Charles Rowe

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Charles Rowe

Charles LeBoutillier Rowe as told by his daughter Eva Mary Rowe Salway.

Charles LeBoutillier Rowe, was born 18 July 1865 in Jersey, Channel Island. Probably in the town of Grouville, his father was Thomas Rowe, son of Benjamin and Mary Doncaster Rowe of Tavistock, Devonshire, England. His mother was Mary Mallet, daughter of Charles Mallet, son of Charles Mallet and Marie Hooper Mallet of Grouville, Jersey, Channel Island. The Mallet family is one of the first families of the Island. Father was one of 13 children, 9 died in infancy and one Alfred died at the age of 17 of yellow fever caught in the Australian bush. Father had to earn part of his living at a very early age, as the family were very poor. At the age of 6 he went to work for a shoemaker, running errands and doing other chores, for which he was paid six pence a week, and allowed to wear shoes that were brought into the store for repairs. He had an older sister Maria Louisa who married William Barker. At 10 years old Father went to sea as a cabin boy, on a tramp sailing vessel, his life at sea was very hard, the sailors were very cruel to him, once his nose was broken when the cook threw a basin at him, he always carried a scar on the bridge of his nose. He was shipwrecked 5 times and had many adventures in foreign lands. When he was about 14 years old he sailed with Captain Mead who was kind to him. One day in a terrific storm, the ship struck a reef on the Devonshire coast, the sailors took to the life boats, but the Captain and Charles were left on the wreck and the ship was breaking up. The Captain told Charles to watch when a large wave came in, and to jump into it as it rolled back to the shore, and it would carry him a long way in. Charles jumped safely, but the captain, in his anxiety for the boy, jumped too late and was dashed against the hull of the wreck. The captain was washed ashore with a broken leg. Charles was taken from the water unconscious but otherwise unhurt. When he came to his senses, he was sitting in a large chair by a big fire with a large cat on his knee, and dressed in a woman’s nightgown. When he was well enough the woman of the house asked him “where are you from?” “Guernsey” he said. “ What is your name” she said, “Charles Rowe” he answered, she said, “what is your father’s name?” “Thomas Rowe” the boy answered. “Then I’m your aunt,” said she. “Thomas Rowe is my brother.” This story intrigued the villagers, who collected money among them to buy clothes and shoes and a new suit because he had to go to the coroners court to identify the dead sailors, who were laid in a row on the floor. The Captain was in the hospital and Charles was the only one who could help.