A Glamorgan Family History
|Sarah (Morgan) Zankert
Sarah Ann Morgan was born in May 1866, probably at Pant Brynhynydd Farm, Bettws, in the Carmarthenshire Parish of Llandilofawr. She was the eldest, surviving daughter of Daniel and Hannah Morgan, who also had a son, David Benjamin, born nearly 2 years earlier on 18th August 1864. Daniel Morgan was a son of David and Mary (nee Griffiths) Morgan of Brynhynydd farm, Bettws and his wife, Hannah was the daughter of Henry and Sarah (nee Howell) Bowen of Lletty'r crydd farm in the Rhyndwyclydach parcel of Llangyfelach, Glamorgan. The couple had previously suffered the deaths of 2 older children - who died in infancy - whilst they were living at Llettyrcrydd, in the early years of their marriage.
When Sarah's parents, Daniel and Hannah moved to Pant Brynhynydd, its likely (from later evidence) that Hannah's widower father, Henry also moved with them, along with his youngest daughter, Ann. With Daniel's parents living next door at Brynhynydd, Sarah would have been lucky enough to spend the early years of her life in close proximity to her 3 living grandparents. In September 1869 Hannah gave birth to another daughter, Mary. 2 months later, on 3rd November 1869, grandfather, Henry died at Pant Brynhynydd leaving bequests in his will to his 4 surviving daughters.
Sarah is first recorded on the Welsh census of 1871, at the age of 4, at Pant Brynhynydd. Although originally a farmer, her father, Daniel is now recorded as a collier. This was by now a common occurance in the Amman Valley where the coal and metal industries had become the major employers in what were once mainly agricultural communities. At the end of 1871, a 4th child, Henry Bowen (named after his grandfather) was born just prior to the family's planned emigration to Pennsylvania, USA. Although aged only 5 years, Sarah would surely have been aware of the family and way of life that was being left behind in Wales. She would also later have had some memories of the family's long journey via Liverpool on the ship Batavia to Queenstown and then New York, where they arrived to begin their new life on 13th November 1871.
Although many Welsh families who emigrated to America chose the mining towns of Pennsylvania as their destination, the young Morgan family also had some family connections in the state. Hannah's older sister, Sarah had emigrated to Lackawanna County with her husband, Rees Phillips 2 years previously in 1869. Possibly, the 2 families made contact with each other during the year that the Morgans lived in Pennsylvania before moving west to the Welsh, farming settlement of Arvonia in Osage County, Kansas. In Arvonia - where they remained for 4 years - the family lived on a farm and Sarah and her siblings would have attended the new, hilltop school built in 1872 to replace the school held in a private house. Like so many other early schools in Kansas, this was a one room structure, which remains standing today, providing an insight into the early days of pioneer education. The family were enumerated at Arvonia in the 1875 Kansas State census.
By the time Sarah's family were next enumerated - in the federal American census of 1880 - they had moved yet again. Daniel had once more reverted to mining in order to support his family and they were now recorded in Superior Township in Osage County. Thanks to the proximity and patronage of the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad, this township was at the centre of the expanding coal industry in Kansas. The census records that 13 year old Sarah and her 10 year old sister, Mary were both at school while their youngest brother, Henry, aged 9 apparently wasn't. Elder brother, David was now a labourer and their mother, Hannah presumably kept house. This was the last census that showed all the family together.
In 1888, when she was about 22, Sarah married Edward H. Fawcett, a baker from Washington D.C. who was 7 years her senior. Edward was the American born son of English parents, Thomas Fawcett, a stone mason and his wife, Isabella. At some point, after their marriage, Sarah and Edward moved to San Francisco, California. The death of Sarah's mother at the relatively early age of 51 in 1892, followed by her father's almost immediate remarriage, may have made it easier for Sarah to move so far away. Sarah's sister, Mary also married in 1888 and eventually moved from Kansas to New Mexico.
|1890s - new century:
Because the American census of 1890 was largely destroyed by fire, it is difficult to know when Sarah and Edward went to California or if they lived anywhere else in between. They had definitely left Kansas by the time of the state census of 1895 and the federal census of 1900 records them at 631 Stevenson Street, San Francisco. Thanks to the assistance of the California Genealogical Society, I now know that Edward was recorded as a machinist, working at the Alarm Bell & Novelty Co. in the 1895 San Francisco City Directory. As directory listings are gathered from the preceding year's data, this suggests he and Sarah arrived in the city in 1894. Their address was given as 506 Natoma, which was located in the liquifaction prone area of the old Mission Bay marshland of the city. They remained here, (being also recorded at 606 Natoma) for the next 4 years, during which time Edward apparently reverted to being a baker again before being listed as a bartender at Bon Brothers in 1898. Just prior to the new century in 1899 they were recorded living at 632 1/2 Stevenson Street and Edward was again described as a baker.
Stevenson Street was located just off Market Street, the central, principal thoroughfare of San Francisco at the time. An historical report, carried out by the U.S. Southeast Archeological Centre describes Stevenson street as a "narrow residential alley" with several, often neglected, wooden dwellings. The following year's census of 1900 finds them nearby at 631 Stevenson Street. As well as telling us that Sarah and Edward have been married for 12 years, this census reveals that Sarah has never had any children. Edward was recorded as being a baker, but no occupation was recorded for Sarah - suggesting that she was,at that time, a housewife. In 1900 the couple have a visitor enumerated in their household - 11 year old Bessie McCrea who is described as a niece by marriage in relation to Edward as head of the household. Bessie is in fact the daughter of Sarah's younger sister, Mary who was living with her husband, John McCrea in Albuquerque City, New Mexico. Despite her presence in California, Bessie was also enumerated with her parents in New Mexico.
The City Directory of 1901 has 2 separate entries for Sarah and her husband who were by then, living at 629 Stevenson Street. While Edward is recorded as a cook, Sarah is described as a dressmaker. 2 years later in February 1903, there is an entry in the San Francisco Telephone Directory for Mrs. E. H. Fawcett, residing at 629 Stevenson Street. Her telephone number is Folsom 3284. The entry does not mention Edward which initially raises the suspicion that he may be dead.