America Connection
This is the story of the Williams Family of Rhandirmwyn.  The main character is Morgan B. Williams who was born in Rhandirmwyn and later left these shores for pastures new.  
Initially Australia but later America where he eventually settled along with his bride from Rhandirmwyn, Catherine Armstrong Jones.  The fascinating story is told by William R. Williams a descendant of the Williams Family from Rhandirmwyn. He lives in Ohio, USA.  

We are grateful to William (Bill) for sharing the information with us.

Diolch yn Fawr Iawn.


MORGAN B. WILLIAMS, HOME TOWN BOY MAKES GOOD IN AMERICA would have made a good lead in to this article but it would not do justice to all of my Williams family, who were born, worked and lived in Llanfair-ar-bryn Parish before coming to America. They come to life for me as I attempt to share in their happiness and sorrow, success and failure, joy and pride of family, and their adventuresome spirit in leaving their beloved Wales to American Shores seeking a better life. They took their mining experience to Australia, Pennsylvania, Canada and New Mexico and plied their trades there. I am the product of a Welsh American father from Pennsylvania who came to Toledo, Ohio where he met and married a Welsh American girl making me a proud American appreciative of his Welsh Heritage.
The story begins with William Williams my namesake and Great Great Grandfather, born ca. 1801 not of the County, he ventured to Rhandirmwyn and secured a job as a lead miner in in the Township of Rhandir Abbot (Rhandirmwyn) where he wooed and married a local girl, Rachel James in the Llanfair-ar-Bryn Church by Banns on August 23,1828, by Vicar William Morgan. William signed and Rachel made her mark. Witnesses were Rich. Jones and Richard Morgan. William would rise to the position of supervising and clearing of lead ore at the Nantymwyn Mine. His children received their basic education in the Cilycwm school.  As Calvinistic Methodists his two eldest children. Morgan born September 17, 1831 and Mary born October 30, born October 30, 1833 were christened in the Cilycwm Meeting House.- Another son, Daniel December 8, 1835 was christened in the Salem Calvinistic Church.

By 1841(Census) family was residing at Pentwyn in Rhandir Abbot (Rhandirmwyn) with the following children, Morgan age 9, Mary age 7, Daniel 5, Catherine age 2, and William age 4 months(my Great Grandfather) Note there may have been another child who may have died in infancy some times after 1828. The last born was John in 1843. When in his early teens Morgan joined his dad working in the mine. His father was continually in ill health and died ca. 1847 and Morgan at age 16 assumed his father's position. Brothers Daniel and William would also join him in the mines to help support their widowed mother(an annuitant and farmer) and younger siblings.

Rachel remarried a William Theophilus and they had a son, Timothy born November 7, 1853. Her second husband, predeceased her prior to 1861. Timothy would work in the mine from ages 12 to 20.  In 1856 Morgan sailed to Australia in search of Gold.  He returned home in 1861 and in 1862 sailed for America. William would travel to Australia in 1864 and searched for gold in Ballarat. While there he wed Elizabeth Campbell from Glasgow, Scotland. Three children were born to them while there, Rachel 1865, Thomas 1867 and William (my grandfather) 1869. They would remain in Australia for nearly 10 years, returned home and sailed to America in 1874.

Morgan would marry a local girl Catherine, daughter of Joshua and Mary Armstrong Jones of Rhandirmwyn. Timothy Theophilus would come to America in 1873 joining family in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  He briefly returned to Wales in 1878 and married Sarah, daughter of Morgan and Sarah William Williams.  As to the remaining Williams, Mary would wed a Richard Davies, miner, and have 3 children, Miriam b. 1861, Elizabeth 1865 and Rachel. When Richard died family lived next door to Rachel at Pentwyn.  By 1881 Miriam was living with Grandmother, Rachel Theophilus. They would come to America ca. 1882. Mary would later wed a Lewis and would remain in Wales.. She was still living in 1904 and that’s the last known of her. Catherine wed David B. Thomas, they had two sons, John R. Thomas and D. V. Thomas. She too came to America and as a widow married a David W. Evans originally from Wales.  Daniel also made his way to Wilkes-Barre. Little is known about John after 1861 when he was listed as age 18 and a miners son. No details whether he emigrated and he is not listed in his mothers obituary in 1887. Some of the James may have emigrated too but have no proof of this.
My next article will be on the Williams’ in America along with Obituaries to follow which will provide extensive information on William and Morgan( with a sketch) who rose to great success in America.  Morgan started as a coal miner, became a mine owner along with interests in a Canadian graphite mine. He was active in the Welsh Presbyterian Church (contributed $5000 for its rebuilding.) He was fond of music, had a good singing voice and was a member of the Heights Glee Club as a young man .He was involved in all aspects of community life and government and would go on to serve in the Pennsylvania State Senate and the US House of Representatives. Legend has it that when relatives in Wales heard that he was running for office, one commented  “that he was too fat to run”. While a Congressman he championed the bill providing that coal companies pay every two weeks and also supported the bill for the abolishment of company stores. His biography by H.C. Bradby, 1893 concludes with, “Mr. Williams has become one of the most successful and influential Welshmen in the State of Pennsylvania.”

My Great Grandfather  William. J. P. Williams, was the adventurous one who took his family from Australia, to Pennsylvania to Oklahoma where he had a cattle ranch and was superintendant of a New Mexico coal mine and back to Pennsylvania. He became superintendant of The Williams Coal Co. of Pottsville (Morgan's Co) and then became supervisor of a Graphite mine in Canada (also Morgans) and back again to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  During the Great Coal Strike of 1876 he was president of the Wilkes-Barre Miners Association.  He would own his own butcher shop, contracted for delivery of mine explosives and was a mining contractor.  When on such a contract, sinking slopes etc and giving instructions to his men he was killed when a large piece of rock fell from the roof of the mine in 1904. Hopefully with all of these names connected to Rhandirmwyn new connections might arise.... Perhaps some of the older lifetime residents of Rhandirmyn can make these connections.  

Part two will cover the Williams in America. Alun, I probably will never visit Wales but have a sense of satisfaction that these writings help bring the Williams back to Rhandirmwyn.  

William R. Williams  (R. for Rowland), the maiden name of my Paternal Grandmother from North Wales).

 Rachel (James) Williams Theophilus lived out the last five years of her life in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania with daughter, Catherine and her second husband, David W. Evans a mine foreman for 22 years with the Susquehanna Coal Co. Rachel died August 28, 1887. Like other family members she was interred in Hollenback Cemetery and her services held at the Welsh Presbyterian Church.  Daughter, Catherine died at the age of 66 in 1903, survived by sons, John R. Thomas and councilman, D. V. Thomas.  Miriam Davies, Rachel's granddaughter would marry Wm. J. Davies, have 3 children, Mary, Emily and Miriam. She would die at age 38 in 1900 in child birth.  Morgan died in 1903 and William followed in 1904. Morgan’s brother Daniel was a builder and contractor in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Their half brother Timothy Theophillus was a tunnel contractor and served several terms as a Councilman at Large.  He returned to Wales, married a girl from Rhandirmwyn and returned to America.  

Morgan B. Williams the eldest son would rise from coal miner, to mine owner, community leader, State Senator and US Congressman.  His first wife was, Catherine, daughter of Joshua and Mary Armstrong Jones of Rhandirmwyn and they had three children, Mary (Mrs. T.H. Griffiths), Rachel (Mrs. J.H. Williams of Scranton) and Benjamin F. his second wife was Mrs. Mary Edwards Davies by which he had one son, William. The attached Obituary is extensive in lauding his accomplishments.

Morgan's younger brother, Wm. J.P. Williams first three children (Thomas, Rachel and William) were born in Australia.  He would return to New Mexico, Oklahoma territories several times, sons Daniel was born in Pennsylvania and Morgan in New Mexico.  While in New Mexico, daughter Rachel, a schoolteacher would marry Ed. Edleman, a sheriff, remain there when family returned to Pennsylvania and died in 1902.  William lost his life in a mine cave-in, in (1904).   His obituary is also extensive. His widow Elizabeth Campbell Williams (Great Grandmother) died ca, 1924.  Little is known about sons Morgan and Thomas who was once a member of the Mine Examining Board.  

His son William P (b.1869). was my grandfather, who in his youth was a bronco buster and scout in Oklahoma Territory before family returned to Pennsylvania.  He served aboard a Battleship, ‘The USS Indiana’ during the Spanish American War in gunnery and was decorated for his gallantry during the Battle of Santiago Bay. (Ironically some fifty years later I would serve aboard the Battleship, ‘USS Wisconsin’ during the Korean War.)  Upon discharge he met my grandmother Ellen Rowland (b.1877) who came from North Wales at age 10.  He worked for his father and carried explosives to the mines by horse drawn cart.  While they were courting he actually took her with him on one of these deliveries.  Needless to say, grandma was a very gritty lady.

The family moved from Wilkes-Barre to Kingston. (Regrettably a great flood destroyed all of their photographs). They had three children: William, (b.1900) Sydney b.1902 (my father) and Ellen.(b. 1916). In the early 1920s Dad came to Ohio and started a delicatessen in a large Toledo department store and served as manager. One day, William J. Hughes, a carpenter, came to his counter and they discovered their mutual Welsh heritage.  Mr. Hughes family came from Penderyn and his wife.Ursula Morgan's family came from Glamorganshire in 1872. to Jackson County, Ohio. He still read his Welsh Bible. Pops was invited to church (Methodist) and Sunday dinner.  It is noteworthy to mention that my grandfather had 6 daughters, two of whom were of marrying age. Father wed my mother, Anna Hughes (b.1906) in 1928 (Toledo, Ohio). My uncle Bill (b.1900, a plumber) and his wife Martha had one child, Margaret. who married, Raymond Dukinas.   Uncle Bill died in1977. Aunt Ellen (b.1916) wed William Nast of Kingston, had three sons: William and twins Richard and Robert.  

Aunt Ellen as the last living member of my dad's family shared my interest in a family tree and greatly assisted me in my searches, died in 2003.  My mother died in 1970 (age 64) and dad in 1978. (age 76) . Grandparents, Wm. Died in 1945 at age 76. Grandmother Ellen at age 94 in 1971. Grandfather Hughes went to his rest at age 91 in 1962.  However I sense that I may have helped the Williams family come full circle in the in the last two centuries and come home again to Wales (“We will keep a welcome in the hillside”) .I continue to search for more relatives in Wales and Pennsylvania. GG grandfather William reportedly died in March 1847 but I have had little luck in finding a death certificate or his place of internment. He was not born of the County and finding his place of birth could reveal his parents.  Also interested in finding out what happened to Mary and John (Williams) and seek information on the James Family to add another chapter.

Regards..... William R. Williams(Bill)

Dear readers please accept my apologies for anyone I may have omitted for as the Tree grows its becomes more difficult to keep up with all of the additions.

Any information please leave on our guestbook page or contact us via e.mail and we will pass on any information to William (Bill) Williams.