Mr William Henry Nancarrow was born in St Austell, Cornwall, England in the Spring of 1876.
He was the son of Thomas Nancarrow (b. 1819), a mine engine driver, and Maria Opie, née Morcum (b. 1840), Cornwall natives who had married in 1876.
His father had previously been married in 1850 to Christiana "Hannah" (née Teague) (b. 1828) and had seven known children: John (b. 1849), Thomas (b. 1854), Richard (b. 1856), Mary Ellen (b. 1859), Maria (b. 1862), Charity (b. 1867) and Laura (b. 1869). Hannah died in 1871 aged 42 and Thomas Nancarrow was remarried in 1876 to Maria Morcum. Maria had herself been previously married in 1859 to Henry Opie (b. 1834), a copper miner, and had two children: John Henry (b. 1859) and Mary Jane Morcom (b. 1864). Henry Opie died in 1864 whilst his daughter Mary Jane was only weeks old.
William Henry became the only child of Thomas and Maria and was raised alongside his half-siblings. He first appears on the 1881 census living with his family at Boscoppa Downs in St Austell, moving to Bucklers (?), Holmbush, St Austell by the time of the 1891 census. Aged 14 at this time, he had already left school and was working as a tin miner. His mother died in 1903 and his father in 1908.
William was married in 1897 to Mary Ellen Cannon (b. 1877) of St Blazey, Cornwall. The couple went on to have eight children: Thomas Henry (1898-1916), Walter (1900-1951), Lilian (1902-1990, later Mrs George Rowe), Marion (1904-1985), Beatrice Morcum (1906-1962, later Mrs Henry Brumby), Evelyn May (1908-1991, later Mrs John Dunstan), Nellie (1910-2004, later Mrs Walter Tidball) and Stanley (b. 1911).
William and his family were shown on the 1901 census living at Tregonissey (?), St Austell and he was described as a clay labourer. The 1911 census has the family living at Mount Charles, St Austell and William was then described as a stationary engine driver at the China Clay works. He was renowned in his locality for his singing abilities.
William had already visited the states previously where he worked. To return he boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 3338 which cost £8, 1s) and he was destined for Yonkers, New York. He may have been acquainted William Henry Saundercock and Ernest Cann, both also of St Austell who also worked in the China quarries. He was travelling with relatives, Grace and Alexander Robins. William's father was the brother of Grace's mother, Susanna Nancarrow.
William Nancarrow died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His relatives the Robins were also lost.
Hard on the heels of William's passing came the death of his youngest child Stanley in the latter months of 1912 aged only 1. His eldest son later fought in France during WWI in the 14th Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment. He was killed on 4 March 1916. By coincidence, his second son Walter (1900-1951) was married in 1918 to Edith Saundercock (1897-1948) who was the sister of another Titanic victim, William Henry Saundercock
What became of William's widow is not certain; it is possible she remarried but her ultimate whereabouts are not known.
Gavin Bell, UK
Stephen Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK
Articles and Stories
Royal Cornwall Gazette (1912)
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (1912)