This week, I’d like to introduce you to another of Granda’s first cousins - Mary Frances Wynne. A while ago, I ‘met’ a lovely lady called Gabriella online and she shared some photographs and much of Frances’ story with me.
Mary Frances was born in Dundalk, Co. Louth on 19 June 1881, the second daughter and third child of John Wynne and Margaret Ward/Armstrong. She worked as a tailoress before her marriage. Then, on 16 January 1908, she married Robert Stowell, a sea captain, six years her senior. Robert’s family believed he could do much better for himself, than marrying a cork-cutter’s daughter, but the marriage went ahead anyway, against their wishes.
Robert and Frances Stowell
with Rita and Bernadette, 1916
Robert and Frances had two children, both girls. Margaretta Mary, known as Rita, was born in 1911 and Bernadette Frances followed in 1916. Bernadette was severely mentally disabled. Frances cared for her at home.
Robert’s ‘Identity and Service Certificate’ shows he captained two steamships, the SS Carlingford and the SS Margaret Lockington. Both were cargo ships owned by the Dundalk coal importers, Samuel Lockington Ltd. In 1921, Robert became the first captain of the SS Margaret Lockington, which at the time was said to have been the fastest collier crossing the Irish Sea.
And, although Robert served on a minesweeper during World War I, a far more dangerous command, you might think, it was on board the SS Margaret Lockington that he met his unfortunate demise. Tragically, Captain Robert Stowell was found dead in his bunk on 24 December 1922 – Christmas Eve morning – when his ship was docked at Ayr in Scotland. An inquest was held shortly thereafter. The jury concluded his death was accidental, caused by injuries sustained in a fall on deck the previous evening.
Yet, his grieving widow never accepted the inquest’s verdict. Frances believed Robert had been assaulted. He had recently dismissed a seaman for bad behaviour and Frances suspected he received the head injuries in retaliation. She maintained this belief until her dying day.
Frances remained in Dundalk after Robert’s death, taking care of her young family. She passed away on 18 January 1965, aged 83 years, and was buried in St Patricks Cemetery in Dundalk.
 Copy birth register, Dundalk, 1881, Mary Wynne, General Register Office.
 Census of Ireland, Dundalk, 1901, National Archives.
 Copy marriage register, Dundalk, 1908, Stowell-Wynne, General Register Office.
 Copy birth registers, Dundalk, Margaretta Stowell in 1911, Bernadette Stowell in 1916, General Register Office.
 Copy of an extract from the Register of Deaths for Ayr, Robert Francis Stowell, dated 5 October 1923.
 Copy death register, Dundalk, 1923, Mary Frances Stowell, General Register Office.
© Black Raven Genealogy