The many parents of Matilda Stoaling

I came across Matilda Stoaling in my Rowe family searches around her mother-in-law Catharine Rowe. Normally when sketching out the story of a distant-in-law I would just make a note of their or their parents’ professions and location and return to the person featured in the blog post, but the myriad of step-parents involved here – and the hardships some of them must have endured – made me want to commemorate them this way.


Parish Church of St Andrew, Wiveliscombe, Somerset

So, to start with Matilda.  She was born c1866 in the old Saxon town of Wiveliscombe, Somerset where her family had lived for at least 2 generations. Wiveliscombe was a market town and when Matilda was growing up there were 3,000 people living there. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) reported “The town is lighted with gas, and contains a town hall, police station, dispensary, reading-rooms, and branch bank. Here is situated the largest brewery in the W. of England.” and in 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described a weekly market on Tuesday, great markets on the last Tuesday of Feb. and July, and fairs on 12 May and 25 Sept.”

Her father John Stoaling had grown up a pauper – his mother was recorded as a pauper in both the 1841 and 1851 censuses – but by March 1851 he had found employment as an agricultural labourer. In late 1851 he married a widow called Maria.

Maria’s background:

Maria Hall was the daughter of an agricultural labourer called John Hall and was born in Wiveliscombe. She had married Henry Milford in summer 1845, he aged 23 and she 28.  Together they had two daughters, Mary Ann and Sarah Jane, within four years before he died: she was widowed by the March 1851 census.  It appears Sarah Jane was born deaf and dumb, in later life she was referred to as an imbecile.

Maria married John c November 1851. I think that young Mary Ann must have died in childhood; her daughter Sarah lived with them. Maria and John had at least four children together before the 1861 census: Frank, Maria, Mary and Henry.

In April 1861 the family was living next to the Mason’s Arms in Wiveliscombe, and John was working as a brewer’s labourer, maybe in Wiveliscombe’s large brewery. Maria’s 80-year-old agricultural labourer ‘idiotic’ father was living with them, as was her daughter Sarah. In 1866 Maria gave birth to their final known child and my link to this family, Matilda.


Wiveliscombe Primary by Risto Silaste on Flickr, Creative Commons

In April 1871 they were still in the same street, and by then John was working as a travelling hawker. Deaf-and-dumb Sarah Milford was still living with them and working as a charwoman, and they had taken in a couple of lodgers.

Maria died in 1875 when John was 50 years old and young Matilda was just 9.  She was without a mother figure for a couple of years until her father re-married in 1877.

Matilda’s new step-mother was called Eliza and was a widow in her mid-30s with a young daughter of her own when she married John Stoaling.

Eliza’s background

Eliza Heyward had been born in the amazingly-named Huish Champflower in Somerset, England, in autumn 1839. The name of this ancient village comes from a combination of ‘hiwisc’, the Saxon word for homestead, and the name of Thomas de Champflower, a 12C Norman lord of the manor.  It was just under 3 miles from Wivelscombe and stood on the River Tone in an area with many mines owned by the Ebbw Vale Iron Company.

She had an older brother and two sisters, but her agricultural labourer mother Elizabeth was widowed before Eliza was two years old.

Eliza married at the age of 20, in 1860.  Her first husband, John Weech, was a 49-year-old farmer of 8 acres and they lived together in the hamlet of Langley Marsh, a mile north of Wiveliscombe, Somerset where the Norman church was dedicated to St Andrew and the local pub was the Three Horseshoes. John’s 86-year-0ld widowed father Robert Weech, who’d also been a farmer, lived with them. John and Robert had been farming in Langley 20 years before, before John’s mother died, and they’d had then a female servant then called Fanny Reidland.

There was no servant recorded in 1861.  Probably times were hard; after John died in 1969 poor Eliza must have been extremely down on her luck as the 1871 census finds her in Wellington workhouse. Within a few months she became pregnant and had a daughter in spring 1872 whom she named Mary Ellen Weech.

However a few years later at the age of 35 she met John Stoaling and they married in summer 1877.  He too was older than her although records are inconsistent, I think he would have been approx 54 when they married.

John and Eliza’s first child together, a son called Frank, was born in 1879.

Sarah’s story

Deaf-and-dumb Sarah, Matilda’s half sister, had moved out from her stepfather John’s home at some point before the 1881 census.  In that year she was living alone in Wiveliscombe and still working as a charwoman.  By April 1891 she was the general servant of a local woman of independent means called Helen Lutley, a spirit-merchant’s daughter, who also had a long-time servant/cook called Betsy living in the household.

However by March 1901 her circumstances had worsened and I found her living in the Somerset and Bath Asylum where she was recorded as ‘lunatic’.  I can’t help thinking of the difference in the various perceptions of her condition over the years: while some of her more protective family census entries didn’t mention that or her deafness at all, but when she was perhaps more unsettled, for example in the Asylum, she was thought of as a lunatic.  I could not find Sarah in the 1911 census.


Wiveliscombe Church Interior by Robert Cutts on Flickr, Creative Commons

In 1881 John and Eliza were living in Gullet Hill, Wiveliscombe, with John working as a general labourer. John’s daughter Matilda was still living at home, working as a general servant, and Eliza’s scholar daughter Mary Ellen Weech was living there also. John and Eliza’s two-year-old Frank completed the household.  Frank’s younger sister Ada was born c 1882.

In April 1891 Frank and Ada were still living with their parents, now in Church Street in Wiveliscombe, and Matilda, now married was back living with them with her two-year-old son George.

Matilda had married c 1888. Her husband was called George John Miller, the oldest son my distant cousin Catharine Rowe whom I mentioned at the beginning of this post and Catharine’s husband, a Cornish carpenter also called George John Miller.

John and Eliza had had almost 20 years together by the time John died c early 1895. After his death Eliza went to live with her daughter Mary from her first marriage (1901). Mary had married a domestic coachman called Frederick Bartlett from Chelsea, London, and were living locally with four children: Amy, Frederick and twin boys Henry and Edward.   Mary and Frederick went on to have four more by 1911 – William, Leonard, Ada and Violet, although oldest son Frederick died before the 1911 census.  Eliza died in spring 1904, still within the same registration district [Wellington] in Somerset.

I don’t know where Matilda and George would have met or where they married, but his parents had been working in Glamorgan, South Wales. They were living in the Cardiff area in April 1891 but by November 1891 had moved to Newport, Monmouthshire; they were both still living in Newport in 1939.

Together Matilda and George had 13 children, grimly by 1911 they had lost six of those 13.  The seven I have found were George (1889), Agnes (1891), Alice/May (1896), Catharine (1898), Albert Henry (1902), Hilda Elizabeth (1904) and Frank (1906).

Matilda died in early 1945 at the grand old age of 79, good I think for a woman of such an impoverished upbringing.  George died ten years later in 1955, aged 88.

Text © Lynne Black, 7 February 2016
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/matilda-stoaling/

Sources: Ancestry, FindMyPast; Genuki; Huish Champflower on Genuki, Vision of Britain and Wikipedia; Wiveliscombe on Genuki, Vision of Britain, Ancestral Histories and Wikipedia.  All accessed 6 February 2016.


Catharine A S Rowe b1843, mason’s daughter, carpenter’s wife

Catharine, the second child of mason John Rowe and his wife Sarah Sampson, was born in late 1843 in Penzance, Cornwall, with Queen Victoria on the throne and Robert Peel Prime Minister. It was the year which saw  Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol sell out in six days after its launch on 31 December, although I’m sure not bought by anyone in her poor family.  She had an sister three years older than her called Elizabeth, and a younger sister, Sarah, born when Catharine was only about a year old.


Market Jew Street, old postcard posted c1915

The first of her brothers arrived when Catharine was aged about five, but as her brother was born in Devonport [Plymouth] in neighbouring county Devon in early 1848 I suspect that the three girls would perhaps have stayed with their grandparents Sampson in Penzance; grandfather Robert Sampson was a butcher on central Market Jew Street. Catherine’s parents were back in Penzance for baby Thomas’ baptism in November 1849 and the census of March 1851 finds John, Sarah and their five children (by then baby Alice had come along) living in Market Jew Street. The following year Anne Sampson was born in early 1852.

Around 1857-58 their parents moved to Wales: Whitchurch in Pembrokeshire. There her father worked as a stone mason in Lower Solva, Prendagast.  Her younger brother John Daniel was born in summer 1859.  However there was scandal for the family when Catharine’s older sister Elizabeth had a daughter, Annie, out of wedlock by a local labourer, Philip Tripp, in late 1859. The family were still in Lower Solva in April 1861.

So where was 17-year-old Catharine for the 1861 census? The only record I can found is that she’s a servant in St Peter’s Port, Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, but I think that’s unlikely.

By 1862 Elizabeth was back in Penzance to get married to Philip and they had two sons before moving away and disappearing.

Their mother Sarah also died at around this time.

In July 1864 in Catharine herself got married in Madron, her bridegroom was a carpenter from neighbouring Marazion (by St Michael’s Mount) called George John Miller.  One of her witnesses has the surname Alder which was her future step-mother Cecilia’s surname, so it appears by then her father at least knew his future wife and her family; John and Cecilia married in December 1865 in Penzance.

Catherine and George’s first two children George (c1867) and John (c1868) were born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, before Albert was born in early 1870 in Alton, Hampshire.

Then the family must have headed to Wales and travelled around for work for William was born (early 1875) in Pontypridd, Glamorgan (12 miles north of Cardiff), Sarah Ann (cMay 1877) in nearby Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Elizabeth c June 1880 east in Newport, Monmouthshire and Edgar (c1884) back in Glamorgan.  Their final identified child, Alice, was born in late 1885, also in Glamorgan.

In April 1891 the family were living north in Vaynor, Breconshire, with George working as a carpenter and their oldest son, 15 year old William, as a carpenter’s labourer, perhaps for his father.

I haven’t found a record of George after that point – Catharine is alone for both the 1901 and 1911 census entries, yet marked as married rather than a widow. Also according to the 1911 census Catharine had 10 children, eight of whom were still alive, but I haven’t been able to find two of them, whom I suspect died young.

Her eldest child, son George, met and settled down with Somerset girl Matilda Stoaling in the Cardiff area, having 10 children together; here is Martha’s family story – a triumph of hope over experience and the desire to keep family together. Two years after that his brother John Daniel married Jane Turnbull in Penarth, Glamorgan.

In 1901 Catharine is living in Cheddar, Somerset, with three daughters who, as well as two lodgers, are working as shirt machinists.  In 1911 she is visiting her eldest daughter Sarah and Sarah’s husband George Pavey – as he’s marked as Shirt Factory Manager it looks like Sarah married her boss.  Sarah’s census entry indicates she’d had four children, two of whom were home: Wilfred and Lena, one who was elsewhere that night, and one had died young.

Catharine died four years later, c November 1915, back in the Cardiff area of Glamorgan, so maybe George was still based around there somewhere. It looks like their sons George and John had settled in Newport, Monmouthshire, with George and his wife Matilda having several children of their own there.

Text © Lynne Black, 31 January 2016
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/


Elizabeth Rowe, c1840, whose life tripped up

Elizabeth was the oldest of seven children, and led an eventful life.


Market Jew Street, Penzance

Her father was a Cornish mason called John Rowe (a distant uncle of mine). He was from Newlyn and married Sarah Sampson from neighbouring Penzance so he and moved there. Elizabeth, who was born c1840, lived in Penzance for four years while her two sisters arrived, but when brother Thomas arrived in early 1848 her parents were along in Devonport in neighbouring county of Devon.  Perhaps they took their girls with them, but I suspect Sarah’s butcher parents Robert and Anne Sampson, who were based in Penzance’s central Market Jew Street took them in for a few months.  Certainly Elizabeth was living in  Market Jew Street with her parents, brother Thomas and by then three sisters – Catharine, Sarah and Alice,  in April 1851.

Sister Anne’s birth was registered in early 1852 in Penzance, but by the time of the next sibling I’ve tracked down, John Daniel, was born in 1859 the family had moved to Lower Solva, Whitchurch in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where her father found work as a mason.

Presumably the family would have lived in the same area with the other stone workers and spent time with them.  Certainly Elizabeth got to know a local stone cutter of her own age called Philip Kemp Tripp, as in late 1859, aged approx 18, she gave birth to a daughter whom she called Annie Tripp Rowe.

In April 1861 Elizabeth was working as a 21-year-old washerwoman, still in Lower Solva. An unmarried mother, she lived with her parents John and Sarah and siblings Sarah, Thomas, Alice, Anne and baby Thomas.  As Thomas at 22 months was only 7 months older than his niece Annie Tripp I suspect Sarah Rowe, Annie’s granny, took care of her with the other children while Elizabeth brought in a wage.


St Mary’s Church, Penzance

Oh, dear, I’m suspecting it must have been a stressful few years for Elizabeth!

However, less than a year later, she married Philip Kemp Tripp back in Penzance, on 20 March 1862 in Penzance, Madron Chapelry (which I understand was originally a daughter church of Madron and later became St Mary’s Church). Her father was one of her witnesses.

Their second child, Samuel, was born in early 1863 and George in 1865, both in Penzance.

In the first half of the 1860s her mother Sarah died, and on 17 December 1865 her father re-married. Her stepmother was called Cecilia Paynton Alder (nee Steven), and was a widow with a daughter and two sons of her own.

For some reason their final child, Philip, was born in Southsea, Hampshire, in about 1867.  Why Southsea?! Where were they doing there? Working or travelling?  These are questions I suspect I’ll not be able to answer given how poor the family was. I have found it hard tracing this branch of the Rowe family, but I know that Elizabeth died between 1867 and 1871.

In 1871 Annie and Samuel were living with John and Cecilia, and a collection of Rowe, Tripp and Alder children. I suspect that Annie must have got on reasonably well with her step-family, as 10 years later the 1881 census finds her visiting James Dees Alder, a Ship’s Steward in Penzance.  Frustratingly I lose track of her after that.

Given the family’s low income and status, when searching on Ancestry I nearly didn’t check out their search result suggestion of a probate hearing in Bodmin [the local registry] in January 1872. However I’m very glad I did as it unlocked an important chunk of the family’s story.

It turns out that Elizabeth’s widower Philip Tripp actually died at Wurdah in the East Indies. Information online about ‘Wurdah, East Indies’ is not bountiful [I found a couple of old reports on Google Books] , but it looks like Philip may have been working on/around the long Wurdah river in eastern India, I can’t see a town called Wurdah but perhaps back in his day there was a settlement where masons were required. It’s rather more drastic than moving to Wales for mason work, so maybe he wanted to get as far away from his home life as possible.

So what of his sons?

Philip’s probate says the effects: “…was granted at Bodmin under the usual Limitations John Rowe of Penzance Mason the Grandfather and Guardian of Annie Tripp Spinster and Samuel Tripp Minors and of George Tripp and Philip Tripp Infants the Children and only Next of Kin.  Effects under £100.”

Well something went wrong after his departure to India for I was shocked to find that in April 1871 6-year-old George and 4-year-old Philip were living in The New Orphan Houses at Ashley Down, in the north Bristol area in Gloucestershire, far away from everyone they knew.

It appears that George died aged 7 in the orphanage only about 3 months after his father’s probate hearing, in spring 1872.

The 1881 census records Philip as a scholar, still in the orphanage. However shortly after that his grand-parents must have tracked him down and brought him home to Penzance. Cruelly he didn’t have much time with them as he died in early 1884, when he must have been approx 17 years old.

To finish on a happier note, Elizabeth’s second child Samuel was not in Penzance for the 1881 census but I found that he’d joined the navy and was at sea, working as an Ordinary Seaman on the [fifth] HMS Invincible.

In 1889 he married Charlotte Maria Rabbeth in Penzance, but they settled in Grays Thurrock, in Essex, where he worked in the merchant service after leaving the navy. Charlotte’s dressmaker mother Grace was living with them in both 1901 and 1911, perhaps for company when Samuel was away at sea.  He died in 1934.


Text © Lynne Black, 17 January 2016; mangle image from MorgueFiles
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/elizabeth-rowe-tripp/

Photo of boat entering Newlyn Harbour

Patience Daniel Rowe later Tremethick, 1830-1908

Patience, the daughter of shoemaker William Rowe and his wife Alice nee Daniel, was baptised on 15 March 1830 in Paul Parish Church, Cornwall, a few months before the death of King George IV, the former Prince Regent and builder of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

She was the seventh of their nine children, and spent her childhood in the Street-An-Nowan area of the Cornish fishing village Newlyn.

Photo of Foundry Lane, Newlyn

Foundry Lane, Street-an-Nowan, Newlyn

Her mother died in 1845 when Patience was only 14.  By 30 March 1851 she was living with her widowed cordwainer father and her two sisters in Foundry Lane, Street-An-Nowan. Her older sister Grace was a bonnet maker and Patience must have also been good with her fingers as later in life she became a seamstress; younger sister Elizabeth had no profession recorded.

Patience married a fisherman named Thomas Tremethick in January 1853 and the following year they had the first of their ten children, Joseph.

After their marriage they too lived in Foundry Lane. Soon after Joseph they had James and Grace, Thomas and Annie so within 7 years [by the April 1861 census] they had five children. Never a dull moment but a lot of sleepless nights?

Photo of Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Newlyn

Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel with hall, Newlyn, Cornwall

Patience and Thomas’ first four children had been baptised in Paul Church, up on the hill above Newlyn, but Annie was baptised in the Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel just 2 minutes walk up from Foundry Lane in Street-An-Nowan.

On 25 September 1862 their next child, son John, was born and was baptised a Methodist the following month again at Trinity.  Albania was born on 19 May 1865 and she too was baptised at Trinity, two months later.

However when Samuel was born in spring 1867 the family chose St Peter’s Church, Newlyn, for his baptism that May.

In December 1869 her father died, he was still living in the Foundry Lane.  By April 1871 the family were living a minute away in Chapel Street Road, still in Street-An-Nowan.

Patience and Thomas’ sixth son and ninth child William Rowe Tremethick was born c August 1870 and was baptised that September, again in St Peter’s Church, Newlyn. On 6 March 1872 her last child, daughter Patience, was born in Newlyn but for Patience’s baptism the family returned to the Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. I wonder why this ‘church-hopping’?  Maybe they didn’t like one of the ministers…

Patience Jnr was to be their last child, for in February 1878 Thomas died and was buried on 27 February in Paul Cemetery.

The first of their children to marry was Grace who married James Richards in St Peter’s Church, Newlyn on 8 Sep 1880. James was a Royal Navy Quartermaster who had been born in Newlyn but spent part of his youth on the Isles of Scilly.

Photo of Florence Place, Newlyn

Florence Place, Newlyn

By April 1881 Patience had moved to what was technically the next parish (Madron) although the house was actually only 5 minutes walk away. She had six of her children living with her, four of whom were bringing in a wage, and was herself working as a ‘steampstress’. Joe (25) was employed by the Great Western Railway, John (18) was a printer and Albania (15) and Samuel (13) were grocer’s assistants. Annie (20) and William (10), a scholar, were also living at home.

By then Patience’s second child James was working as as a domestic groom at Charleton Rectory, Devon. Oldest daughter Grace was married and living in Devonport, Devon and youngest daughter Patience (aged 9) was away visiting her sister Grace on that night in April 1881.  I suspect 23-year old Thomas was a sailor away at sea but haven’t tracked down that record yet.

That summer her daughter Annie married William Crask, a widowed Norfolk-born light-house keeper who was living locally.

In spring 1882 Patience became a grandmother when Grace and James Richards had their first son, Albert Morris Tremethick Richards; sadly the baby only lived about a year, dying in spring 1883.

In April 1883 oldest son Joe married Bessie in Devonport.  In January 1884 Patience again became a grandmother when Joe and Bessie had their first child, daughter Ethel, far away in Aston [now Birmingham], Warwickshire, where Joe’s job with GWR had taken him.  They also had their son, Percy, there in 1887.

Around May 1885 James married Kate Edwards in Kingsbridge.  Between 1890 and 1898 they had five children there: John (1890), Patience (1892) Margaret (1895), William (1896) and Lena (1898).

Tragedy struct the family in November 1885 when Patience’s sixth child John died aged 28; he was buried in Paul Cemetery.

On 16 May 1887 her sailor son Thomas married Mary Badcock in St Mary’s Church, Penzance, with his younger sister Albania as witness.  That July Thomas’ oldest sister Grace Richards had her second son, Stanley, still in Devonport.  She and James had three further children there: Mabel (c1889), Gladys (1890)and Wilbert J (c1898).

In April 1888 Patience’s daughter Annie Crask died, aged 28, and was buried in Paul Cemetery like her younger brother John.  Also that year her eighth child Samuel emigrated to Australia and as far as I’m aware stayed there all his life.

In spring 1889 her youngest daughter and namesake Patience died.  She was aged only 17.

In April 1891 Patience was living on her own means in St James Street, Penzance, Albania was living with her and working as an assistant in a boot warehouse. They had taken a milliner called Annie as a lodger.

They were the only two family members left locally.  At that time her son William was living in Camberwell, London, and working as a compositor; perhaps he had moved away from Newlyn after the death of his older brother John, also a printer. Joe was living in Warwickshire and James in Kingsbridge, with Grace and also Thomas’ wife Mary in the Plymouth area (Thomas was away on board the Himalaya for that census), and Samuel was in Australia, where it appears he married later that year.

In early 1894 Albania married Seth Lemmon who lived in the next street with his sister and worked as a draper’s assistant. The following year she gave birth to twins, but while Harold survived baby Arthur died at or soon after birth.

In 1900 it appears that Samuel got re-married to a lady called Margaret Lewis in Australia and that they travelled round in south-east Australia, having their children: a daughter and five sons – including an Albania, a Thomas Rowe and an Arthur Harold.


Plymouth Hoe, by Robert Pitman, Flickr bobchin1941 Creative Commons license

By 1901 Patience and Albania were themselves found in Plymouth, with Seth named as head of the household and 5-year-old Harold with them.  Although I can’t check whether Patience was living there or visiting, as she was 76 I suspect she would have been living close to her family as three of her surviving children: Grace and James Richards, Thomas (when not at sea) and Mary Tremethick, and of course Albania and Seth Lemmon, were now living in and around Plymouth.  James and Kate were also in Devon (Kingsbridge). At some point in the 1900s Joe and Bessie also moved back to Devon (to Exeter and later Colebrook) – although at the time of the 1901 census they were living in Oxford.

In addition her older sister Grace D Rowe and also many nephews and nieces from the Victor and Rowe branches of the Rowe family were living close by, moved up from Newlyn and Mousehole.  Patience was also still in touch with retired lighthouse keeper William Crask, her daughter Annie‘s widower, and he was also listed in Albania and Seth’s household on the night of the 1901 census.

In 1902 Albania and Seth had another son, who they again named Arthur.

There was sad news in 1905 when her coachman son James died and was buried in Kingsbridge, leaving Kate with her three surviving children John, Patience and Lena.

Patience died in summer 1908 in Plymouth, three years after her older sister milliner Grace D Rowe who also died in Plymouth.

© Lynne Black, 31 December 2015
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/patience-daniel-rowe/

Photo of Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

Samuel Tremethick 1867-1943: from Newlyn to Australia

Photo of St Peter's Church, Newlyn

St Peter’s Church, Newlyn

Samuel was born c1867, the fifth son of a Cornish fisherman Thomas Tremethick and his wife Patience Daniel Rowe.  They lived in Foundry Lane, in the Street-An-Nowan area of Newlyn, Cornwall, at that point and Samuel was baptised in the relatively new St Peter’s Church on 15 May 1867.

Like most of his brothers he chose not to go to go sea, although as his father had died in 1878 when Samuel was only 11 perhaps that wasn’t an option.

Photo of Florence Place, Newlyn

Florence Place, Newlyn

By 1881 Samuel, aged 14, was working as a grocer’s assistant still in the busy Cornish fishing village of Newlyn near Land’s End. He was home with his widowed mother and five of his brothers and sisters, living in Florence Place in Tolcarne (immediately next to Street-An-Nowan).

In summer 1888 he sailed on the Liguria, registered in Liverpool but departing from London, to Sydney Australia.

This is where my UK-record trail goes cold, but via online records and the help of friends I have put together what I believe to be his story:

Samuel arrived in Sydney on 12 June 1888. There is a record of him marrying a Clarice Gaskell 500 miles away in Bourke, NSW in 1891 and later in 1900 he married Margaret Lewis, in Charville, Queensland.  they seem to have worked their way around New South Wales and South Australia over the next 35 years.

He and Margaret had a family together, many namesakes of Samuel’s sister, brother and nephew back in Newlyn: Albania (1901) and Thomas Rowe (1904) both in Augathella, Maranoa, Queensland plus Arthur Harold (1907) in Unley, South Australia. They were followed by three more sons with no immediately obvious (to me anyway) name links to Samuel’s youth: Eric James (1909, Tolarno Station, Menindee, NSW), Ian Allan (1915, Wentworth, NSW) and Ralph Mansfield (1919, Bordertown, South Australia).

In 1930 and 1936 they were living in Coff’s Harbour, Cowper, NSW.

Samuel died in October 1943 in Adelaide, South Australia. Margaret lived on until December 1972; she also died in Adelaide.

What I would love to know about Samuel is what he did for a living, travelling around so much, and why he left England.

© Lynne Black, 29 December 2015
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/


Two William Tremethicks and a fair bit of bewilderment

William Rowe Tremethick was born in August 1870, in the south-west corner of England, in a busy Cornish fishing village called Newlyn.

Photo of Florence Place, Newlyn

Florence Place, Tolcarne, Newlyn

The ninth of ten children of Thomas Tremethick and Patience Daniel Rowe, William saw his older brothers and sister make their way out into the world: railway clerk, coachmen, naval wife, bosun, a light-keeper’s wife, but most didn’t go any further than neighbouring Devon.

William chose – or had chosen for him – the printing compositor trade.  By the time he was 20 he was based in Camberwell, Surrey, lodging in a street where many other compositors were based.  At some point I’ll perhaps ask for a search of members from the London Society of Compositors.

Ten years later William was again lodging with a fellow-compositor Lewis Jones, this time in Westminster in the home of his parents, grocers Lewis and Ellen Jones.


Old 1837 map of Southwark and the Thames (east of Westminster) from Flickr Internet Book archive stream

The April 1911 census finds him living with a wife called Ellen in Gabriel Street, Newington, London [Surrey]. Also present are Maud and Grace Staerck, his step-children.  It states they have been married 6 years with no children born as a couple, but I can’t find any record of a c1905 marriage.

Banns for Ellen Naomi Staerck and William were later called in August and September of 1910. This was confusing – it had me hunting for a marriage certificate in 1910, but it appears they may not have married until 30 May 1915 in Christ’s Church, Southwark, London.


Deacon Saintey’s name from Naomi’s marriage certificate with William Tremethick

Ellen was a widow; her first husband, William Staerck [such variation in the transcriptions…!] was the blacksmith son of a Lambeth file cutter. She was born Ellen Naomi Saintey in Newington, London, the daughter of Deacon Saintey who was described on both her marriage registers as Gentleman but in his 1861 and 1871 census as packer. Deacon was a farmer’s son from Cambridgeshire so perhaps being a gentleman farmer is in his distant family story somehow. Ellen and William Staerck had four children together, William Deacon, Ida Kate S, Maude Victoria and Grace before William Snr died in early 1906.

This has been a really, really, confusing family to trace.  Ellen and both her Williams have unusual surnames, so it’s more than a case of wishful linking, I think that the family were either deliberately being bit vague, or perhaps being a bit dozy and disorganised.  I think they could all read and write.  So I’m going to write down what I know and what I think is the most likely scenario in grey areas, and if I’m wrong, fine, I’ll update their story in a new blog post.

Ellen Naomi’s son William Deacon Staerck [spelt as Sturk on his army paperwork] fought in World War One with the Royal Welsh (Welch) Fusiliers.  He had married Ethel Carter before heading to war.

William died in 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.  He was only 17 when he died.

It looks like his sister, Ellen Naomi’s daughter Grace, married John Dixon on 26 December 1921 in Stoke Newington, Hackney and I’m confident the signature is that of William R Tremethick.


There is a record of a William J Tremethick who died in 1925 in Southwark, London, I believe this is William recorded with an incorrect middle initial as this would be typical of this family, I’m just grateful they have an unusual name.  I can find no record of him after that (although I was confused for a while as his cousin William Bone Tremethick also emigrated to the USA, see below).

I find Naomi Tremethick heading from Southampton to New York with a 10-year-old child called Ruby Staerck on 31 August 1927; the two of them travelled on the White Star Line’s Homeric.

So who is Ruby Staerck?  She was born after Ellen Naomi’s first husband William Staerck died.  Maybe she was the child of Naomi and William Tremethick born c 1917, but they were definitely married by then so why take the Staerck name?

What I think has happened is that Ellen’s daughter Ida met a Jack Smith (itself possibly a made-up name?) and they had an illegitimate daughter together called Ruby.  In 1911 Ida had been working in Aston, Warwickshire, as a domestic maid for an older lady of private means.  Later marriage paperwork for a Ruby Victoria Staerck gave her parents’ names as Jack W Staerck and Ida Katherine Smith.  So I think either deliberately or accidentally her parents’ surnames have been incorrectly recorded.

There are also online travel records for an Ida K Staerck entering the US via Canada and then later as an Ida Katherine Gabarino living, naturlizing and later dying in California.

I think that Naomi is the Ellen Tremethick who ended her days in California in 1935.

On 7 October 1935 Chas I Cole (son of Claude D Cole and Pearl Russell) married a Ruby Victoria Staerck; this is where Ruby stated her parents’ names were Jack W Staerck and Ida Katherine Smith.

Chas Cole is married but alone in 1940 and I think that Ruby have have married again, to a Mr Kelley.  Or perhaps someone just mis-heard Cole as Kelly.

A Ruby Victoria Cole and a Ruby Victoria Kelley died in California on the same day, 20 August 1943, and I’m confident they are the same person.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Paulene Bonello, Dee Davis, Laura Bale, Traci Eames-O’Leary and Jo Riley for their invaluable help with this story, all responding to a  request I made in the Facebook group Ancestry UK [no relation to the Ancestry company].  Paulene is also a friend who makes fine chocolates as Bonello Chocolatier , shameless plug there.

William Bone Tremethick

In looking up the documents from William Rowe Tremethick they discovered a William Bone Tremethick living with his wife Ruth Anderson, a lady with a Swedish father and an American mother.

William B, who was 5’2″ tall and of fair physical appearance, had emigrated in the early 1920s.  In December 1919 he had received a Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity after being injured fighting in France, where he had served with the Inland Water Transport Corps Royal Engineers. By 1922 when his medals were shipped to him, he was living in Orange, Massachusetts.

William was a Primitive Methodist.  Born in early 1898, he was the son of fisherman Samuel Cotton Tremethick and Sarah Tregutha nee Bone, whose maiden name helped identify William as a cousin.  His father’s younger brother John Tremethick was very active in this faith.  According to the Cornishman newspaper report, published 3 February 1926 upon John’s death, “Deceased was one of the best known Mount’s Bay fisherman.  Prominently identified with the Primitive Methodist Church, he held for several years the position of Sunday School superintendent and society class leader, and was a member of the Board of Trustees and a lay preacher of the Penzance Primitive Methodist Circuit.”

In 1947 William B is found arriving in Southampton on the Marine Marlin from the USA, heading back to Newlyn.

What few William Tremethicks there must be for the ‘wrong person’ suggested in search results to turn out to be a cousin after all! Such a distinctive name.

© Lynne Black, 21 December 2015
First published: Worldwide Genealogy Collaboration: http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/william-rowe-tremethick.html