Charles Otho Montrose was born in 1840 in Kent, England. It appears that he came to Australia as a young man and joined the 40th Regiment as a private before going to New Zealand in the early 1860s at the outbreak of the Maori Wars. He studied shorthand and acted as a war correspondent during this time. From about 1864 he became a journalist, working for various newspapers in New Zealand, from the position of reader-boy to editor. In the mid-1880s he was in Australia working for The Argus and the Victorian Farmer's Gazette. At the time of the Tasmanian Exhibition he was a journalist with The Examiner in Launceston. He returned to New Zealand and in his later years worked as a freelance journalist in Wellington. At one stage he had his own newspaper, The Waikato. He was a good Maori linguist.
Charles' first marriage was to Matilda Danks in New Zealand in 1868. They had seven children, all born in New Zealand: twins, Percy Howard and Frederick 1869; Charles Otho, 1871 who settled in Sydney, married Gertrude Lucretia Dredge in 1892 and had six children; Herbert, 1872; Alice Matilda, 1874; Victoria Hobson, 1877 and Caroline Ann Winifred, 1879-1881. Charles and Matilda divorced in 1882.
Charles married Sarah Ellen Leeson (formerly Goodchild) in Victoria in 1886. They had two sons. George, born in 1887, died when he was only one day old. Victor John, born in 1889, tragically drowned on 22 Feb 1902 in a lagoon at Surprise Bay, King Island. The 13-year-old was apprenticed to Mr Bowling and was described as an orphan. Three other boys drowned in the same incident. Charles had left his wife and child before Sarah passed away in Launceston on 26 Dec 1895 from pneumonia and heart disease. She was 37.
In 1894 Charles accompanied Sir George Grey, a New Zealand politician, on his final trip to England as his private secretary. Charles returned to New Zealand, and in 1896 married for a third time to Frances Irene Kemperman in Wellington. He died aged 67 in Aug 1907 and was buried in the Karori Cemetery, Wellington. 'His life was an adventurous and strenuous one'. (From New Zealand illustrated weekly The Observer, 17 Aug 1907, page 4.)