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James Thomas of Banwen and Ael-y-Coed, Glanaman, Carmarthenshire

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

James Thomas and family - late 1890s
James Thomas (1869-1950) and family near Banwen in the late 1890s

James Thomas (1869-1950 ) and Margaret Jane Jones (1872-1896)

In 1891, James Thomas (21) was with his wife Margaret Jane (19) at Penwaun with father-in-law Samuel Jones. According to a discussion with their daughter Sarah Phillips in 1969 they moved briefly to a house near Fuller's Ironmongers in Glanaman Square but soon moved to Banwen farm (see The Thomas family of Banwen farm). where their twin daughters were born. Sarah Phillips said that Margaret became ill after giving birth to son Thomas, who was also to be a sickly baby. Margaret had contracted TB and died within about a year of his birth. Sarah remembered her father saying "Dim on dau o ni sy'n cofio dy fam" (only two of us can remember your mother.)

Sarah recalled one occasion when her mother lay in bed before the fire on the ground floor. Sarah ran up the steps which then served as stairs and rembered saying: "Gallwch chi ddim fy nhala i!" (You can't catch me). Margaret was too ill.

Thomas was quick to walk and by ten months was able move about with the aid of the furniture. However, he became ill and, at the age of 1, had been dismissed by doctors as bound to die - they assumed from the same ailment as his mother. But Thomas did not have TB. Sarah thought that he had some sort of dropsy, an abnormal retention of water beneath his skin. He was prescribed a herbal remedy and, whether or not it was the cause, the ailment disappeared leaving Thomas with emaciated, weak little limbs where his bloated arms and legs had been. He did not walk again until his 4th year.

Margaret's death affected James Thomas deeply, probably throughout the remainder of his life. Initially, he had the problem of taking care of four young children and simultaneously making a living. It was decided that Catherina should go to Mamgu Betty at her house near Glenhurst. Elizabeth Ann would go to Penwaun. Since Penwaun was close to Banwen, while Mamgu Betty lived almost on the valley floor, Mamgu Sam (Sarah Jones or Mamgu Penwaun) was the more familiar. There was also the attraction of Meredith (Margaret's brother) who was popular with the children, getting them to sing. Catherina soon decided she did not like her new home and came back to Banwen while Elizabeth Ann stayed with Mamgu Sam through several moves until the latter died.

Young James Thomas

Young James Thomas

Older James Thomas

Older James Thomas

The 1901 census shows James Thomas at Banwen, Widower, 31, Coal-miner hewer on own account; Sarah Thomas, daughter, 9; Catherina, daughter, 8; Thomas, son, 6; all born Glanamman, speaking Welsh; and Annie Thomas, domestic servant, born Capel Isaac, also Welsh-speaking. Catherina's twin Elizabeth Ann was with her grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Jones. James Thomas died 30 October 1950, having been hit by a van on Cwmamman Road several months previously. Probate was granted at Oxford 20 January 1951 to Catherina Jones (wife of Daniel Jones), effects £7328 18s 8d.

    David and Sarah Philips

    David and Sarah Philips (Thomas)

  • Sarah Thomas (April 20 1891-1975) was born at Penwaun farm where her parents lived their first year or two with Margaret Jane's parents Samuel and Sarah Jones. She married David Philips (c.1891- ) from Gwndwnmawr, Glanaman on December 28 1910 at Llandilofawr Register Office, witnessed by James Thomas and William Phillips. They adopted a son William Verdun Phillips (June 21 1916-January 27 1979), registered as William Verdun Llewelyn by his birth mother Eurienydd or Irene Llewelyn (1898- ) from Llandebie. A court judgment in 1917 named a Joseph Edwards of Ammanford as his biological father. He married Emma Jane Wright (March 10 1913-September 11 1990) the daughter of Samuel Wright (November 2 1878- ) and Annie Harrison (September 1 1882- ) from Darwen, Lancashire. Emma was the widow of James W Fielding (April 28 1917-1941). Willie/Bill Phillips was a victim of polio in his youth and had difficulty walking throughout his life. He was a barber in Darwen.
  • Elizabeth Ann Thomas (March 25 1893-1979) born Banwen farm, married Gomer Gwyn Jones (March 18 1892-1973) (see The Family of Thomas and Jemimah Jones, Lower Brynaman) and had: Gwynfor Jones (April 10 1922 - May 13 2009) who married Nan Morgan (December 22 1923-November 2 2020) survived by children and grandchildren.; Nora Jones (April 13 1923 - October 5 2014) who married Mervyn James Price (1918-1981) (see The Family of Arthur and Elizabeth Ann Price), survived by children and grandchildren; and Thomas Aeron Jones (December 22 1926-2004) who married Elizabeth (Betty) Thomas (1929-2007) survived by children and grandchildren.
  • Elizabeth Ann Thomas

    Elizabeth Ann Thomas - 1890s

    Elizabeth Ann Thomas

    Elizabeth Ann Thomas as a young woman

  • Catherina Thomas (March 25 1893-1976) twin sister of Elizabeth Ann, born Banwen farm, who married Daniel Grenig Jones (24 April 1897-30 December 1977) in 1920 and lived at 58 Heol y Gors, Cwmgors, Glamorgan. They had Margaret Jane Jones (February 14 1922-2001) who married Graham Evans (March 10 1920-October 13 2015), survived by a daughter.
  • Daniel Jones and Catherina Thomas

    Daniel Jones and Catherina Thomas

    James Thomas and children

    James Thomas and children

  • Thomas Thomas (28 Dec 1894- ) the last member of the family to farm at Banwen, married Hannah R Stephens (28 Sep 1895-) and had:
    1. James Thomas (1918- ), a bus inspector, who married Marie Spencer (July 29 1920 - February 1997) and had Meryl S Thomas (1944 - November 2 2011).
    2. Daniel Thomas (1921 - January 7 2017) who married Lilian Ray Jones (1927- October 22 2010) and lived at Leyshon Road, Gwaun Cae Gurwen. Children included Stephen Thomas (1963 - December 2 2015).
    3. Sarah Jane Thomas (Sally) (January 15 1924-1990) who married Vincent Thomas (1918-2002) and moved to Cardiff.

 
Aelycoed Garden, Wartime
Aelycoed Garden, wartime, Glanaman, Carmarthenshire

Back row (left to right): Thomas Aeron Jones, Daniel Thomas, Emma Phillips, Gwynfor Jones
Middle row (left to right): Nora Jones, Hannah Thomas, Gomer Jones
Fron row (left to right): Catherina and Elizabeth Ann Jones, Sarah Phillips


 
Nora, Gwyn and Tom
Tom, Nora, and Gwyn in later life

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