From Rhandirmwyn to Pennsylvania
The story of Thomas D. Evans and his family
Thomas D. Evans was born in Gwernhirion, Rhandirmwyn on the 10th May 1864. He was the son of Daniel and Mary and brother to my great grandmother Sarah. His father Daniel worked for the Nantymwyn lead mine company as a miner. Thomas also went to work in the mine at a young age.
The 1881 census confirms this.
Gwernhirion (Foreground) Birth place of Thomas D Evans 1864
Thomas and his family remained in America for the rest of their lives eventually settling in 148 South Sherman Street, Wilkes-Barre.
There is no record of them ever returning to Wales, even on holiday. There were however other members of the family who lived in America one being a David Harris Evans (nephew), his sister, Margaret and for a time my great grandmother Sarah lived there but it is believed that she returned to Wales.
1918 was the worst year of Thomas’ life. On 12th October his daughter died and five weeks later his wife also died, both from pneumonia.
In 1921 Thomas went on a journey with his niece Margaret to Buffalo and Niagra Falls and it was from those places he sent postcards to his family who were then living in, ’Y Graig’, Cwm Rhaeadr, Cilycwm. He sent six postcards, one to each member of the family. This is the one he sent to my father.
On 5th May 1934 Thomas passed away and was buried along with his wife and child at the Mount Greenwood Cemetery, Trucksville, Pennsylvania.
In the local paper his obituary was recorded as follows:
‘Thomas D Evans 69 of 148 South Sherman Street, died in the general hospital on Saturday afternoon. Born in Wales Mr Evans came to this country 46 years ago. For long periods he was employed at the Red Ash Coal Company and Empire Colliery of Glen Alden Coal Company. He was a member of Fidelity Lodge of Masons, Loyal Order of Moose and the Odd Fellows. A niece, Margaret Evans and a nephew David Harris Evans of Camden, New Jersey survive’.
Extract from the Wilkes-Barre Record May 9th 1934
His funeral was conducted at the First Welsh Presbyterian Church, Wilkes-Barre. In 1997 I went to Wilkes-Barre and visited the church. It was built by Welsh miners and is a wooden construction on the outside, but once inside you are immediately, back, inside a traditional Welsh chapel. It was wonderful. The church records up until the turn of the last century were written in Welsh.
I later visited the Mount Greenwood Cemetery, Trucksville and stood at the side of the grave of Thomas D Evans and his wife and child. It was a poignant experience.