John and Susan had a large family of 13 children, most of whom lived in and around the St Bathans (Central Otago) and Dunedin areas of New Zealand's South Island. (John's photo, courtesy of Peter Thurlow).
After arrival in Otago, John worked initially as a labourer and prospects for the Thurlows looked good. By the time Louisa Sarah was born in 1867, John was successfully mining. In 1878, when Martha Ann died as a teenager, John was known to be a carrier/carter. Perseverance and the will to be successful paid off and soon he and his brother, William were joint proprietors of the Vulcan Hotel.
As an aside, at the 1874 St David's Day celebrations held at Cambrians, records were full of praise '... for [the] efforts [of William and John] to make things pleasant and for their attention to the wants and comforts of their guests ...'. This gives us some appreciation of the character of these brothers and their willingness to please.
Several of John's children attended Cambrians School which began in 1873 as Welshmans School. In later years, the family members featured regularly in matters of local interest such as the local football and curling clubs. Louisa is on record as serving the school in the capacity of sewing teacher.
Susan predeceased her husband at St Bathans, OTG on 10 July 1903 and John died at Naseby, OTG on 30 April 1909. Both are interred at St Bathans cemetery.
John's obituary from The Mount Ida Chronicle of Friday May 7, 1909 reads:
On Friday, the 30th ult, in the Naseby Hospital, there passed away a very old resident of St Bathans, Mr John Thurlow. The late Mr Thurlow was apparently in good health until a fortnight ago, when he was seized with paralysis, and was admitted to the hospital. He gradually grew worse owing to other complications, and the end soon came. For many years he followed the occupation of road contractor, but for the past few years owing to age and consequent failing strength was residing in Dunedin or Central Otago, only now and again being occupied at his old occupation. His name is more widely known in connection with his late brother William Thurlow (Uncle), as part proprietor for many years of the Vulcan Hotel. The late Mr Thurlow was of genial disposition and very popular wherever he was. He leaves a large family of grown up sons and daughters, most of whom have settled down in various parts of New Zealand . He had reached the ripe age of 69 years.
The funeral, which took place yesterday, was largely attended. Mr Parker, Anglican lay reader of Naseby, officiating impressively. The remains were conveyed from Naseby to the family burial place in the St Bathans cemetery.
Much sympathy is extended by all to the many bereaved relatives.
"Dad" Thurlow and sons at Walter's Wedding 31 January 1906 at Gimmerburn. (L to R) Richard "Dick" Herbert 1881-1964, Albert Edward 1877-1968, John "Dad" Thurlow 1840-1909, Walter "Watt or Wattie" Henry (Groom) 1873-1936, Arthur Thomas 1875-1953, Joseph Frederick 1871-1946, John William "Bill" 1861-1945, Reuben "Rube" Watts 1883-1968, Infant Eleanor Marguerita "Rita" Florence Abernethy 1903-1986. (Courtesy Sue Donkin)
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