A Glamorgan Family History
Sarah (Bowen) Phillips cont.
1880s & 1890s:
The census of
1880 shows that the family had been increased by the addition of 2 American-born daughters:  Sarah Ann (named after her maternal grandmother) born July 1873 and Mary Ann, born February 1878.  This was perhaps a time of prosperity for the family with the 3 sons, now aged 19, 16 and 14 respectively, being recorded as miners alongside their father.

Unfortunately, it couldn't last.  The area suffered a
drought in 1882/3 and a diptheria epidemic in 1884/5.  At the end of 1884, the local post office was closed - with mail being directed to nearby Barclay.  By 1886, Carbon Run's peak had passed.  Having extracted the most accessible veins of coal, expenses began to increase, eventually affecting both the rates of pay and the number of days a week the mines could operate.  The harsh weather also played a part and although, after a period of depression, things improved for a while, when the severe winter of 1890 closed down mining operations, they were not restarted.
The new century:
Not surprisingly then, the census of
1900 finds that the family had relocated to 185 North Main Street, Clayville Borough in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.  This is modern day Punxsutawney - of Groundhog Day fame.  In fact, the family moved in 1885 and would have been recorded here on the American census of 1890 if that had not been destroyed by fire.  The 20 year gap since 1880 shows many changes.  The 1900 census is a very informative one, noting the month and year of everyone's birth as well as the family's immigration date of 1869.  It also reveals that Rees gained naturalisation in 1875 and records that Sarah is the mother of 10 children - 7 of whom are still living.  After including the birth of another daughter, Catherine, born in October 1881, and the probable death of first son, Thomas, this leaves 2 births unaccounted for.  Only one son, David remains unmarried and living at home, with his 4 sisters who are apparently all occupied with housework!  Eldest daughter, Margaret is curiously included in the family lineup, and like her siblings, is recorded as being single, but by this time she was actually a widow with 2 small children living in Chicago where she was also enumerated.  Even more strangely, her younger sister, Sarah was also enumerated both with Margaret and her children in Chicago and in Clayville.  Perhaps the family misunderstood the nature of the census.

Despite now being
64, Rees is still described as a miner.  He and Sarah are inaccurately recorded as having been married for 51 years rather than 41 years.  While all their children can read, write and speak English, Rees and Sarah can still do none of these things.  Eldest son, John is enumerated with his family next door at 184 North Main Street while William and his family are nearby at no. 201.  Rees and Sarah now have 3 young grand-daughters:  John's daughter, Sarah, born April, 1888 and William's daughters, Natalie, born December 1896 and Dorothy, born October 1899.  This is the last census on which Rees and Sarah are recorded.
Locating obituaries for Rees and Sarah with the kind assistance of the Punxsutawney Historical and Genealogical Society has helped to confirm many of the facts gleaned (and surmised) from censuses and other sources.  The obituary notices also provided some new information regarding the period of time the family lived at each address, their standing in their community and their faithful attendance at the local Methodist church.

Sarah died on
1st June 1901, probably at her home, from "a complication of diseases" - according to her brief obituary on 8th June 1901:
Mrs Reese Phillips: Mrs Sarah Phillips, wife of Reese Phillips of Lindsey, died last Saturday morning of a complication of diseases, aged 66 years, 1 month and 12 days.  She is a native of South Wales, and came to this country about 32 years ago.  She was formerly a resident of Scranton, but has now lived in Lindsey for the past sixteen years, where she was held in high esteem by all who knew her, being an excellent Christian woman.  She leaves a husband and family of adult children to mourn the loss of a devoted wife and mother.  Funeral services were held at her late home on Monday afternoon, Rev. W. O. Calhoun officiating, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Thomas.  Interment at Circle Hill Cemetery.
From information supplied by the Punxsutawney Historical and Genealogical Society, it appears that Clayville and Lindsey are the same place.

Rees was a widower for almost a year, before dying himself, at 6pm on 7th April 1902 after a brief illness of
erysipalas - a contagious streptoccal skin disease:
A Prominent Citizen of Clayville Dies of Erysipalas
Rees Phillips, a highly esteemed and substantial citizen of Clayville, died last
Monday evening, April 7, at 6 o'clock; after a brief illness of erysipalas, aged 66 years.  Funeral services to-day at 2 o'clock, Rev. W. O. Calhoun, officiating.  Interment at Circle Hill cemetery.
The deceased was born in Trebanos, Wales,
September 12, 1836. In 1858 he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Bowen.  They came to America in 1869, locating in Scranton, where they resided four years, after which they removed to Carbon Run, Bradford County, remaining there twelve years.  In 1885 the family came to Clayville, where they have resided ever since.
Mr. Phillips has a brother,
W. L. Phillips residing in Denver, and a sister, Mrs. Thomas W. Morgan, who lives at Coal Creek, Colorado.  He is also survived by seven children, three sons and four daughters.  They are, John and William, of Lindsey; David, of Pittsburg; Mrs Maggie Hughes, Chicago, and Sara, Mary and Katie at home.
Mr. Phillips was a member of the Methodist church and was an honourable and industrious man who enjoyed the respect of a large circle of aquaintances.
Although not mentioned in the above obituary, another of Rees' younger brothers, Daniel also emigrated to the USA, arriving with the above named, William in 1869.  Unlike William who moved to Colorado, Daniel settled with his Welsh born wife at Scranton, Pennsylvania and died sometime between the censuses of 1910 and 1920.  The Mrs. Thomas W. Morgan living in Colorado was Rees' younger sister, Hannah.
Thomas Phillips John Phillips William Phillips David Phillips
Margaret J. Hughes Sarah Ann Philips Mary Ann Phillips Catherine Phillips
name index
Copyright © 2006 Rina Callingham