Grace arrived in the world on Tuesday 7 December 1819 and baptised into the Methodist faith on 7 January 1821 in the Penzance area, probably in the local Trinity Methodist Chapel in Newlyn.
Born in Newlyn, Penzance, she was the daughter of William Rowe, a shoe-maker, and his wife Alice nee Daniel. She was the third of their 9 children and her middle name is likely to have been Daniel, after her mother.
In June 1841 her occupation was given as a female servant. However by 30 March 1851 she was working as a straw bonnet maker. There are some lovely examples here on Pinterest, although perhaps she would more likely have produced ones like in this Stanhope Forbes painting Fish Sale on the Beach. Although her occupation was given as 1861 as seamstress, in 1871 and 1881 her occupation was stated as milliner and 1891 as a retired milliner so presumably she had a flair for it, perhaps inherited from her shoemaker father, and maybe he got her started off with his local connections.
Her mother Alice died in 1845, aged only 52, and by March 1851 Grace, sisters Patience and Elizabeth were still at home with father William. By 1861 Grace was was still living in Street-An-Nowan in Foundry Lane looking after her father, who was by then 73, and working as a dressmaker. Patience had married Thomas Tremethick in 1853 but was also living in Foundry Lane.
The 13 households of Foundry Lane – and others round-about, would have been served by the well at the top of the Lane (the semi-circle which can be seen in the top photo). Grace and her neighbours would have wound the handle to bring up the bucket. This was in use until the early 1900s at which point the well was closed and a standpipe was connected, followed two years later by the addition of a tap. Users would still however had to carry the containers by hand back to their homes. The pipe will still in use in the 1930s.
William died in 1869 and was buried in Paul Cemetery on 19 December.
In 1844 Grace’s younger sister Alice, 5 years younger than Grace, had married Mousehole man Bernard Victor and in 1846 their daughter Mary was born. Mary married a Newlyn naval carpenter called Edward Kelynack in 1867.
By 1871 they had a daughter Mary and a baby son Edward and Mary was staying in Newlyn; Grace was lodging with Mary (her great-niece) in Chapel Street, literally a minute away from Foundry Lane, while Edward was away at sea in the East Indies.
By April 1881 Grace had moved considerably further than a minute’s walk from home, she’d moved to Martin Street, Stoke Damerel [Plymouth] in Devon. Mary was living there with Mary Jnr and Edward Jnr; once again father Edward was away, this time in Gibraltar.
Grace and Mary were still in Martin Street in 1891, although Mary Jnr had flown the nest and married Army Schoolmaster John Pearce in 1888. Edward was still living at home and working as a newspaper reporter; the household now included youngest child Lorina, born in summer 1883.
Tragedy struck their family c February 1901 when oldest daughter Mary Pearce died after a long illness.
By 31 March 1901 Edward Snr had retired as the Royal Navy’s Chief Carpenter and was living at home with Mary, Edward Jnr, Lorina and Grace. Their household also included their grand-daughter Beatrice Pearce who had not long lost her mother.
Edward Snr died in summer 1904 aged 63; he was living in Trelawny Road, Plymouth at the time.
Grace died the following year, in late 1905, in the Stoke Damerel area at the grand old age of 85. I hope that she was buried in one of her own bonnets.
© Lynne Black, 20 September 2015
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/grace-d-rowe/