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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Reynolds Connection

First, I must apologize for the lack of credit on the Mulley’s Cove photo in my last post. I didn’t realize the credit wasn’t attached to the photo until AFTER I’d posted the blog. So to correct that, the photo was taken by Ron Thistle in 2002. There is a site for Thistle family members to check out if they wish.

Cecil Reynolds wrote a series of letters in the 1990s, while he was in his 90’s, concerning the families of Mulley’s Cove and many of the marriages and intermarriages that took place. These letters are a wealth of information, much of it about the life and times of growing up in Newfoundland. He had researched the Reynolds (also recorded as Rennolls) family and what he wrote about astounded me. This is what I learned.

James Reynolds (1749-1834) was born in Rockbeare, Devon, the 2nd son of the churchwarden. His older brother inherited the Devon lands and James was in need of an occupation. He became a bootmaker apprentice of the Lacey’s of Mulley’s Cove, in 1769. It is said that the Lacey’s made boots for the fishermen, boots similar to the type worn by the fishermen of the West Country, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. James’ apprenticeship was to last for seven years and during this time he was to live with the family and had to remain unmarried. By the time his term was over, the American Revolution had begun.

Boats were hauled in and out of Mulley's Cove from this old wench. Photo provided by Jim and Glenda Thistle

Newfoundland did not have a sustainable agricultural economy. They depended on the colonies to supplies them with foods they couldn’t grow. With the War came the British blockades of the American ports, so very few supplies were reaching Newfoundland. James found that the Lacey’s were well supplied with items from Devon, so he signed on for another seven years. The fact that the Lacey’s were well connected in Devon and made boots similar to those of that region, suggests, but doesn’t prove that they may have originated in Devon.

So it was that James, finally a man on his own at the age of 33/34, was finally able to marry and settle down. Cecil Reynolds in his letters, says he found that James married a teenager named Elizabeth Kennedy and they had at least 4 children: Elizabeth who married John Slade; James Jr., who married an Elizabeth; Lot, who married a Hannah and John, no wife found yet.

James Jr. was the father of Esther Reynolds who married John Lacy/Lacey. This James, a fisherman, had 4 daughters and one son, but he doesn’t appear in records after his son was born. There seems to be no death record or grave, so it seems he might have been lost at sea. The children were Elizabeth, who married William King; Esther (above); Sarah Ann married James Thistle; Mary who may have died young; and James 3rd who married Jane King.

‘So now we have all these additional names to tackle: Kennedy, Slade, Thistle and King.  There’s Devon, Dorset and Cornwall to check out to see who might be connected to where. Then there’s always the interesting family tale that there were two branches of the Pye family who settled in Newfoundland – one from Herefordshire and the other from  - you guessed it – Devon and Cornwall.

And I thought my gt. grandmother was a brick wall. Well, knocking down that wall has opened up many more avenues that need to be pursued.  Have my pick, have my shovel – off I go!

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