John Joseph Stagpoole - "The Professor"

Born c1850 Kilkenny, Ireland- Died 1941 Australia

What we know about John Joseph.


John Joseph stated that he was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. Evidence from articles and documents show that he was born between 1848 and 1851 and that he was a Roman Catholic. John Joseph’s parents were Bartholomew and Mary (nee McEnulty). His father, who was from Galway, had recently joined the British army. John Joseph was the oldest child of the family; he had a younger brother, Martin Dudley, who was born in Clare, Ireland. Mary and the two boys joined Bartholomew and the army on overseas service and a third child was born to the family in India around 1860.

Mary, Bartholomew and the children travelled to New Zealand on the Steam Transport ship Prince Arthur which left Bombay on 18 March 1861 and arrived in Auckland on 3 June 1861. John Joseph would have been around ten years old at this time. The family lived in New Plymouth, Taranaki, a frontier town on the edge of a war zone. According to his biography in the NZ Cyclopaedia 1908 John Joseph was a member of the Taranaki Rangers (a colonial militia group) for fifteen months and then trained as a baker. He subsequently worked in this trade around New Zealand and later in Australia.

John J and his brother were both athletes involved in sports such as gymnastics, swimming, boxing and wrestling. John Joseph or Jack became a boxer and trainer in Australasia between 1871 and 1912 known as “the Professor”.

Jack moved around New Zealand as a single man living on the West Coast of the South Island and then in Christchurch where he continued working as a baker and also performed at Chiarini's circus as a gymnast and wrestler. In 1875 Jack retuned to Taranaki opening a shop in Inglewood.

Jack and his young family immigrated to Australia around 1886. They lived in several parts of Australia where he worked as a baker. He and his family were also on the stage as comedians and acrobats. Later Jack came back to New Zealand and lived in New Plymouth. He was a widower by 1908. Finally John Joseph returned to Australia and he died in 1941 in Ipswich, Queensland apparently aged 93 years.



The Professor's boxing record





The wives and children of John Joseph Stagpoole


Elizabeth Christie

She was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and immigrated to New Zealand as a small child.
She and Jack married on 26 February 1876 in New Plymouth. At the time of her marriage she worked as a dressmaker.
Elizabeth gave birth to at least two daughters before dying young on the 14 November 1879 in New Zealand. She is buried in an unmarked grave at the historical Te Henui cemetery in New Plymouth.

Children
Mary Ann (known as Madge) Stagpoole (1876-1972)
Born on 23 December 1876, Vivian Street, New Plymouth.

There is a record of the birth of a daughter on 23 October 1878 in Inglewood.

Mary MacKay

She was born in Clare, Ireland. Mary worked as a servant before her marriage. She married John Joseph on the 19 February 1882. She was unable to sign her marriage certificate, she made a cross.
There is currently no information as to her date of birth. She died in Melbourne Australia in 1897.
Children
Edward (Ted) Stagpoole; (1884-1966) He was born on 10 September 1884 in Wellington.

Hannah Sarah;(1885-1911) She was born 24 November 1885 Wellington.

Bridget; C1886 (aged 55 in 1941)

John J.Born and died Glebe, Australia in 1887



The Stagpoole Comedians

Madge ( Mary Ann) and her husband Alexander Wright-Stagpoole, along with Edward and his wife Adelaide (Spier)formed a comedy troupe that travelled and worked in Australia , New Zealand and the United States in the early years of the twentieth century.

Edward was known for his feats of strength. Alex as well as performing was able to paint and build scenery for the stage.



John Joseph the Baker




John Joseph  photograph taken around 1930











John Joseph's second wife Mary Mackay


Mary Mackay





From the top Edward, Adelaide, Alex and Madge





John Joseph's daughter Madge,son Edward and Son in law Alexander



Thanks to John Alexander Stagpoole for material pertaining to the descendents of John Joseph Stagpoole.