Only Connect #2: Jane Cortis

Jane was the third daughter born to Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON, eight years after Elizabeth (Only Connect #1).

Jane was eight years old when her mother died, one of ten children that Richard had to nurture. Elizabeth must have carried most of the burden of being “mother” but she married in 1845. When the census was taken at the end of March 1851, Jane was the only one of the brood remaining “at home” to help her father run the Minerva Hotel in Hull. Three weeks later, she married Philip HORSLEY, a farmer from Doncaster.

Jane has a third FamilySearch ID, masquerading under the family name “Curtis”, without parents or siblings.

I commented in an earlier post that Jane and Philip disappeared from English records and I speculated that they may have joined the Cortis diaspora to the United States. I went looking and found a source detailing the purchase of eighty acres of land in Iowa in 1852 by a Philip Horsley. Expecting to find him with a wife and a bunch of children in 1860, I was dismayed when I couldn’t find them in the Census. I feared one, or both, had died.

I messaged Peter in Australia and he looked again at the cache of Cortis family letters in his possession. He told me that the name DANNATT appeared several times, along with FAMILTON and PECK. This information led me in short order to Jane CURTISS.

This Jane has no birth family history or the earlier marriage to Philip but she married Benjamin in Clinton, Iowa. And if the Familtons and Pecks are not enough to prove a connection to the Australian Cortis branch – she named one of her daughters Minna.

Further confirmation came from the discovery of a marriage record – of Benjamin Dannatt to Jane Horsley.

It appears that Philip died without issue but on re-marrying Jane became a step mother to three children born to Benjamin and his first wife Elizabeth Ann BOWER. Jane subsequently had seven children of her own. Sources on the Shared Tree place the family in Low Moor, Iowa, mid-way between DeWitt and Clinton.

It is looking increasingly likely that Jane blazed the Cortis trail to America. While some of the brothers that followed made fortunes in Manhattan, Thomas Thackrah (the youngest) seems to have been less successful as a physician. He lived near sister Jane in Clinton County for a while. I will make a case for him to be “connected” in another post.

Measure of Man 44 · Country Park

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