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Roberts, Hugh - Biography

HISTORY OF HUGH AND MARY OWENS ROBERTS AND FAMILY

HISTORY OF HUGH AND MARY OWENS ROBERTS AND FAMILY

 

Hugh Roberts was born on a farm called ‘Bryn Ucha’, located in the hills or on a small mountain about midway between Eglwysbach and Llanrwst in Denbighshire, North Wales, the 12th of February, 1803.  His father, Robert Roberts, a very tender, kind-hearted man, was the son of Owen Roberts and Catherine Thomas.  He owned ‘Bryn Ucha’ Farm and was considered a prosperous farmer.  ‘Bryn Uchameans highest hill or hilltop.  The farm produced wheat, oats, barley and flax as did most farms in that vicinity.  Flax was raised to make linen.  They also raised cattle, sheep, hogs and fowl of all kinds.  The Roberts’ were related to most of the farmers in that neighborhood.  The farm home at ‘Bryn Ucha’ was built on the hillside by a beautiful spring of water. 

Nothing is known of Owen and Catherine Thomas Roberts, Hugh’s grandparents, or of their families.  It is presumed that ‘Bryn Ucha’ Farm had belonged to them and their ancestors for generations and had descended to Robert by natural succession of ownership, from father to son as was the custom there.  Nothing is known of their children except Robert, the father of Hugh.

Hugh’s mother was Jane Jones, a rather proud aristocratic woman.  She was the daughter of Thomas Jones and Jane Jones.  (Jane Jones’ maiden name is unknown.)  Mrs. Jane Jones was Thomas Jones’ second wife.  His first wife was Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, who was a rather delicate woman who did not live very long after their marriage.  After their marriage, Thomas and Jane Jones lived at the ‘Craig’, the home of her mother who was a widow.  Hugh was one of a family of six children:  ELIZABETH, OWEN, HUGH, JANE, MARY and JOHN, all of whom were born and reared at ‘Bryn Ucha’ Farm.

In his boyhood Hugh broke one of his arms twice and also had both legs broken, which caused him to limp.  Because of this condition he was considered unfit for farm work, which was done by hand in those days and required sturdy bone strength.  Hugh was therefore apprenticed to a shoemaker and learned that trade which was considered most suitable for him.  He learned his trade at a shoe shop in Llanrwst.  During that period he lived, most of the time, at the home of Dr. Tittle who was a friend of the family. 

At Llanrwst he met his future wife.  Soon after learning his trade he married Mary Owens, a servant girl, contrary to the wish of his parents, especially his mother.  They did not think Mary equal in station with him.   However, it was truly a love match.  They were very devoted to each other and faithful throughout their long lives together.  When Mary married Hugh she had many household items saved up including furniture and a large clock that stood on the floor.  All these had been bought from her savings.  Her father, Thomas Owens, was not favorable to her marriage because he considered Hugh too religious.

Mary Owens was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Morris Owens.  Her parents separated, each marrying others.  Mary Morris married Robert Griffiths, a tailor of Port Madoc and Harlech.  She bore him several fine children.  Thomas Owens became the father of another family, among whom were two beautiful daughters.  These daughters were splendid singers and accompanied their father, also a good singer, in giving very popular concerts.

Mary Owens’ mother was the daughter of Hugh and Margaret Edwards Morris, natives of Llanrwst.  Mary Morris had three brothers and one sister:  EDWARD, ROBERT, JOHN and MARGARET. 

Hugh and Mary Owens Roberts first lived at ‘Bryn Ucha’, where their eldest child Jane was born.  They then moved to Llanrwst where they opened a shoe making and repairing shop.  Business was not very good there.  Eglwysbach, a town about seven miles north, appeared more favorable so they moved and established the shoe making and repairing business there.  They lived in a rented home, to which Hugh built a ‘lean-to’ for a shop.  He plied his trade here for several years, during the early part of which he had quite a thriving business and a number of apprentices, among whom was Robert Evans.

Eglwysbach (meaning ‘Little Church’) was a village of Denbighshire, North Wales.  It consisted of a group of homes with some shops or stores, a blacksmith shop, shoe shop, grist or flour mill, three taverns, a large Church of England surrounded by the village cemetery, a Wesleyian Church, a Methodist Church, and a Church of the Dissenters.  Eglwysback was the Civic Center for the farming country in the immediate vicinity.   Hugh belonged to the church of the Dissenters, where he was Superintendent, and Mary, his wife, was a teacher.  But he was not satisfied with it.  After a short time he left the church and it was closed.  Hugh sought something else in the way of religion, investigating them all as he was able.  On one occasion he went thirty miles to visit a Catholic Church.  However, he was not favorably inclined toward it and would not join it.  His soul yearned for something else.

About this time his apprentice Robert Evans returned from a visit to South Wales.  There he had met Captain Dan Jones, a friend of Joseph Smith, the prophet, and had accepted the strange religion called “Mormonism.”  Robert Evans was the advocate and representative of this religion, with a commission to preach and baptize in the name of Jesus Christ and to administer the ordinances of the Gospel.  He presented the new faith to Hugh and his family.  Hugh was deeply impressed with it.  To him it was indeed “Glad Tidings.”  Elder Evans bore strong testimony to its truth and to the signs following the believers.  His words were accompanied with power and carried conviction to this honest seeker for the truth and his family.  When Hugh’s son Owen, who was then ten years of age and sorely afflicted with dropsy under a doctor’s care, heard the gospel he was converted.  He believed “the sick were healed”.  He demanded baptism and was so insistent about it that he was taken out of bed in a quilt and baptized May 25, 1847.  This was done at night because of the bitter persecution against those who embraced this new religion.  Hugh would not consent for Owen to be baptized alone, so after Owen he was also baptized that memorable night.  Hugh would have been baptized before as he had been converted but Mary, his wife, had not then been convinced of its truth.  After Owen was baptized, he manifested great faith and was rapidly improving in health until the neighbors noticed it and became curious about it.  Mary, in her joy, told them what had happened; what was the real cause of Owen’s improvement.  There was much excitement about it.  The neighbors persuaded Mary to again have Dr. Hughes, the Parish Physician, attend Owen.  Owen objected vigorously, saying that if he took any more Doctor’s medicine he would die.  His objections did not prevail.  Dr. Hughes was called again, the medicine given, and about a week later Owen died.

On July 14, 1849, Mary and her children ROBERT, ELIZABETH, CATHERINE, and MARGARET were baptized by Elder Abel Evans, who had followed Elder Robert Evans into the neighborhood.  Soon afterward Robert Evans migrated to Utah, and not being as well received as he thought he should have been, went to President Brigham Young and asked for a mission to Wales.  President Young said to him, “And you are not coming back, are you?”  He went to Wales and apostatized, took up a new religion and preached against the Saints.  He went to Hugh’s home again to preach his new doctrine, but Mary (Hugh’s wife) forbade him saying they had had enough new religion from him.  He died and was buried in Wales out of the Church.

Abel Evans, a good faithful man, organized a branch of the church at Eglwysbach with six members.  Hugh and Mary were two of them.  Hugh was called to be presiding Elder.  He held this position until he migrated to America in 1864.  His home was the headquarters for the Elders, entertaining many.  Some Elders were almost constantly there.  There was always a full house the entire day Sunday when general meetings were held.  During the week day evenings councils, prayer and priesthood meetings were held.  Hugh Roberts kept the record of Eglwysbach Branch until he left there, when he delivered the records to Brother John Roberts of Pensarn, Denbeighshire.

The John Williams family, living at Eglwysbach, were all baptized into the church at about the same time as Hugh’s family.  They were millers and ran the water-powered burr flour mill at Eglwysbach, making flour and oatmeal.  They were great friends to Hugh and family and migrated to America in 1855, settling in Ogden.  During the sojourn of the Roberts and Williams families at Eglwysbach the branch was strong and flourishing, but when those two families left, it dwindled and soon ceased to exist.  The persecution was so bitter that the Mormon children were excluded from the schools.  They were ostracized and many of the people withdrew their patronage from Hugh in his shoe business.  This made it difficult for the family to obtain livelihood.  They endured much persecution and ridicule and at times openly hostile conduct from neighbors from the time they embraced the gospel until they left their native land.  But they never wavered in their faith.

On one occasion Hugh, the presiding Elder, and a traveling Elder were holding a meeting in Eglwysbach.  A mob gathered and took them to a bridge nearby.  The mob took them under the bridge and were preparing ropes to hand them when the women who followed raised such a strong remonstrance (particularly Hugh’s daughter Catherine, who rushed under the bridge and clinging to Hugh said, “You shall not hang my father”) that the mob desisted with a warning and a threat that the Elders must not preach Mormonism in that neighborhood again or they would suffer death.  Throughout this ordeal the Elders were resolute and calm.  They had no fear nor did they weaken in their faith in God and His mighty work.  Hugh here passed through one of the tests required of the faithful namely even unto death (D&C 98:14, 15).  There are many ways by which this test may come to mortals and it comes at a time and in a way least expected, oftentimes.  In his travels if the distance where they were to hold meeting was not too far away, his daughters, especially Betsy, would accompany them to assist in the singing and to hold the Elder’s hats and the books they used.  The daughters were all good singers and in this way assisted with the meetings.  Hugh did more or less of this missionary service all the while he remained in Wales and as his circumstances would permit him to do.  It was during the carrying out of this missionary labor that he, in company with a traveling Elder, was mobbed and their lives threatened as heretofore recorded.

So bold, constant and uncompromising was Hugh in his efforts to spread the glorious gospel that he incurred much enmity and bitter hatred toward himself and his family.  As a result he lost his shoe trade, or in other words the people of Eglwysbach and that neighborhood boycotted his business.  This condition soon reduced the family to the greatest poverty, even to want and they were finally sent to the “Work House” or what is commonly known as the poor house which was located at Llanrust about 7 miles distant.  The family did not remain there long, however, for no sooner did Hugh reach the place than he began to proclaim the gospel to the inmates with much vigor and he was progressing so favorable with them that the officers of the institution filled with consternation at such prospects, decided on another plan.  They moved him and his family back to his old home and assisted in providing him with means to work at his trade as a shoemaker and he was thereby able to provide for his family through his own labor.  This was much to his liking and the family progressed quite well under this arrangement, until they left for America.  His old neighbors and friends, though bitter towards his religion, seemed glad to see the family return from the poor house at Llanrust to their former home for some reason.

Food was both wholesome and palatable.  They had very little meat as they could not afford it.  Their diet was derived mostly from grains and vegetables, wheat, oats and barley being the principal grains.  They had good bread made from wheat and barley and meal from oats (coarse meal for mush and fine meal for making cakes like crackers).  The oatmeal both coarse and fine was made by first soaking the oats well, then drying and roasting until brown.  It was then passed through the burr mill to get the meal as desired, whether coarse or fine.  Oatmeal cakes were made by taking the fine meal, mixing with water and a little salt, then spreading thin in a large griddle and cooking slightly brown.  So made, it could be kept a year or more and be good.  It made a very delightful dish when broken in a bowl with milk or broth poured on it.  A considerable quantity of this oatmeal cake was made for the journey across the sea.  Another good dish was Irish potatoes, boiled with the peeling on, then peeled and put in a bowl with buttermilk poured over them.  Indian cornmeal bread and mush was quite common and much relished.  The corn came from America.  Toasted bread, buttered, was much used.  Milk and cheese spread with butter spread thinly upon very thin slices of bread were also served.  The butter was first spread upon the loaf, then the slice was cut very thin.  It was good.  Beer made of barley was a common drink, as was tea.  To make beer, the barley was soaked until it sprouted.  It was then dried and baked brown, then ground into coarse meal.  Then it was soaked in water until fermented.  With the use of yeast and hops, a beer was made.  This was a very common drink and nearly every one in that country made it or at least used it.

THE CHILDREN:

The children of this splendid couple, all of whom excepting Jane, were born at Eglwysbach in order of birth are:

                Jane born October 10, 1830

                Robert Owens born November 20, 1832

                Elizabeth (Betsy) born March 6, 1835

                Owen born March 19, 1837

                Catherine born April 12, 1839

                Margaret born May 17, 1841

                Mary born November 22, 1843

                Hannah born March 27, 1847

                John born March 16, 1849

                Thomas born April 3, 1851

OWEN AND THOMAS ROBERTS

Owen and Thomas both died in their youth and were buried in the churchyard at Eglwysbach.  Thomas was born April 3, 1851, and three days later he died.  The little body was prepared for burial and in due time, a funeral service was held at the home.  After this service the family and some friends formed a procession and carried the remains to the village cemetery surrounding the “little Church” (Eglwysbach).  Upon arriving at the cemetery, the gate was locked and they were refused entrance by the officers in charge, for the burial of the child.  This situation being noised through the town, there was soon quite a gathering at the cemetery gate.  Hugh was stirred in his soul because of this unusual unheard of action on the part of the officers in charge of the cemetery, and he determined to gain entrance, peaceably, if possible, if not then by force even to the extent of breaking down the gate.  He began to preach to those assembled on toleration, liberty of conscience and of speech and upon the restored gospel.  So logically and forcefully did he discourse to them that finally the cemetery gate was opened and the procession proceeded and peacefully buried their dead.  This was a very trying incident in the life of Hugh, which was now beginning to be crowded with severe trials.

 The other children lived to manhood/womanhood and were all honorably married.  Each has a worthy, sturdy, progeny in the earth to follow after them and to honor and perpetuate their memories and splendid lives through right living in the eyes of God and man.  Jane and Robert, the two eldest, married in Wales and remained there, never leaving their native country.  Elizabeth and Margaret both preceded their parents and other members of the family to America.

JANE ROBERTS HUMPHREYS

Jane married Edward Humphreys and went to live at Harlech, the home of her husband’s family.  She is said to have had after her husband’s death in 1886, something to do with the care and custody of the famous old Harlech Castle.  She lived in a home within the shadow of its walls for many years, where she died at the age of ninety one.  She was a devoted wife and a real mother.  Eleven children, six boys and five girls, blessed their union.  Their names are:  ROBERT, MARY, MARGARET, HUMPHREY, HUGH, EDWARD, JANE ELIZABETH, HANNAH, EDWARD OWEN, LAURA and GRIFFITH.  None of them, so far, have left the land of their fathers.  She always manifested a loving disposition toward her parents and a kindly feeling toward their religion and was in constant correspondence with them.  There is no record of her ever joining the church to which her parents belonged. 

Edward Griffith Humphreys was the son of Robert Griffith and Mary Hughes Morris Humphreys.  His mother Mary was a native of Llanrwst, Denbighshire, Wales, which fact would partially account for the possibility of his acquaintance with Jane before their marriage.  His father was a native of Harlech.  He was a Master Tailor, by trade, and was also a noted bass singer.  The name of Griffith appears in his name as also that of his father, presumably because his grandfather was named Griffith Humphreys, who also was native of Harlech.  Edward was also by trade an assistant overseer.  He “ministered” and preached at the Rehoboth Baptist Chapel at Harlech for 27 years.  He died at Harlech, March 16, 1866.

                ROBERT OWENS ROBERTS

Robert was born at Eglwysbach, Denbighshire November 20, 1832.  His youth and young manhood were spent in and around Eglwysbach.  The custom of the time was that the oldest son in a family had certain rights, namely leadership in a family, privileges to direct the affairs in a family.  There were also emoluments, namely the homestead and most of the estate was his after the father’s death to perpetuate the name of ancestry, to bless posterity and to preserve the estate and houses or families of their race.  The other sons and daughters did not enjoy these things as such.  Robert was the eldest and one of two sons leaving families in the earth, the other two passing from mortality in youth and infancy.  He learned the shoemaking trade of his father.  He grew to a splendid handsome manhood as his countenance and his portrait would indicate.  He was a fine singer and loved music.  With his family, excepting his sister Jane, he accepted and embraced Mormonism, being baptized July 14, 1849 at Eglwysbach.   He took an active part in the affairs of the Church during all of the time he lived there, and he suffered heroically in common with them the severe persecution directed against the family because of Mormonism.

In his young manhood Robert “fell in love” but it did not terminate for his best good apparently for he suffered a very severe loss that may mean the loss of his birthright in the Patriarchal Order of the family, the rights of the first born.  Robert’s love was bestowed upon Jane Davis, a fine Welsh girl, who had been converted to Mormonism and was an ardent member of the Church.  They dearly loved each other.  It is said they intended to marry but events that later crowded into their lives over-ruled their intentions.

About this time a traveling Elder of the Church came into their Branch to labor.  He took a liking to Jane Davis, but her relations with Robert stood in the way of his making a favorable impression with her.  This Elder determined to remove this obstacle, however, and he wrote to Jane advising her that he desired to have nothing more to do with her and signed Robert’s name to the letter.  Naturally she turned cold towards Robert and shunned him.  Robert could not understand this, but being rather independent and proud, let her take her course without remonstrance or explanation.  They became separated though they loved each other.  The Elder then pressed his attentions, wooed, won and married Jane.  They moved to Zion, and in later years when she met Aunt “Betsy” Owens and learned the truth of her early love affair, she wept bitterly, for she loved Robert and her life with the one whom she had married had not been the most cordial and happy.  Robert then found another congenial soul in the person of Elizabeth Owen of Penmanbach and married her.  She was not a member of the Church and was rather bitter against it.  Robert now went to live at Penmanbach and into the shoemaking business.

Later he went into the hardware business.  His wife’s parents were the keepers of the Post Office, which in the country is a place of rather marked distinction.  After the death of his wife’s parents, Robert inherited the Post Office and received the appointment to that service, which position he held until his death on January 26, 1904.

He was highly respected.  His family numbered seven children, three sons and four daughters:  WILLIAM OWEN, MARY JANE, ELIZABETH, MARGARET, HANNAH ROBERTS WILLIAM,  HUGH WILLIAM and JOHN OWEN.   More than 100 years later some information was learned about Robert’s family.  Robert chose to remain in Wales after his parents migrated to America.  Although he did not remain active in the church he was never excommunicated.  He became affiliated with the church of England in Llanfairfechan, Carnarvonshire, Wales.  He died January 26, 1904, at Llanfairfechan, Wales and was buried there.  In July 1967 David Robert Roberts received a letter from F. Leslie Twist, Clerk and Chief Financial Officer, Llanfairfechan Urban District Council regarding the family.  Here is part of Mr. Twist’s  letter.  “I knew the Roberts’ family of which you are a member.  I remember as a boy two ladies who kept the sub-post office in Village Road, Llanfairfechan for many years.  It was also a newspaper business.  I think one was Mary, a very small lady and the other her sister.  They are both deceased and buried in the local church yard here, both spinsters.  Then there was another sister, Hannah, who married a local postman.  They had no children.  He died when 48 and Hannah died in 1939, age 69, in December.  In my written record of Hannah’s demise the local burial book of the local Council revealed she was buried in the local cemetery, Erw Feiriol.  Her husband was younger than she.  He died in 1935.  I do not know of the first born, William Owen, nor another sister.  However, I remember John Roberts who was the local Post Master here.  He was a very fine singer, having a good tenor voice.  The whole family were very good living people and church goers (that is the Church of England, not Non-Conformists).  Mr. Roberts belonged to the church choir I believe, however, I do know that my father and he sang solos together in church (my father being quite a good singer also - baritone). 

“Mr. John Roberts married an English lady, a Miss Gertrude Udale, and they had one daughter, Sybil Rosamond, born 24 December 1917.  It so happens I knew Sybil very well.  Unfortunately Mr. John Roberts had a very serious illness, cancer of the throat, and he died a long time ago when Sybil was a very small girl.  His widow married Mr. Edward W. Williams, who kept a grocery business at Dunphy Corner and of course Sybil lived with them.  Sybil had never married.  She worked for Civil Service and was transferred to London.  Her mother and step-father moved to London with her.  They lived in Middlesex, which is near London.”

The following information has been verified by researching the Bishop’s Transcript Records in Llanfairfechan.  The oldest son William Owen, died at the age of three (born April 21, 1861 and died March 12, 1864 at Llanfairfechan); three girls were spinsters (Mary Jane born 11 June 1863 and died 18 May 1941)(Elizabeth born 5 March 1863 and died 5 January 1920)(Margaret born 19 May 1867 and died 17 April 1929), Hannah married Richard Owen Williams 20 November 1917.  She was 47 years of age and he was 31.  They had no children.   She died 29 December 1939 at Llanfairfechan.   Her husband died in 1935.  Hugh William was born 24 June 1872 and died 19 December 1872 at Llanfairfechan.

The only child from this family to have progeny was John Owen Roberts.  He was born 19 April 1874 at Llanfairfechan, married Gertrude Udale on 12 June 1912 and died 23 October 1923.  Gertrude Udale, daughter of Arthur and Martha Udale was born September 25, 1890 at Crewe, England and died March 8, 1971.   The following obituary was received from Sybil Rosamond Roberts, his daughter.  It appeared in the North Wales Weekly News, Conway, Caernarvonshire, Wales, October 1923.

“Mr. John Owen Roberts…died at the age of 49 of cancer of the larynx or generally known as the voice box.  Survivors:  Widow, Mrs. Gertrude Udele Roberts and a five-year old daughter, Sybil Rosamond Roberts…Mr. Roberts was the Postmaster of Llanfairfechan who had succeeded his father after his demise.  The position as Postmaster has been in the Family for the last 100 years.  He has been unable to discharge his duties owing to the illness for the last six months, and steps had been taken to make a public presentation to him on his retirement, but death intervened.    He held the Postmaster-ship for 20 years and was a most efficient official, being popular alike with the public and his subordinates.  He was for many years in the Christ Church Choir.  He took a keen interest in the local Football Club, of which he was the Vice-president, and at the meeting of the Committee on Monday a vote of sympathy was passed for the Widow and child.

The funeral took place amid manifest signs of deep respect and regret.  The large attendance bore silent testimony to the popularity of the deceased.  The first part of the funeral service was held at Christ Church, which was filled, and the surpliced choir attended.  The clergy who officiated were the Rev. F. P. Watkin-Davies, M.A. and the Rev Garel Jones (curate), the former reading the lesson from the Corinthians in Welsh.  The choir chanted the 39th Psalm.  ‘I said I will take heed to my ways’ and the hymns sung were “Just as I am” and Peace, Perfect Peace.”

Among those present were the Postmaster of Bangor, Mr. W. Jones; the Postmaster of Penmaenmawr, Mr. J. Henry Thomas; Mr. W. G. Roberts, J. P.; Mr. J. L. McMichan; Councilor J. Harrison; Rev. John Griffith, Baptist Minister; Rev. W. E. Williams, C. M. Minister; Mr. Warren, surveyor; Mr. J. D. Williams; Mr. Pughe; Mr. E. Williams; Mr. Llewelyn Jones, Llandudno (formerly organist of Christ Church.)  The chief mourners were:  Miss Roberts (sister); Mrs. R. O. Williams (sister); Mr. A. Udale, Bangor (father-in-law); Mr. Penrhyn Williams, Newton (brother-in-law); Mr. W. St. Bodvan Griffith, Bangor (cousin); Miss M. A. Williams (cousin); Miss E. Williams (cousin); Miss M. Williams (cousin); Mr. R. O. Williams (brother-in-law); Mr. E. T. Stythe, Carnarvon (brother-in-law); Mr. V. Child, Bangor (brother-in-law); Mr. E. Godber, Bangor; and Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Jones.

Wreaths were sent by the following:  Mannie and Baby; Mother, Mary and Margaret; Pa and Ma; Hannah and Dick; Annie, Penrhyn, and Cyril; Maude, Ernie and Vera; Lily, Vincent and Baby; Misses L. and F. Davies, Paragon; Mr. and Mrs. Cawthray and Donald; Mrs. H. Clifton Hughes; Post-Office and Telephone Staffs at Llanfairfechan; Winthrope Villa; All at Gladys Cottage; Miss Pickard; Tony, Preswylfa Lodge; Mrs. William, Edina; Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Williams; Messrs. J. S. and E. W. McMichan; Mr. W. St. Bodvan Griffith; Mrs. Moses Roberts; and Mr. and Mrs. North; M. A. and Eliza Williams and Maggie.  The interment was in the burial ground attached to the Parish Church.”

The following is an autobiography of Sybil Rosamond Roberts:  “I was born 24 December 1917, Llanfairfechan, Caernarvonshire, Wales, the only child of John Owen Roberts and Gertrude Udale Roberts.  My father died when I was five years old so I do not really remember him.  One of his hobbies was drawing and painting.  My mother married again when I was ten years of age.

“I attended Junior School at Llanfairfechan,  from 7 to 10 and Bangor Girl’s School from 10 to 18.  In September 1939 following the outbreak of World War II, I became a temporary Civil Servant when I joined the newly created Ministry of Food, working in the local office at Llanfairfechan, Wales.   Following centralization of the local offices I left the Ministry early in 1950.  Later that year I sat a Civil Service examination and in March 1951 was posted to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in London.  The DSIR was later reorganized and I remained in the major part which became the Ministry of Technology.  Some years later following further reorganization, part of the Ministry merged with the Board of Trade to become the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Since 1951 I have worked in at least eight different buildings in various parts of London.  At present I am within a short distance of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and just across the park from Buckingham Palace, and on the route taken by the Queen and her Foreign guests when they drive from Victoria Station to the Palace in open carriages.

“I first lived in Harrow-on-the-Hill, about eleven miles from London and in 1945 moved to the Kenton area of Harrow where my mother and stepfather joined me in 1967.  In Llanfairfechan both my mother and stepfather were connected with Church and other activities and served on many committees.  For many years mother was the Treasurer of both the Llanfairfechan branch and the Anglisey and the Caenarvonshire County branch of the British Legions (Woman’s Section) and in this connection twice met Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother).  On the first occasion she presented a purse to the Queen (this was a donation from her branch to a special fund).  On the second occasion the Queen presented mother with a certificate of long service.

My stepfather was also a Sergeant in the Special Constabulary.  They were both enthusiastic golfers.  My Stepfather died in 1969, and my mother in 1971.

“In 1969  I received a letter from Lyman (the Hugh and Mary Owens Roberts Family Genealogist) making inquiries about my father’s family.  This was the first indication mother and I had that there were any members of my father’s family anywhere.  I provided what little information I had and this Easter (1972) when Lyman wrote and invited me to the “family reunion”…I decided to accept and within a few weeks was on my way to USA.  I have been given a truly wonderful welcome by some very wonderful people.”  (Sybil was glad to return to England where the temperature was only 69 degrees and here in Utah we had been having weather in the 90s.  She thinks when she comes again it will have to be in the spring or in the fall.  We all enjoyed having her visit with us.)

THE REMAINDER OF HUGH’S LIFE

After the dedication of the Logan Temple in May 1884, Hugh and Mary turned their attention to the work of redeeming their dead kindred and friends as far as they were able to obtain the necessary records.  They labored diligently to do this.  Mary walked many mornings from the old home in North Smithfield to the Logan Temple, a distance of at least 8 miles, to do the endowment work for one soul, then she would walk back in the evening to her home.  She did this after she was 70 years of age.  Such was her desire to see the work done, and great will be her reward for such devotion and sacrifices.  Hugh could not walk much as he was lame, but his devotion to the cause was none-the-less ardent and he embraced every opportunity to go to the temple and do what he could.

Hugh Roberts was near 6 feet in height, well proportioned, not stout but of an athletic build.  He was medium complexioned, with keen blue eyes, rather large straight nose, square chin, high cheek bones, and large ears.  He was of a deeply religious nature, with an undivided love of the Gospel and with a thorough knowledge and strong testimony of it.  He was kind and jovial, but firm in disposition and was good in judgment.  He loved music and had a fine smooth musical deep bass voice, and exhibited superior musical talent.  He found much satisfaction in his trade and had a friend in anyone who knew him.  He was always willing to give to the needy and help in every worthy work and answer every call made of him.

Mary Owens Roberts was short of stature and in her later life she became rather stout of build.  She was round in face with evenly balanced features.  She was medium light complexioned and had small piercing blue eyes.  Her voice was gentle and pleasing, and in song was a rich, melodious soprano.  She was very affectionate and kind, and won the love of all.   She was quick in action and unswerving in purpose.  She loved the Gospel with her whole soul and was willing to make any sacrifice for it.  She was industrious and saving.  She was a very good cook and housekeeper—everything tasty, clean and tidy in the home and she was clean and neat always in her person whether at home or elsewhere.  Many times in the evenings when the tasks of the day were done they would sit and converse about the Gospel and of times gone by.  They would sing the old familiar songs in Welsh, especially the hymns they used to sing for years in the Branch at Eglwysbach.  One of those hymns was a favorite with them and gave them much comfort and joy.  It was a hymn in the Old Welsh Hymn Book composed by David R. Roberts, who was the father of Robert D. Roberts, who had married their daughter Hannah.  When they would finish the singing of that hymn their eyes would be filled with tears and they would exclaim, “Oh, it is beautiful, it is beautiful.”

Their souls rejoiced in the many blessings of God to them.  They had passed through the storms of life together, they were living in the evening’s sunshine, contemplating God’s mercy, with a full assurance of the reward that comes from a well-spent life of perfect union and of devotion to each other and to the cause of righteousness.  They were happy as children in the company of each other.  They had raised a large family and while all of their children were not members of the Church of Christ, they were all honorable in their lives and doing their duty in a way worthy of their noble parentage.  This was pleasing and a source of joy to them.

The time finally came for them to make another move.  They had lived many years in Smithfield and dearly loved the old home there and it was hard to leave it.  John, their son, had located nearly Liberty, Bear Lake County, Idaho.  He had a large farm there which he had bought, and being desirous of living near him, Hugh and Mary left the dear old home and moved into a comfortable log cabin on the farm near to John.  By this time Hugh had retired from active work at his trade and spent his time in reading and visiting around the farm and in playing with the children.  He loved children as did Mary, and he would often even in his advanced years enter into their play with them.  Never did they cease the raising of their voices together in song in the quiet evenings.  Never did they cease their prayers of thanksgiving daily to the true and living God whom they worshipped and served with undivided hearts.  Mortal life had nearly run its course with them.  Hugh had attained the ripe age of nearly 90 years and becoming ill and weakened in body, gave up the struggle of life like the burning out of the candle to its end.  He passed peacefully into the world of spirits on the 13th of Oct 1892, surrounded by some of his children and grandchildren, honored and loved by all.

A splendid and well-attended funeral was held in the Liberty Meeting House after which his remains were deposited in the little cemetery on the hill where the remains of a number of his grandchildren who preceded him were buried.  Mary now took up her abode with her daughter Margaret R. Morgan, where her every want was supplied by hands until she, too, worn out in body and ill—but a few days gave up this mortal career on Jan 9, 1894.  She went home to that God who gave her life, to mingle with her loved ones gone before in peace and joy for hers was a well-earned reward.  Her remains were buried by the side of her faithful husband in the Liberty Cemetery. 

 

Immigrants:

Roberts, Hugh

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