Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brigham Young Replies to the Five Jolly Welshmen

Yes! My good buddy at Keepapitchinin.org sent me a copy of Bro. Brigham's letter back to John Lewis and his jolly friends! It's in the public research files (I hadn't found it in the indices yet) so she didn't need to sneak it out of confidential files or anything.

But Springville! Why did it have to be Springville! At least Brigham didn't put "at present" in air quotes or anything.

So far we've determined that the Jolly Welshman did not stay together. At least two of them, Henry Moore and John James went to the Carson Valley. It also appears that our John Lewis may have gone but kept on going over the Sierra for the gold fields. And, there is a possibility that Jane was still alive and may have remarried in Jacks Valley (south of Carson). More research is needed to firm up these hints.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

John Lewis in Springville, Utah: December, 1856

Just discovered, a treasure trove of letters to Brigham Young on-line from the LDS Church History Library. Including this:

John Lewis arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 26, 1856, along with his wife, Jane Vaughan Lewis, their son, John Samuel Lewis (age 9), and mother-in-law Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan (widow). As we had believed, they went to Springville although we still have no information on Jane after arrival.

Monday, August 18, 2014

John and Jane Vaughan Lewis's Home in Wales

Every once in a while, history just pops. According to the 1851 Census for Wales and 2011 Google world mapping, [Correction: Bedwellty Parish was very large in those days. It included the town of Tredegar. A careful review of the census page, the tithe maps of Wales from the 1840s, and a history of Tredegar, indicates that they lived on Church Street in Tredegar, not Church Street in Bedwellty which I believe is more modern. Fortunately, we can still plot the approximate location and find it on Gooogle maps.] One of these houses is where John, Jane, and little John Samuel Lewis lived in Tredegar, Bedwellty Parish, when they were members of the LDS church and John the father worked as an iron miner. Elinor Vaughan, Jane's mother, certainly would have visited here and maybe even lived here after her John 1789 passed away that very year.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Crime and Preachment

This is such a great newspaper find with Mormon Missionaries and possible family both referenced even if not directly connected.
Monmouthshire Merlin & Silurian, 21 June 1856
First the missionaries. There wasn't much information easily to find about Abednego Spencer Williams (1827-1896) born in Blaenau, Monmouthshire, except that he came to Utah in the 1880s, and is buried in Ogden City Cemetery.

There's a bit more for Israel Evans (1828-1896). His story reads like an overview of westward expansion. Born in Ohio, his parents joined the LDS Church and moved to Missouri when he was only five. They relocated to Nauvoo, Illinois after the expulsion from Missouri and then left Nauvoo ahead of the mobs to follow Brigham Young. Israel marched with the Mormon Battalion in the War with Mexico and was present for the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill. Instead of becoming a rich Californian, he went to Utah. He served a four and a half year mission to Wales and led a successful handcart company (only two deaths) to the Valley in the turbulent year of 1857.

The year before, 1856, when Elinor, Jane, John and family left for Utah, Israel helped the Welsh Saints who took the train from Abergavenny and provided a moving account in his journal. He helped the Saints load onto the S. Curling at Liverpool. Elinor had gone a few weeks earlier and sailed on the Enoch Train. John and Jane Vaughan Lewis were likely on that train heading out from Abergavenny and who knows which Vaughans left behind were there to bid farewell: