Mawgan in Menage and some transoceanic Cornish

Mining parishes may have supplied the bulk of Cornish emigrants but a farming parish such as Mawgan on the gateway to the Lizard peninsula also had its share of emigrants. Moreover, movers from a non-mining background were often more likely to make the move as part of a family group and more likely to perceive it as a permanent decision.

The track to Tregadjack in 2011

Sidney Davies was the son of a farmer at Tregadjack in Mawgan. In 1871 he was helping his uncle farm at his nearby holding of Clies. Sidney’s elder brother Herbert had left for Australia in 1867 but died en route. This did not deter Sidney who followed suit in 1872, arriving safely at Melbourne. He married Louisa Flack who had been born in Australia and the couple lived in Victoria until Sidney’s death in 1909 at Bendigo, a settlement well known to Cornish emigrants.

Louisa Wicks was the daughter of a carpenter at Garras in Mawgan. She travelled in the other direction to the States in 1868 or 1869 with her brother John, the pair living in Pennsylvania in 1870. She then married John Rapson and they took American citizenship at Richmond, Virginia in 1873. But sometime after that Louisa returned to Cornwall, bringing with her her daughter Alice. This could have been in 1878 and she may well have been pregnant as another daughter was born at Liverpool in that year, possibly during Louisa’s return trip. In 1881 Louisa was living with her parents back in Mawgan but described as the wife of a gold miner as John Rapson was trying his luck on the goldfields of the west.

John must have returned to Cornwall as well as in 1884 he, Louisa and their two daughters arrived back in the US and took up residence again at Luzerne, Pennsylvania. John’s goldmining days had presumably been a short-term venture and in 1890 he was described as a stonecutter. Louisa seems to have made at least two more trips back to Cornwall, in 1895 and in 1920, aged 70, by which time she must have been very familiar with the crossing.

Bendigo in 1886