Peter was born on 12 August 1807 in the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn, near Penzance, in the Regency period during the final years of George III’s reign. His parents were fisherman Peter Jacco and Catherine nee Kelynack. He was their first child and they baptised him on 26 February 1809 in Paul Church up on the hill above Newlyn.
Peter’s youngest years saw food shortages and were the times of the Napoleonic Wars; he was 7 when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. When he was 10 he may have witnessed this happen to another boy in Newlyn in July:
“On Tuesday last an unusual circumstance was 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 meantime 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.”
At the age of 19, in 1825, Peter joined the merchant service as a seaman.
Maybe he was away at sea a lot, but Peter didn’t marry until he was 30 in April 1838, marrying 23-year-old Newlyn girl Jane Harvey who had been working as a servant. They married in Paul Church.
By the June 1841 census they had two sons, Peter, baptised on 23 September 1838, and John, c December 1840. They were living in Navy Inn Street, in the high part of Newlyn above the South Pier [shown in header photo]. Daughter Jane followed, born c1844, son Charles c1847 and Edwin in spring 1850.
On 24 January 1851 Peter was awarded his Master’s Certificate for “26 years in the British Merchant Service in the Foreign Trade.”
He was away in March 1851 on the census night and Jane was home in Factory Row with their five children. They become parents again with the arrival of Henry who was baptised on 16 April 1854. Also in 1854 Peter’s father Peter died, with his mother Catherine dying the following year.
Peter and Jane were again recorded in Navy Inn Street in the April 1861 census. This time he was recorded as working as a fisherman.
In 1870, when Peter was 62, their son Peter, who was a fisherman, married a fisherman’s daughter called Alice Mann Wills. Peter and Jane became grandparents in 1872 with the arrival of Peter and Alice’s daughter Alice.
Daughter Jane married fisherman Thomas G Cattran in June 1876 and Charles, a fisherman, married fisherman’s daughter Ann Barnes in 1877, all in Paul Parish Church.
In 1881 Peter and Jane were living in Upper Green Street, still above the South Pier. Son Edwin married Mary Downing in 1882, a year which saw food shortages in Cornwall.
Peter died the following year, at the end of 1883. Jane lived on, still living in Upper Green Street in 1891, living with her widowed sister Margaret and Jane’s two unmarried sons, Henry and John. She died in late summer 1897 and was buried in Paul Parish on 6 September 1897.
Words and photos © Lynne Black, 15 January 2017
 Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – Thursday 16 July 1818, P8, Col 2. Via British Newspaper Archive http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000348/18180716/026/0008