Rush Family History

The Story of the Rush Family


Ambrose Benedict Bonaventure Rush, 1872-1932

This page lists the third child of John Henry Rush and Sarah Ruth Grennan.

Born on 1 July 1872, Ambrose Benedict Bonaventure Rush was the third of John Henry and Sarah Rush's nine children, and was reputedly the second white child born in Palmerston North. (His cousin, Thomas Rodgers, was the first white child born in the Hutt Valley.)

Ambrose, or "Nam" as he was universally known, developed a keen interest in sport, which he passed on to his children and grandchildren. Two of his great grandchildren, brother and sister Xavier and Anna-Leah Rush, played rugby against Australia for the All Blacks, and NZ Women's All Black Team on the same day in Sydney in August, 1998.

In 1906, Ambrose married Emily Agnes Hebbend in St Patrick's Church, Palmerston North.

Emily had come to New Zealand with her family as a 5 month old baby. She was born c.Aug 1879, the 2nd daughter of Charles and Jane Hebbend. The family came from Staffordshire and arrived in Wellington on 18th January 1880, as Government nominated immigrants on the 'Eastminster'. Jane is listed as age 25 [Oct 1879] and Charles age 28, a storekeeper and a sub constable on board, Mary age 1, and Emily A age 2 months. Charles and Jane had four more children in Wellington, Frances Clare in 1882, died at 1 month, Charles Ambrose in 1884 [he married Eliza Jane Chandler in 1909 and, after she was drowned in 1920, he remarried in 1923, Jenny Mary Larkins, he died in 14/06/1941 and is buried at Karori], Mary in 1885, who died the same year aged 8 months, and Amy, born 1887, who married Norman Johns in 1912.

In 1881 Charles was advertising as a chimney sweep at Murphy St in Wellington. By 1888 he is listed as a coal merchant and storekeeper, living in Tinakori Rd.

Ambrose and Emily produced four children in ten years - three sons Ambrose Joseph Charles, Harold Cashmere and Norman Augustine, and daughter Emily Agnes Eva Mary (who attended the 1998 Reunion). Both Ambrose and Emily were devout Roman Catholics, and the name Ambrose has been carried forward in three generations.

Family of Ambrose Benedict Bonaventure Rush.

Pictured: Family of Ambrose Benedict Bonaventure Rush (1872-1932)
and Emily Agnes (nee Hebbend) (1881-1934)

Ambrose Joseph Charles (1906-1983)
Harold Cashmere (1910-1968)
Norman Augustine (1909-1960)
Emily Agnes Eva Mary (1915-2003)

Although Ambrose had no formal school qualifications, and no actual trade, the 1914 Electoral Roll in Palmerston North lists him as a butcher, and in 1928, he was a Borough employee. He also owned a shop and two of his sons had a milk run, and he used to shear sheep occasionally.

Ambrose smoked a pipe most of his life, and had an annurism, which couldn't be operated on in those days. Daughter Emily remembers that the day before he died, Nam was helping to shift large logs of wood over a high fence. The next day, during his weekly bath after lunch, he collapsed, and died peacefully in bed several hours later. Nam's wife Emily was in Wellington at the time visiting her sisters, and was "broken-hearted" at the sudden loss of her husband. All the children wore black arm bands for some time after their fatherís death.

Emily, an accomplished pianist, remembers she was about 7 or 8 years old when her mother, who loved music, bought her a new piano worth £75. At family gatherings, they used to gather around the piano and sing together. The piano stood proudly in Emily's bedroom in Silverstream until her death.

Ambrose was 59 when he died on 1st May 1932, and is buried in Plot 4, Block 82 of the Roman Catholic section of Terrace End Cemetery alongside his wife Emily, who died just two and a half years later on the last day of December 1934, aged 54 years.

1998 Family Reunion

The photo below shows the family group for Ambrose at the 1998 Family Reunion.

Family Group - Ambrose Benedict Bonaventure - 1998 Reunion.

Contact details

If you have any information or photos to add to this page, or any corrections, please contact Dale Hartle in Wellington, New Zealand, by phone +64 4 235 6659 or email .