Little is known prior to Francis Tostevin [my Grandfather] However, census evidence points to the fact that some of the family were stonemasons – perhaps a tradition dating back to the fact that Tostevin’s were employed to build the St Pierre du Bois Parish Church in the 1200/1300’s
Frank [Francis] b 3rd Aug. 1892, emigrated to New Zealand in 1909 at the age of 17 years. His brother Mark [Marcus] b 16th Oct. 1889 emigrated to NSW Australia in 1908 aged 19 years. It is not known why they both immigrated, then to two different countries. Additionally, it appears that they did so without any known support of family - a big undertaking for such young people - an inspiration to todays generation
"Frank came to Sanson to work as a farm cadet to work for Mckenzie's [farm]on Wilson's road [near Ohakea] He was then a store man for the Manawatu County Council in Sanson.
After his marriage to Connie, they purchased a farm, where they milked cows a mile south of Sanson on the main highway. They were on this farm only a few years when they sold out and purchased an acre of land in the Sanson township, not far from Connie's mother. Frank was guardsman on the Sanson Tramway which ran from Foxton, through Sanson to Pukenui, near the Rangitikei River at Bulls. He worked on the trams for over 10 years and by that time the tram service was declining and being superseded by motor vehicles. At the same time, Frank's health was causing problems.
Frank was choirmaster at the Sanson Methodist Church and both he and Connie were Sunday School teachers. He bought a 1935 V8 motor car [the first in the village] and at the same time built a new 4 bed roomed house with a study for £799 pounds [$1598]. They had just moved into the new home on New years Day, 1936 when Frank went into hospital and did not return, dying on 5/4/1936
The Thompson Family 1792 - 1992 Lex Thompson 18/9/1995
Connie attended Sanson primary school and Sanson Methodist Sunday School and Bible class. Later she sang in the Sunday School and Church choirs and still had a good singing voice through into her later years. After leaving school she helped her mother at home. She joined in most village activities and enjoyed horse riding which was side-saddle in those days. During Connie younger days, dancers and balls were very much the thing and people drove in their gigs from miles around to attend. They danced into the early hours of the morning, often staying the remainder of the night with friends. So while Connie and her brothers and sisters were young the Thompson home became a base of social activities.
Connie was still single and at home she grew fruit and vegetables to help provide the household requirement, with the surplus being sold. She also milked cows and delivered milk in a billy to friends. At the age of 25, Connie married Francis Tostevin, a 27 year old store man of Sanson. Frank came to Sanson, as a farm Cadet to work for Mackenzie's on Wilson's Road (near Ohakea).
After their marriage, Connie and Frank purchased a farm a mile south of Sanson on the main highway. They milked cows and it was on this farm that their first child Audrey, was born in 1919. They were on the farm for only a few years, when they sold out and purchased a house and an acre of land in the township of Sanson not far from Connie's mother, Hester Thompson. Connie, being the closest in distance of all the family, cared for her mother in the years preceding her death. Lindsay, Connie's second child was born in Sanson five months before Connie's mother died in 1923. Marie their third top was born two years later. Frank was a guardsman on the trams which ran from Foxton through Sanson to Pukenui near the Rangitikei river, Bulls.
Connie and Frank's first home in Sanson was a small to 2 bed roomed cottage. The surrounding acre was utilized to the full with fruit trees, vegetable garden, hen houses etc. Connie loved the flower garden too. After Frank's death, Connie had a struggle financially to educate the three children, however, in 1937 when the Royal NZ Air Force base at Ohakea was being built, Connie took in boarders.Connie went to ENG to visit her sister Elsie Nickolay and it was after her return to NZ she decided to shift to Palmerston North where all her married children were living. Later on Connie went to live with her daughter Marie. She died at the age of 86 and is buried beside her husband in the Sanson cemetery
Source - The Hunt Family - Vera Hunt - 7/3/1990
"Dad - he had dark curly hair. He was very musical, played the piano and used to sing. He had a lovely voice. During the depression He and a group used to go around concerts and he would sing the bass part. He laid out Mum's [Connie's] garden in a very professional manner totally different to what anyone else had. I think he was only 18 when he came to NZ How he acquired all these abilities, I do not know, as he was so young when he came out. How could he be a good gardener when I think he came out to be on a farm. He must have gone to camp for some reason and how he got hurt I don't know, but he lost the sight of one eye . He then went to some health place, and through faith he got back his sight. He also got a poisoned hand and he lost the top of his middle finger"
Transcript of memoirs of Audrey Savell [nee Tostevin] daughter
Marcus John Tostevin known as Mark Hart
My Maternal Grand Uncle and Aunt
“A guard of honor by twenty returned Diggers in uniform greeted Mr. and Mrs.. Mark Hart as they left St John's Church of ENG, Coff's Harbour after their marriage 50 years ago.
Mark had only recently returned home from overseas service where he had served with the 54th Battalion A.I.F. The officiating clergyman was the Reverend Hart, no relation, but friends of Mark and Mrs. Hart and his daughter Preah was the Bridesmaid for the wedding. Mark was born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and came to Australia in 1908 in the ill fated Steamship "Warratah". He arrived in Sydney on Christmas Day when the City was all-agog with excitement over the Tommy Burns - Jack Johnson world championship boxing match the following day.
He had varied career farming, mining, amateur boxing, news correspondent and construction worker on the North Coast railway line. With Mrs. Hart he came to Sawtell 34 years ago, opened up the first land agency business and builders hardware store, and later added a 2000 bird poultry farm.
Mrs. Hart (nee Atkins) was born at Tomerong on the NSW South Coast and came to this area in 1905, when her family settled at Pine Creek (now Valery) and experienced all the hardships of the early pioneers. Supplies were obtained from Fernmount , through the bush and later from Bellingen, when a road was put through. Later, her father leased his farm and moved into Coffs Harbour and with Mrs. Atkins lived there till their death…………”
Source A newspaper cutting detailing Mark’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, 21/3/1969