BENTON, CHARLOTTE nee CROWHURST (J.P)
Charlotte Crowhurst was born on the 10 June 1878 at Hawera, a twin with Catherine, the daughters of Thomas Edwin (J.P) and Catherine Elizabeth Crowhurst nee Byrne. Thomas was editor of the Waimate Witness (since incorporated in to the Hawera Star) and author of the book Life and Adventures in New Zealand. Another sister was Clara Crowhurst.
Charlotte Crowhurst was an early pupil teacher at Manaia School, and later at Otakeho. She taught for many years, and later as a relieving teacher at several country schools, driving there with a horse and buggy.
In 1903 Charlotte married Harrison Benton, and the couple lived at Auroa, raising a family of seven children. While there, she worked as the Auroa correspondent for the Hawera Star, as well as contributing articles to other newspapers. Charlotte wrote the Taranaki section of the WDFF book Brave Days which was written for the New Zealand centennial in 1940.
Charlotte was president of the Auroa branch of the WDFF for many years, and in 1933 became the first South Taranaki provincial president. She held many important posts in Women's Division, and had an outstanding ability as an organiser. In a WDFF tribute, Pearl Tosland said "We will not soon forget one who contributed so much to the service of others." She was awarded the gold badge for service in the executive of the division.
In February 1931, Charlotte became on of the first four women in Taranaki to be made Justice of the Peace, along with Florence Carter. When Charlotte moved to Auckland in the late 1930s, she continued with her JP work and became well known amongst Auckland lawyers.
In Auckland she continued with journalism, and was press correspondent to the South Pacific Heads of Government conference in Christchurch. She was a vice-president of the Auckland Penwoman's Club, and publicity organiser for the Pan Pacific Women's organisation in Auckland. She was also a committee member of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children.
Charlotte Benton died on the 28 April 1960 at Auckland aged 83 years.
Obituary "NZ Herald" 30 Apr 1960
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