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William and Alice Rowe: shoemaking, family, storms and wrestling in 19C Cornwall pt3

William and Alice, both born c1793, grew up in West Penwith district, just a few miles from Lands End, Cornwall. You can read the story of Williams’ childhood in
William Rowe 1793 pt1: Boyhood in a poor Cornish fishing town and their early married life here in part 2: William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed.

Photo of Foundry Lane, Newlyn

Foundry Lane, Street-an-Nowan, Newlyn

William and Alice’s son and fourth child James was baptised on 16 June 1822 but died young. Their daughter Alice was baptised on 31 October 1824 and sixth child Thomas was baptised 19 August 1827. Next came Patience Daniel who was baptised on 15 March 1830, all were baptised in Paul Church.

Times continued to be hard for the ordinary people; the summer of 1823 was a wet one with the rain delaying the gathering in of hay and beating down corn so it would not ripen.  However signs were good for the pilchard harvest.

In April 1827 there was the ‘melancholy circumstance’ when ‘A very fine and fast-sailing-fishing-smack, named the Blucher… manned by six men and a boy’ left Newlyn for Bristol but the weather worsened; they were heading for Padstow but the smack and her crew were lost when the boat ran onto the Dunbar Sands and “Five widows and eighteen children are left to lament the disastrous event that has deprived them of their natural protectors; the unfortunate deceased were all men of excellent character”.[1]

On Monday 24 September 1827 there was local excitement when a wrestling championship was held in a field on the Newlyn-Penzance road with two champion wrestlers “Mr [John] Polkinghorne, the champion of England, and Mr Richard Saundry, in his day the champion of the west, were the well-chosen umpires.”

The very enthusiastic Morning Chronicle reporter wrote that “At twelve o’clock the sight was very imposing – some thousands of the most athletic young men that the world can produce (each of whom would have honoured Leonidas at the Straits of Thermopylae, Bonaparte in passing the Bridge of Lodi, or even Wellington himself in the battle of Waterloo), seated or standing in perfect silence and order, and with intense interest, to witness and participate in a sport for which their ancestors were so justly renowned.  It was impossible for any man, deserving that name, to behold the spectacle of so many manly youths assembled on such an occasion, without emotions of admiration and delight, and without congratulating himself as belonging to the species.  It was a sight and occasion, as connected with the maintenance of strength, courage and agility, among the people, worthy the countenance, presence, encouragement, and support of Majesty itself.”[2]

Another heavy storm in Mounts Bay was reported in November 1828 and the Dove broke its moorings and made for Newlyn: “A boat was launched at Newlyn, but only three persons could be found to venture out; these were Mr Pearce, the agent for Lloyd’s at Penzance; Lieut. Hearle of the Preventive Service at Mousehole, and Mr Nicholas, carpenter of the Dove, who was on shore on duty.  This being the case, the boat could not be got off, and the spectators hastened to the beach, where the crew of the Dove strove to get a line on shore but were unable to do so, in consequence of the offset of the waves.

“The fisherman brought the ropes of their nets, and after great efforts, a rope was thrown on board by Mr Pearce, at the eminent risk of his life.  The connexion once secured, other ropes were got from the vessel to the shore, and in about half an hour the whole of the crew were rescued from their perilous situation.  Lieut. Stocker was the last person who left the vessel.  As it was supposed that one of the crew was missing, Mr Pearce volunteered to go on board to see for him, which hazardous enterprize he effected, having been twice washed from the gunwhale by the tremendous sea that was running.  No person being visible, he returned, and afterwards it was ascertained that all the crew were safe.”[3]

On 26 Jun 1830, in his gilded world, George IV died and his brother became William IV.

Meanwhile back in Newlyn, in December 1830, another storm pounded Newlyn and the Sherborne Mercury reported that “Gwavas Quay, the road of communication between Street-on-Nowan [SIC] and Newlyn Town [the two parts of what’s now Newlyn] is quite beaten down, and the road from Penzance to Tolcarne has been overflowed in such a manner as to be rendered totally impassable.”[4]

William and Alice’s daughter Elizabeth was baptised on 5 December 1832 and their ninth and final child, my ancestor James Daniel Rowe, was baptised on 30 March 1835 in Paul Church.

William and Alice’s story will conclude next week.

Words and photos © Lynne Black, 14 August 2016

[1] Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle – Sunday 15 April 1827, P1, BNA

[2] Morning Chronicle – Tuesday 02 October 1827, P3, BNA

[3] North Devon Journal – Thursday 27 November 1828, P3, Col 4, BNA

[4] Morning Post – Thursday 09 December 1830, P4, Col 4, BNA

Photo of Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed pt2

Shoemaker William Rowe of Street-an-Nowan [Newlyn], Cornwall, married Alice Daniel, a blacksmith’s daughter from neighbouring Sancreed parish, on Saturday 17 October 1812 in Paul Parish Church up above Newlyn.  See Part 1 of his story here.

Alice was expecting the first of their nine known children, Mary Ann Rowe.  They baptised Mary Ann on Sunday 17 January 1813 in Paul Church, and got on with settling in to life as a young family.

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Sancreed Church exterior

On 19 January 1817 a hurricane raged which destroyed some of the foundation stones of neighbouring Penzance’s pier and injured much of its dry dock.  ‘It being a spring tide the water rose an unusual height; the green between Penzance and Newlyn was torn up, and the soil in several places washed away’ and ‘at Newlyn and Mousehole on the west, and at Marazion on the east, the effects were dreadfully felt’[1] [Some things do not change; the green between Penzance and Newlyn was torn up as recently as February 2014.]  ‘The sea rose mountains high and impelled by the wind, went up much further on land than ever remembered. The may-pole at Marazion, which had, for many years, braved the fury of the storm, was washed away, with the cliff whereon it stood.  The back premises of the Commercial Inn were through down, and a fine cow carried out to sea.’

Photo of Newlyn, Old Harbour, at low tide

Newlyn, Old Harbour, low tide

‘The greatest sufferers are the poor fisherman of Newlyn and Mousehole; the boats which were hauled up beyond high water mark, being dashed to pieces.  Many of the boats for the mackerel and ling fishery were fitted up: the loss to the poor fisherman will be almost irreparable, as the season will soon commence and they cannot provide new boats. At Street-Nowan [SIC] near Newlyn, many houses have been washed down.’[2] Street-an-Nowan, the lower part of Newlyn, is likely to have been the area in which William, Alice and baby Mary lived so they must have been terrified.

In 1811 Prince George had become Prince Regent and I’ve found a couple of intriguing references to his domestic situation and the reaction of the people of Newlyn; they seem to have favoured his wife, the colourful and popular Caroline of Brunswick.

On 28 Jan 1817 the Prince Regent was on his way to open Parliament when there was an assassination attempt.[3] On 2 August 1817 the Royal Cornwall Gazette published a letter to him with a long list of names of men across the area, swearing loyalty to him and repeating “assurances of our loyal and unalterable Attachment; and to express our Indignation at, and Abhorrence of, the late treasonable Attack on the Sacred Person of your Royal Highness…..”

However William and Alice’s would have been busy following the birth of their second child: their first son John Rowe was born in Newlyn and baptised 24 August 1817 in Paul Church.

On Tuesday 7 July there was a shocking event in Newlyn reported widely and “witnessed by several hundreds of spectators.  At Newlyn, near Penzance, a swarm of bees suddenly alighted on a boy’s head, and remained there for a considerable time.  The boy, almost terrified to death, was required to smoke tobacco, to preserve him from being injured.  In the mean time a hive was procured and held over his head for some time; when by degrees the bees all entered it, without inflicting the least injury on the boy.”

Later that year, in November 1817, there was mourning in the country when Princess Charlotte, popular only child of the Prince Regent and Princess Caroline died in labour, giving birth to a stillborn son.

William and Alice’s second daughter, Grace Daniel Rowe, was born on Tuesday 7 December 1819 in Newlyn.  She was the only family member to be baptised a Wesleyan Methodist; the baptism took place on 7 January 1821. This was the first time William’s trade was recorded: he was a shoemaker.

At that time the road from Penzance to Newlyn, hurricanes permitting, “was over a level green about a mile in length, passing through the village of Street-an-Nowan, which contains about 300 inhabitants; in it there is a respectable meeting-house belonging to the Methodists, where divine service is regularly performed; there is also in this village a Sunday School for poor children.”[4]

In November 1820 [now] Queen Caroline was found innocent of charges of infidelity brought against her by her husband, [now] King George IV and Newlyn erupted in joy:  “Last night’s mail having announced the joyful tidings of the Queen’s victory over her vile accusers, this morning was ushered in by the display of flags of almost every description at the mast heads of the different vessels in this port, and on poles in many parts of the town and the neighbouring villages of Newlyn and Mousehole.  Subscriptions have been entered into for defraying the expenses of bonfires, tar barrels, &c and at this moment there may be seen on the opposite hill, over Newlyn, a quantity of tar barrels, reflecting their vivid flames in the mirror of water below, whilst on the rocks, near the shore, bonfires innumerable blaze up and enliven the scene.
“Long live Queen Caroline,” – “Queen Caroline for ever,” – may be seen on almost every hat, and in every varied form and colour, whilst parties, preceded by music, parade the streets, and rend the air by their acclamations of “Long live Queen Caroline.”  A requisition has been made to the Mayor, to illuminate the town on Wednesday night, and several large dinner parties have already formed at the hotel, and the respectable Inns, to celebrate the glorious 10th of November, in a manner that may not be unworthy the great victory that day obtained by her most gracious Majesty Queen Caroline.”[5]
Queen Caroline died in August following year; she had been denied entry to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation held the month before on 19 July 1821.

Please see my next post for the next part of William and Alice’s story: William and Alice Rowe: shoemaking, family, storms and wrestling in 19C Cornwall pt3
Words and photos © Lynne Black, 7 August 2016

[1] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, pp48-50, Internet Archive

[2] Exeter Flying Post – Thursday 30 January 1817, P4, Col 3, via BNA

[3] Archontology.org  http://www.archontology.org/nations/uk/king_uk/george4.php

[4] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, P63, Internet Archive

[5] Morning Chronicle – Friday 17 November 1820, P3, Col 3, Accessed via BNA

 

 

Photo of Newlyn Harbour from Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

William Rowe 1793 pt1: Boyhood in a poor Cornish fishing town

photo of Paul Church

Paul Church

William Rowe was born c1793 in Newlyn, Paul Parish, in the West Penwith area of Cornwall.  He was the second son of labourer James Rowe and his wife Patience (nee Rodda).[1]  William was baptised aged 2-3 on 29 Mar 1795 in Paul Parish Church[2].  His was the first generation to be born in Paul Parish; his parents were from St Buryan parish.

I’ve found two brothers and a sister for William: James was baptised on 3 October 1790 and Ann was baptised on 23 September 1792.  However she died in infancy and was buried on 8 June 1793. Younger brother Thomas Rodda Rowe was baptised on 13 January 1802, all in Paul Parish Church.

William’s childhood years were those of the French Revolution, of war with France and the Regency. During those wars a battery was located on the road between Newlyn and Mousehole “forming a great security to the Bay, from enemy’s ships, or privateers, should any of them be induced to visit any part of it.  Adjoining to this battery stands a furnace for the purpose of making shot red hot.  During the war, this battery was governed by a small party of the royal artillery.”[3]

Times were hard in West Penwith and when he was about 7 in 1801 the family would have been hungry as a result of the high price of wheat.  It was reported in the London Courier and Evening Gazette on 20 April 1801 that in St Austell, 40 miles away, the tinners had tried forcing farmers to sell it at an affordable price by threatening to put nooses round farmers’ necks until they signed a document promising to sell it at an affordable rate; but they were taken into custody at St Mawes. In Helston the Volunteer Cavalry found it hard to keep order until most of the local farmers came forward and promised to sell wheat the following Saturday at ‘two guineas, and barley at one guinea the bushel’.

In Penzance two Newlyn men petitioned the Mayor that he reduce the prices in Newlyn; but when he chose not to listen they ‘assembled on their own authority’.  The constables and military were called out and further ‘mischief was prevented’ but the disturbances kept many country people away from selling their goods at the markets.[4]

In 1806 there was a call for designs for a bridge across the small river Coombe in Newlyn which divided the Paul and Madron parishes. The bridge was to ‘to contain in length about seventy feet and in breadth about eighteen feet ’. Designs were due to be considered at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace in January 1807 with the target for completion 6 October 1807.

In October 1809 there was a huge gale, and the ‘L’Eole, a French prize to the Surveillante and Medusa frigates, laden with salt, &c, arrived in the Mount’s Bay a few days ago, and being driven by the gale from Gwavas Lake, ran for Newlyn Pier, but got upon the rocks, where she now lies’ and it was doubtful she could be rescued as the gale still continued.

Photo of altar of Paul Parish Church

Paul Parish Church

In August 1812 a good crop of potatoes, was reported, which coupled with a good haul of pilchards and hake, ‘greatly relieved the poor in Cornwall from the pressure occasioned by the high price of corn’.[5]

So it would have been on a slightly fuller stomach that William married Alice Daniel, a blacksmith’s daughter from neighbouring Sancreed parish, on Saturday 17 October 1812 in Paul Parish Church up above Newlyn.

Their story continues here: William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed

Words and photos © Lynne Black, 31 July 2016

 

[1] A DOB for William of c1788 DOB is indicated by his death certificate and the 1851 & 1861 censuses. However even though they match, I believe that William was the third child and not the first, given his baptism year 1795 and the fact he was stated on the 1841 census as being 50. Age at marriage isn’t indicated in the record.

[2] Paul Baptism registers accessed via Cornwall OPC website and FindMyPast

[3] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, pp75-76, Printed and sold by J Thomas, via Internet Archive http://archive.org/stream/historyofmountsb00penz#page/n0/mode/2up

[4] London Courier and Evening Gazette – Monday 20 April 1801, P3, Col 2, via BNA

[5] Caledonian Mercury – Saturday 09 February 1811, p2, col 1, Lloyds’ Marine List, Feb 5th

Tillicoultry2_22May16

Meeting the Ancestors too early: Genealogy vs Healthy Living

exercise-posterI work with several public health researchers and colleagues who are generally healthy and sporty. I, a sedentary secretary, am not. I frequently see new public awareness films, infographics such as this one, healthy living campaigns and awareness-raising: doing X minutes of exercise per day can reduce your chances of cancer and/or diabetes and/or heart disease by 30%.  And I share the information with others and continue sitting at my desk.

Genealogy, my winter hobby, doesn’t help at all to change this.  I tend to come down early at the weekends when the house is quiet and just spend some time searching and writing my ancestors’ stories. I don’t live near the places I am researching so can’t conveniently walk down to the archives or stroll round the cemeteries looking for graves.  And as all the information I have access to is online, it doesn’t get me healthy.

However some of the health awareness must be sinking in, as last year I bought my beloved standing desk off a colleague.  Its name is Ergotron (obviously with a name like that it’s a male desk). I have found that I get hungrier more quickly and am taking from that experience that it’s speeding up my digestive process, like removing a kink from a hose, so that’s one quick and obvious indication that I’m doing something right.  It’s not meant to be used for long periods instead of sitting, as that can lead to different ailments such as varicose veins, but instead for the user to vary between sitting and standing fairly often.

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Step Count Challenge trophy 2016 – oh yeah🙂

We all die in the end, and being dead doesn’t scare me, but I would like to put off dying for a few more decades thank you very much.  So this spring when several colleagues in my work area formed teams for a walking challenge – the Step Count Challenge  run by Paths For All – I was super-keen and very organised about raising my daily walking totals.  And with dedication and good company (and good views like the photo of my local Ochil Hills) I lost half a stone in two months just by walking more.  And really got to know my colleagues a lot more, which was really nice.

I had been really ashamed prior to the start of the challenge about my almost total lack of activity at the weekends, and now this Challenge has finished I continue to make a point of going for a walk on both Saturdays and Sundays, even if only trudging round the shops. And I find that I have more energy on Mondays as a result and can usually bounce off to Zumba quite the thing.  There is a shorter version of the spring challenge this autumn and I have friends who hadn’t come across the spring one who now interested in trying it.

So I plan to keep walking and getting fitter. So much better to discover ancestors’ lives through census returns than to communicate with current family by knocking three times at a séance!

© Lynne Black, 18 July 2016

John Ernest Victor, from Devon to the USA, to the Somme

John Ernest Victor was born in Devonport in 1890, the sixth child of John Victor and Eliza Crewes. His father was a Cornwall-born hammer-man in the docks and Eliza was the daughter of a carpenter. They’d already lost a son and daughter, and their next daughter also died young, they had a further daughter, Eliza May, so John would have grown up with four sisters about the house.

Blue-eyed, brown-haired John Ernest saw his older sisters settle down, and became an uncle. He became a plumber and gas fitter apprentice.  In 1907, aged 17, he attested into the Royal Garrison Artillery Territorial Force (Devonshire RGA unit); he still had 3 years and 9 months to complete on his apprenticeship at that point. He became a Gunner with the RGA and received annual training on the Maker Heights and the Staddon Heights.

In 1911 when he was 21 he joined the Royal Navy.  He served on the Vivid (the cadet ship I believe rather than the Naval base), but in November 1911 was invalided and spent four months in Plymouth Hospital.  I’m love to know the background to these intriguing remarks, perhaps about a gratuity: 10/- Grat. for raising/saving the Vivid” Nov 1911.

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Naval discharge notes for John Ernest Victor, 1911

John left hospital in March 1912 and perhaps fancied a new start as in July he headed for New York on the White Star Line’s Majestic.

I had previously lost track of his story, but I was contacted in June 2016 by my distant cousin Chris.

In 1914 after the start of the First World War John returned to England.  He traveled to Glasgow via Londonderry on the Caledonia where he enlisted into the Essex Regiment. He served as a Lance Corporal in the 9th Battalion.

Exactly a hundred years ago today, on 3 July 1916, John Ernest Victor died in action on the third day of the Battle of the Somme.  He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial. There is a commemorative page here.

Grateful thanks to Chris for getting in touch and sharing John’s story.

Lynne Black, 3 July 2016

 

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EU Referendum 2016: A twist in our timeline

Often when I’m thinking about my ancestors, preparing to tell their stories, I wonder about how they reacted to society’s changes, how they heard what was about to happen, and how they felt when it did.

Well the morning after Britain’s EuroRef vote, I know that if they’re anything like me they’ll feel dazed.  We’re at one of those key story turns in these isles’ history, 1603, 1649 and 1660, 1707, 1745, 1838, 1901, 1914, 1939 and now 2016.

After all the bile, paranoia and deceit which bubbled up in the UK, after the some politicians’ factless assertions and downright lies about the legal position and [lack of] plan for the future, after the wilful political disregard and trashing of informed expert opinion and advice, and of murder, the day after the election has arrived.  It does make me wonder why the hell we bother with election predicting and opinion polls.

This YouTube film is really interesting, I wish this had been shown instead of endless shouty debates: Professor Michael Dougan on the EU Referendum as he spelled out the anticipated timelines in the event the UK votes to Leave in a really clear way.

The Leave campaign were reported on Twitter last night as conceding, Boris Johnson was looking more rueful and tousled than usual and Nigel Farage looked grim.  I saw journalists were begging witnesses to this to phone them to report their account so that the news can be driven by 140 characters and a photo.

And now the result has been confirmed as Leave and David Cameron will be stepping down as PM in October.

So what now?

The break up of the United Kingdom I believe.  With the SNP having issued a statement about the votes cast within Scotland it is only a matter of time before IndyRef 2 is announced and the nation votes again to stay with either Europe as an equal state or be governed by millionaires in Westminster and treated as a partner they don’t respect but don’t want to lose. Well, that’s my take on it, we’ll see what happens.

Emergency laws will be re-written without normal  parliamentary process as our recent legal system is written allowing for EU law.  The UK Government had already quietly announced a bill for this Parliament during the Queen’s Speech but not yet picked up by satirists (as far as I’ve seen) chipping back at citizens’ rights, which Amnesty are flagging up.

The rights of ordinary people will be chipped away, and eventually risk being handed to the tender mercies of global corporations through the evil which is TTIP.

To quote Queen Amidala of Star Wars: “So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.”

So already the shock is wearing off, without the enormity of the vast changes ahead sinking in I suspect, and my brain is clicking through various ways of coping, Plan A, Plan Chalk, Plan Cheese, Plan Random.

And at some point soon I will need to buy a TV after I’ve thrown something handy at all the smug faces which are about to parade across it.

But, like my ancestors I suspect, I would like stability, I would like a job and I would like to pay my bills. Some priorities don’t really change that much.

© Lynne Black, 24 June 2016

StIves_Chris_FlickrCrCom_ScubaBeer

Cecilia Paynter Stevens, later Alder later Rowe

Cecilia Paynter Stevens is the second wife of my distant cousin John Rowe, she had a family of her own and the two step families seem to have had close ties over the years.

StIves_Chris_FlickrCrCom_ScubaBeer

St Ives, by Chris, ScubaBeer, Flickr, Creative Commons

Cecilia had been born in Salcombe, Devon, c1817, the daughter of a Cornish master mariner from St Ives, Cornwall, called Henry Pearce Stevens and his wife Cecilia, who happened to be in Salcombe when Cecilia arrived, her brothers were born home in St Ives.  In the second half of the 1830s Henry moved his family to Swansea, Glamorganshire, where they were living on Mariner’s Row in June 1841.

Cecilia was living with her parents at that time, aged 24. A young man named Samuel Alder, aged 21, a Northumberland mariner’s son working as a carver and gilder, was also living in Swansea with his parents. In January 1842, although still living in Swansea, he and Cecilia called banns in Islington, Middlesex, before marrying in St James’ Church, Swansea. Three months later they emigrated to New Zealand.

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Nelson, New Zealand; photo by Phillip Capper, Flickr Creative Commons license

I’ve found information on their life together via Ancestry and FindAGrave to the effect that: On 29 April 1842 the young couple embarked on the Sir John Forbes and after a voyage of 96 days arrived in New Zealand, arriving 23 August 1842.  Together they appear to have had four children in Nelson, New Zealand: Cecilia c1844, James Dees c1845, Sarah who died in infancy in 1846 and Elizabeth  who died in infancy in 1848.

In July 1848 Samuel was working with a plumber called Mr Stallard in Trafalgar Street; together they were advertising in the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle for an apprentice for their business.

On 9 September 1848, and 21 April 1849 Samuel was one of the many names on a letter published in the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle campaigning to receive what they perceived as a fairer share of the expenditure paid for by their taxes.

However later in 1849 Samuel became ill and on 30 December 1849 died of consumption [tuberculosis]. Cecilia was pregnant at the time with their fifth child, son Samuel, so at the age of 33 was a widow with three children under the age of 7 and the far side of the world from her family.

It was reported in the Examiner and Chronicle that on 14 May 1851 Cecilia set sail with her young family for Sydney on a brigantine called the Comet.

In don’t know yet how the rest of her journey progressed but by April 1861 she was living in Chapel Street, Penzance, with her parents and three surviving children.

MadronChurch-GrassRootsGroundswell

Madron Parish Church by GrassRootsGroundswell, Flickr

On 17 December 1865 Cecilia married her second husband, John Rowe, in Madron parish.   John was recorded as being a stone cutter at that time. In July 1864 John’s daughter Catharine had married a carpenter called George John Miller.  One of her witnesses has the surname Alder so either John and Cecilia were in touch at that point or maybe met at the wedding.

In 1866 her oldest daughter Cecilia, married.  Her groom, James Flett, was a ship’s carpenter who’d been born in Orkney but grew up in Tynemouth, Northumberland. Cecilia had been working as a corset-maker in 1861.  Cecilia and James moved away to live in Tynemouth but in both the 1871 and 1881 census James wasn’t home with her; Celia was visiting local friends in 71 and had her niece staying in 81.

In April 1871 stone mason John and Cecilia were living in Leskinnick Place, Penzance. Making up their household were John’s son John, his young orphan grandchildren Annie and Samuel Tripp and Cecilia’s son James Dees Alder. They also had a boarder to bring in some extra money.

15 August 1874 saw her son James’ marriage to Elizabeth Reynolds in Penzance St Mary’s church. By 1881 they had settled in Chapel Street, Penzance, where they lived together for several decades.  They had their first daughter, Elizabeth ‘Annie’ c1877 and their second Alice Margaret ‘Hettie’ in summer 1880.

In 1875 Cecilia’s son Samuel married Elizabeth Richards Jones, a Welsh woman from Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire.  They became parents c Feb 1877 with the arrival of Mary Berryman Alder. Samuel and  Elizabeth went on to have three more children: Cecilia ‘Cissie’ Flett c May 1879, Fanny Stevens c August 1882 and Samuel James Dees.

Samuel was a mariner and on 4 May 1883 their three daughters were all baptised together in Penzance St John after Fanny’s birth so perhaps he’d been away at sea, or perhaps they’d just never got round to it.  Samuel James Dees was baptised in 1888, again in St John’s church.

John and Cecilia were in living at 11 Taroveor Terrace, Penzance, in April 1881. That evening two Rowe grand-children – 11-year-old Thomas and 9-year-old Sarah, John’s son Thomas and Phyllis’ oldest children – had run along and up the road from Alma Place to see them and were recorded in both households’ census returns.

That night her step-granddaughter Annie Tripp was visiting James and Elizabeth Alder and Annie and Hettie their baby daughters, so links between the step-families seem to have been strong.

The 3 April 1881 census is the last record I have for John and he had died before the 2 April 1891 census.

In 1882 John’s daughter Annie Blewett and family had moved back to Penzance, where they suffered the deaths of several children in infancy, including twins.  In spring 1884 they had another son, who they named James Dees Alder Blewett, after Cecilia’s son, Annie’s step brother, another link between the two families.

In 1886 Cecilia’s oldest daughter Cecilia Flett died in Tynemouth aged approx 42. Her widower James was living with his brother Alexander there in 1901, I think he was the James Flett who died at sea in January 1904.

In 1891 Cecilia herself was living with her son and daughter-in-law James and Elizabeth Alder, and their daughters Annie and Hettie.  She died in early 1894 aged approx 77.

James Dees Alder lived until 1903 when he died and was buried in Penzance Cemetery. His daughter Elizabeth ‘Annie’ Anne married tailor Joseph Pascoe in 1907 and both the newly-weds and younger sister Alice ‘Hettie’ Margaret were still living with James’ widow Elizabeth in 1911. Hettie married a man called Norman and moved to the USA, not necessarily in that order. Elizabeth Alder lived on until January 1937, leaving her money to daughter Elizabeth Pasco. A few months after the funeral her family auctioned off the contents of her house – named “Crewe Nelson” after the birth places of Elizabeth and James – including a walnut cheffonier, bird in case, much mahogany furniture and a mangle. [Info from the BNA collection on FMP.]

Cecilia’s youngest son Samuel Alder died in 1913.  A wonderful family biography on Find-A-Grave tells me that after being widowed Samuel’s wife Elizabeth moved to the United States for six years; I don’t have access to the passenger lists but I suspect if her children Fanny and Sam didn’t travel with her they would have followed soon afterwards as they both married and lived in the US.

Samuel and Elizabeth’s oldest surviving child Cecilia ‘Cissie’ had married a 5’9″ 120lb Newlyn-born mason called Henry James in 1905 and lived in Tolcarne (now part of Newlyn).  He became a sapper in the war but was invalided out in 1918.  They had two boys and two girls together by 1915. By 1939 Henry was a Master Builder, still living in Newlyn.

Samuel’s widow Elizabeth Alder came back to Penzance/Madron in 1919 and died there in 1936.

Thanks to Marj Hickman and Kate Cunningham of the Ancestry UK group on Facebook for their help with Cecilia’s story.

Text © Lynne Black, 15 May 2016;
Sources, Ancestry, FindMyPast, Cornwall OPCs, Find-A-Grave, Flickr
Nelson photo by Phillip Capper on Flickr, Creative Commons license
Madron Parish Church picture by GrassRootsGroundswell on Flickr, Creative Commons license
St Ives photo by Chris, ScubaBeer, Flickr, Creative Commons license
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/