Monday, 1 August 2016

A Box of Peaches




CONTENTS

Introduction
Census of Wales
Over to Utah
Books
FamilySearch
Tree in Utah
Looking Back to Wales
Conclusion

Introduction

This is one of those human-interest stories that you always hope will come your way, and that you’ll immediately want to investigate if it does fall into your lap. Anyone from Glamorgan, in Wales, or from the state of Utah, may feel a connection with this.

Clive Williams is a friend who has helped me source records for my previous articles A Life Revealed and More of a Life Revealed. Some time ago, he asked me to look at his own family history, and in particular a mystery that his mother was keen to resolve. His mother, Mary Williams, explained to me that in about 1942, during WWII, when she was a young girl of 11, she remembered the family receiving a flat wooden box of peaches, lined with straw, and some clothes, from Weber County in Utah. The state of Utah is well-known for its commercial fruit industry, including peaches and apricots, but they would have been such a luxury in Wales at that time of hardship and rationing. A time when people's weekly necessities were limited to just 4 oz. butter, 2 oz. tea, 2 oz. cheese, etc., and about 1 lb. meat — usually the cheap cuts because you could not spend more than 1s. 10d. (about 23 ¢ then). Even when a food wasn't rationed, queues were long and availability uncertain. To receive an exotic fruit like peaches would have created a very strong memory.

Mary Williams, 1946 aged 15.
Figure 1 – Mary Williams, 1946 aged 15.[1]

Mary was living with her aunt at that time (Alice Maud), on Neath Road, Briton Ferry, in Glamorgan, Wales, as her own parents had died some years before. She knew the family were corresponding with relatives in Utah but she never thought to ask who they were, and eventually there was no one left to ask and the correspondence had ceased.
http://www.francisfrith.com/us/briton-ferry/briton-ferry-1959_b398020
Figure 2 – Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, 1959. © The Francis Frith Collection.[2]

The prospect of solving such a mystery would be wonderful, but probably unlikely. Mary and Clive furnished me with family details going back to Mary’s paternal grandfather, John Williams — a tin worker from Aberavon, Glamorgan — and grandmother, Annie Griffiths.

Census of Wales

Although Findmypast have collections of parish register images and associated transcriptions for Glamorgan, it was strange that the family could not be found in them. Also, because of the commonality of the Williams surname, the GRO Index of civil registrations was not much use either, and the fact that actual certificates still cost a small fortune (about US$ 15) in England and Wales left no room for guesswork. However, using the census, it was possible to find the family in each census year from 1911 back to 1891.

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
Head
Mar.
M
50
1861
Tin worker
Aberavon
Annie
Wife
Mar.
F
47
1864

Machen, Monmouthshire
Elizabeth A.
Daughter

F
18
1893

Briton ferry
Edwin
Son

M
8
1903

Briton Ferry
Edwina
Daughter

F
8
1903

Briton ferry
Table 1 – 1911: Williams family. 11 Hunter St, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan.[3]

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
Head
Mar.
M
40
1861
Tinplate annealer
Aberavon
Annie
Wife
Mar.
F
37
1864

Machen, Monmouthshire
Wm. Chas.
Son

M
16
1885
Tin worker
Aberavon
Joseph Haydn
Son

M
15
1886
Printer’s apprentice
Aberavon
Alice Maud
Daughter

F
12
1889

Aberdulais
Elizabeth Ann
Daughter

F
8
1893

Briton Ferry
Table 2 – 1901: Williams family. 49 Neath Road, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan.[4]

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
Head
Mar.
M
30
1861
Tin plate annealer
Aberavon
Annie
Wife
Mar.
F
27
1864

Machen, Monmouthshire
William C.
Son

M
6
1885
Scholar
Aberavon
Joseph H.
Son

M
4
1887
Scholar
Aberdulais
Alice M.
Daughter

F
2
1889

Aberdulais
Table 3 – 1891: Williams family. 56 Neath Road, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan.[5]

However, John is not easily visible in the 1881 census. I had to jump back to 1871 before I could find him in 1881, but this also yielded something unexpected.

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
William
Head
Married
M
55
1816
Block Layer
Aberavon
Alice
Wife
Married
F
61
1810
-
Guernsey
John
Son[?]
-
M
10
1861
Scholar
Aberavon
Table 4 – 1871: Williams family. 6 Cawsy Road, Aberavon.[6]


Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
William
Head
Married
M
48
1813
Labourer
Aberavon
Alice
Wife
Married
F
50
1811
-
France
John
Grandson
-
M
11m
1861
-
Aberavon
Table 5 – 1861: Williams family. Private House, River Side Cottages, Aberavon.[7]

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
William
Head
Married
M
36
1815
Coal miner
Aberavon
Alice
Wife
Married
F
40
1811
-
Guernsey, Brit. Sub. [sic]
Anna
Daughter
-
F
12
1839
At Home
Aberavon
Elizabeth
Daughter

F
8
1843
At Home
Aberavon
Table 6 – 1851: Williams family. Mountain Road, Aberavon.[8]

Name
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
M
60
1781
Labourer
Glamorgan
Ann
F
60
1781
-
Glamorgan
William
M
25
1816
Collier
Glamorgan
Alice
F
30
1811
-
-
Anne
F
2
1839
-
Glamorgan
Table 7 – 1841: Williams family. High Street, Aberavon.[9]

High Street, Aberavon, late 19th Century
Figure 3 – High Street, Aberavon, late 19th Century.[10]

In other census returns, Cawsy Road is called the Causeway, and in both England and Wales, “cawsy” (or “causey”) was slang for causeway. Also, Mountain Road is more commonly known as Mountain Row.

Causeway, Aberavon, late 19th Century
Figure 4 – Causeway, Aberavon, late 19th Century.[11]

The interesting aspect of these older census entries is that in two successive returns John is living with his grandparents, William and Alice — easily identifiable because Alice was born on Guernsey in the Channel Islands — so had his parents died? He had the Williams surname but William and Alice had two daughters (Ann(e) and Elizabeth) and so the logical conclusion is that he was the illegitimate son of one of them.

The 1861 census records John as being 11 months old on 7 Apr 1861, and this implies (through calculation) that he was born between 8 Apr 1860 and 7 May 1860. All census returns say he was born in Aberavon, Neath, but neither the GRO nor the Neath Register Office could locate the civil registration of his birth. Although more likely to be the son of Ann, the birth registration was required in order to be sure that he wasn’t Elizabeth’s child, but more on this in a moment.

Going back to the 1881 census, it was then possible to identify John Williams in the household of his mother (Ann) and her husband (John Richards), even though he appears to have been mis-recorded as Joseph rather than John. It could be that his original birth name was Joseph, and this would explain the difficulty in finding a corresponding civil registration. This obviously needs more supporting evidence but bear with me.


Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
Head
Married
M
41
1840
Labourer
Neath
Ann
Wife
Married
F
40
1841
-
Aberavon
Joseph [John] Williams
Step-son
-
M
21
1860
Labourer
Aberavon
Elizabeth
Daughter

F
15
1866
Scholar
Aberavon
Mary
Daughter

F
10
1871
Scholar
Aberavon
Table 8 – 1881: Richards family. Water Street, Aberavon.[12]

Water Street, Aberavon, late 19th Century
Figure 5 – Water Street, Aberavon, late 19th Century (hand-coloured).[13]

There was also no sign of the registration of Ann Williams’s marriage to John Richards. It was presumably between 1861 (when they were still living separately under their own names) and 1866 (the approximate birth year of their eldest surviving daughter, but it was not in Aberavon.


With assistance from the very helpful Neath Register Office, it was possible to confirm that the one-and-only birth registration for a Joseph Williams in Neath during that quarter was the one I was looking for. He was born on 29 May 1860 to Ann Williams of Riverside, Aberavon (matching the 1861 address, above), and no father was recorded.[14] Looking back, it is now clear that his mother referred to him as Joseph — the name she had given him — but his grandparents referred to him as John. Note that the name of his grandfather’s father, in the 1841 census, was also John.

Furthermore, in 1871 his mother and step-father were living next door to his grandparents on Cawsy Road, thus substantiating these family relationships.

Name
Role
Status
Sex
Age
Birth year
Occupation
Place of birth
John
Head
Married
M
31
1840
General Labourer
Neath
Ann
Wife
Married
F
31
1840
ditto Wife
Aberavon
Elizabeth
Daughter

F
4
1867
Scholar
Aberavon
Mary A.
Daughter

F
3m
1871

Aberavon
Table 9 – 1871: Richards family. 7 Cawsy Road, Aberavon.[15]

In 1861, both the daughters of William and Alice (Ann and Elizabeth) were working as house servants: Ann in Ynis Cottage, Margam, about 7 miles SE of Aberavon,[16] and Elizabeth on Wind Street, Neath, about 5 miles N of Aberavon.[17] John Richards was working as a “copperman” and living with his parents, William and Elizabeth, on Charlotte Street, Aberavon.[18]

Over to Utah

There was no further sign of John and Ann Richards in Wales after the 1881 census, but things began to make sense after eventually identifying their deaths in Utah.

According to Find A Grave, John Richards was born 9 Aug 1838, and was buried 27 Jun 1913 in plot A_5_7_1 of Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden, Weber County, Utah.[19] Ann (Williams) Richards was born 19 Jan 1841. She was buried on 20 Jul 1910 in plot A_5_7_2 of Ben Lomond Cemetery.[20] Both memorial pages identify Elizabeth Ann (Richards) Daniels as their daughter, and this tallies with the above census data.

The memorial page for their daughter, Elizabeth Ann, indicates that she was born 18 Aug 1866 and died 27 Aug 1916, being interred in the same cemetery (plot A_6_17_3). Also, that she married a Henry Daniels (1857–1930) on 12 May 1884 in Plain City, Weber, and had the following children.[21]

John Henry Daniels (1885–1885)
Ethel Ann Daniels (later Woodland) (1886–1963)
Sicily Daniels (1891–1892)
Alice Etta Daniels (later Hellewell) (1896–1965)
Walter Daniels (1904–1910)
Fredrick Daniels (1906–1911)

The Annie B. Daniels mentioned on the same stone will be identified later.

The 1910 US census indicates the John and Ann had been married about 45 years,[22] which would suggest a marriage date of around 1865, but more work is required to locate the registration.

Obituaries for John and Ann were published in the Ogden Standard local newspaper. That for Ann describes how she was born in born in Wales on 19 Jun 1840, and how she came to America in 1881 with her children; her husband having arrived six months before her. Importantly, it mentions that she joined the Latter Day Saints while still living in Wales, and that her two daughters, Mrs. Henry Daniels and Mrs. Thomas Bradshaw were at her bedside.[23] Note that the given date of birth (19 Jun 1840) differs from the information on her memorial stone, as mentioned above (19 Jan 1841). Both of these may be wrong as the 1841 census of Wales (also mentioned above) records that she was two years old on the census date (6 Jun 1841), and so suggests she was more likely born in 1839.

That for her husband, John, was lengthier and indicated that he was born to William Richards and Elizabeth Bowens in Neath, Glamorgan, on 24 Aug 1838. He was a miner and smelter by trade, and married Ann Williams with whom they had a large family but with most dying in infancy. Their two surviving daughters were identified as Mrs. Mary A. Bradshaw, of Evanston, Wyoming, and Mrs. Elizabeth Daniels, of North Ogden. John was baptised into the Mormon Church on 15 Sep 1881 by Edwin Harmon, and set sail for America five weeks later on the ship Wyoming, five months ahead of his wife, and “in the company of 396 Saints under the direction of L. R. Martineau". He arrived in North Ogden on 11 Nov 1881.[24]

http://www.heritage-ships.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_6&products_id=1295
Figure 6 – Guion line Wisconsin and Wyoming.[25]

L. R. Martineau was actually Lyman Royal Martineau, son of the famous pioneer James Henry Martineau. A mention of his part in this same 1881 company was found in the diaries of his father:

Thursday, November 10, 1881 — Went with Charley to Ogden to meet Lyman. He did not come until 1.30 A.M. of Friday 11th. We were very glad to meet again. I found him somewhat changed in the 2½ years passed, more manly and cultivated. He was in charge of the Company of emigrants — 396 — and had had a pretty hard time taking care of so many, most of whom had never been 20 miles from home in their lives before. He was sick all the way across the ocean, and unwell when he boarded the Steamship, having been much overworked in the Liverpool office.

Part of the Saints went north, and most of them to S. L. City. We went with them to see all done. Lyman went to the Prest office, and reported. He was complimented by Prest Jos F. Smith for having well filled his mission. I called with him to see numerous friends in the city, and returned to Logan arriving 11 P.M.[26]

Although a mention of his wife’s trip, some five months after his own, could not be found as part of a Mormon company, she and her daughters do make an appearance on the inbound passenger list of the Nevada which arrived in New York on 24 Apr 1882 from Liverpool.[27]

http://www.heritage-ships.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_6&products_id=1772
Figure 7 – Guion line Nevada.[28]

Books

According to WorldCat, Dave Martin Hellewell wrote a book about the family history of him and his wife, Alice Etta (Richards) Hellewell, the grandaughter of John and Ann Richards.

The only copy I could find is in the Family History Library, Salt Lake City. It contains written accounts of their respective families, some small photographs, and numerous family group sheets. Because of the later access to it, and the fact that it did not disagree with the other findings, I have not directly cited any of its information here, but I do intend to show a copy to Mary and Clive Williams.

One small disagreement is that their research indicates Ann (Williams) Richards was born 19 Jan 1840 on the Isle of Man.[29] This disagrees with all else I have found, which indicates a birth of 1839 in Aberavon, and with the two questionable dates mentioned above. 

FamilySearch

Given the conversion of John and Ann to the Mormon faith, it is hardly surprising to find actual written accounts of the family’s emigration on the Web site of FamilySearch: the genealogy organisation operated by the LDS Church.

One comprehensive account is by the Dave and Etta Hellewell mentioned above, and describes how their family history is a combination of family tradition and some meagre records, including a Bible originally in the possession of John Richards. Their account begins with a Reese Richards and his wife Elizabeth, back in Aberavon, Glamorgan. One of the sons of Reese and Elizabeth, William, married an Elizabeth Bowen in Aberavon, and one of their five children (all sons), John, later became the husband of Ann Williams. Their two younger boys were Reese (b. 2 Apr 1844) and Thomas (b. 25 May 1846).[30] As Dave and Etta recalled:

Elizabeth Bowen Richards, with her two younger boys Reese & Thomas, emigrated to Utah in 1862, the family having been converted to the LDS faith, leaving William her husband with the rest of the family in Wales.

This was not an unusual thing to do at that time. Many Mormon families were temporarily separated, father staying where he had work and sending mother and part of the family on ahead with the thought that they could earn enough in Zion to help the rest of the family to emigrate later.

Elizabeth and the two boys crossed the ocean on the cheapest fare possible: "steerage on a sailing vessel" -- not the most pleasant way of crossing, but eventually they landed on the shores of America, the Promised Zion, and after riding to the end of the rail transportation they did as many other Mormon families were to do.

Putting their all on a hand cart and assembling themselves and their possessions with those others who were to go west with Horton Haight as captain of the company leading the way. They began that long, dusty, weary way to Salt Lake City, crossing the flat lands of the middle west they finally began that long trek up the slopes of the mountains of the west; up, up, continually pulling that two wheeled cart that contained their total worldly possessions, until they finally reached that spot, now marked with a great stone monument, heralding "This is the place" [This is the Place Monument], but then thought of as the last long hill to be climbed before the descent into the broad valley below with its shimmering lake in the distance, so full of salt that it didn't freeze, even in the cold of that 19th day of Oct 1862.

Now it was down, down to that great Temple to their God. Here they rested for a while, then continued on north to North Ogden Utah to finally settle in Pole Patch, a small settlement of saints about five miles northwest of North Ogden, close to Pleasant View and under the towering peak of Ben Lomond.

Here Elizabeth and her boys, like many of the other saints, built a home in the side of a hill; a dugout as they were called. Here they lived for a time.[31]

Information on Horton Haight and that actual 1862 company of 514 people may be found at Horton D. Haight Company (1862). The names of Elizabeth and her boys may also be found on an associated list of 1862 immigrants from the Utah papers at Names of Immigrants 1862.

The Hellewell account continues:

About 1880, her son John whom she had left in Wales came to North Ogden, thus fulfilling that agreement made so many years before in far off Wales: those who went first would help the others to emigrate to Zion.

John was a blacksmith and operated his own shop in No. Ogden, for many years being a fine artisan at the forge.

With John came his lovely wife Ann, the daughter of William Williams of Aberavon ... and Alice Clemens of France [Guernsey] …

The coming of John brought much joy to Elizabeth, not only because of his coming but because with him and his wife came their two teenage daughters: Elizabeth Ann and Mary Alice. Along with this joy was some sorrow as they had left some of their little ones buried in Wales.[32]

https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWVQ-3KL&section=memories
Figure 8 – John and Ann Richards.[33]

In 1862, the transcontinental railway was not complete, and it would not have been possible to get from an east-coast port all the way into Utah by train. It wasn’t until 10 May 1869 that the transcontinental line was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah. In January 1870, a year after work began, a railroad line running from Salt Lake City ran north to connect to the national rail system at Promontory.[34]

Before that time, the Mormon Trail was a 1300-mile route between Nauvoo, Illinois, and Salt Lake City, Utah, travelled by the Mormon pioneers between 1846 and 1868 using covered wagons and handcarts. An increasing number of these pioneers had emigrated from Europe; they travelled by ship to New York or Boston, then by railroad to Iowa City, the western terminus of the rail line, where they would be outfitted with handcarts and supplies. This trail was used for more than 20 years until the railroad was completed, and among the immigrants were the Mormon handcart pioneers of 1856–60: about 3,000 Mormon pioneers from Britain and Scandinavia, immortalised in Mormon culture, who made the journey from Iowa or Nebraska to Utah in ten handcart companies. These were arduous and dangerous trips with two of the companies being disastrously caught in freezing weather in Wyoming.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_handcart_pioneers
Figure 9 – The Handcart Pioneer Monument.[35]

Hellewell’s account also mentions that a friend of Elizabeth Ann Richards, Annie Bartlett, married Henry Daniels in 1883, but she died during childbirth. On her death-bed, she made Elizabeth promise to marry Henry, which they did in 1884, and had 11 children together. Their daughter Alice Etta Daniels later married Dave Martin Hellewell. This first wife of Henry is the “Annie B. Hellewell” named on the memorial stone mentioned above.[36]

According to an autobiographical account by Alice Etta, she was the sixth of 11 children, with three brothers and two sisters older than her, and a further five brothers younger than her. She recalled that her mother (Elizabeth Ann) was “a good seamstress and made most of her own clothes.”[37] It is likely that the clothes received by Mary Williams during WWII were the handiwork of a relative in Utah.

An account of Elizabeth Ann Richards, again by the Hellewells, describes the sadness when her and her sister, Mary Alice, left Wales with their parents, their rough Atlantic crossing, and how they followed the same route taken earlier by their grandma Richards; also of the recollections of her journey by rail where her grandma had previously pulled a handcart. This account makes the point: “Some of whom like her had come from faraway lands. Others had been born in the town and knew nothing of the joys and sorrows of leaving home and friends to come to Zion [Utah]. Did they really appreciate what it was like to be among those who believed as you did, away from persecution and strife?”[38] We’ll come back to this in a moment. Note that the account gives her date of birth as 4 Aug 1867 rather than the 18 Aug 1866 given on the Find A Grave memorial page, mentioned above.

https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWZC-WGJ&section=memories
Figure 10 – Elizabeth Ann Richards.[39]

A Tree in Utah

Using the information mentioned in this article, it is possible to put together the following partial tree to help see the relationship between John Williams and the Richards relatives over in Utah.

Brief family tree of John Richards and Ann Williams
Figure 11 – Brief family tree of John Richards and Ann Williams.
 


Looking Back to Wales

Although people from several countries joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (otherwise known as the LDS Church or, informally, the Mormon Church) during the 19th Century, the missionary effort in Wales was particularly successful. It is estimated that 20% of the population of Utah are of Welsh descent. The Welsh Mormon Immigrant project is sponsored by the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, and their Web site may be found at: Welsh Mormon History.

But South Wales was predominantly Baptist,[40] so how could so many become Mormons and leave for their Zion (Utah)? Well, a search through the newspapers revealed that it was rough time for the Mormon missionaries, and for their converts.

An article in 1854 expressed concern at the numbers leaving for Salt Lake:

Numbers of deluded people are still leaving comfortable homes in the counties of Carmarthen and Glamorgan, to join the Mormons at Salt Lake.[41]

Just two years later, another article suggested that the exodus was finished:

Mormonism, we repeat, is dying; probably in the Salt Lake Valley it may long exist, but in England few converts are obtained, and in Wales, we rejoice to say, the multitude are beginning to see through the deception.[42]

However, it had not stopped, and concerns remained. The following reference to the L. R. Martineau company of 1881, in which John Richards travelled, appeared in several daily newspapers:

The Guion steamer Wisconsin sailed from the Mersey [river at the port of Liverpool] on Saturday for New York, having on board about four hundred Mormons amongst her passenger. This is the fifth company of Mormons who have left Liverpool during the present year, and is also the last batch this season. They include twenty elders, and are under the charge of Mr. L. R. Martineau, who has supervised the Liverpool Conference for the past two years. Amongst the four hundred are some sixty from Scotland. During the present year in the five companies no fewer than about two thousand four hundred Mormons have sailed from the Mersey for the United States.[43]

Later in the 1880s there were protests, intimidation, and incitement of violence.

 At Swansea ... a summons was heard in which a Mormon elder, named David Williams, of 4 Grove-place, sought to get an anti-Mormon lecturer, named William Jarman, bound over to keep the peace, on the ground that he had at a public meeting held in the Albert-hall incited persons to use violence towards him; and that violence had been used towards him and his property; that defendant used threats towards him, and that complainant in consequence feared that some bodily injury would be done him.  Magistrate bound over Jarman for 3 months.[44]

At Neath Borough Police-court ... Mr. A. D. Bolitho and Mr. George Barnfield were brought up under a remand charged with stealing three books, entitled "Mormonism Exposed," valued at 6s., and 3,000 handbills, valued at 10s., the property of Mr. William Jarman, ex-Mormon priest, now an anti-Mormon lecturer.[45]

During this period, the similar protests in places such as London and Sheffield degenerated into serious riots. The reference to “persecution and strife” in the Hellewell account of Elizabeth Ann Richards then begins to make sense.

John Williams, the first-born son of Ann Williams, later became a well-known baritone singer. Even as early as 1880 (aged about 20) he was performing in a concert at the Ebenezer Welsh Baptist Chapel in Aberavon,[46] and this has to be considered a possible reason for him remaining in Wales, other than John Richards being only his step-father. In the obituary for his widow, Annie (Griffiths) Williams, he was described as “… John Williams (Eyry Afan) … was a protégé of Madame Patti, and was a noted baritone, appearing at the Queens Hall and Royal Albert Hall. He also toured America with the Cambria Glee Society”.[47] Eryr Afan was his performing name, meaning eagle of Afan, and many references to him can be found under that name. Patti’s interest in John was confirmed in an earlier report from 1894:

At her private theatre, Craig-y-Nos Castle ... The Welsh workman, John Williams, in whom Madame Patti is interesting herself, and who possesses a remarkable baritone voice, also sang during the concert.[48]

Using the information in this obituary, the Service Response Centre, Neath, provided the following details of plot B 976 in Ynysymaerdy Cemetery:

Reginald Williams, aged 21 months, 18 Sep 1897
Annie Williams, aged 4 months, 4 Sep 1899
John Afan Williams, aged 6 months, 19 Jan 1901
John Williams, aged 68, 12 Apr 1929
Annie Williams, aged 74, 13 Mar 1938; 10 Neath Road Briton Ferry[49]

Reginald Williams was a son of John and Annie who was run over and killed by a tramcar in Briton Ferry.[50]

Conclusion

This story illustrates a number of things. Firstly, it shows the lengths that people may go to for something they believe in. The adult Elizabeth Ann Richards retained strong memories of the sadness of when she left the other family members behind in Wales as a young girl — family members who knew they would be unlikely to ever meet again. In our own western cultures, there is probably no modern-day equivalent to having to travel thousands of miles into the unknown, not even knowing whether you would make it alive, and almost certainly never being able to return, but for our ancestors both survival and belief may have been sufficient causes.

The separating distance alone would have been a huge wedge in their lives, but the passage of time is a more subtle, insidious, and omnipotent wedge: memories are volatile and will fade; letters and photographs may be lost or discarded; time marches on regardless. The only reason that this article could be written is because those people took the time to share their memories, with their children, in writings and books, and online — shared memories live longer!

So who sent those peaches and clothes? According to the burial details presented above, John Williams, died in 1929. John’s half-sisters in Utah: Elizabeth Ann and Mary Alice, died in 1916 and 1933, respectively. Although the generation of Mary’s parents, aunts, and uncles had cousins in Utah, as far as I know they had never met them.

The most likely person to have kept in touch with the family in Wales was Alice Etta (Daniels) Hellewell as she helped document the family history in a book (see above), and with details later being uploaded to the FamilySearch Web site. Alice died in 1965, and her husband, Dave, in 1998, so this is a strong possibility.

In the personal account by Dave Hellewell, he remarks that after retiring from the post office in 1957, he “…spent some time visiting relatives and gathering genealogical information”.[51] Also, in the account by Alice Etta Hellewell, she (or Dave) wrote that “…we did much work on the family history both in writing and by travel to see our relatives who might give us more information”.[52] I can find no evidence that they ever visited Wales, but it is virtually certain that they remained in contact with their relatives in Wales in order to achieve these goals. Until it is possible to contact living descendants in America then my conclusion is that the peaches and clothes were sent by Dave and Alice Etta Hellewell.

https://familysearch.org/photos/images/3631849
Figure 12 – Dave and Alice Etta Hellewell.[53]

Mary Williams would like to locate descendants of John and Ann Richards, and ideally to meet them. If you are descendants of this couple, or you can shed any light on those peaches, please contact me using the Contact Form in the right-hand panel of this blog.



[1] Mary Williams, 1946 aged 15; image provided by the Williams family, and displayed by kind permission of Mary.
[2] Briton Ferry, 1959; image © The Francis Frith Collection, ref: B398020 (http://www.francisfrith.com/briton-ferry/briton-ferry-1959_b398020 : accessed 25 Jun 2016).
[3] "1911 Census for England and Wales”, database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of John Williams (age 50); citing RG 14/32624, RD592 SD2 ED6 SN139; The National Archives of the UK (TNA).
[4] "1901 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of John Williams (age 40); citing RG 13/5056, fo.69, p.4; TNA.
[5] "1891 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of John Williams (age 30); citing RG 12/4460, fo.86, p.7; TNA.
[6] 1871 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of William Williams (age 55); citing RG 10/5424, fo.35, p.9; TNA.
[7] 1861 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of William Williams (age 48); citing RG 9/4081, fo.41, p.31; TNA.
[8] 1851 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of William Williams (age 36); citing HO 107/2462, fo.260, p.43; TNA.
[9] "1841 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images,  Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 4 Jul 2016), household of John Williams (age 60); citing  HO 107/1421, bk.1, fo.31, p.15; TNA.
[10] High Street, Aberavon; image credit: Port Talbot Historical Society.
[11] The Causeway, Aberavon; image credit: Port Talbot Historical Society (http://www.historicalporttalbot.com.html); displayed by permission of Damian Owen.
[12] 1881 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of John Richards (age 41); citing RG 11/5335, fo.71, p.17; TNA
[13] Water Street, Aberavon; image credit: Port Talbot Historical Society.
[14] Wales, birth certificate (certified transcription) for Joseph Williams born 29 May 1860, ref: MRM 22/258; citing 11a/452/258, registered Neath 1860 Jun [Q2]; Neath Port Talbot Register Office, Neath.
[15] 1871 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 26 Jun 2016), household of John Richards (age 31); citing RG 10/5424, fo.35, p.9; TNA.
[16] 1861 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 9 Jul 2016), household of Household of Richard Jenkins (age 26); citing RG 9/4080, fo.105, pp.58/59; TNA.
[17] 1861 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 9 Jul 2016), household of Household of Joseph Chapman (age 37); citing RG 9/4086, fo.6, p.6; TNA.
[18] 1861 England, Wales, & Scotland Census", database with images, Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 9 Jul 2016), household of Household of William Richards (age 50); citing RG 9/4081, fo.63, p.24; TNA.
[19] Find A Grave, database with images (http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=148203355 : accessed 26 Jun 2016), memorial page for John Richards (1838–1913), Find A Grave Memorial no. 148203355, citing Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden,Weber County, Utah; dates or birth and death for John and spouse visible on memorial stone image, but link to children is un-sourced.
[20] Find A Grave, database with images (http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=148203389 : accessed 26 Jun 2016), memorial page for Ann (Williams) Richards (1841–1910), Find A Grave Memorial no. 148203389, citing Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden, Weber County, Utah; dates or birth and death for Ann and spouse visible on memorial stone image, but link to children is un-sourced.
[21] Find A Grave, database with images (http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27174131 : accessed 26 Jun 2016), memorial page for Elizabeth Ann (Richards) Daniels (1866–1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27174131, citing Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden, Weber County, Utah; dates or birth and death for Elizabeth and spouse visible on memorial stone image, but data for children is un-sourced.
[22] "1910 United States Census", database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 14 Jul 2016), entries for John (aged 72) and Ann Richards (aged 70), district: 0216, page: 4B, North Ogden, Weber, Utah; citing "FHL microfilm: 1375624"; NARA microfilm publication T624.
[23] "Death of Mrs. Richards in North Ogden, Saturday", Ogden Standard (1 Aug 1910): p.5.
[24] “Young Woman a Mountain Climber", Ogden Standard (18 Jun 1913): p.6.
[25] Guion line Wisconsin and Wyoming; image credit: Courtesy of the Norway Heritage Collection - www.norwayheritage.com. Source: www.heritage-ships.com.
[26] Donald G. Godfrey & Rebecca S. Martineau-McCarthy, eds., An Uncommon Pioneer: Journals of James Henry Martineau 1828-1918, transcribed diaries of J. H. Martineau (Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, 2008), p.262, original diary p.483, “Lyman Gets Home. & Is Made Supt. Y.M.M.I.A. For Stake”; PDF attachment, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University (https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/uncommon-common-pioneer-journals-james-henry-martineau-1828-1918 : accessed 1 Jul 2016); transcribed extract displayed by permission of Religious Studies Center; originals held by the Glen Bothwell Martineau family.
[27] “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957”, database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 8 Jul 2016), entry for Ann Richards, arriving from Liverpool on 24 Apr 1882 on board the  Nevada; citing microfilm serial: M237 1820-1897, microfilm roll: 449, lines 1315, list number: 509; passenger lists of vessels arriving at New York, 1820-1897, NAI: 6256867, records of the US Customs Service, record group 36, National Archives at Washington DC.
[28] Guion line Nevada; image credit: Courtesy of the Norway Heritage Collection - www.norwayheritage.com. Source: www.heritage-ships.com.
[29] Dave Martin Hellewell, Family history of Dave Martin Hellewell & Alice Etta Daniels (Utah: St. George, c1978), family group sheet for John Richards and Ann Williams; PDF copy from FHL, subject class 929.273 H367, p.16 of 105.
[30] Etta and Dave Hellewell, “A Short History of Reese Richards, His Wife Elizabeth, And Their Descendents”, FamilySearch, PDF attachment (https://familysearch.org/patron/v2/TH-300-43941-324-84/dist.pdf : accessed 27 Jun 2016).
[31] Ibid; transcribed extract, punctuation and spelling edited slightly for readability.
[32] Ibid; transcribed extract, punctuation and spelling edited slightly for readability.
[33] John Richards and Ann (Williams) Richards; image credit: FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWVQ-3KL&section=memories and https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWVQ-3KK&section=memories : accessed 15 Jul 2016); displayed with permission of ccontributors Tim D Anderson and JanetMAnderson1, respectively.
[34] Don Strack, “Railroads in Utah”, Utah History to Go (http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/mining_and_railroads/railroadsinutah.html : accessed 26 Jun 2016).
[35] The Handcart Pioneer Monument, a statue commemorating Mormon handcart pioneers, found on Temple Square in Salt Lake City; image credit: CDGentry, 27 Aug 2011, [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mormon_Pioneer_handcart_statue.jpg : accessed 23 Jul 2016).
[36] E. and D. Hellewell, “A Short History of Reese Richards, His Wife Elizabeth, And Their Descendents”.
[37] "Autobiography of Alice Etta Daniels", FamilySearch, Memories page (https://familysearch.org/photos/stories/3363715 : updated 10 Nov 2013, accessed 27 Jun 2016); contributions also from Dave Hellewell.
[38] "Elizabeth Ann Richards", Dave Hellewell and Alice Etta Daniels Hellewell, FamilySearch, Memories page (https://familysearch.org/photos/stories/3404951 : updated 12 Nov 2013, accessed 27 Jun 2016).
[39] Elizabeth Ann (Richards) Daniels; image credit; FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWZC-WGJ&section=memories : accessed 15 Jul 2016); displayed with permission of contributors SmithLindaSue1 and Tim D Anderson.
[40] The Story of Nonconformity in Wales, Addoldai Cymru: Welsh Religious Buildings Trust (http://www.welshchapels.org/nonconformity/test/ : accessed 27 Jun 2016).
[41] “Miscellaneous”, North Devon Journal (19 Oct 1854): p.3.
[42] “THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS”, Merthyr Telegraph, and General Advertiser for the Iron Districts of South Wales (25 Oct1856): p.2, col.3.
[43] "EMIGRATION OF MORMONS", Gloucester Citizen (24 Oct 1881): p.3, col.2
[44] “ANTI-MORMON DISTURBANCES AT SWANSEA”, South Wales Echo (18 Sep 1888): p.4, col.7.
[45] The Anti-Mormon Crusade in Wales”, Western Mail (7 Octr 1889): p.2, last column.
[46] “Aberavon”, South Wales Daily News (18 Dec 1880): p.3, col.8.
[47] Briton Ferry Widow's Death" and "Prominent Singer's Widow Passes", joined scans of two death notifications, undated, unidentified newspapers, uploaded as document in FamilySearch memories page for John Williams by SmithLindaSue1 (https://familysearch.org/tree/#view=ancestor&person=KWVC-NG4&section=memories : accessed 20 Jul 2016); Swansea Library later confirmed that the first article was published in the South Wales Evening Post on 15 Mar 1938, but were unable to locate the second.
[48] "Madame Patti At Home: Interesting Matinee At Craig-y-Nos", South Wales Daily News (25 Aug 1894): p.4, col.7.
[49] Burial register for Ynysymaerdy Cemetery, plot B 976; Service Response Centre, The Quays, Neath; details provided to Clive Williams and relayed to the author by email on 18 Jul 2016.
[50] “Child Killed at Briton Ferry”, South Wales Daily News (16 Sep 1897): p.7, col.7.
[51] E. and D. Hellewell, “A Short History of Reese Richards, His Wife Elizabeth, And Their Descendents”.
[52] Autobiography of Alice Etta Daniels", FamilySearch.
[53] Dave Martin Hellewell and Alice Etta (Daniels) Hellewell; image credit: FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/3631849 : accessed 23 Jul 2016); displayed with permission of contributor SmithLindaSue1.