On the 5th of November 1852, Flamborough men John BAILEY, John MAJOR and George STEPHENSON went to sea “in pursuit of their calling”. Their fishing coble was turned over by the waves and all three drowned, “each leaving a widow to lament their bereavement”.
John Major’s body was soon recovered and laid to rest on the 7th. Jane, his widow, wasn’t a stranger to the graveyard.
On his last day, John could not have known he would become a father again. His daughter, Jane, was born the following year, in July.
Widow Jane had been a minor when she married but signed the register with a neat hand (after a false start).
In 1861 she is living in Ship Inn Yard, Flamborough, with three children – Ann (12), William (10) and Jane (7). At the same address ten years later, young Jane is absent on census night, and William, now 20, is supporting the family by fishing. He marries two years later and sets up his own household. The enumerator in 1881 finds Jane in South Dalton, about thirty miles from Flamborough, working as a housekeeper to Henry Llewellyn CHOWEN, a single man, aged 38, and a land agent. He also employs Jane ELLERBY, widow Jane’s 14-year-old granddaughter as a servant. Jane the Elder is still Henry’s housekeeper in 1891. I don’t know if she stayed in post until his death in 1900 but at census the following year she is back in Flamborough with son William, a fish merchant now and a widower. It must have been a comfortable home because William’s three unmarried sons are all working and his daughter, yet another Jane, keeps house.
The bodies of John Major’s drowned companions are not recovered for a week or more. John BAILEY is buried on 16 November and George STEPHENSON two days later.
John married Frances HUNTER in 1849 and the couple had one son before death intervened. Frances is with 10-year-old William Hunter Bailey in Mosey’s Yard, Filey in 1861 but she dies before the next census, aged 50. She is buried somewhere in St Oswald’s churchyard but her headstone has been relocated to the north wall. You can find a photo of it as a memory on the Shared Tree.
Alice COCKCROFT married George in 1850 and only had time to have one child with him, a daughter, Mary. Shortly before she buried her husband she had seen her two sisters laid to rest, Esther in August aged 17 and Hannah in September aged 26. Alice and Hannah’s husband George BIELBY, bereft and both with infant daughters to raise, moved in together. They didn’t marry and it is nobody’s business whether the arrangement ever had a romantic dimension. Six successive census enumerators from 1861 to 1911 noted Alice’s status as George’s housekeeper – and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Find Alice on the Shared Tree.
Bird 79 · Chiffchaff