William Hort Levin

born 7th Aug. 1845, died 15th September 1893

W.H.Levin ( familiarly known as "Willie")
W H Levin

Born in Wellington he was the oldest son of Nathaniel and Jessie Levin. His early schooling was in Wellington until, aged fourteen, he sailed for England on 26th May 1859 on the 1001 ton ship 'Clonlarf'. The voyage took three months and every day was recounted in a journal that he promised to keep for his mother, it remains with the family to this day. There is one remarkable entry 'I am so glad I brought my hammer, it has been out on hire nearly every day', an early indication of his commercial ability.The Voyage Journal He remained in England for three years and upon his return started as a wool clerk in his father's firm, Levin & Co. In those days businesses were usually partnerships so that on the retirement of his father, Nathaniel, at age twenty three, he became the major partner in Levin & Co on 31st March 1868.

Eight years later, on 20th May 1876 he was married at St Peter's Church in Wellington to Amy , eldest child of James Edward FitzGerald. Although born of Jewish parents (his grandfather, Abraham Hort, was the country's first Rabbi) he appears to have converted to the Anglican church at the time of his marriage. Three days after the wedding the couple left Wellington on the 'Pleiades' for England

Besides his busy business commitments there are records of his generosity to many causes including the Wellington Free Public Library and the Levin children's Home.

One of his business interest was a leading role in the promotion and building of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company where his memory lives on in the town of Levin as a rail stop was named after him. By a quirk of fate Levin is now a substantial town.

He took the lead in forming the Wellington Harbour board and was it's first chairman He suffered from bronchial trouble and on his return from a business trip to England his health deteriorated and he died a short time later of a stroke at the young age of forty eight. All the records of his life show that he was unusually respected and greatly mourned. One report speaks of fifteen thousand public mourners.Presentation

His parents, Nathaniel and Jessie, donated a comemorative window in their parish church now known as Old St Paul's, Wellington St Paul's Window His wife, Amy took the children to England where she lived until her death aged 73. She is buried at St Johns Baptist Church, Old Malden, London.Late in her life she was prevailed upon to write a history of her life. Amy's History Four of his five children survived him, Robert Lionel, William FitzGerald, Elsa Jessie, and Mona Beatrice.