Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS

Continuing to work our way through the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, and we’ve made it to the letter P, and as intended right from near the beginning, I want to tell you about one of my favourite ancestors … Charlotte Phillips.

P is for Charlotte Phillips

Phillips is my maiden name, so naturally I have an interest in knowing just where I came from.

Now you see this picture on the right, that’s Charlotte … ok, ok, no it’s not, but I’m saying it is  for now … at least until I get an actual picture of her.

So no, I don’t have pics of my fav ancestor yet … but still let me tell you more about Charlotte Phillips, as she’s quite an amazing woman.

Firstly she is my 4x great grandmother, and the mother of my emigrating Phillips family (her son George being the first of the clan to set foot on Australia’s soil – so that’s significant right?) Also, she not took her family over to the US to find a better life (and did so), she became an amazing businesswoman as well.

But before I jump too far ahead here’s a little background info: Charlotte was born in 1822 Redruth, Cornwall to Eliza Phillips (yep, Charlotte was illegitimate). I don’t have much info on her prior to her having kids and getting married as there are 3 Charlotte Phillips’ in the various Census, none living with her mother, so it does make it hard to know just which one is ‘my’ Charlotte. But I have a feeling that the one that was a Servant could well just be her, but that is still yet to be proven.

Charlotte Phillips’ baptism record, Redruth Parish, 16 June 1822

It appears that in her early 20s Charlotte met George Phillpotts, and they had son George born in 1845. Obviously that relationship didn’t last, as there was no marriage between them, and George’s surname was registered as Phillips.

But by 1847 Charlotte had met and married Samuel Trewartha, a miner from Redruth, Cornwall. It was a happy family, though no doubt a struggling family as mining wasn’t very profitiable.

In the 1861 census Samuel Trewartha’s occupation was given as Copper Miner, while Charlotte’s was Confectioner. This is followed by an entry in the 1866 Directory for Redruth where Samuel is listed as a Sugar Boiler, so obviously they were making candy to supplement his income from mining.

I doubt I’ll ever know the reason for the big move, but around 1866 Samuel went off to the US to find a better life for the family. I say ‘around’ as I still haven’t found his emigration record (oh boy it’ll be a Happy Dance day when I do). But I have got a record of Charlotte and the kids emigrating to New York in 1867.

This is minus her first son George, as by this time he had married and had a son (also George), and took his young family on the arduous trip of emigrating to South Australia on the ‘Adamant’ in 1865 leaving behind family, friends and life as they knew it. You can read more about him and his family in my E is for Emigrant Ancestors post.

From their arrival in New York, they made their way to the neighbouring state of New Jersey. It is was here the family stayed after setting up a Candy Store in Sussex Street, Dover, New Jersey.

According to Samuel’s obituary (see below)he actually borrowed money from a friend ($0.50) to start his confectionery business, which fortunately worked out, as this store was the foundation stone of the Trewartha family in New Jersey.

Samuel died relatively young, at age age 59. Although for having been a miner for most of his life, it probably too wasn’t bad, but still it left his family to continue on without him. So Charlotte took over the confectionery store after he died, and ran it for a further 20 or so years until her death in 1904. In doing this she became a very well-known and respected business person in Morris County, New Jersey.

My US family is very much a work in progress, but believe I have found the names of some spouses to add on,  from information I’ve found in the past week or two.

I did have a very big win  (complete with Happy Dancing) when I found not only Samuel Trewartha’s obituary record, but then also Charlotte’s Obituary as well as a death record as well. None of this comes up on Google, so it pays to still visit the websites of the smaller regional areas (Genealogy Groups, Historical Societies) as the way it is added on, Google just might not be indexing their data – which seemed to be the case with this.

So I to give a HUGE thankyou to the Rockaway Township Free Public Library for digitising the old Iron Era newspapers, and the Dover Historical Society for putting death certificate indexes (and originals) on their website. There is no way I would have found this info if they hadn’t put it online.

Now my next step is to order some certificates … and well as collating just what I have got.  But my ultimate goal would be to find a photo of Charlotte and Samuel, as well as picture of their candy shop, so my search still continues.

obituary for Samuel Trewartha from the Iron Era newspaper,
24 October 1885

obituary for Charlotte Trewartha from the Iron Era newspaper,
5 August 1904

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One Response to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: P is for … Charlotte PHILLIPS”

  1. Kerryn says:

    What a wonderful story. I can see why Charlotte is your favourite :)

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