My Lanyon family camer from Penzance, Cornwall. Although I have not worked out the direct line before 1800 I do know that there were Lanyons in Penznace/Madron for hundreds of years. The name originates in France and the Lanyon family went to England during the early 1300's with Isabella, wife of Edward II. (It is possible that a Lanyon had also arrived some 60 years earlier in the time of Henry III). The family spread around Cornwall though the areas around Penzance and Gwinear were the main areas they lived in.

Great great great grandfather William Lanyon was a cordwainer (as were a number of others in the century before him). Of his 6 children (3 sons and 3 daughters) I know very little outside of the line from which I descend.

The eldest son William James was in Penzance for many years - at least until the 1880's. The second son Joseph was still alive at the time of the 1851 census and is not in the 1871 census of Cornwall, neither is his death recorded in that time. It is possible that he migrated elsewhere - America? The youngest son Frederick was my great great grandfather and more about him later.

The eldest and youngest daughters, Mary Wills and Sarah Ann are two more who I have not found any trace of after 1851 - yet. The second daughter Louisa married in Penzance and was there until at least 1894 when her mother died.

Frederick Lanyon

Frederick Lanyon was born in 1839 in Penzance. He became a (stone) mason and married Mary Jane Branch in Camborne in 1861, where they continued to live until 1865 when the family migrated to South Australia. By this time there were two children - David and Mary.

The family were assisted emigrants to South Australia and left from Plymouth 03 Jun 1865 on the Cornwallis, arriving in Adelaide 27 Aug 1865. They settled south of Adelaide at Currency Creek. Frederick purchased acre of land there in May 1867 for 20. Later that year he sold half of the land for 11 and the next year the remainder for 25. Daughter Mary died in 1866 and two more daughters were born there - Elizabeth Mary and Sarah Ann.

In June 1869, just after his 30th birthday, Frederick died as a result of injuries sustained when a tree he was chopping down fell on him. There was a reasonable amount of coverage of the accident in the Observer as well as the local paper The Southern Argus which is included below.


SOUTHERN ARGUS, Saturday 19 JUN 1869


We are sorry to have to record an accident of a most serious and nearly fatal character which happened on Wednesday last at Currency Creek to a labouring man named Frederick Lanyon, who was employed in felling a gum tree, which, no doubt in consequence of the late rains, suddenly came down upon him, striking him with great violence to the ground, where he remained for a considerable time in an insensible state. He was discovered by a little child, who gave information to the nearest neighbour, and the unfortunate man was conveyed to his home, and Dr Todman of Port Elliot was sent for, who was prompt in his attendance, the distance being somewhat considerable. Dr Todman we hear found the poor fellow suffering from concussion of the brain, severe contusions of the body and a fracture in two places of both bones of the left leg below the knee. The doctor speedily reduced the fractures, and remained for some time rendering all necessary medical aid. Up to the time we write poor Lanyon still remains in a most precarious state, although he has recovered consciousness, and we hear from his friends, that Dr Todman now looks on the case in a more favourable light. Much sympathy is felt for the unfortunate man, he being a very steady, sober and industrious man.


SOUTHERN ARGUS, Saturday 26 Jun 1869


We are sorry to learn that the serious injuries which Mr Frederick Lanyon, of Currency Creek, sustained while engaged in felling a tree on the 16th instant, has resulted fatally, notwithstanding the attention and efforts of Dr Todman. The deceased was much respected in the district, and his remains were followed to the Currency Creek Cemetery by a large number of his friends. He leaves a widow and three children totally unprovided for, and we have no doubt that the heart rending case will meet with the ready sympathy of those to whom the deceased was known.



Port Elliot and Goolwa District Council

Application to the Destitute Board to be made on behalf of the widow and children of the late Frederick Lanyon of Currency Creek.



Port Elliot and Goolwa District Council

Account received for the interment of the late F Lanyon, which the Clerk was desired to forward to the Destitute Board.




Goolwa, July 6

I am happy to state that the case of Mrs Lanyon, who was left in indigent circumstances by the sad accident at Currency Creek, which deprived her of her husband, has been warmly taken up. A considerable sum has been subscribed by the inhabitants of Currency Creek and settlers in the district. The Mutual Improvement Society have offered to give an entertainment, the proceeds to be handed to the widow. It is hoped that this generous offer on the part of the young men will be duly appreciated.



On the evening of Monday last the members of the Mutual Improvement Society, Goolwa which has been quietly but successfully pursuing the even tenor of its way for some few months past, made their debut before an audience admitted by invitation of the members, but mustering so strongly as to fill the Court House. As the entertainment was entirely of a preliminary nature it would be out of place to enter into lengthy detail here; but we shall endeavour to give a full and faithful report of the entertainment in chief, which is intended to come off in about a week, and the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the assistance of the widow and children of F Lanyon who was killed at Currency Creek lately by the falling of a tree. Suffice it here to say that those who took part in the performances on Monday evening, each acquitted themselves in a very satisfactory manner, and in futherance of the benevolent object the Society have in view, it is to be hoped their efforts will meet with cordial and liberal support.




Goolwa, July 21

On Tuesday evening an entertainment was given by the Young Men's Society at the Court house, on behalf of the widow and children of the late Frederick Lanyon. Long before the time for commencing the room was crowded to excess, and unfortunately many could not gain admission. Mr T Goode J.P., presided, and opened the proceedings by remarking that it afforded him the highest gratification to find that the project had been taken up in such a spirited manner. The presence of the assemblage was proof that a large amount of sympathy was felt for the widow and orphan children in whose interest they had met. He craved indulgence on behalf of those who had not previously appeared before the public in any capacity. Mr C Price jun., then recited the prologue, written by a member. An overture on the piano followed, nicely played by two lady amateurs. Space forbids the insertion of entire performances but the following pieces among others were creditably rendered - "Frenchman and the Fly" Mr W Rankine reading; "Brutus and Marc Antony" Mr G Eaton; comic song "The Dream" Mr Poulson; dialogue "Brutus and Cassius" Messrs Mansfield and Richards; recitation "The African Chief" Mr Anderson; reading "A Candle Lecture" Mr J Barker; recitation "The Friar" Mr Hornsby; dialogue "Rienzi and Angelo" Messrs T Goode and Lindsay; reading "The Saint George" Mr M Richards; recitation "Rienzi's Address" Mr J Allen; "Death of De Boune" Mr Edward Goode; "The Little Vulgar Boy" Mr Hamlyn; reading from Dickens Mr J Meadowcraft. Choruses were also rendered. It is just to say that a considerable amount of talent was displayed, several encores were loudly demanded, and the audience testified their approval by long and repeated plaudits. The proceeds for the benefit of the bereaved family will be about twelve pounds.



On Tuesday evening July 20, an entertainment took place at the Court-House, Goolwa, under the auspices of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society at Goolwa, it being intended to donate the proceeds to the benefit of the widow and family of the late Frederick Lanyon, who was recently killed at Currency Creek by the fall of a tree. The charitable object of the meeting doubtless had the effect of inducing a good attendance, for we understand that the room was not sufficiently large to accommodate all who sought admission. Mr Thomas Goode J.P., occupied the chair. The entertainment comprised a number of readings and recitations and vocal and instrumental music, all of which were executed in an excellent manner; and those who took part in the proceedings were eminently successful in securing the approbation of their audience. We understand that it is intended to reproduce this entertainment at Port Elliot and Currency Creek on a future occasion, and we have no doubt that at those places the promoters will meet with an equal amount of success in their benevolent object.


David Lanyon

David Lanyon was born in Camborne in 1862.

In 1876 David was apprenticed to Roger Shard, a cabinet maker. About 1893 he started his own business, Lanyon Cabinets. By 1921 the name had changed to Lanyon & Sons. The firts factory was on North Terrace, Kent Town, later moving to Bay Road, Keswick, South Australia. Still later a factory was also established in Parramatta, New South Wales which was run by one of the sons. The Keswick business was finally sold to Gourlay Cabinets which became part of the Peters Commercial Refrigeration business. Some of the Lanyon products were the Lanyon Ice Chest and Simplex Incubators for hatching chickens. David Lanyon married in 1888 to Johannah Lacey Dodds Jewaskiewitz and they had 2 sons and 2 daughters. David died in 1943 and Johannah in 1950 at the age of 78. They are buried in Centennial Park Cemetery, Adelaide.

Two of the Lanyon properties:

Left: North Terrace, Kent Town c 1890's. Right: Keswick, date unknown, probably 1920's or 30's.


LANYON family tree.



The surname Branch appears to have been quite uncommon in Cornwall. Most of the Branch families in Cornwall appear to have had connections with Gwinear where they worked in the mines. Mary Jane Branch was the daughter of John Branch and Mary Gilbert. John & Mary seem to have wandered from Gwinear into Devon (Buckland Monachorum) and around eastern and central Cornwall (Stoke Climsland, Gwinear, St Breward and Lanteglos by Camelford then back to Stoke Climsland again). Mary died at Stoke Climsland in 1856 at the age of 35 of peritonitis and John later remarried and had several more children. In 1865 some of the family (possibly all except 3) migrated to America. I have traced one son (Thomas) and his family in Connecticut (New London) and also Pennsylvania into the early 1900's, but only through census records. I live in hope of one day finding a living descendant of the American families.

Of the 3 children who did not go to America in 1864 one was Mary Jane who came to South Australia the following year. The other two were John who may have remained in Cornwall and another daughter, Susannah, who later emigrated with her husband, John Harris, to New Zealand and there were still living descendants there in the last twenty years.

BRANCH famiy tree.

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This page was created on 13 August 1997 and last updated on 05 April 1999. 1999 Robert D Blair