French, Abel


Collection date: Jul 1914

Area: Cornwall

Abel French at Padstow, Cornwall (1858-1919): age 59, 1 song 8 July 1914: Abel’s song was a sea shanty ‘Blow my bully boys, blow’ (FT2997). Abel French was born in Padstow in Jan 1858, 4th of 10 children of Samuel French, Trinity Pilot and his wife Jane. He married Matilda Rowe at St Minver on 26/3/1879 and in the 1881 census was living at St Minver, aged 22 merchant seaman.

In 1891 he was listed as crew with his younger brother John aboard a schooner off the coast of Essex. Abel joined the Royal Navy in October 1891 and retired from the Navy in Jan 1907. In 1901 he was living with his family at Newport coast guard station (Pembrokeshire) but returned to Padstow by the 1911 census (RG14/13710 sch 152), according to which his wife had borne 12 children, of whom only 4 survived in adulthood. Abel died in Jly qr 1919 age 61.

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