Category Archives: mining

Jane Jacco later Casley – moving from fish to tin

Photo of altar of Paul Parish Church

Paul Parish Church

Jane Jacca [Jaco, Jacka] was the third child and first daughter of Newlyn fisherman Peter Jacco and his wife Catherine Noall Kelynack’s eight children.   Baptised on 15 August 1813 in Paul Parish Church, she may have assumed as a girl that her future husband would be a fisherman like her father, brothers and a future brother-in-law.

However it was a miner she settled down with.  Martin Casley and his family lived and worked in St Just in Penwith, a west-coast Cornish town approx. 7 miles west from Newlyn with the legend that it was named after the 6th century saint Justus[1] , although there was reported evidence of ancient peoples and mining[2].

‘The land is bleak, and to a great extent barren.  The rocks are chiefly granite and slate; but they include rich lodes of tin and copper, – contain iron, bismuth, hornblende, tale, garnet, opal, and many other minerals’[3]

St Just is the most westerly town in mainland Britain and one of the oldest mining parishes in Cornwall, until the collapse of the industry at the end of the 19th century saw miners scattering around Britain and overseas.[4]

They married on 12 January 1834 and moved to St Just where Martin, the first of their nine children, was born later that year and baptised in St Just Parish Church on 17 December. He was followed by Richard who was baptised on 19 June 1836. Their third son, named Peter after Jane’s father, was born at the end of 1837 but died in infancy and was buried on 24 September 1839.

Jane would already have been pregnant with her fourth child at that time, and he was baptised Peter Jaco Casley in May 1840.  They were living on Green Lane, in the south part of St Just called Carrallack near Carn Bosavern, the area to which their children were to live in or return to for decades.

stjustmine_flickrccattrib_andymaguire

St Just Mine, by Andy Maguire (andymag), Flickr Creative Commons license

Their next child and only daughter Mary Jane was born c1842, next son George was baptised on 26 March 1844, William was born c 1847 and Thomas was born c 1849.  By 1851 the family was living in Bosavern in St Just and had seven children at home.  Oldest son Martin was working as a 16-year-old tapper miner and so was his 13-year-old brother Richard; the younger children were all at school.  Jane and Martin’s final known and ninth child John was born c 1852.

In 1856 Jane’s fisherman father Peter died from an effusion of the brain, and the following year her mother Catherine also died.

In June 1860 their second son, Richard (a tin tapper) and his bride [and possibly cousin] Jane Casley called banns in St Just Parish Church.  They married there on 4 July 1860.

In 1861 Jane and Martin were still living in Bosavern [Row] but it may be that their son Peter emigrated that year, as in April 1861 the census finds him lodging in Liverpool with [possible] cousin James Casley, and three other men, John Curnow, Arcles Warren and Able Stephens, all marked as tin miners from St Just.  Hints that he ended up in Canada have so far proved to be mis-transcriptions, maybe some day new records will be available and the gaps can be filled in.

In early 1867 their son Thomas died.  He was just 18 and had been working as a tin worker since he was 12. He was buried in the Wesleyan Burial grounds; the first indication that the family may have converted to Wesleyan Methodism; there was a chapel in St Just which seated 2,000 people[5].

In April 1871 Jane and Martin were living again in Carrallack, St Just with Martin, Mary, George William and John home with them.  However further tragedy struck the family in 1873 when eldest son Martin died, aged 38. He was buried on 31 August again in the Wesleyan Burial grounds.

Mary Jane married Thomas Stephens and they were living in Penzance in 1881, after having daughters Mary Jane (1874) and Elizabeth (c1876).  Thomas was originally a miner, as was his father, but perhaps as a result in the slump in the mining industry had become a grocer.  This seemed a bit implausible to me, when I first saw this suggested on Ancestry, but tracking them through to 1901 I find them living in Carrallack Terrace, and with that and other evidence I’m confident it’s ‘my’ Mary Jane.

By March 1878 youngest child John was away working in Lancashire as a miner. He married a Welsh woman called Catherine Williams in Pemberton, Lancashire, which has coal mines and stone quarries[6] which perhaps was where John was working.  There they had their first child in 1878 before moving back to her home county of Glamorgan where John continued to work as a miner, and they had four more sons there.

In early 1877 they lost their fourth son when George died; he had initially worked as a shoe maker (1861) but by April 1871 had become a miner.  He was still living in St Just, in Bosavern Terrace.  He was buried on 9 February in the Wesleyan Methodist burial ground in St Just.

Jane died in October 1879 and was buried in St Just Wesleyan burial grounds on 25 October.  Martin was living alone for the 3 April 1881 census.  He died on 25 June 1885 and his executrix was his daughter Mary Ann.

By April 1891 grocer Thomas and Mary Jane Stephens [Jane and Martin’s daughter] were back in St Just, working in Lafrowda Terrace.  By March 1901 Thomas was recorded as a retired grocer.  They had their daughter Elizabeth living with them; she was by then married to Benjamin Angwin, a miner’s son. Also in the household was Thomas and Mary Jane’s grandson Benjamin Redbers Angwin who was 4 months old.  By 1911 Elizabeth had had a daughter and another son, but her insurance salesman husband Benjamin Angwin died in October 1911; he was buried in the St Just Wesleyan burial ground.

I’d never seen the inside of a Methodist Chapel and it’s so much nicer than I expected.  There is a story about a proposed closure/re-use of the Chapel here with photos, although on its St Just Methodist Chapel Facebook group it is still promoting its prayer session as of today, 29 January 2017.

Thanks to Denize Halliwell, Susan Carey and Stephanie Dawn Smith of the Ancestry UK Facebook group for checking some Canadian posts about Peter Casley for me.

Jane Jacco is my G-G-G-G-G Aunt.

The main sites I used for tracking down records for Jane’s family story were: Ancestry.co.uk ; FindMyPast ; Cornwall Online Parish Clerks ; Cornwall Family History Society

Words and St Paul Church photo © Lynne Black,
Mine photo Andy Maguire, andymag, Creative Commons license,
St Just photo Ed Webster, Ed_Webster, Creative Commons License, cropped.
First published 29 January 2017 on starryblackness blog site: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/jane-jacco/ .

[1] Genuki: St Just-In-Penwith http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Cornwall/StJustinPenwith which has info taken from Lake’s Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 – 1873)

[2] John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72 from Vision of Britain website, January 2017.  http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/393

[3] John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72 from Vision of Britain website, January 2017.  http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/393

[4] Genuki: St Just-In-Penwith http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Cornwall/StJustinPenwith which has info taken from Lake’s Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 – 1873)

[5] Kelly’s Directory of Cornwall 1893 via West Penwith Resources for St Just in Penwith http://west-penwith.org.uk/just93.htm

[6] Genuki: Pemberton, http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Pemberton which has info taken from John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)

Advertisements

#52Ancestors #20: William Dolton – a mysterious end?

William Henry Thorn Dolton was born c November 1862 Devon, England. His father John Willing Dolton had worked on the land but by William’s generation the family was living in Plympton St Mary [now part of Plymouth].

52 ancestors logoWilliam was the fourth child, second son, of John and his wife Selina Ann Horn [his middle name Thorn was probably the result of the registrar mis-hearing his parents]. His father John had been married previously but after the death of his first wife had struggled to cope with three young children and William’s older half-brothers and sisters had been raised by their grandmother Elizabeth Dolton.  By the age of 20 William was apprenticed to a blacksmith, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out as later he was working as a quarryman (stone), a labourer in the limestone quarries, and later still as a tar worker.

He married Bessie Ann Preece, in August 1883 in Plymouth Registry Office and they had their first child the following summer, named William Samuel for his father and grandfather.

William Jnr was followed by 7 more by 1896: Ernest Francis, Florence Selina (my great-grandmother), Francis (who died in infancy), Bessie Matilda (died in infancy), Mary Kathleen and another Francis, who again died in infancy. I found a reference to a 7th child but haven’t found a birth entry for him/her. Four lost children, how cruel…

It was a very poor time and a time of great change in the country. In December 1913 a suffragette had burnt down an (uninsured) Devonport timber yard as a protest – I’m sure William and his mates would have had strong thoughts on that as the smoke curled high above!

Three Towns in One: Derby Daily Telegraph, 4 May 1914   © National Newspaper Archive

Three Towns in One: Derby Daily Telegraph, 4 May 1914
© National Newspaper Archive

This year is the centenary of the merging by Local Government Order of the three towns of Plymouth, East Stonehouse and Devonport and there are loads of events on.  And where am I? Scotland. When did I get to visit Plymouth? Last year. Bad timing. Plymouth Remembers commemorates this; the Plymouth History Festival is on at the moment and there are so many events relevant to the lives of my ancestors that it’s really frustrating being so far away!

I suspect back then people just got on with their lives – I wonder if there was discontent about losing the prominence of the names of East Stonehouse and of Devonport by taking the name of their neighbour? Local rivalries? Or just cynicism that whatever they were called they’d still have to go to work and to pay their taxes?

Western Morning Times, 16 October 1942

Western Morning Times, 16 October 1942 © National Newspaper Archive

William lived through the First World War, and the 20s and 30s when Lady Astor was MP for Plymouth.  He would have seen many grandchildren and heard of their sporting successes and also seen his daughter Florence [then] Glover busy in the Co-operative movement.

I believe William met his death in 1942, in a fall from a 3rd floor window. This news cutting refers to a coroner’s report so tracking that down will be my next step.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 16 May 2014
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/william-dolton/