British Columbia
Relations Edward Cargill (brother)
Johnny Jones (first father-in-law)
Isaac Featherston (second father-in-law)
John Hyde Harris (in-law)
Children nine
Parents William Cargill
Profession Soldier, runholder, politician

John Cargill (1821 – 2 January 1898) was a New Zealand politician and runholder.

Early life[edit]

Cargill was born in 1821; he was the son of William Cargill, one of Otago's most prominent settlers. Edward Cargill was a younger brother. John Cargill served in the Royal Navy, and he served in the West Indies on the Ringdove and the HMS Seringapatam. He retired from the navy in 1840 and by 1841, he came to Tasmania and then Port Phillip. He visited the Pacific Islands and settled in Ceylon where he had a coffee plantation. He was asked by his father to help with preparations for the Otago emigration scheme and returned to England in 1846. On 24 November 1847, the Cargill family sailed for New Zealand on the ship John Wickliffe, arriving at what is now Port Chalmers, Otago on 23 March 1848.[1]

New Zealand[edit]

John Cargill took up a sheep run at the Coast where the Tokomairaro River flows into the Pacific Ocean at Toko Mouth. He then had sheep runs at Mount Stuart, a locality inland from Milton. He later owned the Teviot run with his son-in-law where they had 55,000 merino, and a further run at Gladfield in South Otago.[2]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1853–1855 1st Dunedin Country Independent
1855–1858 2nd Dunedin Country Independent
1866–1870 4th Bruce Independent

He was elected to the 1st New Zealand Parliament as a representative of the Dunedin Country electorate, which covered rural Otago, Southland, and Fiordland. He was re-elected for the 2nd Parliament, serving alongside his father.[3] The house had not been convened in 1857[4] and Cargill Jr. placed an advertisement in the Otago Witness on 12 September 1857, announcing his intention of handing in his resignation.[5][6][7] The resignation became effective when the house next met later in 1858. He later served in the 4th Parliament, representing the electorate of Bruce (which had been formed out of Dunedin Country). He also participated in Otago Provincial politics.[8]

British Columbia[edit]

After running into financial difficulties, Cargill left New Zealand for England in 1884, and went on to British Columbia about three years later. He died in the Okanagan district of British Columbia on 2 January 1898.[2][9] He is buried in the Armstrong Pioneer Cemetery just north of Vernon, BC, Canada.


In 1849, Cargill married Sarah Charity Jones, the daughter of John Jones.[10] They had four daughters and two sons.[9] One daughter married John Harris, a son of John Hyde Harris. His youngest daughter and his two sons also went to British Columbia.[9] His first wife died on 27 January 1866 at their home in Green Island.[11][12]

On 1 September 1869, Cargill married Kate Featherston at St. Paul's cathedral in Wellington. She was the third daughter of his fellow member of parliament and current Superintendent of Wellington Province, Isaac Featherston.[13][14] They had three children, of whom two sons survived their childhood.[9]


  1. ^ "1848: The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers". New Zealand History Online. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Scholefield 1940, p. 138.
  3. ^ Wilson 1985, p. ?.
  4. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 139.
  5. ^ "To the Electors of the Dunedin Country District". Otago Witness (302). 12 September 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "To the Electors of the Dunedin Country District [cont'd]". Otago Witness (302). 12 September 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Otago Witness". Otago Witness (302). 12 September 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Scholefield 1950, p. ?.
  9. ^ a b c d "Death of Mr John Cargill". Otago Witness (2294). 17 February 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Historical Significance of Cargill's Castle". The Cargill's Castle Trust. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Dunedin". Bruce Herald. III (96). 1 February 1866. p. 9. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Death". Otago Witness (740). 3 February 1866. p. 10. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "Marriages". Colonist. XII (1254). 1 October 1869. p. 5. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "News of the Week". Otago Witness (928). 11 September 1869. p. 13. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 


New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Dunedin Country
Served alongside: William Cutten, William Cargill
Succeeded by
John Parkin Taylor
Preceded by
James Macandrew
Arthur John Burns
Member of Parliament for Bruce
Succeeded by
James Clark Brown