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David Williams

Born in the Parish of Llanfor, prob. 1804.

Information from 1861,1871 Census.

§ Information from Hanes Methodistiaeth Dwyrain Meirionyid.

In 1861, at the time of the Census, David Williams was 57, and I found him again aged 67 in the 1871 Census. He died in 1872.§

Margaret Williams, born in the Parish of Llanfor, prob. 1805. She was 56 in April 1861. She was not named in 1871.

In 1861, David and Margaret Williams were living at Gelli ?. (Gron, Green, Gaer). In 1871, the family was living in Rhiwaedog.

(A letter from Gwyneth Wexler, 2nd Oct 1986, says "Margaret Williams at Rhiwaedog was 56 in April 1861, according to the Census, ...". It implies that she appeared in a census return for Rhiwaedog, but that doesn't agree with several other hints, and I think it may be a mistake.)

§"Ond yn 1856, daethai David Williams i fyw i'r Gelli Green ar ol ei droi o'i dyddyn yn Coedmynach, gerllaw Capel Celyn. Symudodd cyn diwedd ei oes i ffarm fawr Rhiwaedog. Bu farw ar y 7 fed o Fai, 1873, yn 69 mlwydd oed."§ p 104.

§"Wedi marwolaeth David Williams, Rhiwaedog, yn mis Mai, 1872 §" p.107

According to the census information, he would have been 69 in late 1872/early 1873.

There were six children listed in 1861, and three still with the family at Rhiwaedog in 1871.

A note with the census entry states that all the family, parents as well as children, were born in the parish of Llanfor.

Information from Hafina Clwyd in a letter to Gwyneth Wexler dated December 12 1994:

The archivist at Dolgellau ((Einion Thomas) sent me a photocopy of pages from Llwyneinion chapel records regarding David Williams. This is a translation:

"As we look back at the history of the chapel we see that the Lord looked after us in a special way. As one star disappeared behind a cloud another one was soon seen shining in the firmament. When David Jones, Ty Ucha, left, another came to fill the space. I refer to David Williams, Gelligrin. He came to this area in 1856. He came when he was badly needed. His coming could be called providential. Before he came he farmed a smallholding by the name of Coed y Mynach near Capel Celyn. He had been a member and a deacon there for many years. Before his move he was a Guardian of the Poor for part of Llanfor parish. The Guardians were called upon to elect relieving officers for Penllyn. At the time the dark shadow of the 'ballot' did not exist. The instrument of force in the elections at that time was 'the screw'. But 'the screw' failed to break David Williams. As a reward for his independence and his willpower he was turned from his home. Providence ensured another home for him and his move turned out to be to his advantage. He had the privilege of serving his Lord in his vineyard at Llwyneinion until the day he died. He had started his religious career at Cwmtirmynach and he often spoke about the old members at Glanrafon chapel. He started farming first of all on a small farm called Gorseddau. He moved a number of times during his lifetime and each move was an advantageous one. He had no educational advantages at all, he taught himself to write a little. He felt this disadvantage for the rest of his life. When the 'reading meetings' were started at Rhosygwalia it was obvious that he was reluctant to join the intelligent young men who came to his class and he therefore made a special effort to prepare and study the lessons. This made a great difference in his life and he became a better Sunday School teacher. He himself admitted that he gained a great deal from teaching such bright young people, all of them thirsting for knowledge. In 1869 he moved to Rhiwaedog from Gelligrin and this meant much more work and responsibility and this could have caused him to neglect his religious duties. But that did not happen in David Williams' case. He attended the weekly meetings through thick and thin. He took charge of the Monthly Meetings (Cyfarfodydd Misol) faithfully. One of his main characteristics was that he was not afraid. When the bitter truth needed saying he said it without fear. He treated the young people in a homely and bucolic fashion. "Have thee a verse today Dafydd?" "What did you see in that sort of verse?" Some of the sanctimonious ones were offended by his direct ways but most people looked upon him as a typical old-fashioned type. Another characteristic was his willingness to take charge of the monthly meetings. He gave full details of the collection to the congregation as if it was an Act of Parliament. Not only did he encourage everybody to contribute but he also contributed generously himself - more generously than any of the other members in fact. He often gave more than he could afford. He was blessed by happiness and his family are also blessed. But in the midst of his usefulness he started suffering from serious bouts of indigestion caused by a form of cancer of the stomach. He put up a brave fight and attended the chapel meetings in great pain. Despite the care of his family and good doctors he lost the battle. He suffered much pain and on the 7th day of May 1872 his suffering ended and he entered the "country where disease is unknown". He was 69. He had been a deacon for 32 years, 16 of them in Llwyneinion. He was buried in Llanfor churchyard. The verse on his mourning card was "I fought the good fight".

In the next grave to him in Llanfor are his parents - John and Anne Williams, Garn, and their son William, who died 26 October 1842 aged 30. John Williams died 19 May 1858 aged 81 and his wife Anne died 14 June 1858 aged 78. John was the son of Ellis William (1751-1815) but I have not traced Anne or the marriage. I may have told you all this before but ... just in case, John and Anne Williams had at least 9 children:

  1. DAVID (1804-72) Our ancestor
  2. WILLIAM (1812-42)
  3. EDWARD Married Catherine and had Ann (1860) John (1861)
  4. ELLIS His descendants farmed at Berthlafar, Rhos y Gwalia
  7. ANN (1815) Married Edward Jones, Maes y Dail. Had William (1840) Ann (1843) John (1846) Anthony (1851) Edward (1854)
  8. JANE
  9. GRACE Married Owen Roberts, Maes y Fedw.

From a letter (late 1986/early 1987) from Gwyneth Wexler to Mary Kerfoot:

In 1848, when the family of David and Margaret Williams were still at Coedymynach, an old lady there died aged 90. Her name was Elizabeth Jones, and she may have been the mother of Mrs David Williams. They were still there five years later when Grace was born. She was much younger than the others, with a gap of ten years between her and Samuel, the next youngest.

They moved to Gelli Green in 1857, when Grace would have been 4, and all the others teen-agers or older. Elizabeth, born in 1829, was the eldest girl and she had already married and left home by the time Grace was born. Descended from the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter, Hafina Clwyd is a whole generation ahead of those of us who are descended from the youngest daughter. Elinor (spelt Eleanor, or Ellin) stayed at home, and of the four boys only William appears to have left home.

In 1864 at Gelli Grin, David, the second son, died aged 24. He was buried on August 29th. Eight days later, his mother was buried. Grace was 11 at the time. I wonder what happened. Diphtheria perhaps. Can you recall any mention of it within the family? I think you said you had photographs of the gravestones of David and Margaret Williams. Was there any clue there? I would like a copy of these photographs some time if you ever have them to spare. Hafina says that David Williams, Samuel Williams and John Williams (sons) are also buried there, but that comes from the Parish Register and I am not sure whether there were stones for them.

So Margaret Williams never reached Rhiwaedog. The family moved there some time between 1864 and 1871. At the time of the 1871 census, the people at Rhiwaedog were David Williams and his sons John<44) and Samuel (24), Ellin (37) and Jane Evans(13) grand-daughter, who must have been the daughter of Ann and Humphrey Evans, b. 1858. Grace, who would have been nearly 18, was not at Rhiwaedog, nor was William who would have been 28. Ten years later, Grace (27) was at Rhydonen Ucha with Samuel(34). I have not looked for Rhydonen in the 1871 census. Could it be that Grace and William were there then? Or were they at some farm nearer home? Or hired out to work somewhere? What became of William? Did he stay with the land, or did he become a shopkeeper or learn a trade or something?

Of the four sons, not one was married until after David Williams died, and then some time after that, John the eldest married Elizabeth Davies, daughter of John Davies, crudd, Llwyneinion. They had no children. [ Is "crudd" the same as "crydd", "shoemaker"? ]

(This refers to information received from Grace in a letter in 1978. Copy attached)

Of the daughters, there is no information about Jane. She was born in 1836, but is not included in the 1841 census, or in any others. Perhaps she died when she was quite small. Elizabeth married Evan Hughes, Ann married Humphrey Evans and Elinor married Thomas Lloyd, while Grace became Mrs Jones. So there was no brother David Williams left, and no David Williams among Grace's nephews. The problem now is how does Davy Williams Cymdu - Dei Crudd - fit in? I knew the name, but I don't think I ever saw him. One of Ann's daughters married a Williams, but there is no David listed among children. Two of Ann's grand daughters married Williamses, and their children may not all be listed on the chart. There may be a clue here, or there may have been Williams cousins in the Bala area, and D.Williams Cymdu might have been one of these.

Since her other sisters were all more than 20 years older than Grace, they would have been over 80 by 1914, and it could have been one of their daughters who was at the Central Cafe. With the big age difference, it would not be surprising if Grace knew her nieces better than she knew her sisters. Another version (which comes to the same thing perhaps) which Grace told me last summer, was that the Central Cafe was run by a sister, and the mother lived with her. It was obviously not Grace's mother, but it could still be Ann and a daughter. It should be possible to find the name of the proprietor of the Central Cafe at the time in Kelly's Directory.

More facts

Information from

David Williams was born in parish of Llanfor[C] possibly at Coedmynach[HC] in 1804. David Williams was active with the Methodists, (blaenor at Capel Celyn in 1841 aged 37 and later at Llwyneinion in 1857-72). [HMDM] He died 7th May 1872, and his will(H)(does that mean [HC]?) dated 13th April 1872 leaves £150 to Samuel, £100 to Grace, and £20 each to Elizabeth Hughes, Anne Evans and William Williams and everything else to John and Eleanor, who were to "afford a house or lodging to Samuel and Grace whenever they wished to stay with them." The amount involved was less than £600.

Margaret Jones was born in the parish of Llanfor([C] in 1806 and died early September 1864 aged 60[HC].

David Williams and Margaret Jones were married on 22nd October 1825 in parish of Llanfor. They were living at Coedymynach in 1841 and 1851[C], and moved to Gelli Grin in 1857 and then to Rhiwaedog about 1866.

They had nine children,

  1. John, 1826-98, m. Elizabeth, daughter of John Davies, crudd (shoemaker), of Llwyneinion, rather late in life (44+), and moved to live at Maeshir after his father died in 1872. They had no children. Blaenor at Llwyneinion 1874 till he retired to live in Bala.
  2. Elizabeth, 1829-76, m. Evan Hughes, Cwmhwylfod, Cefnddwysarn. [HC] 7 children.
  3. Ann, 1831-?, m. Humphrey Evans [HC] two daughters. One sister is said to have kept the Central Cafe in Oswestry with her daughter during the first World War. Very unlikely - Elizabeth d.1876 and Anne would have been 83 in 1914. More likely, daughter of a sister was meant. Elizabeth's Margaret or Annie or Elinor or Anne's Jane or Margaret. The name however was Minnie "short" for Miriam. [G]
  4. Elinor, 1833-?, m. Thomas Lloyd after her father's death in 1872.
  5. Jane, 1836-? No information [HC] Not in 1851 or any later Census list and may have died as a small child..
  6. David, 1840-64 aged 24.
  7. William, 1842-87
  8. Samuel, 1845-83 aged 37
  9. Grace, b. 9th June 1853, m. David Jones 26th Oct 1883 died 22nd January 1911.

The Children of David and Margaret Williams Rhiwaedog

as received from Hafina Clwyd, October 1986.

  1. JOHN [1826-1898] m.Elizabeth Davies, daughter of John Davies, crudd, Llwyneinion, in 1872 or later. No children.
  2. Elizabeth [1829-1876] m. Evan Hughes, Cwmhwylfod, Cefnddwysarn, son of Robert Hughes/Mary (née Evans), of Gelli Isa. Moved to Bryneglwys (Ty Helyg) in 1869. Seven children
  3. Ann [1831-?] m Humphrey Evans, Penbryn Fawr, Capel Celyn. Moved to Tan Llan, Clocaenog, Ruthin. Two daughters
  4. Elinor [1833-?] m. Thomas Lloyd, 1872 or later. Hafodwen, Llanarmon DC. No children,
  5. Jane [1836-?] No information
  6. David [1840-64] unmarried
  7. William [1842-83] unmarried
  8. Samuel [1843-83] unmarried
  9. Grace [1853-1911]