A Glamorgan Family History
|Hannah (Bowen) Morgan
Hannah Bowen was the 4th of Henry and Sarah Bowen's 5 daughters and a grand-daughter of Rev. Roger Howell and his wife, Sarah (nee Price). She was born at Lletty'r crydd Farm, Rhyndwyclydach, in the Glamorgan Parish of Llangyfelach, on 10th September 1841. Like her sisters, she was probably christened by a visiting minister at Baran Chapel near their home on what is now the Baran mountain. She may well have attended the school that was begun by her grandfather, Roger at his home at Nantmoel Uchaf farm which appears to have served the local farming community. Through her father's family Hannah was also connected to the Bowen families living at Nantmoel Isaf and Llwyn Ifan farms.
In February 1851, just prior to the census of that year, Hannah's mother, Sarah died aged only 40 years of consumption (tuberculosis). It is likely that she had been ill for some time before her death and given the highly infectious nature of the disease, it is fortunate that no-one else in the family appears to have contracted it. Hannah was recorded on 1851 census as being 9 years old while her younger sister, Ann was only 4. Her oldest sister, Jane was enumerated in the nearby household of their mother's sister, Jane Jones of Llachartfawr farm. Following their mother's death, the bulk of the household tasks at Lletty'r crydd must have fallen to Hannah's 15 year old sister, Sarah and 12 year old sister, Rebecca. The 1850s continued to hold many changes for the Bowen family with the marriages of Hannah's 3 older sisters, so that towards the end of the decade only Hannah and Ann remained at home with their father, Henry.
On 12th November 1859, Hannah herself married Daniel Thomas Morgan of Brynhynydd Farm, Bettws at Christ Church, Garnant. Hannah was aged 18 and Daniel, described as a farmer, was 24. Daniel's older brother, John (a witness at the wedding) was already married to Hannah's older sister, Rebecca which is probably how the couple became acquainted. John and Daniel were the sons of David and Mary Morgan, whose farm was situated in the neighbouring, Carmarthenshire parish of Llandilofawr, just over the Bettws mountain from Llettyrcrydd.
In the 1861 census, it is now Hannah and her husband who occupy Lletty'r crydd, with Daniel being described as the head of the household and a farmer of 50 acres. The only other occupant of the farm is Hannah's 14 year old younger sister, Ann who is described as a servant. There is no mention of Lletty'r crydd's former tenant, Hannah's father, Henry. It was perhaps while they were living at Lletty'r crydd, that Hannah gave birth to her first 2 children who, according to Daniel's obituary in 1916, did not survive infancy.
By 1864, Hannah and Daniel had left Llettyrcrydd to move to Pant Brynhynydd, next door to Daniel's family at Brynhynydd. This is where their first surviving child, David (named after his paternal grandfather) was born in 1864. A daughter, Sarah Ann was born in 1867, followed by Mary in 1869. These girls were named after their maternal and paternal grandmothers respectively. It is likely that both Hannah's father, Henry and younger sister, Ann also lived at Brynhynnydd for a period of time, as this is where Henry died on 3rd November 1869. Like her sisters, Rebecca and Ann, Hannah was named an executrix of her father's will and was mentioned in 2 of his bequests:
"I give and bequeath to my Daughter Ann during her lifetime, the interest accruing and arising from one hundred pounds which I have invested on the Swansea Docks, and after her death the interest to be divided in equal shares between my Daughters Rebecca Morgan and Hannah Morgan and after their death, the said one hundred pounds to be divided together with the interest between my Grandchildren, namely the children of my Daughters Rebecca Morgan, and Hannah Morgan, and Sarah Phillips."
"Finally, I give and bequeath the sum of fifty pounds to be divided in equal shares between my Daughters Sarah Phillips, Rebecca Morgan, and Hannah Morgan, the said fifty pounds being now on interest in the following sums with William Evans, collier, Prospect Place, Cwmamman, Twenty pounds, with Howell Jones, Llachartfawr, in the parish of Llangyfelach, Twenty pounds, with Daniel Jones, Tresgyrchmawr, in the parish of Llangyfelach Five pounds, in the Swansea savings Bank, Five pounds."
The will was proved by Hannah's oath at Carmarthen the following year on 1st June and she and her sisters were granted leave to administer their father's bequests.
|Full transcript of Henry Bowen's will|
The 1871 Census at Brynhynydd records that, like his elder brother, John, Daniel now earns his living as a collier. This was a period when many men turned from working on the surface of the land to working below ground. Bettws and the neighbouring villages of Gwaun-cae-gurwen and Brynamman in the Parish of Llangiwg, were at the centre of the processes of industrialisation which had overtaken this region of South Wales. The major occupations of these once, mainly agriculural areas, were now the mining, iron and tin working industries. The operations of these industries had undergone rapid expansion supported by the local development of both roads and railways. As well as their young family of 3 children, Hannah and Daniel's household included a female servant and Hannah's sister, Ann who was recorded as a visitor. In the December Quarter of that year Hannah gave birth to a second son whom she named Henry Bowen Morgan in honour of her father.
While the processes of industrialisation had greatly increased the local population, Daniel chose this time to leave Wales and emigrate to America - perhaps with the assistance of his late father-in-law's bequest. Certainly, at this time, there were many advertisements in the Welsh press about the benefits to Welshmen of emigration to America. Many were lured by the promises of both rich farmland and plentiful industrial work such as mining. Hannah and Daniel also had a connection to America following her elder sister, Sarah's emigration to Lackawanna, Pennsylvania in 1869.
I now know that the family sailed for America from Liverpool, via Queenstown, on the ship Batavia - which had been launched for the Cunard Line on 1st February 1870. The Batavia, which was capable of a speed up to 12 knots, could carry 150 1st class and 800 3rd class passengers - which probably included the Morgan family. The ship's manifest records that infant, Henry was only 2 months old. It describes Daniel as a collier and records Hannah as "Annie". The family arrived at New York on 13th November 1871.
Daniel had already tried his hand at both farming and mining and from the evidence of future censuses and later, his obituary, was destined to continue doing so in order to support his family. According to his obituary notice, the family first arrived in Pennsylvania and stayed there for about a year. It's likely that Daniel worked as a miner during this time. They then moved west to Arvonia Township in Osage County, Kansas. In his "History of the State of Kansas" published in 1883, William G. Cutler describes Arvonia as
"... a thriving little town with a population of about 150. It is pleasantly situated on the level valley lands, south of the Marais des Cygnes River, and west of Coal Creek, on the south half of Section 16, Township 18, Range 14 east. It has three stores, one hotel, one blacksmith and wagon shop, a post-office, two churches and a schoolhouse."
One of the churches mentioned was of Welsh Congregational denomination and Daniel and his family became faithful members. The township had been founded in 1869, by Welsh settlers led by the journalist, John Mather Jones of Bangor, who edited and owned the American Welsh language newspaper, Y Drych from 1864.
It's not clear when William G. Cutler was writing about Arvonia, but in 1875 Kansas held a state census which records 118 families living in Arvonia - a good proportion of whom are of Welsh origin. The Morgan family, who lived on a farm, are number 26. There were however mixed reports about the quality of the farmland for sale and while some settlers were satisfied and sent home good reports, others found themselves paying high prices for land that yielded little.
This was perhaps why the family moved on after 4 years to Superior Township, Osage County, Kansas where Daniel again found work as a miner. Coal mining was an expanding industry in this part of Kansas thanks to the construction of the Acheson, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway which revolutionised transport in the state. The first mines were opened in the summer of 1870 by the Osage Carbon, Coal and Mining Company. Another company in operation was the Superior Coal Company. Superior Township itself no longer exists but has been absorbed into Osage City.