Thursday, 8 May 2008

Cruses of Kenton

The marriage certificates from the Exeter Marriage Challenge have proved very helpful in sorting out the Kenton Cruse tree from South Devon, and I've been able to pass on copies to Sue Froud who is descended from this line. Sue has a wonderful website where she provides an interesting account of the Kenton Cruses, some of whom later moved to Exeter. Many of the Kenton Cruses were blacksmiths.

The Kenton tree goes back to Samuel Cruse who was born some time between 1753 and 1761 in Broadwoodkelly, Devon. Samuel lived to a great age and was still alive at the time of the 1851 census. He seems to have had difficulty remembering his age, as he declared that he was 80 in the 1841 census but 98 in the 1851 census! Samuel married Mary Discombe in 1782 in Kenton and they had eight children.

Samuel's eldest son, also called Samuel, was the black sheep of the Kenton Cruse family. On 2nd January 1851 he was charged with stealing some hay, a knife and a pick-axe. For some reason he was discharged but was then re-arrested and sentenced to transportation for 10 years. The sentence must have subsequently been commuted as Samuel, age 70, is found in the 1851 census in the Devon County Prison in Exeter.

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