This is the 120-year story of a line of four Cornishwomen: Elizabeth, Rosanna, Jane and Emma. This time I’m featuring Jane and Emma.
Emma was the bride of a distant cousin of mine, John Wright Rowe Jnr, and grew up on a small island in the Isles of Scilly, off the south west of Cornwall. When I had a look at her story I found that not only did the family flit between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, but that she had exotic genes from her great-grandfather Bernardo Peyshott.
St Martin’s Island, Isles of Scilly, by Jeremy Pearson, Flickr, Creative Commons license
Rosanna and William’s older daughter Jane Nance is Emma’s mother.
Jane Nance, George Payne and Edgar Wingate
Jane was born in late 1849 in Penzance, Cornwall but she, her mariner father, tailoress mother Rosanna and sister had moved to the Isles of Scilly in the late 1850s before she was 12, and in April 1861 she was living in small St Martins near her father’s family.
When she was 20 she married fair skinned hazel-eyed sailor George Payne on 5 June 1870 on the Isles of Scilly.
George had been born inland in Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, in June 1837. After his father George died, his mother Amelia had re-married Henry Lowton in 1840 and they had a daughter together. After being widowed a second time she had married a John Davy/Davis and had two more children; she was working as a bonnet maker in 1851. George was mining at that time, aged 14. He eventually made the change from mining in his late 20s and joined the Navy. George was 12 years Jane’s senior and when they met he was half-way through his ten year Royal Navy service. He had a tattoo of a crucifix on his right arm and one of a man and a woman on his left arm and had served on the Achilles as his first posting. [Info from Navy records on Ancestry.]
Porth Conger, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, by James Stringer, Flickr, Creative Commons
On 2 April 1871 George was working as a coastguard on neighbouring St Agnes island, although Jane, a tailoress like her mother, was on St Martins with her parents. This may be because she was blooming: their first child, son George, was born that spring and baptised on 9 July 1871. [Info from Cornwall OPC.] He was followed by Rosanna ‘Rosa’ born on 14 September 1872 on St Agnes, Jane c1876 and Emma c1878, both back in St Martins.
Jane’s younger sister Rosanna married a farmer called Thomas Woodcock in 1874 (later described as a gentleman) and also had several children on St Martins, she lived up in Lower Town.
George died aged 42 in late April/early May 1880 and was buried on 5 May on the Isles. A month later Jane gave birth to their fifth child, a girl named Georgina for the father she would never meet. Jane was now a 30 year-0ld widow and mother of five children.
By the following April  she was working as a grocer in Higher Town on St Martins. Her mother Rosanna died in 1886. Despite these losses her daughters did well for themselves as teachers, suggesting she was aware of the importance of hard work and making the most of what you’ve got.
Jane got re-married – to another Merchant Navy and coastguard man – in spring 1887. Her husband Edgar Wingate, who’d been born in Milton, Hampshire, was 21 years her senior and they didn’t have children.
Edgar was a widower. Eliza, his first wife, had been born in Epping, Essex, and after their 1857 marriage they’d lived in Sheppey (Kent), Bangor (Caernarvonshire) and St Agnes where she had died in early 1887. There are just a few months between Eliza’s death and Edgar’s remarriage, Jane must have snapped him up quickly! Perhaps she was the talk of the islands! Maybe they’d met years before through her first husband’s George’s coastguard work, it wasn’t that big a place.
Her father William died the following year, in late 1888.
Penzance Harbour by Liz Pycock, Flickr, Creative Commons
By April 1891 Edgar and Jane had moved to the mainland. Disconcertingly, for me on a personal level, they had moved to Newlyn (the next village to the west of Penzance) and were living in the Street-An-Nowan area of Newlyn in the road next to my Granny’s house, although they are absolutely no relation. My great-great-grandparents owned the bakery at the top of that lane.
Jane and George’s first child George Payne grew up on St Martins but by the age of 20 in 1891 after the family had moved to the mainland was working as a butcher in Newlyn. However by 1901 he was working as a stone mason. I can’t find confirmed records for him after that.
Jane’s daughter Rosanna ‘Rosa’ Payne married Trinity Service man John Williams in 1894 and they settled down and raised a family in Penzance.
Middle child Jane Payne became a pupil teacher (1891) and by 1901 was a teacher in Penzance. I know of no marriage for her but in 1911 I find her a schoolmistress in Saltash, Cornwall, with her sister Emma and family visiting.
Youngest daughter Georgina Payne also became a schoolmistress. She married another teacher, Charles Hodge, in 1905 and together they moved to Cadeleigh in Devon where they were employed by the council. In April 1911 Charles was an Assistant Teacher, and Georgina a Head Teacher by the age of 31, which I think is great for over 100 years ago. Charles enlisted in 1917 and served in the Army Pay Corps where he was promoted to Corporal; after the war he went back to teaching.
By March 1901 Edgar and Jane had moved to Lescudjack Road, Penzance. Edgar died in Penzance on 29 April 1904, Jane died in early May 1925.
Jane’s fourth child (third daughter) was called Emma Payne.
Emma Payne and John Wright Rowe
The fourth child of George and Jane Payne, Emma, grew up in St Martin’s island in the Isles of Scilly, but was living on the mainland in Newlyn by the age of 13, where even at that young age was working as a dressmaker. After that she moved to Penzance but no occupation was recorded for her in 1901.
Market Jew Street, Penzance, postcard sent c1910
The following year she married John Wright Rowe in Penzance. John, a couple of years older than her, had also started work young: at the age of 14 he had been an errand boy at the docks in Penzance. John’s father Thomas Henry Rowe may not have been around much when he was young, or may even have died, but his trade had been that of a mason. His mother Phyllis was a laundress and mother of four.
By 1902, when he was initiated into the Penzance Mount Sinai Lodge Masons, John was working as a builder and this continued to at least 1907, the last record I have of him.
Emma and John had two children: Emma Doreen in 1903 and George Raymond in autumn 1907, both registered in the Penzance area. In April 1911 on census night they were visiting Emma’s older sister teacher Jane in Saltash, Cornwall, which is just at the border with Devon, across the Tamar from Plymouth.
Ancestry; FindMyPast; Cornwall Online Parish Clerks; Genuki, Flickr.
Text © Lynne Black, 13 March 2016
Isles of Scilly panorama and St Agnes photo by James Stringer, Flickr, Creative Commons license
St Martins sunset by Jeremy Pearson, Flickr, Creative Commons license
Penzance Harbour by Liz Pycock, Flickr, Creative Commons license
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/