James Grainge


A Young Man Shoots at His Stepfather.

In the Catholic section lies the Grainge plot. This is the story of James Grainge, an employee of a cooperative grocery store on Cuba Street.

“A great commotion was created in the neighbourhood of Parliament Street, between Sydney and Hill streets, at an early hour this morning, in consequence of a row between a man named Theophilus George Love on one side and his wife and stepson, James Grainge, on the other”

One night in February 1893, Theophilus quarrelled with James’ mother Maria, in the house Theophilus rented in Parliament Street. The couple were not married but had lived together for 18 years. They renewed their quarrel at about 6am the following morning and Maria turned Theophilus out of the house at 6:30am.

Theophilus procured an axe and commenced to cut down the house (which is not particularly strongly built). He struck the windows saying “There’s some fresh air for you”. He then turned is attentions to the door and succeeded in demolishing it.

At this point, James snatched a five-chambered revolver and took refuge upstairs. James called out that he would not allow his mother to be insulated, Theophilus attempted to go upstairs. At this point James shot at him. The number of shots fired was subsequently heavily disputed. Theophilus was struck in the shoulder and left the property, dropping the axe on the side of Sydney Street. He went to the Police Station and reported that he had been shot at by James who was immediately arrested (he went quietly to the station). He was committed for trial on the 28 February.

In the Supreme Court on 11 March 1893, James was charged with shooting Theophilus with intent. The defence’s case contented that the shot was fired in defence of his mother.

The jury after half an hour’s deliberation, returned a verdict of not guilty.

In the following years, Theophilus finally got around to divorcing his first wife, Mary Flanigan, who he had married in 1869. They divorced in 1908 on the basis he had not seen or her from her in 30 years. This allowed him to marry Isabella Burrows (b 1868) . He went on to become the Secretary of the General Labourer’s Union at the Wanganui Branch. Theophilus died in 1913, aged 67, and the Mayor attended his funeral.

Maria Grainge died in 1915, age 73.

James went on to marry Marie Quin in 1908. He died in 1918 age 46 and his buried with his mother in the Catholic section, plot ROM CATH/S/27.

Grainge plot in the Catholic section