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Safekeeping indeed! A first look at documentsin the Mather Homestead basement safe.

Recently we opened a safe in the Homestead basement. Its contents will fuel several blogs. We begin with added information on the Floy family, Stephen Mather’s wife Jane’s ancestors. We previously looked at her great-grandfather Michael (Roots and Seeds), and her grandfather James (…prominent in his devotion to the cause of human freedom…)

In the safe we found two letters that reveal Michael, the great-grandfather, was one of eight children of Richard Floy and Elizabeth Furzey.

The family lived in Lympstone, Devon on the River Exe. Michael was the only one to emigrate. His four brothers all became seaman. One of the letters indicates that both Frederick Samuel Floy and William Henry Floy “went to sea and never returned.”

Michael’s father Richard “was a shoemaker by trade and was crippled in his hands and then kept a linen drapers shop and died at Lympstone 6th November 1816.”

In keeping with a tradition of the times, it was the second son who got his father’s name and the eldest son was given the name of his paternal grandfather, or a deceased relative. Michael was the eldest son and the second son was Richard. In turn, Michael, after emigrating, named his first son James and second son Michael. James, Jane’s grandfather, named his first son Michael and the second after himself.

As for the girls, it wasn’t until the third daughter and the eighth and last child, that Elizabeth got to pass on her name!

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