Alice Daniel Rowe was born on 9 July 1862, the second child and oldest daughter of a family of eight children of sailor James Daniel Rowe and Catherine Jaco. She was baptised at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Newlyn, Cornwall, England. Benjamin was the oldest, then Alice, next came James in 1865 and Frederick in 1867. Sadly when she was 8, James died in early 1870; her next brother was born in September 1870 and was also given the name James after their father.
The 1871 census finds her a scholar; there was a Wesleyan Chapel school and when I start checking out school rolls that will be first on my list, for Alice, brothers and sisters and also many of her cousins.
By 1881 Alice had two more brothers and a sister and had moved out of the family home; at the age of 18 she was keeping house for her 71-year-old mariner grandfather Benjamin Jaco.
On 17 January 1887 Alice married a sailor and son of a fisherman Jabez Ash up at St Paul Church and they lived together in the Meadows, in Newlyn.
In 1892 Jabez was working on Captain Beckerleg’s crew on the Ormerod carrying coal from Gaston (Liverpool) back to Penzance; the weather started fine but worsened into a gale. Another Penzance ship, a schooner called the Fenna and Wilhelmina, was flying signals of distress about 14 miles south west of the Smalls Lighthouse off Milford; she was almost a wreck with the men pumping and the ship washing badly.
Captain Beckerleg called for volunteers and got a ready response, but would only allow 3 men to go aboard in case the Fenna and Wilhelmina became overweighted; seaman Jabez Ash was one of the three. They carried out a brave rescue and poured oil on troubled waters (literally) to ease the rescue, and took the survivors with them back to Penzance. There was damage to the Ormerod which proved quite expensive, and Captain Beckerleg thought it a pity that compensation was not available for damage a boat incurred when rescuing another.
You wouldn’t have thought it would be easy to lose track of a man called Jabez, but I don’t know how it was that Alice was widowed c1898. The 1911 census indicates they were married for 11 years so it appears he died around 1898. In 1901 Alice was working on her own account mending fishing nets, in Farmer’s Meadow in the lower Street-An-Nowan area of Newlyn.
Her father James Rowe died in 1905, and in 1911 Alice was boarding with Catherine, her mother, still mending fishing nets in Farmer’s Meadows. Catherine died in 1928.
Alice lived on until October 1941 when she died at Farmer’s Meadows. Although she had no children of her own, the Rowes were a large and loving family and she seems to have been especially close to her niece Kitty, who placed a memoriam in the Cornishman a year after Alice’s death saying “Deep in my heart a memory’s kept, of one I loved dearly and will never forget.” Alice was buried at the cemetery up at Paul close to the church where she had married Jabez almost 55 years earlier.
© Text and photos copyright Lynne Black, 4 May 2015