Mary Ann Tope is my great-great-great-grandmother. Born in Cullumpton, Devon in 1844 to stone quarryman John Tope and Jane Courson, she was the second of their five children and grew up around Oreston, Plympton St Mary near (what’s now) Plymouth, Devon.
Before her marriage Mary Ann was living in Langdon and working as a general servant on John Coombe’s farm which employed 16 men and 3 boys. I think this may be near Wembury village but advice welcomed!
She met Samuel Preece, a mariner from Somerset, and they had their first child, Bessie Ann, in 1865. I’m still to actually track down their marriage certificate but I’ve not reason to think they weren’t married; a Mary Jane Tope married in Plymouth c February 1865, so that’s my best lead.
They had two more daughters, Sarah Jane (1868), Florence Elizabeth (1870) and sons Chas (1874) and Frank (1875) in Oreston.
I would love to know how Samuel and Mary Ann met. I suspect it was because he was a sailor and had gone to Plymouth for work. He wasn’t actually home the night of the 1871 census, maybe away on a ship. [Mary Ann was with the children at Breakwater in Oreston.] Perhaps when I eventually track down their marriage certificate it will show their addresses and professions and give me a clue.
I also have had trouble tracking down their death certificates, they maybe mumbled their words as I’ve seen various spellings of Preece (and indeed Tope) including some too obscure for even the wider search settings. Maybe they sailed off into the sunset together after completing their 1891 census…
© Text copyright Lynne Black 28 May 2014