Jesse Sage was born in 1821 to William Sage and Merial (Miriam) Watts in High Littleton, Somerset, England. He was baptised on December 23, 1823 at the church in High Littleton.
1841 Census, High Littleton, Somerset, England
He was a coal miner by trade and must have moved at some point to the county of Worchestershire/Staffordshire, as he married Mary Ann Dando in St Thomas, Dudley on 25 Jan 1846. They were both living at Holy Hall in Brierley Hill.
1851 Census, Monk Hesildon, Durham, England
Needing more men for the mine in Nanaimo, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) placed an advertisement in English papers to recruit miners and their families to work on Vancouver's Island. James Conner had toured the country between 1847-1853 in a stage coach advertising this. In April 1854, George Robinson held meetings in the Black Country and in a letter to the Company, dated 3 May 1854 he wrote:
"On Monday, I met the colliers at Mr. William Baker's Swan Inn, Buckpool, Nr. Brierley Hill, and found that only some four or five of the original list were then willing to go. I, however, had used precaution to prevent disappointment and sent the crier from Dudley through one or two villages in the district informing the miners of my wanting a few miners to go to America, the result was I succeeded in obtaining the number required, objecting to many who were not eligible - or who could not produce me satisfactory testimonials."
Number 4 on George Robinson's list were Jesse and Maryann Sage with daughter, Selina and son, William from Gravesyard, Staffordshire.
The barque Princess Royal slipped her moorings at 4 o'clock a.m. on 3 June 1854, under the direction of Captain David Wishart and mates Charles Gale and Mr Naunton, with John Meakin aboard! The steerage passengers came above deck to get their last glimpse of England. The ship, in charge of a pilot, was under tow until she reached the mouth of the Thames River. By next morning she was out of sight of land.
The Princess Royal arrived in Esquimalt Harbour in Victoria BC after a five month journey around the bottom of Patagonia in South America. A son, George, was born in a storm off the coast of Patagonia. They were ferried from the ship by two smaller vessels, the Beaver and the Recovery, to Nanaimo, to arrive there on November 27th at 11 a.m.
As a miner, he was sent over to Newcastle Island Mine slope, which overlooked Pimbury Point, on the opposite side of Exit Channel. The Douglas Shaft opened in 1862, Jesse sent there to work, then over to No 3 for a short period as Overman.
With his son in law, Edward Walker, they contracted to remove coal pillars from the Park Head Slope in 1865, the later the Lower coal at the New castle Mine in 1868. They built wharves and a steam winch to wind the coal to the adit.
Nanaimo became a City in December in 1874 and Jesse became a Road Foreman in 1875.
During his mining career, Jesse had a leg broken in three places leaving him with a noticeable limp, which was the main reason he left coal mining.
A Janitor's position in the new Court House was offered to him. With his lame leg bothering him he accepted. As the 'Custodian', Jesse remained at the Court House for 25 years until he retired.
1881 Canadian Census, Nanaimo & Noonas Bay, Vancouver, British Columbia
The Sage residence for 32 years was one of the original HBC houses where they had lived since their arrival in 1854. A new home was built and completed on Mill Street, and in August 1886, the Sages took up residence in the new home.
1891 Canadian Census, Nanaimo, British Columbia
1901 Canadian Census, Nanaimo, British Columbia
Every Pioneer Day, November 27th, Jesse attended the services held at Pioneer Rock. As the years passed by, he saw familiar faces disappear.
On November 27th, 1910, he was confined to the bed from which he was never to leave.
At the age of 89 (2 Dec 1910), he died from pneumonia at his residence for forty years on Mill Street. Find A Grave Memorial
Princess Royal information from the volumes "From The Black Country To Nanaimo" by Peggy Nichols. Available for purchase at the Nanaimo Community Archives.
1881 Canadian census is the first one available for BC.
1891 Canadian census is in very bad shape, but Mary Ann should be there as well. She did not die until 1906 in Nanaimo.
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On 3 Jan 2019 at 19:00 GMT Wendy Jones wrote: