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The family of Samuel Jones and Sarah Rees of Llanelli, Ebbw Vale and Glanaman

Compiled by Alan James Price (

Samuel and Sarah Jones

Samuel and Sarah Jones

Sarah Rees (March 11 1842-1928) - family origins

Notes from a conversation with her granddaughters in the late 1960s record that Sarah Rees came from Victoria, Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire and had Bevan ancestry. The granddaughters 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 that she was born at the Victoria Iron Works, Bedwellty parish on March 11 1842. Her father was Rees Rees and mother Margaret Rees, formerly Bevan.

An interpretation of censuses between 1841 and 1861 indicates that Rees Rees and Margaret Beavan (c.1808-1845) 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) and wife Jane Williams (c.1782-1866) who were married at Llansanffraid-Ar-Wysg, Breconshire on December 26 1806. This interpretation also indicates that Sarah had sisters: Mary Rees (1838-1841/2) and Jane Rees (25 April 1840- ).

See Rees Rees of South Wales, Illinois and Iowa for detailed information on his ancestors and descendants.

Jane and Sarah Rees remained in Wales

In the 1851 census, 9-year-old Sarah Rees is 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 is 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 had 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 Thomas Lewis (1839-1890, born Tonty'rbel, Crymlin) (also known as Thomas ap Lewis) on August 1 1864 at the Registry Office in Newport. They had Llewellyn Goronwy Lewis (1866-1903), Edward Lewis (1869-1872) and Edward Lewis (1872-c.1932). 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) wed Eunice Anne Thomas (1896- , born Swansea) in Llangyfelach on June 14 1922 when he described himself as a mechanical engineer. During World War 1 Goronwy had served in the Tank Corps and achieved the rank of Major.

Sam and Sarah Jones' married life

Llanelli-born Samuel Jones (1842-1917) appears to be the son of John Jones and Mary James. The most likely marriage for Sarah and Samuel Jones took place at Zoar Baptist Chapel, Ystalyfera on August 13 1870 when her father was given as Rees Rees.

In 1871 Samuel and Sarah were living in Contractors Row, Ebbw Vale with son Jonathon Jones (1) born Monmouth Bedwellty (registered June Quarter Bedwellty as Jonathan Rees). Their next-door neighbours were listed as Thomas Beavan (57) Labourer born Brecon Llangynider, Jane Bevan sister (44) widow born Monmouth Aberystruth and Margaret Bevan, niece (25) born Monmouth Bedwellty. In 1881 Thomas Bevan (66) born Rhymney and Jane Bevan (55) born Nantyglo appeared not to have moved (same neighbours). Thomas Bevan died in 1887 aged 73; Jane Bevan is alone in 1891 and died in SepQ 1898 aged 72.

In the 1881 census Samuel and Sarah were recorded at 'Pantyffynon', in the parish of Bettws, Carmarthenshire. The names of the adjacent properties indicate that this was in the Glanaman area, not the more familiar Pantyffynon near Ammanford. Samuel was shown as a 38-year-old Rail Engine driver, born Llanelly with wife Sara (39), and children Jonathon R. (12), Margaret (9), Mary (7) (all born Ebbw Vale) and Thomas (3) and Meredith (2) (born Carmarthenshire Bettws).

Margaret Jane Jones

Margaret Jane Jones (Victorian enlargement)

Margaret Jane Jones - Carte de Visite

Margaret Jane Jones - original Carte de Visite

In 1891 they had moved to a nearby property, Penwaun, where Samuel is recorded as a stationary engine driver. Sons Thomas and Meredith are coal miners. Margaret J. was then married to James Thomas (21) also a coal miner, both living at Penwaun (see Thomas Family of Banwen farm, Glanaman). Jonathon was recorded as a Railway Foreman lodging in the house of Henry and Annie Morgan at Gurnos, Ystradgynlais with mother Sarah a visitor. Mary (Polly) was recorded with Sarah's sister Jane Lewis in Penmaen, Monmouthshire.

Polly (Mary) Jones

Polly (Mary) Jones (Victorian enlargement)

By 1901 they had moved again to Grenig Cottages when Samuel remained an engine driver. Margaret Jane had died of tuberculosis on 4 January 1896 and one of her daughters Elizabeth Ann Thomas (8) was living with them along with Polly (Mary) and Thomas (Tommy). They had a new house 'Brooklands' built on Cwmamman Road (now 128). Polly died of TB on 9 March 1906. Neither Polly or Thomas married - he died in 1956.


The following inscription was recorded on a gravestone at Hen Bethel, Cwmaman in the 1960s:

BU FARW MEDI 17, 1917
BU FARW GORFF 14, 1928

Sarah Jones - Brooklands

Sarah Jones (nee Rees) outside Brooklands, Glanaman

Sarah Jones - Garden

Sarah Jones (nee Rees) - Garden

Jonathon Rees Jones (1869-1913)

Olive and Jonathon Jones

Olive and Jonathon Jones. On the reverse is written: 'J R Jones, 39 Delhi Street, St Thomas, Swansea'.

Jonathon (also called Jonathan Rees Jones) married Olive Myra Hanlon (1882-1964, also known as Olive Morgan) at the parish church in Swansea on April 16 1903, witnessed by John Hanlon and John Richard Jones (Jonathon's first cousin - see The family of John Jones and Mary James). Olive appears to have been the daughter of William Morgan (c.1856- ) and Mary Jane Kelly (1858- ). In 1901 she and her mother were living as Hanlon with father John Hanlon (c.1850-1923) in William Street, Swansea. Jonathon and Olive had: Olga Jones (1903-1908 - died of Meningitis according to family memory); Samuel John Jones (Sammy) (1904-29 October 1964) married Margaret Edwards (Maggie), no children; Olive Myra Jones (1906-1969); Meredith Jones (1910-2002 - known in the family as Winston) married Harriet Treharne (1914-2000) and had children. Jonathon was admitted to the Asylum at Talgarth, Breconshire on 22 March 1911 and died of 'TB of the brain' (according to family information) in Talgarth on 17 January 1913.

In the 1911 census Olive was at 39 Delhi Street, St Thomas, Swansea described as married for 9 years, 4 children with 3 still alive. John Hanlon, widower aged 59 having been married 32 years with one living child was a boarder, dock labourer born Manchester. With them were Olive Myra Jones aged 5 and Maud Evans 28, a cousin. In the 1921 census John Hanlon was in a boarding house in Orange Street, Swansea still labouring in the docks. Orange Street was near Swansea Market and was obliterated when the Quadrant Shopping Centre was built. A John Hanlon of approximately the right age died in 1923. Jonathon's widow Olive Myra went on to marry a David Morris and had children.

In 1911, Samuel John and Meredith Jones were with Olive's sister Elizabeth Jane Morgan (1878-1962), her railway shunter husband George Spiers (1873- ) and the boys' grandmother Mary Jane Morris - probably Mary Jane Kelly/Morgan - in Port Talbot in the 1911 census. Subsequently, Sammy was brought up by his other grandmother Sarah Jones in Glanaman. According to family information he walked from Swansea to Glanaman. In the 1921 census young Meredith was still in the Spiers household, listed as Winston George Spiers, 11 years 3 months old, adopted son, father dead.

In the 1921 census, listed as 'Myra Olive Jones', the younger Olive Myra Jones was at the St Margaret's Children's Home in Roath, Cardiff, Glamorgan described as an orphan ('father dead') working in the laundry. She later became a nurse in Fulham. In the 1939 Register she was a sister at the Pinewood LCC Sanatorium in Wokingham. An Olive Myra Jones, born November 8 1906, of Flat 10, Point Royal, Easthampstead, Bracknell, Berks died on 24 June 1969.

Postcard from Olive

Postcard from Olive to Jonathan referring to Sammy (Ammanford cartoon on reverse)

Samuel John Jones

Samuel John Jones

Sammy and Maggie Jones

Sammy and Maggie Jones

Meredith Jones (3 May 1879-10 October 1942)

Meredith and Geta Jones

Meredith and Geta Jones

Meredith and unknown companions

Meredith and unknown companions (possibly including cousins Thomas Richard Jones and Evan Rees Jones) - picture taken in Llanelli

Weekly Mail September 7 1907 - LOCAL WEDDINGS. JONES-THOMAS. The village of Pensarn, near Carmarthen, was gay with flags and bunting in celebration of the first wedding solemnised at Babell Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, which has recently been restored. The contracting parties were Miss Margaret Thomas, only daughter of the late Mr. John Thomas, of Pensarn, and Mr. Meredith Jones, son of Mr. Samuel Jones, Glanamman.

Meredith, A GWR engine driver, married Margaretta Thomas (Geta) (1885-1937) in Carmarthen and had at least one child, John Samuel Jones (Jack) (1909-1991) (b.24th February 1909) who became a policeman and lived at 106 Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham. Meredith's retirement is mentioned in the Amman Valley Chronicle of May 18 1939 where he is described as a 'royal train driver' having commenced as an engine cleaner in the Garnant shed in 1894 and retired from the Carmarthen shed after 45 years service. He drove the Royal Train to Pencader in summer 1937. (source: Meredith's probate gives his address as 16 Mansel-street, Carmarthen and date of death as October 10 1942. Probate was granted to John Samuel Jones and Leah Margaretta Davies (wife of David Oswald Henry Davies, 1908-1980). Effects 1076 2s 3d. Leah appears to have been a niece (Margaretta Thomas) living with Meredith in the 1911 census and the 1939 Register.

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