Person:John Harry (5)

John Harry
m. 5 Nov 1777
  1. John Harry1778 - 1855
  2. Mary Harry1780 - 1873
  3. Richard Harry1783 - 1865
  4. Robert Harry1788 - 1865
  5. Sarah Harry1791 - 1877
  6. William Harry1794 -
  7. Samuel Harry1797 - 1797
  8. Ann Maria Harry1800 - 1892
m. 19 Oct 1808
  1. John Harry1812 - 1853
  2. Elizabeth Harry1814 - 1883
  3. Mary Ann Harry1816 - 1817
  4. Mary Ann Harry1818 - 1887
  5. Richard Harry1821 - 1824
  6. William Richard Harry1827 - 1884
Facts and Events
Name John Harry
Gender Male
Christening[1] 17 Jun 1778 St Ive, Cornwall, England
Marriage 19 Oct 1808 Saltash, Cornwall, EnglandSt Stephen by Saltash
to Mary Ann Tucker
Census[2] 6 Jun 1841 Saltash, Cornwall, EnglandBack Lane
Census[3] 30 Mar 1851 Saltash, Cornwall, EnglandBack Lane
Death[4] 1 Nov 1855 Saltash, Cornwall, England


John Harry was baptised on 17th June 1778 at St Ive in east Cornwall, son of Sarah Harry, formerly Grubb, and her husband Robert Harry. He was the eldest of the couple's eight children. The first seven children were all baptised at St Ive, although the seventh, Samuel, died as a baby in 1797. After Samuel's death the family left St Ive and moved ten miles south to the town of Saltash, where the youngest child was born. John's sister Mary stayed behind in the St Ive area, marrying at neighbouring Quethiock in 1801, but the rest of John's surviving siblings seem to have moved to Saltash or Plymouth Dock (which was renamed Devonport in 1824) on the opposite bank of the River Tamar in Devon. Shortly after moving to Saltash, John's father Robert died in 1803, aged 48.


In 1808 John married Mary Tucker at St Stephen by Saltash, the parish church just outside Saltash which covered the town. The marriage was witnessed by his brother Richard and sister Sarah. Mary was from Saltash. In 1811 John was one of the witnesses to his brother Robert's marriage at Stoke Damerel (the parish church which covered Plymouth Dock).

John and Mary had six children baptised at Saltash between 1812 and 1827, although their third child, Mary Ann, died as a baby, and their fifth child, Richard, died as a boy of three years old. After his death they gave their youngest son the name Richard as a middle name. From the children's baptisms John was described as a labourer in 1816, a waterman in 1818, and a labourer again in 1821 and 1827. It could be that he was working as a waterman the whole time but the clerk classed that as a form of labouring; in 1814 John had been described as "ordinary man" showing the slightly condescending attitude of the clerks at Saltash to the working classes. Certainly John later described himself as a waterman in the 1841 census.

Saltash had many watermen. Its ferry across to St Budeaux on the Devon bank of the River Tamar was one of the main crossing points from Devon to Cornwall, plus Saltash also functioned as a port for sea-faring vessels, although it had been gradually losing such trade to Devonport and Plymouth for many years.

Of John and Mary's four children who lived to adulthood, Elizabeth married in 1837 in Plymouth, John married in 1838 in St Budeaux, Mary Ann married in 1840 in Plymouth and William Richard married in 1850 in Plymouth. None of them stayed in Saltash. John's first known grandchild, his daughter Elizabeth's son Henry John, was born on 4th March 1839, and thus John became a grandfather at the age of 60.

The 1841 census finds John and Mary and their youngest son William Richard living at Back Lane (later renamed Culver Road) in Saltash. Also in 1841, a Tithe Apportionment was prepared for the parish of St Stephen by Saltash, which included the town of Saltash. John is listed as one of two tenants (the other being a John Knight) of a house and garden on the north side of Culver Road, with his landlords being William, Peggy and Samuel Porter and Captain James Robert Phillips.[5]

John and Mary were still living on Back Lane there in 1851, although by this time John was described as a gardener, a common occupation for elderly men at the time. John's brother Robert was listed two entries after John and Mary at this time.

Over in Devonport, John's eldest son John died aged 41 in 1853, leaving a widow and two small children.

Back in Saltash there was much upheaval in 1853 as work began on the Royal Albert Bridge carrying the railway across the Tamar. As the Navy had stipulated that the bridge should be 100 feet above the high tide surface of the river most of the line through Saltash is carried on tall pillars towering over the town below. Construction of the line and bridge took six years. If John and Mary were still at the house they had occupied in 1841 they would have been more directly affected than most, as that house was directly in the way of the railway. The railway passes through the site of that house in a cutting just south of Saltash Railway Station, with Culver Road now crossing the railway on a bridge. Certainly by 1861 Mary was living on Fore Street, the town's main thoroughfare, rather than Back Lane / Culver Road.

John did not live to see the railway completed. He died on 1st November 1855, aged 77. His cause of death was recorded as "old age, exposure to cold, 8 hours". Mary survived him by eight years. She lived alone in Saltash for a few years after his death but later moved to Plymouth to live with her daughter Elizabeth.

  1. St Ive, Cornwall, England. Parish Registers (Cornwall Record Office, Truro).

    Baptisms 1778 / John the Son of Robert & Sarah Harry June 17th

    This baptism has been linked to the John Harry who married at Saltash in 1808 on the basis that in 1811 John appears to have witnessed the marriage of a Robert Harry, who then also appears at Saltash in the censuses, living next door but one to John in the 1851 census. Whereas John's place of birth in the 1851 census is recorded as St Ives (a town nearly 70 miles from Saltash), Robert's is given as St Ive, a rural parish only ten miles away, which is rather more likely. The witnesses to John and Mary's marriage in 1808 were Richard Harry and Sarah Harry. Richard also appears in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses living in Saltash, and Richard also gave his place of birth as St Ive. Looking at baptism records from St Ive there is a sequence of children baptised there following the marriage of Robert Harry and Sarah Grubb in 1777, up to 1797, after which the family have not been found again in St Ive. Instead they appear to have moved to Saltash, having their youngest child, Ann Maria, baptised there in 1800. We therefore conclude that John, Robert, Richard and Ann Maria (and the other children baptised at St Ive) were siblings, and that John's place of birth in the 1851 census was one letter out and should have said St Ive not St Ives. This is further supported by the fact that in the 1841 census Robert's daughter Sarah was living with John's daughter Elizabeth, showing a connection between the families.

  2. General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) HO 107/1-1465 Census Returns: 1841 Census Schedules, Class HO107; Piece 135; Book 13; Folio 33 Page 60, 6 Jun 1841.

    Address: Back Lane, Saltash, Cornwall
    John Knight, male, 55 [1781-6], Waterman, b. in county
    Betty Knight, female, 50 [1786-91], b. in county
    Samuel Knight, male, 20 [1816-21], Ag lab, b. in county
    John Harry, male, 60 [1776-81], Waterman, b. in county
    Mary Harry, female, 50 [1786-81], b. in county
    William Harry, male, 14 [1826/7], b. in county

  3. General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) HO 107/1466-2531 Census Returns: 1851 Census Schedules, Class HO107; Piece 1900; Folio 473; Page 79, 30 Mar 1851.

    Address: Back Lane, Saltash, Cornwall
    John Harry, head, married, 73 [1777/8], Gardener, b. St Ives, Cornwall
    Mary Harry, wife, married, 63 [1787/8], wife of Gardener, b. Saltash, Cornwall
    John Knight, head, widower, male, 74 [1776/7], Waterman, b. St Mellion, Cornwall
    Maria Harris, daughter, widower, female, 42 [1808/9], Pauper, b. Saltash, Cornwall
    Mary J. Harris, granddaughter, unmarried, female, 13 [1837/8], At home, b. Saltash, Cornwall
    William Harris, grandson, unmarried, male, 7 [1843/4], Scholar, b. Saltash, Cornwall
    John Harris, grandson, unmarried, male, 3months [1851], b. Saltash, Cornwall

  4. Death certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).
    Registration District St Germans
    1855 Death in the Sub-district of Saltash in the County of Cornwall
    No.When and where diedName and surnameSexAgeOccupationCause of deathSignature, description and residence of informantWhen registeredSignature of registrar
    179First November 1855
    John Harrymale77 years [1777/8]GardenerOld age
    Exposure to cold
    8 hours
    X The mark of Charlotte Sleep
    Present at the death
    Third November 1855William Spicer Porter
  5. Tithe Apportionment for St Stephen by Saltash, Cornwall, 1841 (IR29 Tithe Commission and successors, The National Archives, accessed 3 Aug 2017 at The Genealogist) John Harry listed as tenant of plot 5c "house and garden" on north side of unnamed road (which corresponds to Culver Road on modern maps) and adjoining plot 4c "garden".