|Rachel (Bevan) Walters
|Early life||1850s & 60s||1870s||1880s||1890s|
Rachel Bevan was apparently the 4th surviving child of Evan and Ann (nee Howell) Bevan of Nant-y-gaseg isaf farm, Cwmgors. She was born circa 1834 into a household that was well known in their community, with both her parents coming from long established local families. At the time of her birth Rachel had at least 3 older siblings: Llewelyn (born 1823), Ann (born 1831) and Roger - who was the nearest in age being only about a year older. At the age of 7, Roger was left deaf and dumb after contracting the highly infectious condition, scarlet fever.
Rachel is first recorded in the 1841 census when she was 8 years old. By this time she also had a younger sister, Sarah born circa 1840. In 1845 Rachel's mother, Ann died at the age of only 40. After her elder sister, Ann married on Christmas Eve 1847, it's likely that Rachel, by then about 13, would have taken on the role of housekeeper until her father remarried on 20th June 1848 to his brother, William's widow, Mary Bevan (nee Jones) of Twyllygwiddil.
|1850s & 1860s:
In the next census of 1851, Rachel is enumerated at Nant-y-gaseg with her father; step-mother; brother, Roger and youngest sister, Sarah. The following year, in 1852, her father was elected as an Overseer of the Poor for the hamlets of Caegurwen and Blaenegel. 3 years later, in 1855, Evan placed an advertisement for the sale of their farm, Nant-y-gaseg in the Cambrian newspaper - probably because he didn't envisage either of his sons being in a position to take over from him. It's not known if the farm was sold at this time and if so, where the family went to live until Evan's death on 30th September 1857.
On 5th February 1859 Rachel married a carpenter, Morgan Walters at the parish church of Clydach St. John's. Morgan was the son of miller, Jacob Walters and his wife Elizabeth of Melingwm, Rhyndwyclydach. The Walters family had lived at Melingwm since the mid 1780s and had been recorded as members of both Gellionen and Baran chapels. By the next census of 1861, the couple were living with their 2 year old son, Evan at Cwmnanthir, in the Caegurwen parcel of Llangiwg at the next schedule (also called Cwmnanthir) to farmer, John Hopkin and his wife, Mallt. Mallt Hopkin (nee Bevan) was in fact Rachel's paternal aunt, who does not appear to have had any children of her own. In the previous censuses of 1841 & 1851, Mallt and John had shared their home with a young girl, Mallt Bevan (born circa 1832), who may have been an older sister of Rachel's. At the time of the 1861 census, Rachel was expecting her 2nd child, Jacob who was born around June of that year. This little boy died when he was 2½, on New Year's Eve 1863 and was buried at Baran chapel's cemetery. Another son, John was born circa 1864, followed by their first (and apparently only), daughter, Matilda at the end of 1865. A 2nd son to be given the name Jacob was born in 1868 and another son, Thomas arrived in 1870.
Mallt Hopkin's husband, John died on 3rd May 1869 and in the following census of 1871, Rachel and Morgan and their 5 children were enumerated living with the now widowed, Mallt at Cwmnanthir. They are described as being Mallt's niece and nephew. The following year, on May 17th, Mallt died, aged 81 and was buried with John at Baran chapel's cemetery. I cannot, as yet, find a will attributed to either John or Mallt. Despite Mallt having no children of her own, Rachel and Morgan don't appear to have inherited Cwmnanthir, as some time before the next census they had apparently moved to Llwyn yr Rhidie, Cwmgors which lies south west of Cwmnanthir.
In January 1873, Rachel gave birth to another son, Llewelyn who died 13 months later on 10th February 1874. He was buried with his brother, Jacob. A 7th son, William was born circa 1876, followed by their youngest child, Morgan Llewelyn in 1877, when Rachel was about 43.
The census of 1881 finds Rachel and Morgan and their 5 youngest children living at Llwyn yr Rhidie, Cwmgors. Their 2 eldest sons are lodging away from home. 21 year old, Evan, a carpenter like his father, is enumerated in the nearby parish of Cilybebyll, in the household of labourer, David Howell. Son John, now 17 and a miner is lodging with the family of labourer, Jonah Daniel at Rhyndwyclydach. At home in Cwmgors, Matilda is employed as general servant and 13 year old Jacob is a miner. The 3 youngest boys are still at school. 2 years later, on 29th April 1883, tragedy struck the family again when Rachel and Morgan's youngest son, Morgan died aged 6. He was laid to rest with his 2 brothers on the Baran mountain.
Their first grandchild, Morgan Evan, son of their eldest son, Evan was apparently born in the June Quarter of 1884. Evan married Mary Davies in the March Quarter of 1886 and soon afterwards emigrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania where his 2nd child, Edith was born on 9th May 1887. 2 more children, Matilda (16th April 1888) and Daniel (1890) were also born in Scranton. Evan was listed as a carpenter, living at 1224 Eynon in the Scranton directory of 1890. By the U.K. census of 1891 however, Evan and his family had returned to Wales and were living at Thomas Street, Pontardawe. They later returned to live in Cwmgors. It is possible that Evan's brother, John also emigrated at this time as he cannot be found on the U.K. censuses of 1891 or 1901. However, I haven't definitely identified him in any American census.
By 1891 Rachel and Morgan's address is Red Gate Terrace, Cwmgors. This may be the name given to the part of Llwyn yr Rhidie (which was originally farmland) where they had been living previously, following development of the area. Morgan is described as a builder and he and Rachel's 2 remaining sons at home, Thomas and William are recorded as following in their father's original trade of carpentry. Daughter, Matilda, a house maid, is also still at home and the family lineup is completed by Rachel's disabled, older brother, Roger (who is possibly labouring for Morgan) and the couple's 11 year old, American born, grand-daughter, Edith.
This census was taken on the night of the 5th April 1891, 1 month later on 5th May, Rachel died, aged 56. Morgan died just over 2 years later on 13th May 1893. They are buried together at Baran chapel cemetery in a grave next to their deceased sons, Jacob, Llewelyn and Morgan. Later that year, their son, Thomas married a Mary Ann Rees of Llangiwg and their daughter, Matilda married William Morris of Gwauncaegurwen. William was the brother of Ann Morris who was married to Matilda's 2nd cousin, Daniel Morgan. Daniel was a great-grandson of Rev. Roger Howell through Roger's daughter, Sarah Bowen, who was a sister of Matilda's maternal grandmother, Ann Bevan.
Rachel and Morgan's son, Jacob possibly married Cardiff born, Annie Catherine Rees in 1897 and (if so) is enumerated as a grocer in Cardiff in 1901. Finally, their son, William married Margaret Morgan of Quarter Bach in 1900 and is enumerated in Willesdon, London in 1901. At some point before the next census, Rachel's brother, Roger went to live with their elder sister, Ann Davies (the widow of Rev. John Davies) in Bettws.