Picking up from where I left off with my last post, Phillippa has just become a widow as her husband James has passed from Typhoid, leaving her a new single mother in an unfamiliar town.
Good thing for Phillippa the town was mostly Cornish, some may have even been from her parish, main thing was they rallied round to help her and gave James a traditional Cornish Wake and Funeral. After this was all over though, she was on her own.
It was either just before or after James’ death that Phillippa met Henry for the first time, he may have even helped her nurse James through his sickness. What is certain though is that on the 26th of July 1866, some 3 months after James’ death, Henry and Phillippa were married at Kooringa in the house of Tobias Pearce.
An interesting fact is that while in Cornwall, Henry signed his name ‘Henry Symons’ the final time he signed his name like this was on his wedding day to Phillippa, afterwards he signed his name ‘Henry Simmons’. Another little fact was he wrote that he was 21 years old, when in fact he was still 9 months shy of being 21 and Phillippa also changed her age, on the wedding certificate it states she is 22 but really she was 23. The fun that can be had when you move to a place where nobody knows you, you could be any age.
If you look at the circumstances of their wedding, Phillippa didn’t have much choice in life.
1. Find a job as a live in domestic where a child would also be accepted
2. Find a husband quickly to support her and her child.
Since Phillippa was unable to read or write, employment would be very difficult and in any case, in these times, employment for women was not usually available especially to a woman with a child to look after. Not only that but the husband would have to accept the child and have a house of his own as the house she had been living in with James went with his job. Sounds all a bit traumatic really, she would have still been grieving for her late husband yet forced to marry again to survive.
Despite all this, their marriage turned out to be one of love and happiness that their children cherished all their lives and caused them to hold their parents in the highest esteem. Not long into their lives together they purchased a large family bible and after Henry had inscribed his own details, he then inscribed Phillippa’s then followed by another entry.
‘Charley Simmons was born on 8th December 1865’ Henry had obviously determined that Charley was to be brought up as a Simmons, and Phillippa agreed, In a way a very lovely gesture, a sign of love and confidence in her second husband. The future looks much brighter now for Phillippa and Henry too, having now found not only a companion but a wonderful partner to love and cherish.
What more could the future hold for them? You’ll just have to wait and see 🙂