Fanny Stephens, Postmistress, Born 1839

Fanny Stephens, born in Fowey, was the postmistress of Polruan in 1881.  A widow, aged 42, she lived with her four children and her mother in Fore Street.  Just around the corner in West Street, lived Thomas Werry Tadd, a master mariner.  When Thomas died in 1884, he left his whole estate to Fanny, ‘my intended wife’.  His will included 39 shares in the 60 ton Dartmouth built schooner Isabella.  Poor Fanny, already a widow, had now lost her fiancé.  Judging by the date of his will, they had been engaged for three years.  As his executor she had to deal with his estate and it would have been understandable if she had taken her time.  However, probate was achieved within three weeks and within another two weeks she had sold all the shares.  Indeed, Fanny was no innocent in share dealings, having been buying and selling small amounts of shares for some years, many of them as an initial shareholder in the Jane Slade and the Undine.  By 1891 Fanny had moved the post office to West Street, possibly to Thomas’ house.  She never did remarry.

 

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Sources:  Helen Doe, Enterprising Women in Shipping in the Nineteenth Century, (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, September 2009; 1881 Census Lanteglos by Fowey;Cornwall Record Office, Merchant Shipping Registers Fowey (1786 – 1890); Probate Office, Bodmin ~Will of Thomas Werry Tadd 1884