Solving A Mystery; Finding Another Story In The Stones

After I published this post this morning, I found more information from 1861 through the Cornwall Online Census Project which lists, Thomas as age 33, a Tailor and Grocer, and his wife Sophia age 29. What is especially interesting to me as a Harper, is that Mary Harper, age 49 and a Dressmaker, is a boarder in their home.

Church Village Grocer's Shop,1,Thomas Olver Rich,Head,M,33,,Tailor & Grocer,Cornwall,,
,,,Sophia Rich,Wife,M,,29,,Ladock Cornwall,,
,,,Thomas Olver Rich,Son,U,3,,,Cornwall,,
,,,Mary Sophia Rich,Dau,U,,1,,Cornwall,,
,,,Elizabeth Jane Rich,Dau,U,,1,, Cornwall,,
,,,George Green,Ap,U,18,,Appren.To Tailor,St Breward Cornwall,,
,,,Ellen Pengelly,Serv,U,,16,House Serv,Blisland Cornwall,,
,,,Mary Harper,Boardr,U,,49,Dressmaker,St Cleer Cornwall,,

Sophia died in 1865 and by the 1871 census, Thomas, age 42 was married to Ellen age 26, listed below along with some children from his first marriage and Headly, his 9 month old child with Ellen.

Grocers Shop,1,Thomas Olver Rich,Head,M,42,,Mercer/grocer/frmr 100acr 1man,Cornwall,,
,,,Ellen Rich,Wife,M,,26,Farmers Wife,Cornwall,,
,,,Thomas Olver Rich,Son,S,13,,Farmers Son,Cornwall,,
,,,Mary Sophia Rich,Dau,S,,11,Scholar, Cornwall,,
,,,Elizabeth Jane Rich,Dau,S,,11,Scholar, Cornwall,,
,,,Matthew John Rich,Son,S,9,,Scholar,Cornwall,,
,,,Nehemiah Rich,Son,S,7,,Scholar,Cornwall,,
,,,Headly Rich,Son,S,9m,,,Cornwall,,
,,,John Reynolds,Servnt,S,29,,Tailor,Redruth Cornwall,,
,,,Susanna Sleeman,Servnt,S,,18,Dom Srvnt,St Kew Cornwall,,

The most interesting part of this story is that Thomas did marry a Pengelly, but it was not his first wife as the ancestry sites imply. If you check the listing for 1861 and 1871, in 1861 there was a 16 year servant, Ellen Pengelly living in the house and by 1871 ten years later there was a Ellen (now Rich) age 26 living in the house. Unless I am mistaken, it appears Thomas married his house servant, Ellen sometime after his first wife died.

Doing a bit more research on different ancestry sites, it looks as if people researching their family history from this line will be led to believe that they are related to the Pengelly side which is only true for the children who came later and not the first six children that Thomas had with Sophia. Since the only information I have found for wife and mother is listed as, unknown: PENGELLY, there may be some confusion cleared up today.

UPDATE: I had to come back and share this once I discovered it. It looks from the census data below as if Thomas fathered two sets of twin girls, one with each wife. Also interesting to note is the Rich family lived in the house which stands next to the pub and dates from the seventeenth century. The Rich family used to own the pub and I wonder if Harold Rich is descended from Thomas Olver Rich.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Solving A Mystery; Finding Another Story In The Stones

  1. Fascinating….for some reason more fascinating considering the HOuse servant “ellen” listed prior and the wife”ellen” mentioned later have the same age difference from Mr. Rich. Fascinating too because what we see in cold hard facts has a story behind it. Makes you want to know about the details of their lives and what fleshes out the whole story. Makes me think of that saying I cannot somehow now totally bring to mind about the tombstones standing large with dates of birth and death yet the grandest thing about them all is the dash in between…..everything was about that dash.

  2. I am a great-great-grandson of Thomas Olver Rich and Emma Rich (née Pengelly), who was born on, we think, 26 October 1845. The house next to the pub (Churchtown Cottage) is still in the family’s hands but I didn’t know that the pub was owned by the family as well. However I cannot find any reference to a Harold Rich in the family records I have. Thomas Rich was indeed the father of two sets of twin girls – the second and third of his six children by his first marriage and the last two children (of five) by his second marriage.

    There is one big family mystery that has remained unresolved: who was the father of Thomas Olver Rich? The records I have seen show his mother as Mary Rich (c.1797-1858; Rich was her maiden name) but the father’s name is unknown. The father is not thought to be John Prout, whom Mary married in 1830, three years after Thomas Olver Rich was born. My great-grandfather was of the belief that his father, i.e. Thomas Olver Rich, was the result of an illegitimate liaison between Mary and one of the sons living in the big house at the top of the green. My great-grandfather speculated that the family was given Churchtown Cottage to either keep the secret or as a way of paying for Mary’s future financial security. My great-grandfather was a canny operator and, if he couldn’t find out the answer, then I don’t suppose we will do now.

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