Fresh Start for Jesse Atkins

At the age of 17, Jesse Atkins decided he needed a fresh start. He worked as a seaman on board the ship, Lancastrian, and made his way from England to New York, United States.

Born Edward Jesse Atkins in 1899, his mother died when he was just 3 years old. In 1911 Jesse and his father lived in the Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England workhouse where he was going to school. He had not been sent to Canada with Bernardos Homes like 4 of his sisters. Instead, his family arranged that he should move to America.

His sisters Edith Sackett in England and Rosa Conway in Upper New York State most likely organized his emigration. Edith was his closest living relative in England. His destination was the home of Rosa and her family.

What was the result of his new start? He arrived in New York City on December 9, 1916 and went straight to his sister’s home. A year later he enlisted in the war, World War 1. Perhaps it was in the army that he met John and James McGann.

Photo of Julia McGann

He went on to marry, Julia, the sister of John and James McGann, on June 13, 1925. Jesse and Julia lived in Moorestown, New Jersey and had 4 children, Dorothy Aileen, Mary Claire, Jesse Junior, and Thomas Donald. Jesse made a career as an auto mechanic and later as a car salesman.

Unfortunately, his fresh start lasted only 30 years. He died on June 27, 1946 and is buried in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Moorestown.

2 thoughts on “Fresh Start for Jesse Atkins”

  1. Hi, I am Jesse Atkins and Julia McGann’s granddaughter. I was surprised to come across this information on Google the other day. Am I correct in assuming we are related somehow? I’ve got info on my grandfather’s sisters who emigrated to Canada, but just started delving into that side of the family. I’d love to hear from you if you are indeed a relative. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you, Denise Bickmore, NJ, USA.


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