Dear Cousins all,
I am sorry to have been silent for so long, but am recovering well from
minor surgery, and so have had some time to contemplate one or two Steer
There are two gravestones [of which I have a rather poor photograph] in
Ringmore churchyard and they pose somewhat of a problem. As you face
them, the stone on the left is that of JOHN WHITE, senior, who was born
about 1788 and died on 3rd October 1847, aged 59 years : and of his wife,
JANE WHITE, who was born about 1791 and died 29th September 1872, aged 81
The stone on the right is of GEORGE STEER, who was born around 1762 and died
2nd November 1845, aged 83 years : below his details there is also
commemorated JOHN WHITE, junior, of Okenbury, the son of John and Jane
White, who died in 1904.
GEORGE STEER¹s death certificate shows the informant of death as Allan B
Bones, Coroner for Devonshire Devonport, and states that George was about 84
years, by occupation ³Gentleman² and died ³hanging by the neck, whilst in a
state of temporary insanity².
For a while I had thought that Jane White might have been George¹s daughter,
but no relationship is indicated in the census of 1841, where he is
described as a "Lodger of Independant means", which would fit in with the
But who is he and where did he come from ?
The only candidate I can think of currently [21.12.2003] is GEORGE STURE,
who was baptised on 5th July 1763, the fourth child of PHILIP STURE of
Woodleigh and MARY WHITEWAY of Harberton, and if that was the case, then
George's elder brother, EDMUND STEER  had died fairly recently, i.e. in
1839 at Higher Combe, Diptford. Edmund¹s will showed him to be fairly
prosperous and he is described as Gentleman.
In the 1841 census we have the following entry for Oakenbury, which seems to
be an isolated farm. All the entries have the number 8507, which suggests
a single large household, and there is no other numbered reference for
Oakenbury. I believe that ³Y² mean that that person was born in Devon.
WHITE Jane, F, 45y, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
WHITE John, M, 12y, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
WHITE John, M, 50y, Farmer, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
WINSOR William, M, 10y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
EDGECOME Frederick, M, 11y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
EDWARDS Robert, M, 25y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
GILL Henry, M, 15y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
MASTERS John, M, 10y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
PROWSE John, M, 10y, Ag lab, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
RYDER Christine, F, 15y, F Ap, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
RYDER William, M, 60y, M S, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
STEER George, M, 70y, Lodger Ind, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
WAKEHAM Mary, F, 15y, F Ap, Y, Oakenbury, 8507
What do other Steer hunters think of this hypothesis ? Does anyone else
have some other suggestion ? I would welcome it.