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When Purling Plane died in 1873, the Belvidere Standard newspaper reported on 22 July that he was 106 years old, “a fact which had been confirmed by his son who made a visit to Norfolk, England the previous year and examined the baptismal records”.

Although it is claimed that Purling was 106 years old when he died in Belvidere, Illinois in 1873, when he applied for US citizenship, he gave his date of birth as 1773 and the only Norfolk church record traced for a Purling Plane being born is at Hindolveston and recorded in the parish register on 13 May 1794.

The Belvidere Standard newspaper for 22 July 1873 report also commented “his appearance was that of a man between 80 and 90 which caused many to distrust his extreme age.”

The Weston Longville church records show Honor being born on 2 September 1793, daughter of Paul and Elizabeth Bowden. Records in Belvidere, Illinois, where she died, give her date of birth as 1783.

John Plane would have been familiar with all those of Norfolk origin in the Belvidere district (Gill, Riseborough and Rix) and when it was known that he was to visit Norfolk, he would undoubtedly have been asked to take back messages to those “at home”, including his father’s and mother’s families.

In 1872, Pamela Rebecca Egleton’s mother, Mary Lilystone, was 9 years old and living in Great Witchingham with her mother Pamela Lilystone, née Rix, her half brother Robert Lilystone and her grandmother Mary Rix, née Wilkinson, a niece of Honor Plane and cousin to John Plane.

The appearance of such a visitor as John Plane from America must have made a huge impression on these people living in relative poverty in a rural Norfolk village. An exaggerated sense of his importance and relationship to them has probably been handed down, particularly as childhood memories. During his visit, John Plane is likely to have distributed the photographs which have survived.

John Plane’s daughter Daisy died on 28 October 1887 and a lengthy obituary was published in the Belvidere Standard newspaper. Additionally :

• He placed an obituary notice in the Livingston Republican newspaper, New York, on 10 November 1887. This newspaper would have covered the area where he and others of Norfolk origin lived in the 1840s and some probably still did.
• The Rix family in Norfolk were informed and, tradition has it, were asked to name their next daughter Daisy.
• It is also possible that he sent similar notices to other families in Norfolk - a Daisy Gill and a Daisy Riseborough were registered in England within the next two years.
• G.K. Rix, described as “her former principal”, sent a floral tribute to the funeral of Daisy Plane. George K. Rix was manager of a dry goods store and the term might indicate that Daisy worked under him.
• In 1900 George K. Rix is recorded living in Chicago.


And so, a girl was named Daisy

young Daisy Annison 001
Daisy Annison