Richard Iorns, who married Joseph and Sarah Masters’ daughter Sarah, is recalled in the two Iorns Streets, North and South, which are divided by a small paddock. These streets run through Richard Iorns’ original Small Farm block. Iorns, who had been in business with Joseph Masters in Wellington manufacturing ginger beer, was to be the first person buried in the Masterton cemetery, shortly after Masterton’s settlement.
According to family legend some discarded clothing was found on the banks of the Waipoua River and the local families assumed someone had drowned trying to cross over the river. Richard Iorns was deputed to dig a grave for the victim. As it turned out no one had drowned that day, but Iorns caught pneumonia while digging the grave, and died. He was buried in the grave he had dug.
His widow Sarah stayed in Masterton, running the town’s general store and the first Post Office in Queen Street. During the time she ran the store she met her second husband, Henry Bannister.
Pic: Richard Iorns was the first person buried in Masterton Cemetery.