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The family of Rees Rees of Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire, Illinois and Iowa

Compiled by Alan James Price (editor@hrmguide.net)

Notes from a conversation with the granddaughters of Sarah Rees in the late 1960s record that they believed that Sarah's father (but not her mother) had emigrated with a group to the USA and that explained the relative lack of knowledge about the family. Sarah's birth certificate records her father as Rees Rees and mother Margaret.

An interpretation of censuses between 1841 and 1861 indicates that Rees Rees and Margaret Beavan (1809-1844) who married at Aberystruth, Monmouthshire on November 20 1836 (witnessed by William Lewis and Elizabeth Phillips) were probably Sarah Rees' parents. Margaret is likely to have been the daughter of Meredith Bevan (c.1786-1854, born Cwmdu, Breconshire) and Jane ? (c.1782-1866, born Talgarth, Breconshire). This interpretation also indicates that Sarah had sisters: Mary Rees (c.1838 - probably died 1841) and Jane Rees (25 April 1840- ).

A Rees Rees (1816-1886) was baptised on November 27 1816 to Henry and Sarah Rees of Carcoed at Llangathen, Carmarthenshire. (An earlier son of the same name had been baptised on October 19 1815 to Harry and Sarah Rees of Car-Coed at Llangathen and buried December 13 1815).

Henry Rees and Sarah Lewis (1777-1871) were married in Llanegwad on February 23 1798. The only Henry Rees baptised in the right period (1768) in Llangathen was the son of a previous Harry Rees - possibly one buried in 1768. Jane Rees (1740-1797), a widow took a lease on a messuage called Kae Coed in 1770 (National Library of Wales) and left Kae Coed in her Will to Henry as her only son with the proviso that it would pass to his sister (her only daughter) Ann Rees, wife of David Simon, should Henry die unmarried or without issue. Henry seems to have married promptly.

Sarah Lewis was the daughter of farmer John Lewis (1744-1825) and (possibly) Mary Rees who married at Llandeilo Fawr on November 20 1771 (John Lewis' signature appears identical to the one on his Will of 1825) or Mary Jones who married a John Lewis of Pontdulas on January 17 1775 at Llanegwad. John Lewis is likely to have been the son of John Lewis Harry (1692-1774) and Sarah Evan ( -1775) who married on November 28 1742 at Llanegwad. John Lewis Harry is recorded as taking a 21-year lease on Glandulas in 1750 (National Library of Wales).

As well as Rees Rees, Henry and Sarah also had Henry Rees (1800-1876) and Mary Rees (1808- ).

Rees Rees' first marriage

Rees Rees
1816-1886

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Margaret Beavan
1809-1844

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Mary Rees
c.1838-1841

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Jane Rees
c.1840-

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Sarah Rees
1842-1928

Rees Rees, wife Margaret and daughters Mary (3) and Jane (1) were in Augusta Street, Victoria, Ebbw Vale in the 1841 census. Next door to them in the 1841 census we find Meredith Bevan with wife Jane, sons Thomas and Jonathan and daughter Jane (14).

As the following item from the Cambrian, 22 September 1838 shows, these families must have been among the many recent arrivals from elsewhere in South Wales and beyond to come to Ebbw Vale for work:

Merlin. MONMOUTHSHIRE IRON AND COAL COMPANY. The first furnace belonging to this Company at the Victoria Iron Works, Lower Ebbw Vale, was put in blast on Tuesday se'nnight, and on the following day the iron was cast therefrom. The second furnace is expected to be ready in a fortnight, and the third and fourth in a few months. Mr. John Jones, Merchant, Brynmawr, one of the directors, has completed forty good substantial workmen's houses, at the above works, ten of which contain three stories: the whole will accommodate fifty families.

This advertisement from the Monmouthshire Merlin, 20 July 1839 indicates the rapid growth in the community:

BUILDERS, AND OTHERS. ALL Persons desirous of obtaining BUILDING LEASES for WORKMEN'S HOUSES, in the town of VICTORIA, adjoining the Monmouthshire Iron and Coal Company's Iron Works, at Lower Ebbw Vale, for a Term of 95 Years, may know the Terms and Conditions, inspect the Plans, and obtain all necessary information, on application to Messrs. HOPKINS and SONS, Civil Engineers, Victoria Iron Works, near Newport, Monmouthshire. Between two and three hundred houses have been already erected at Victoria, but a much larger number is required for the use of the Works. Two Furnaces are now in blast, and Rolling Mills at work; two other Furnaces will be completed in a few months. An highly advantageous opportunity is now afforded to Capitalists desirous of embarking in Building Property. Signed, on behalf of the Directors of the Monmouthshire Iron and Coal Company. J. J. SKINNER, Secretary. Dated at the Company's Offices, 3, Harington-place, Bath, July 16, 1839.

In the first volume of Rees and Thomas (1871) Hanes Eglwysi Annibynol Cymru, the story of the Congregational church in Victoria (p.216-217) includes some pertinent information:

Mae gweithiau haiarn Victoria, y rhai a gychwynyd yn 1837, yn Nghwm Ebbwy Fawr, tua milldir a haner islaw gweithiau Penycae. Cyn cychwyn y gweithiau, nid oedd ond tri neu bedwar o annedd-dai yn yr holl gymydogaeth, on cyn gynted ag y dychreuwyd agoryd pyllau glo, a gosod i lawr sylfaeni y ffwrneisi, cafodd ugeiniau o annedd-dai eu hadeiladu, a daeth canoedd o bobl i'w cyfaneddu. Yr oedd Mr.Roger Hopkins, yr hwn oedd yn un o berchenogion y gwaith, ac yn brif arolygwr y lle, yn Annibynwr selog, a chymerodd ran flaenllaw yn nghychwyniad yr achos. Yn Mawrth 1838, dechreuwyd cyfaddasu un o'r annedd-dai newyddion i fod yn addoldy. Rhoddwyd ef at wasanaeth y gynnulleidfa gan Mr. John Jones, Brynmawr,yr hwn hefyd oedd un o berchenogion y gweithiau. Agorwyd y ty hyn at wasanaeth crefyddol Medi 23ain 1838. Pregethwyd ar yr achlysur gan y Meistriaid B. Woodliffe, Tredegar; J. Ridge, Cendl; D. Jones, Aber; a D. Stephenson, Nantyglo. Hydref 14eg, 1838 corpholwyd yno eglwys o un ar hugain o aelodau, gan Mr. H. Jones, Tredegar. Addawodd Mr. Jones ofalu am weinidogaeth i'r eglwys ieuangc, nes y buasai yn alluog i gynal gweinidog ei hun. Parhaodd i'w gwasanethu mor fynych ag y gallai hyd Rhagfyr 1839. Yr oedd yr aelodau y pryd hwnnw yn 80 o rif, a barnasant eu bod yn alluog i gynal gweinidog eu hunain. Buont mor anffodus a rhoddi galwad i Mr. Jonathan Davies, Llanfaple, yr hwn a ymsefydlodd yma Rhagfyr 24ain, 1839. Yn Hydref 1840 ymwrthododd yr eglwys ag ef. Dechreuwyd adeiladu y capel yn 1839. Tynwyd ei gynllun gan Rice Hopkins, Ysw. Ei faint o fewn y muriau yw 56 troedfedd wrth 45. Trail yr adeiladaeth oedd 1,094p. Yn Hydref 1841, rhodd galwad i Mr. Griffith Jones (yn awr o Gefnycribwr), ac urddwyd yn Rhagfyr 8fed 1841. Yr oedd pob peth yn myned yn mlaen yn gysurus am rai misoedd wedi urddo Mr. Jones, ond yn gynar yn y flwyddyn 1842, aeth pethau yn ddyryslyd yn y gwaith, ac yn Awst y flwyddyn hono safodd y cwbl, a gwasgarwyd agos yr holl bobl o'r ardal, pryd yr oedd tua 900p. o ddyled ar y capel. By raid, wrth reswm, gau y lle i fynu. Parhaodd Mr. Jones i bregethu i'r nifer fechan oedd wedi aros yn yr ardal, hyd Hydref 1843, pryd y rhoddwyd y cwbl i fynu. Bu amryw o'r gweinidogion a aethant yn gyfrifol am y ddyled mewn helbul mawr. Yn Mehefin 1846, ail gychwynwyd y gweithiau, a dychwelodd amryw o'r aelodau i'r lle, ond buont am dymor yn addoli yn Saron, Penycae. Ar y Sul cyntaf o'r flwyddyn 1847, ail agorwyd y capel, ac ail gychwynwyd achos yn y lle. (...)

The key point is that the Company failed in 1842 and most of the employees left the area until 1846 when the works reopened.

Rees Rees' second marriage

Rees Rees
1816-1886

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Elizabeth Evans
1821-

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Mary Rees
1847-1896

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Anne Rees
1849-

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Harriet Maria Rees
1855-1925

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Henry Rees
1860-1888

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Elizabeth Rees
1862-

In the 1851 census, Rees Rees is not to be found in Victoria but is likely to have beeen a collier at 414 Sirhowy, Bedwellty aged 36 born Llangathen, Carmarthenshire with wife Elizabeth (29) born Llanfrayd, Carmarthenshire, daughters Jane (12) born Monmouthshire, Mary (3) born Glamorgan Merthyr and Anne (2) born Monmouthshire. They also had a lodger - collier Daniel Rees (20) born Carmarthenshire. If this is correct, Rees' first wife Margaret and daughter Mary had died - a Mary Rees aged 3 and a half years from Ebbw Vale works was buried in Aberystruth on September 25 1841. A Margaret Rees aged 35 died in December Quarter 1844 in Abergavenny District. A likely remarriage would be that of Rees Rees (son of Henry Rees, farmer) and Elizabeth Evans (daughter of Evan Evans, cordwainer) resident in Brynmawr at Llanelly, Breconshire on December 8 1845.

Rees Rees seems to have emigrated to the USA before his second wife and family - a possibility is a Rees Rees, collier from Glamorgan aged 43 who arrived in New York from Liverpool in May 1857 aboard the Constitution. Elizabeth and daughters Mary, Anne and Harriet Maria were listed as Reece on the passenger list of the Ship "Resolute" from Liverpool that arrived in New York on October 26 1858. In the Illinois state census of 1865 Reese Reese was shown as head of a household including 4 males and 4 females. The next head was Adam Fletcher with one male and one female. In 1870 Rees Rees was accompanied by wife Betsy, son Henry Rees and daughter Elizabeth Rees both born Illinois. In the 1880 census of Kewanee, Henry County, Illinois the only child named was Henry Rees, also a coal miner. The word 'crippled' was entered next to Rees Rees' details. In the 1885 state census of Iowa (Cleveland, Jackson, Lucas) Rees Rees was a storekeeper and Henry and Elizabeth remained at home.

  • Mary Rees (1847-1896) married Adam Fletcher (1841-1912, born Cumberland, England) in Stark County, Illinois on January 28 1865. A biography of Adam Fletcher from 1896 has been transcribed on the Illinois Ancestors site. They were in Galva, Henry County, Illinois in the 1870 census with daughters Elizabeth A Fletcher (1866-1940) and Mary J Fletcher (1867-1941). In 1880 miner Adam and wife Mary also had son Adam Fletcher (1872- ), daughter Harriet Maria (Hattie) Fletcher (1874- ), and sons Henry (Harry) Fletcher (1877- ) and Isaac Fletcher (1879- ). They had a further son Samuel Fletcher. Mary Rees Fletcher was Findagrave, buried at Pleasant View Cemetery, Henry County.
    January 28th, 1865, Adam Fletcher was united in marriage with Miss Mary Reese, daughter of Reese Reese of this city, where their marriage was celebrated. Nine children were born to this union, namely, Mrs. Joseph Bentham, Kewanee; Mrs. Rodger Jones, Kewanee; Mrs. Irvin Barnes, Rock Island, Ill; Adam Fletcher, Jr., Klein, Montana; Henry Fletcher of Klein, Montana, Isaac Fletcher, Kewanee; Samuel Fletcher, Kewanee; William Fletcher, Ladd; Katie died at the age of one year. Mr. Fletcher's first wife died May 8th, 1896. Mr. Fletcher was united in marriage with Miss Julia Walther of Peru, Ill., October 15th, 1902. (Excerpt from Adam Fletcher's obituary in Kewanee Daily Star-Courier Friday, 30 Aug 1912)
    • Elizabeth Anne Fletcher (born Kewanee 26 Feb 1866 - died Kewanee 29 Dec 1940) married Joseph Bentham (born Crosscanonby, Cumberland, England 24 August 1862 - died 10 Nov 1932, Galesburg, Knox County, Iowa) a laborer with Walworth Mfg Co. at the time of death. They had:
      1. Mary Bentham (born Iowa 1885- Feb 1970), married Charles Platt DeWitt (born 23 Feb 1883, Annawan - died 28 Feb 1955, Kewanee). They had Bernice Elizabeth DeWitt ( October 4 1914 - February 14 2008) born Annawan Township, Henry County who married Robert Hadley Eastman (July 7 1914 - May 19 1988) in 1942. An account of her life is given here. Bernice had 3 children, including Paul Davey Eastman (13 April 1946 - 2 August 1989) who married Diane Packee (5 May 1948 - 27 June 2008).
      2. Catharine (Katie) Bentham (born Lucas, Iowa 1887- ) who married Richard Norris (born Kewanee 1884- died 17 Feb 1920, Kewanee). They had Kathryn Virginia Norris (born Illinois 29 May 1916- died Saint Augustine, Saint Johns County, Florida 15 Nov 1997) who married Vere Eugene Cady (born Illinois 3 Feb 1917 - died Saint Augustine 3 April 1989). Their grave marker on FindaGrave.
      3. Elizabeth Rose Bentham (born Cleveland, Iowa 13 April 1890- died 13 Jan 1933, Sherard, Mercer, Illinois) who married General Store manager Peter Gates Conner (born Coal Valley, Illinois 1875-1969) and had William Gates Conner (born Illinois 16 Aug 1917- died 23 Mar 1919, Preemption, Mercer, Illinois) and Peter Bentham Conner (born Matherville, Mercer, Illinois 5 June 1921 - died 26 Jan 1944). 1st Lieutenant US Army Airforce, killed in action in plane crash West Africa. See Grave marker. See also Newspaper Obituary.
      4. Isabella Bentham (born Illinois 1893-1953), married Guy William Maxfield (born Blaine, Nebraska 1892-1958) and had a son.
      5. Adam W Bentham (born Illinois 1897 - died Palm Beach, Florida 8 March 1973). Usually known as William Bentham. He married Sudie Calvert (born Kentucky 4 March 1895 - died 19 Dec 1978 in San Jose, Santa Clara, California) and had three children. One line was wiped out on Highway 6, California on the night of 3 March 1950 when their son William Calvert Bentham (born Kewanee 1921-1950) and grandsons Thomas Steven Bentham (born Nevada 22 Sep 1946-1950) and Gerald William Bentham (born Riverside, California 13 April 1949-1950) were involved in a collision. See FATHER AND TWO SONS KILLED IN AUTO CRASH. The boys' mother Wilma Helen Holman (born Wisconsin 15 Dec 1922-1949) had died 10 months previously. Patricia Bentham (born Illinois 14 Mar 1925 - died Pinon Hills, San Bernardino, California 12 Aug 1993) married John James 'Jack' Bingham (born Tucson, Pima, Arizona 29 June 1922 - died Houston, Harris, Texas 19 Feb 2010) and had children.
      6. Joseph E Bentham (born c.1909 - ). Single, trucker for a lumber company with widowed mother Elizabeth in Kewanee in the 1940 census.
    • Mary Jane Fletcher (1867-1941) married widowed engineer Rodger T Jones (born Cardiff, Glamorgan 1857, died Kewanee 1931) and had Roger A Jones (born Potawatomee County, Kansas 1902- ) and Mary Jones (born Kewanee 1906-) and had two others who had died by 1910. Rodger Jones also had Leroy Jones (1884-1926) by a previous marriage. Roger Jones (jnr) was listed as a sailor on military service on the USS Arizona at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1920. By 1940 he was a foreman at a motor truck company in Indianapolis, Indiana with wife Ruth Sackfield, son Raymond Roger Jones (1924-2009)( obituary) and daughter Marilyn Jones (1932- ). Raymond married Virginia Erickson (1924-2010) in 1947.
  • Ann(e) Rees (1849- ) married English-born James Smith (1834- ) in Stark County, Illinois on June 9 1866. In the 1880 census of Modena, Stark, Illinois James is described as an engineer. They had the following in Illinois:
    1. Mary Smith (13)
    2. Catherine R Smith (August 4 1870-July 17 1947) married Charles Arthur Lake (1861-1952) and had Verne Gerald Lake (1893-1975). He married Gay Dell (1895-1969). Both were buried in Kewanee, Illinois.
    3. William Smith (9)
    4. James Smith (7)
    5. Joseph Smith (5)
    6. Elizabeth Smith (3)
  • Harriet Maria Rees (1855-1925) married William J. Boswell (1852-1935) in Henry County, Illinois on December 25 1872. In the 1880 census miner William and wife Harriet were in Lucas And Jackson, Lucas, Iowa with children Mary Ann Boswell (1874- ) and William Boswell (1877- ). In the 1885 census they were in Jackson joined by Sarah J Boswell (1883- ). They had a son Joseph Boswell (1888-1889). By 1900 they were in La Salle, Illinois with daughter Harriet Boswell born November 1886. Harriet and William's gravestone is on Findagrave, as is Joseph Boswell's.
  • Henry Rees (1860-1888) born April 26, 1860, O'Fallon, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, died March 5, 1888, Lucas County, Iowa, USA. He was buried in Fry Hill Cemetery, Lucas, Lucas County, Iowa, USA. His gravestone is on Findagrave.
  • Elizabeth Rees (25 February 1862- ) born Kewanee, Illinois.

Rees Rees and his family were heavily involved with the RLDS Church, a faction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) who held anti-polygamy views and other doctrinal differences (see: Henry County ILGenWeb - RLDS Church Records of the Kewanee IL Branch) being baptised and blessed between 1863 and 1871. The Fletchers and Boswells were elders and priests in the church. Rees Rees died on March 25 1886 and was buried in Fry Hill Cemetery, Lucas, Lucas County, Iowa, USA. His gravestone is on Findagrave. This gives a date of November 1 1815 for his birth.

Jane and Sarah Rees remained in Wales

In the 1851 census, 9-year-old Sarah Rees was described as a niece, (born in Monmouthshire Bedwellty) in the household of Meredith Bevan (1807-1889) a 46-year-old iron puddler (born Breconshire Llandefalle) and wife Hannah (47) (born Glamorgan Merthyr) - probably Hannah Thomas (1804-1882, married 1828 Aberystruth) - in Augusta Street at the Victoria Iron Works, Ebbw Vale. There was also a lodger Richard Thomas aged 18, born Newport, Monmouthshire. In 1861 the situation remained the same except that birthplaces were given slightly differently: Meredith (55) from Brecon Cwmdu; Hannah (57) Glamorgan Dowlais; Sarah Rees (boarder) (19) Monmouth Victoria; Robert Thomas (lodger) iron puddler (23) Monmouth Ebbw Vale. Meredith Bevan was probably a deacon of that name in the local Bethel Congregational (Annibynol) chapel.

Confusingly, in 1851 another (older) Meredith aged 65, a labourer born Brecon Cwmdu, wife Hannah (68) born Brecon Talgarth, sons Thomas (38) unmarried puddler born Brecon Llangunider, Jonathan (34) unmarried puddler born Brecon Cwmdu, are with daughter Jane Watkins (widow) (24) born Monmouth Aberystruth. In 1861 this family is without Meredith and widow Jane Bevan has two granddaughters with her: Jane Rees (21) and Margaret Bevan (16), both laundresses (presumably in the neighbouring laundry) born Monmouth Bedwellty, the parish including the Victoria Iron Works. The older Meredith Bevan died in 1854 and Jonathan Bevan in 1867.

Jane Rees

Jane married theology student Thomas Lewis (born Tonty'rbel, Crymlin 28 October 1839-1890) (also known as Thomas ap Lewis) on August 1 1864 at the Registry Office in Newport. Her father was named as Rees Rees, coal agent and she signed with a mark. Thomas Lewis appears to have developed a severe medical condition (Tyst A'r Dydd, 13 October 1876):

PENMAIN.
DARLITH.
Ie, ddarllenydd,
Darlith er bendith i'r byd,
Cyfoeth o addysg hefyd.
Buasai dysgwyliad mawr wrth y darlithydd yn mysg y bobl: natur athronawl ei destyn-" Hunan- orchfygiad "-a barai lawer o hyny, yn nghyd a'r ffaith fod "ei glod yn hysbys trwy yr holl eglwysi," fel pregethwr, ac ni'n siomwyd.
Traddodwyd y ddarlith nos Iau, Medi 21ain, pryd y llywyddwyd gan y Parch. E. Hughes.
Ni chawsom gyfle i gymeryd nodiadau manwl; ac nid teg ychwaith gwerthu am geiniog a dimai yn y TYST A'R DYDD, yr hyn a gostiodd swllt i ni, a misoedd o lafar cyndyn i'r Parch. W. Nicholson, Groeswen, Darlith odidog yw, yn cymhell dedwyddwch tymhorol, purdeb moesau, ac anrhydedd cymeriad crefyddol.
Y dyben o gael y ddarlith yma yn Mhenmain ydoedd i gynorthwyo T. ap Lewis, Tonty'rbel, pregethwr cynorthwyol, ac aelod o'r eglwys. Fel y mae yn hysbys yn y cylchoedd hyn, mae y brawd hwn, er's amryw flynyddau bellach, yn gorwedd yn glaf mewn cystudd trwm a phoenus, heb un man ganddo i ddysgwyl am achles, ond ei gyfeillion yn unig. Eistedda fel cripple yn ei gadair o un pen blwyddyn i'r llall - ei iechyd wedi llwyr anmharu, gofal ty a theulu o bedwar arno, ei amgylchiadau yn cael eu niweidio, a'i feddwl yn cael ei glwyfo a'i ddarostwng o lawer cyfeiriad, a'r oll gyda'u gilydd yn ei wasgu lawr i ddyfnderoedd angen, siomedigaeth, a dyoddefaint meddwl. "Y saethyddion fuont chwerwon." Ond "arhödd ei fwa yn gryf trwy rymus Dduw Jacob." Dyoddefa yr oil gydag amynedd sydd iddo ef yn glod, ac i ninau yn syndod.
Bu T. ap Lewis, tra yn alluog, yn pregethu gyda chymeradwyaeth mewn lluaws o gapeli Mynwy;- a oes rhywrai yn y capeli hyny a hoffai ei gynorthwyo yn nydd ei gyfyngder, trwy anfon ychydig iddo, a gosod y mater o flaen eu cyfeillion? Os oes, anfoner hwynt i Mr. John Jones, Penmain, Blackwood, Newport, Mon., a chydnabyddir hwynt yn y TYST A'R DYDD.
Gofidiai y Pwyllgor am nad yw cynyrch y ddarlith ond haner yr hyn a obeithient gyflwyno iddo.
PHILOS O'R CWM.

The following obituary appeared in the Celt, 7 March 1890:

MARWOLAETH MR THOMAS AB LEWIS, CRYMLYN, GER PENMAIN, MYNWY.
Mab oedd Ab Lewis i'r diweddar Barch. Thomas Lewis, Horeb, Tonty'rbel, ger Crymlyn. Enw arall adnabyddus ar yr ardal yw Trynant. Ganwyd ef yn ymyl y capel uchod, yno yr aeth yn aelod, ac y dechreuodd bregethu pan yn ugain oed, a bu farw 4ydd o Chwefror, 1890, yn 60 oed, a chladdwyd ef y dydd Gwener canlynol yn Mhenmain, a phregethodd y Parch. R. Evans yn dra chymwysiadol oddiwrth yr amgylchiad. Yn Mhenmain yr oedd yn aelod. Yr oedd Ab Lewis yn fachgen tra dichlynaidd o'i febyd. Yr oedd ol addysg dda, esiampl bur, ac aelwyd grefyddol yn ganfyddadwy ar ei fywyd, fel na chollasant eu heffeithiau daionus arno hyd ei fedd. Yr oedd yn llenor rhagorol, ac enillodd lawer o wobrwyon mewn cystadleuaethau. Yr oedd ei awen farddonol wedi troi y blynyddau diweddaf i'r cylch marwnadol. Dichon fod ei gystudd maith a blin wedi effeithio ar ei feddwl, fel ag i roddi gogwyddiad neillduol i'w awen i alaru ar ol ei gyfeillion lluosog a'i blaenorodd i'r wynfa nefol. Yr oedd ei gystudd yn faith, a bu yn methu dilyn ei orchwylion arferol am agos 16 mlynedd. Buasai yn llawer mwy cyhoeddus fel pregethwr oni b'ai i'w afiechyd ei luddias yn anterth ei ddefnyddioldeb, oblegid yr oedd cryn alw am ei wasanaeth. Yr oedd yu gyfansoddwr tlws, cryno, a choeth, ae yn siaradwr tra rhwydd, ond clywsom amryw yn fwy dengar a melus nag efe. Yr oedd mwy o'r nerthol ynddo nag oedd o'r deniadol. Ond wrth fyned i'w gyfeillach yn y gwaith neu yn y ty, yr oedd yn swynol, gwresog a chynes. Treuliais lawer awr hapua yn ei gwmni fel y byddwn yn dyheu am fyned ato drachefn a thrachefn. Ni ddigwyddodd i mi weled neb yn medru ysgrifenu llawysgrif dlos a'r naill law fel y llall ond efe, a hyny gyda rhwyddineb. Dichon mai yr offeryn penaf i'w symbylu at lenyddiaeth oedd yr hen gyfaill anwyl a thalentog y diweddar Mr John Thomas (Vox Populi), Crymlyn, awdwr y llythyrau grymus yn y Cronicl. Y gwrthgiliwr at wrthgilwyr. "O y difyrwch a'r mwynhad gefais wrth eu clywed ym dadlu, a buom mewn dyfroedd dadleuol poethiion, ein tri. Ond er y dadleuon yr oeddent yn gyfeillion trylwyr, a phan fyddid yn ymwthio i gelloedd mwyaf cysegredig eu calonau, teimlid dylanwad ysprydol eu meddyliau cyfarwydd a'r Beibl a Christionogaeth. Taened Rhagluniaeth ei nawdd dros ei weddw a'r ddau fab, ac ar ei fam yn ei henaint, yr hon oedd yn yr angladd. Ewythr iddo yw y Parch. John T. Lewis, Dakota, America. W. Jones (Asaph Gwent).

The 1871 and 1881 censuses do not convey anything of this story. In 1871, Thomas Lewis is described as a coal weigher and in 1881 his occupation is given as a coal miner. Thomas and Jane had Llewellyn Goronwy Lewis (1866-1903), Edward Lewis (February 19 1869- June 7 1870, buried at Tonty'rbel) and Edward Lewis (July 10 1872-1933, died Penmaen, Monmouthshire) who married Minnie Myrtle May Pritchard (c.1885- 6 May 1962, died Penywal Hospital, Abergavenny). Her Administration (with Will) was granted to Margaret Price married woman. Llewellyn Goronwy married Elizabeth Mary Pegler (1861- , born Nantyglo) and died in Weymouth, Dorset. Their only son Goronwy Claude Lewis (1895 - 1931, born Weymouth, Dorset, died Cauld, Victoria, Australia) was baptised at Broadway, Weymouth on 13 May 1895 when Llewellyn was described as an insurance agent. Goronwy Claude of 2 Bonville Terrace, Eaton Crescent, Swansea wed Eunice Anne Thomas (1896- , born Swansea) in the Parish Church at Llangyfelach on June 14 1922 when he described himself as a mechanical engineer. The wedding was witnessed by his mother and Eunice's father. During World War 1 Goronwy had served in the London Regiment (Private, soldier number 2290), as a Second Lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment and a temporary Lieutenant, then Major, in the Tank Corps, being awarded the Military Cross.

On the 26th September 1930, Major Goronwy Lewis, an engineer of 39 St Helens Road, Swansea embarked for Brisbane, Australia on the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line's Jervis Bay without his wife.

Branch Works for English Firms
Major Goronwy C. Lewis, formerly of the Boyal Tank Corps, who is on a business visit to Australia, reached Melbourne on board the steamer Jervis Bay on Friday. Major Lewis has been appointed Australian representative of seven engineering and industrial firms in England, and he will make investigations with a view to the establishment of some branch factories in Australia. He said that English Manufacturera realised that they must study tho conditions of the Dominions, and must produce machinery that was suited to the requirements of the country for which it waa purchased. Me intends to spend some months in Melbourne before visiting Ballarat, Castlemaine, and the Victorian (?) areas. (The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 3 January 1931).

MAJOR Goronwy C. Lewis, of the Royal Tank Corps, who arrived on Wednesday by the Jervis Bay, and who spent a brief holiday in Adelaide, intends to take up his residence in Melbourne. (The Mail, Adelaide, Saturday 3 January 1931)

After a fortnight's illness, Major C. Lewis, M.C., who reached Melbourne from England by the steamer Jervis Bay about a month ago, died in Caulfield Military Hospital last week from pneumonia. Major Lewis, who was 35 years of age, had a brilliant military career. He saw service with the Royal Engineers, the Welsh Pioneers, and tha Tank Corps, and was promoted to the rank of major at the .age of 21. He was chief technical adviser to the Tank Corps of the British expeditionary force. After the war he was appointed chief inspecting engineer to the tank corps with the army of occupation in the Rhine district, and later in Ireland. For his services he was personally decorated by the King. Resigning from the army, Major Lewis became a director of Lewis, Sutton and Co., consulting engineers, of Swansea, and also a director of the South Wales Electric Co. His mission to Australia was to survey the possibilities for various British engineering concerns. Major Lewis, whose home was at Mount Pleasant, Swansea, leaves a widow and one son. (The Daily News, Perth, Wednesday 18 February 1931.

Sarah Rees

Sarah Rees married Llanelli-born Samuel Jones (1843-1917). See Samuel Jones and Sarah Rees for detailed information on the couple and their descendants.

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