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Disputed Marriage of Priscilla Gosse

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1821 [unknown]
Location: Spaniard's Bay, Newfoundlandmap
Surname/tag: Gosse, Childs, Noseworthy
Profile manager: Brad Foley private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 45 times.



This is an attempt to lay out all the research around questions about Priscilla Gosse (1821-), Solomon Childs (1821-1896), and the Priscilla, the first wife of John Noseworthy (abt.1820-abt.1894).

The discussion around the question of Priscilla Gosse's husband and children has taken up months of work, and there is no resolution to the debate yet. There seems to be 2 incompatible trees, and no sources offered that are sufficient to choose one version over the other.

On Ancestry, for example, Priscilla Gosse, born 1821, the daughter of Grace Hutchings and Francis Gosse, appears in 205 public trees (as of Jan 14, 2022), and in half she is shown as the wife of Solomon, and in half of John. None of these trees have documents, or oral sources, to support her marriage to either man.

I have collected as much evidence, either way, as I could find. It's laid out here: documentary, oral, and DNA evidence. Because the oral evidence is more compelling, and the DNA evidence was suggestive, I have come down on the side of the argument that Priscilla, daughter of Francis and Grace, married Solomon Childs, and that John Noseworthy married a Priscilla with an unknown maiden name.

Some of the discussions around this dispute have become contentious (and frankly abusive) and I'm unwilling to engage again, unless there is new evidence. Brad Foley

Tree options

  • Tree 1: Priscilla Gosse (daughter of Francis and Grace) married John Noseworthy, and had a single child (Sarah Noseworthy) before dying.
  • Tree 2: Priscilla Gosse (daughter of Francis and Grace) married Solomon Childs, of Dorset England. They had several children in Labrador (Henley Hr.) before settling in Lark's Harbour. A different Priscilla from the Spaniard's Bay region was the mother of Sarah Noseworthy.
  • Tree 3: Priscilla Gosse (daughter of Francis and Grace), married John Noseworthy, had a child with him (Sarah Noseworthy), and ran off with Solomon Childs and had another family with him in Lark's Harbour. This is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but honestly has the most support from the available evidence.

I've decided Tree 2 has marginally more support than the others. But if anyone has any additional evidence, in the form of records, written reports, or even a clear description of direct oral transmission (where the chain of transmission is clear), please contact me --- Brad.

Birth records

A Priscilla Gosse was born 20 Oct 1821 in Spaniard's Bay, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Francis Gosse and Grace[1]. But there may well have been other Priscillas, and even other Priscilla Gosses, in the area.

Tree 1 Support

Married to John Noseworthy?


Several individuals on Ancestry[2] known to be descended from Sarah Noseworthy, have inferred genetic matches (ThruLines) with descendants of Francis Gosse. This tends to lend support to Tree 1.

Documentary Evidence

There is a John Noseworthy living in Spaniard's Bay who was married to a Priscilla and they had a daughter named Sarah in 1840[3].

Family Tradition

According to one researcher (Gordon McDonald):

"John Noseworthy Dec 29 1814 Harbour Grace died April 1888 Harbour Grace married Priscilla Gosse Oct 20 1821 Spaniards Bay died 1843 Harbour Grace. they had one child Sarah born Aug 8 1837 Harbour Grace died July 31 11917 Toronto Ontario John married Sarah Vokey born May 7 1821 died July 3 1884 the marriage took place June 3 1845."[4]
When I asked "This mostly matches what I've found. I never could find records for Priscilla Gosse, but I guess you learned about her from your parents, or grandparents?", he replied "Yes my grt grandmother Sarah Pike. my grandfather said Sarah Vokey was not a good step mother ... may I suggest that you join Ancestry, I spent a lot of time putting all this information on there."

From the above, it's impossible to understand what part of this history is derived from inference from the available records, and what was direct from Mr McDonald's great grandmother. There were several John Noseworthys living in and around Harbour Grace at the same time, and it's unclear how to sort them all out.

Tree 2 Support

Married to Solomon Childs?

Documentary Evidence

The death record of Priscilla Childs states that "Pricilla Childs" died Feb 15, 1899 of "old age" in Lark Hr. She was 85 years old, born in Spaniards B CB [Spaniards Bay,Conception Bay][5]. This would put her birthdate ca 1815, 6 years earlier than the birth record for Priscilla Gosse, suggesting they may be separate people. On the other hand, such discrepancies are not uncommon, and there are no other records for a Priscilla born in Spaniard's Bay between the years of 1810-1825.

Family Tradition

Several versions of this tree are floating around online[6], and on Ancestry[7]. There are records of Solomon Childs having children with a woman named Priscilla, but no record of her maiden name.

"As far as I know Priscilla was only married to Solomon. That is a for sure as she lived in my hometown...my records show Solomon and Priscilla married in 1841 in Henley Harbour. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a record. My grandmother a few decades ago told me that her grandmothers grandmother was Grace Hutchings. However she could not remember who the grandfather was. She was very sharp and remembered most of the birth towns also... I believe my 5th great grandmother to be Grace Hutchings wife of Francis Gosse."[8]

Tree 3 Support

Married to both John and Solomon?

Documentary Evidence

This tree has the benefit of agreeing with all the documentary evidence available, and with what we know of the family traditions.

A factor arguing against it. John had a daughter named Priscilla. Would he have named a daughter after his first wife, if she had run off and left him?

DNA Evidence

A descendant (great-great granddaughter) of Solomon Childs is also related to about 10 of Sarah Noseworthy's descendants, at about the level we would expect (6-9cM matches). Given how related many people in small towns were at the time, along multiple lines, it's unclear whether this proves it is the same Priscilla, or just shows that the Priscillas were closely related.


  1. "Newfoundland Vital Statistics, 1753-1893," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK9Y-QH86 : 8 May 2015), Francis Gosse in entry for Priscilla Gosse, 20 Oct 1821; citing Birth, Spaniard's Bay, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, Provincial Archives, St. John's.
  2. Personal communication with Brad Foley, Jul 2020. Details available only on request for privacy reasons
  3. Newfoundland Gen Web. Parish Records, Conception Bay North, Harbour Grace District. Spaniard's Bay, Holy Redeemer Anglican Parish Baptisms, 1841-1854. Bonnie Hickie, 2000. Accessed 2020.
  4. Gordon McDonald, personal communication to Brad Foley, Jun 25, 2018.
  5. Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site, Vital Records, Register of Deaths. Book 3, 1897 - 1902. St. George's District Randy Penny, 2010. Accessed 2017.
  6. Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site, message board. CHILDS/CHILDES, Jane Delve, 2005. Accessed 2016.
  7. Example Ancestry tree containing profile of Priscilla Gosse, married to Solomon. Tom Hollowach, accessed 2018.
  8. Newfoundland Gedmatch, Facebook group. D. Robinson Mallet-Paret, 2017, accessed 2017.

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