by his great-granddaughter Irene Staples
Titus Davis was the son of David Lazarus and Dinah Thomas Davis. He was born 01 August 1806 in Llandyssul, Cardiganshire, Wales, in the Teifi River Valley. This is a very beautiful valley with green rolling hills.
Titus, for some reason, was raised by his grandfather on a farm. It is unfortunate that we do not know whether on his father's or his mother's side. Maybe he was needed to help his grandfather.
Dinah, the mother of Titus, married the second time, and raised a son by the name of Timothy, but we do also know that Titus had two brothers, David and Evan. At the time of Napoleon, Titus must have been a good sized lad, for he said he remembered his uncles discussing the possibility of Napoleon conquering the British.
Titus was very musically inclined, as are most Welsh people. He was the choir master at the local church. A member of his choir was a lovely girl by the name of Mary Gwenllian Bowen.
She had a beautiful voice, and how easy it was for Titus to fall in love with her. She was 21, and he was 34. They were married in the beautiful Llanwenog Church, a very famous old church in that area, on 12 January 1840.
Mary Gwenllian was the daughter of David and Gwenllian Evans Bowen, and was born 06 January 1819. She came from a very well established and distinguished family. They had a woolen mill at Maesyfelin, which means "Mill Field," where they manufactured the famous Welsh flannel. The Bowen home sat on a rolling hill. It was a lovely home, especially for that day. Built
of rock and plastered over, and painted white. At the bottom of the hill was the Woollen Mill with a stream of water running through, furnishing power for the mill. The farms in this lovely valley are marked off with "hedge-rows." These are trimmed hedges, climbing roses, or stone walls covered with vines and greenery, making a very picturesque and quaint setting for this peaceful little valley.
Mary Gwenllian was the only living daughter of eleven children, and her parents saw that she had everything a young girl would desire, including her own riding pony and saddle, which was a note of social prestige in that day. She was naturally a good horse-woman and attended all the social events and church on her horse. Most girls her age had to walk to such events. They
had what they called "Mounted Weddings," where the bride and the invited guests all came on their horses. How elegant these women looked, gracefully riding up the lane to the village wedding. It was elegance at its best for that day!
The Bowen family consisted of eleven children, 6 boys and 5 girls, four dying in infancy. The children are Elizaabeth, John, David, Elizabeth (again), David (again), Mary, Jenkin, Mary Gwenllian, John (again), Elizabeth (again), and Thomas.
It was the custom in that day when a child died for the name of that child to be given to another child born into the family later. Thus several have the same name.
Mary Gwenllian's parents did not approve of the marriage of their daughter to a man thirteen years older than she, and they did not feel that he met their social standing.
But Titus was a good man, and he did the best he could for his lovely wife and children whom he loved very much. He was a "Corvisor" by trade, which in Wales is a man who makes shoes, or mends them, as the case might be.
Often the family moved from place to place in order for Titus to follow his trade. They were blessed with eleven children, some dying in infancy, for infant mortality was very high in that day, possibly due to the lack of medical help and humble living conditions.
Their children were Josiah Bowen, David Lazarus, Timothy Bowen, Gwennie, Evan Thomas, Thomas "A", Daniel John, John Henry, Henry John, Hannah, and Daniel John.
One little village they lived in was Drefach, the name of the family home. Here their son Thomas was born. This home was a large, two-storey rock home on a little farm. The older boys would help with the chores, and the dear little mother wouild churn butter and gather eggs to sell at the village to add to their income.
Here Titus tried to again persuade Mary to go to America, but she would not sever her ties with her family living nearby, and the graves of her babies.
In 1858 Titus weas working in Dowlais. His oldest son, David, was there working at a mercantile house. They both became acquainted with the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and soon were baptized and became stalwart members.
Mary Gwenllian was a very strong Baptist, and was very opposed to this new religion. She was dedicated to her own religion which also believed in baptism by immersion. But Titus declared to her that he knew the Church was true, and that he wanted the family to join and go to America. This became a very serious question between them.
Mary sought counsel from her minister and her relatives and friends. They too were very opposed to her joining and leaving relatives, friends, and her homeland. Then she also heard of the difficulties and hardships many emigrants had encountered and how many of them had died along the way to America and Utah.
She was also advised that the Mormons practiced polygamy and that their religion was a mockery. Yet Titus tried to explain to her that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Church was true and had once again been restored in its fulness as the Savior himself had established it in His day.
In due time, several other children joined the Church, namely, David, Timothy, and Gwennie, and made plans to emigrate to America. Titus at no time put any pressure on any of them to join the Church or to emigrate with him, for he said that this was their own decision to make.
All the oldeer children decided to go with the father to America. It was decided, of the two small sons left, Jenkin and Henry John, that Jenkin should stay with his mother, as he was eight years old and would be able to help her on the farm. The baby Henry John who was only four years old should go with the father.
David, the oldest son, had been called on a mission for the Church in Wales, and so he would stay and not emigrate with the family, but would come a year later. It was also thought that in the meantime the mother would not only join the Church but, longing to be with her little children, would also emigrate with her son David at the end of his mission, but this she never did.
The day came when this precious little family would be separated forever! As the father Titus gathered his little family around him, ready to leave, the emotions were very difficult, and it was hard to leave. Why could they not all be going together!
It seemed that this couild not be, so after the last embrace they started down the lane. As they came to the turn in the road they turned once again. As the little mother stood there it seemed, so much alone, again waving "Good-bye" as they turned down the road and walked on, never to see each other again!
As they arrived at the station to catch the horse-drawn coach that would take them to London, they hurriedly climbed on, and with a pop of the whip the horses lunged forward, and they were on their way.
As the coach was pulling out poor little Timothy, crippled from a serious disease and not as agile as the rest of the children, poor little Timothy frantically grabbed on to the back bar of the coach. And off the coach went, with Timothy hanging on for dear life.
Many miles were covered until they stopped to water and rest the horses. It was then that the father Titus said, after checking on the children, " Where is Timothy?"
Hurriedly they looked everywhere, only to find him collapsed on the ground in the back of the coach! Again what an emotional tragedy!
Yet as they picked him up, he was not badly hurt or injured in any way! It was a real miracle and a blessing that this sweet little fellow was not killed going over those rough roads with the swaying of the coach--how could he hold on! It is needless to say that someone was there holding his hands. Have you ever heard of "Guardian angels!"
Four days before the "Amazon" was to set sail for America in May 1863, from London where it was docked, many tears were shed as over 1,000 Saints said "Goodbye" to their loved ones and their beloved homeland.
Especially Titus, for he had had many difficult decisions to make, leaving his dear wife and little son. In his mind's eye he could still see the turn in the road as they waved "Goodbye" for the last time to ever see each other again!
What would the future hold, breaking up his precious family for this new religion and a new life. Was it worth it!! In the stillness of the night, with only the breaking of the waves against the ships, Titus walked along the wharf for many hours by himself, pleading with the Dear Lord to give him comfort and assurance that he had made the right decision. Yes, pleading that the Spirit of the Lord would ever be with him and his precious family. His strong testimony seemed to assure him that all was well.
It was while the vessel was docked in the harbor that Charles Dickens, the great English author and journalist, was asked by the press to write an article about the Mormon people who had chartered a vessel to go to America.
When on ship he heard many people singing, typical Welsh people. One girl especially was he interested in with her beautiful voice--Gwennie Davis! He asked her to sing for him. He was quite overwhelmed with such a beautiful voice in a young girl.
He immediately went to her father and said it would be tragic to take a girl with such a beautiful voice to be wasted in the wilds of America. He asked him if he could not take this beautiful young girl back to London where he would see that she had training, education, clothes, and everything needed, and he would make her, with a voice like that, the greatest primma dona of her in all Europe!
The father said the decision was hers. Gwennie was so overcome with emotion that she ran to her dingey cabin and shed many tears. What should she do? What a great opportunity for a young girl like her! And by such a great prominent man in London!
But as she arose from her knees she knew the answer. She should stay with her father and her brothers, for after all she was like the little mother to them, and she had promised her mother that she would take care of all of them!
Her father and brothers were happy with her decision, for what would they do without their Gwennie! What a great comfort it was throughout her whole life to feel and to know that she had made the right decision!
And how thankful I, Irene Staples, am that she made that decision, for she is my grandmother. And I will ever be very thankful that through her all her posterity are blessed!
The article Charles Dickens wrote about the Mormons and their chartered ship is most interesting. Instead of being like the usual derrogatory, critical and untruthful articles about the Mormons it was very complimentary and most praiseworthy!
Instead of finding, he said, a crowd of people, fighting, swearing, drinking, and most undesirable, they were the most unujsual group of people he ever saw. Instead of what he expected to see they were all happy, singing, and even they were organized in groups with a leader over each group. They were completely different from any group he had ever seen.
In fact he said, "They looked like the 'Cream of the British Isles.'" It had an effect on all of England, and coming from Charles Dickens made it extra special and authentic!
They arrived in New York the 18th of July 1863. After the usual difficult experiences of emigrants coming to a new country they stopped at St. Joseph, Missour, and caught a boat for Florence, Nebraska, or Winter Quarters as it was called by the Mormon Saints.
Titus and his children were overjoyed to meet several people from Wales whom they knew, and how fortunate and blessed they were to be assigned to go with a company headed by John L. Edwards whom they all knew and who had emigrated a few years before from Llanwenog. He had been sent back to Missouri to bring emigrating Saints to Utah.
It made the difficult trip much more interesting to have a romance along the way. For about two months later John L. Edwards and Gwennie Davis were married in the Endowment House on 21 November 1863.
John was very good to the Davis family living in Willard where he lived and where many of the Welsh emigrants settled also.
Titus again followed his trade of making shoes and boots. His sons were very fine, industrious young men. They soon found work and even established farms and businesses of their own. They all married and became fine, honorable citizens in the community where they lived.
Later when Titus was older he often thought of the time when he and Mary Gwenllian were walking through "Cwm Du" (Black Hollow). To make the trail shorter they took a path leading through the cemetery. They stopped to rest and Titus said, "Mary, if I die first I want you to bury me here, and if you die first I promise to bury you here."
It is a beautiful cemetery near an ancient old castle. A lush, green meadow with a small lake of the bluest water is nearby, with sheep quietly grazing near it. Yes, it is a beautiful quiet spot for one's final resting place.
Gwennie named one of her sons after her father--"David Titus," who also loved his grandfather. David Titus was called on an LDS mission. Titus in his declining years said he would like to live until his grandson David Titus came home from his mission.
David returned in February 1896. Titus was satisfied. And his wish had been granted, for two months later on 12 April 1898 at the age of 92, Titus quietly passed away. He was buried in the Willard Cemetery with a lovely, ornate stone marking his grave.
In a patriarchal blessing he had received 05 July 1866 he was told, "Thy age shall be renewed ten years that you may accomplish every desire of thy heart, and shall have a seat in the Celestial Kingdom of thy Father, and be crowned with glory and eternal life forever and ever."
He was also told as the patriarch of his family that his posterity would be blessed to the fourth generation, "To seal blessings upon their heads as such as you desire."
Words and deeds cannot compensate for the untold hardships, the heartaches, and the tremendous saacrifice that both Titus and Mary Gwenllian laid on the altar, bringing to their posterity eternal blessings and a priceless heritage.
Only in a small way can we show our gratitude and appreciation by the love we hold in our hearts for them, the lives we live, and the dedication to the high, honorable principles they stood for, bringing honor and glory to the names of Titus and Mary Gwenllian Bowen Davis!
Let us never fail them, and may God bless them!
by his son Thomas Davis
Life History of Titus Davis and Mary Gwenllian Bowen. Written by Their Sixth Child, Thomas Ap. Davis Before his Death 21 April, 1926.
The writer, Thomas Ap. Davis, was born June 10, 1849 at the village of Drefach, Cardiganshire, South Wales. I was the sixth child born to Titus Davis and Mary Gwenllian Bowen. Two children born before me died at the age of a few months. They were named Josiah Bowen and Evan Thomas Davis. Another child born after me also died at a tender age and was named Daniel John Davis. The children following were John Henry and Jenkin, who had a twin sister, Hannah, that was a stillborn child. Then after some years Henry John was born and remained the baby of the family. I should now write the names of the older children. They were Josiah Bowen Davis, David Lazarus Davis, Timothy Bowen Davis and Gwenifred Davis.
At the time of this writing Timothy Bowen Davis, Gwenifred Davis Edwards and Jenkin Davis have died. Alas, I know but little about my people in Wales.
My father, Titus Davis, was raised by his grandfather on a farm. His mother's name was Dianna Jones. She was married a second time and raised a son named Timothy who migrated to the United States at an early age. All traces of him have been lost. No record of my father's birth is available, but at the time the Waterloo battle was fought he was a good sized young man and could remember his uncles talking to each other about the possibility of Napoleon defeating the British. His home was near the village Llandisil in the Teivil River Valley, Tivie being one of the principal streams of Wales.
More is known of my mother's people, as they resided in the locality for many years. Mother, Mary Gwenllian Bowen, was born on a small farm near Llanwenog Church. It was called Maesyfelin, meaning the mill field. At her home there was a water power mill for the purpose of fullering flannel goods. My mother's people were engaged in the manufacture of the famous Welsh Flannel, as well as running the small farm. She was an only daughter, and had everything her heart desired. She had her own riding pony and saddle; she attended all the mounted weddings in the neighborhood, and, consequently, was a fine horsewoman. She also possessed a fine voice, and was a very fine singer, and it was at choir practice that she first met my father, he being the singing master at the choir practice. However, with the humdrum of the old mill, small wonder that she was such a fine singer.
Upstream a mile from her home was the turnpike road, of the King's Highway. Across the stream there was a stone bridge of two arches. This particular bridge was a meeting place for all the gossipers of the vicinity. Less than a mile again upstream is the village of Drefach where I was born. The village is situated on the eastern side of the narrow valley. The center of the valley is mostly meadow land, with some oak timber growing in spots. The stream furnishing the water power for the mill at Maesyfelin flows on down this narrow valley and supplies the people with good fishing, and also operates a grist mill just above the bridge. The building on the little farm which my parents rented was very old and dilapidated and the landlord refused to make repairs. This is when my father first wanted to go to the United States, but mother could not sever her love for the old home nearby, and the graves of her babies, and so they looked for a new place several miles beyond the river in another county. This was taken as a last resort. The place was not satisfactory as it was too small and isolated. The only fuel we had was peat. The home was small and humble and not desirable for a home. Therefore, the family only remained here one year. My brother, Jenkin, and a twin sister, Hannah, were born here. In my child's mind I realized that something very serious had taken place for my mother was reported very sick, and a carpenter was there making a tiny
little coffin into which the body of twin daughter, Hannah, was placed. My father and the carpenter carried the little casket to Llanwenog, and it was laid beside our other small babies. This was a sad experience for a woman well brought up to have in a strange place.
The following summer my parents found a more desirable place to live, but it was farther from our birthplace. This was a better locality to live in. We were within four miles of the thriving city of Llandilo, and I believe my mother was happy there. At any rate, I never remember hearing my mother complain. In this new home my brother, Henry John, was born. It may be well for me to state here that my father was a shoemaker by trade, and the little farm being small, it necessitated his going from home to work a good part of the time. This was very necessary to secure money with which to pay the rent and keep the family.
About the year 1858, something took place that disrupted our family. My father was at Dowlais working at his trade. Also, my oldest brother, David Lazarus, was there working at a mercantile house. They both became members of a new sect called the Latter-Day Saints, the new religion, or new church, perhaps I should say. To this my mother was very much opposed as in years passed she knew a good many people who had joined the Latter-Day Saints and left the country for America, but many had died of sickness and hardships on the way. Mother knew that it was the custom of the Latter-Day Saints to gather with the body of their church in the United States. Therefore, she feared that father would in time to do the same, and want to take the family along with him to that new place of gathering. It must be said here that mother was a devout member of the Baptist Church; born and raised in the church. One of its principal rituals was baptism by immersion, in the like manner of John of old baptizing the Messiah in the River Jordan. Therefore, she reasoned it was not necessary for her to leave her own church and join a new movement in which baptism by immersion was also practiced. Notwithstanding that father declared to her that he knew the new church was right, she firmly, on the other hand, declared to him that she knew equally well her church was the right church. In this way they discussed religion for some months. During most of this time
father was located at Dowlais. These discussions took place during his visits at home. It, therefore, became evident to mother that father would in the near future migrate to the United States, and most likely would want to take a part, or all of the family along with him. To her it became a very serious question whether she should go along, or remain in her native land.
One fact must not be overlooked--that she sought counsel of her church minister, and her many relatives, and they all said with one voice that it was her duty to remain, and not go to Utah were polygamy was practiced and religion was a mockery. This line of argument prevailed. She firmly made up her mind to remain with her own church, which she did to the day of her death. Her co-religionists showed her marked respect by carrying her remains a good distance to the ancient cemetery at Talley, and laid her to rest near the ruins of the old cathedral.
Some are inclined to censure mother for refusing to accompany the family to the new land. To do her justice, the reader must reason that at the time the venture was a very uncertain one. The journey was long, and reports had come back to Wales of many deaths on the way. All these reports held to deter her from consenting to go with the family. However, father began to make preparations for the move. By this time, my older brother, Timothy Bowen Davis, had located at Dowlais and worked as a miner, and he had also joined the Latter-Day Saints Church. He, also, was in favor of migrating. Timonthy had taken upon himself a certain amount of ground to work, and to extract the iron ore from the same. To do this in time to go to the United States it was necessary for him to have help, so I was sent to help him. My mother made me some flannel drawers and shirts to wear in the mines, and other ways made me look respectable, so one morning I was ready to go. Just who accompanied me, or how I traveled to the nearest town where there was a stage, I do not remember. It is all forgotten, but I do remember mother came up the narrow lane to the road with me and there said goodbye. That was the last I ever saw of her in this world. I was too young to realize the situation, too excited with the thought of going on a trip from home, that I never thought that I was parting with my mother forever.
Arriving in Dowlais, I worked with my brother, Timonty, in the mine, and I think I did good service until I was injured by a fall off the top. I recovered from that after some weeks of confinement in the house. During this time it was thought best of my father that we rent a house to live in instead of boarding as we had been doing, and so my only sister, Gwenifred, was sent to keep house. Also, a younger brother, John Henry, came to live with us. It must be noted here that after my sister, Gwenifred, and my brother, John Henry, had left home there was no one left with my mother except Jenkin and little Henry John. Jenkin was seven years of age and Henry John about four years old. Mother had 5 or 6 cows to care for and feed, and she had to carry her eggs and butter to town some four miles. She also had to perform all other work that was to be done on the place regardless of its character. The outlook was discouraging to say the least. Preparations had now been made for our departure for the United States in the spring of 1863. In a conference of the saints at Merthyr, Tydvil, my oldest brother, David Lazarus, was called on a mission, and was to remain in Wales a year longer. This was a great disappointment to father as David, who had lived with an English speaking family for several years, could speak English better than the balance of us, but we had to submit. Father and David went to see mother about the first of May and, if possible,
prevail on her to come along, but the time was now too short for her to prepare had she been disposed to go. It was now known that David was to remain in the country another year, and hopes were entertained that she would come at the end of the year. It was arranged for Jenkin to remain with mother, but Henry John was taken along. Jenkin would be of help to her. I must here state that my mother must have possessed a rare balance of mind or she would have torn the universe to shreds before giving up her baby to be taken, that she perhaps never could see him again. She could have raised the neighborhood, and in an hour of time could have had a mob of farmers there to protect her and her two children, but no she submitted to be bereft of her children, and even walked with them to the railroad station and quietly bade them goodbye. She then took little Jenkin by the hand and walked home. She was surely one woman in ten thousand. I do not propose to discuss the right and wrong of the matter, but it seems to me that someone will be held responsible for the manner of which mother was robbed of her children, for the heartaches she endured in her lonely home. It is gratifying here to say that no doubt her rest is peaceful along with the little fellow who comforted her in her isolation in sight of the old cathedral at Talley.
I have not the date of our departure for America, but it was in the early part of May, 1863. We left Dowlais one fine morning and walked down to Merthyr to take the train to Cardiff. Along with us there were several families of saints also bound for Zion. The run down to the old town did not take long, and we found ourselves and our small amount of baggage on the platform there waiting for someone to convey us to the place where we were to remain overnight. While waiting thus, a couple of tall, fine looking men came along and asked where we were going. We told them that we were going to America. At this they seemed to be pleased. One of them pointing to myself and my brother, John Henry, said, "These two boys are going over at a good age. They are young enough to make good Americans and old enough to always remember something of their native land." He told us that they were Americans in Wales buying coal and railroad iron. He also said there was now a war in their country, but after awhile he said, "There will be peace." That night we spent in the hall where the Cardiff saints were in the habit of holding Sunday meetings. The next morning we left for the train. As we were seating ourselves in the little cars the women were weeping for husbands that they were leaving behind, but who were to follow in the near future. We arrived in London early in the afternoon. The country we passed through was level and in great contrast to the hills of
Wales. Reaching London we found a great many saints at the large depot, all having come from various sections of England, and also Scotland.
Our baggage was soon placed upon some very large wagons, or trucks, and the people climbed on top. I looked for a place to ride, but failed to find any space where I could sit or cling. I concluded that I would cling boy-like to the rear of one of the big trucks, and away they went over the stone pavement. It never occurred to me that London was a rather large village, but I began to think it was some distance through, and after traveling at a good canter for about one and a half hours, they stopped to water the horses. During this drive I had been missed and father came back along the line looking for me. He asked if I had been running behind the wagon all the time. I answered that I had. We had then gone over eight miles. He took me forward and asked a fellow up on a high seat if I could come up and ride with with him. He said, "Yes, send him up." Father explained that I had been running behind all the time. Then there was an order given for some beer, and I had a good drink of English beer. In front of us it was all building as far as the eye could see until we turned to the right, and soon all we could see were the masts of ships in the docks. One very large one near the landing was said to be the one to take us across the ocean. The ship that was to carry us to the United States was an American built ship named "Amazon." She was a splendid vessel in every way--new, fast, and had four masts. The crew consisted of a captain, 1st, 2nd,
3rd, and 4th mates, and about 75 sailors. We remained four or five days in London aboard the ship before sailing. During this delay my sister, Gwenifred, became homesick. She suddenly realized that she, too, was leaving mother behind. She wept bitter tears, and finally father said she could return home. He said he would take her to the railroad station and buy her a ticket to Llandilo, then from there she knew the four miles of road well, as she was nearly 15 years of age. Finally, by some of the friendly women consoling her with the hope that her mother would come next year, she became pacified and consented to continue on. It was a sore trial for all of us to see our only sister weeping so, but our family was not the only one in tears. The greater portion of the eleven hundred saints aboard were weeping. Finally, the brass band from Cardiff began to play. I will never forget how red were the eyes of Rice Hancock, who played the tuba. He was the life of the whole company, and a noble fellow. Finally, the time was fixed for sailing, and father went and took a stroll for the last time on the
soil of his native land. He loved the "noble woman" who reigned over the land, and could well remember the time, though but a girl she ascended the throne of Britain. The next morning the great ship was pulled from her moorings in the dock, and by rope pulleys she was pulled out in to the Thames River and the great locks closed behind her. During this time the band was playing "Hail Columbia," "The Star Spangled Banner," and "Yankee Doodle." The docks and the river bank were lined with people; some cheered, some groaned. We were assited down stream by a steam tug. She took us far enough so the breeze could take effect upon the great sails. After this the tug left us. On board the tug were George Q. Cannon and other prominent saints.
The next day we could see no land in sight, and our anchor was dropped and we waited for a small ship that came with our water supply. They then hoisted the anchor and we sailed on our way. The captain had promised that we would be in New York by the 4th of July, but by continual contrary winds he could not make time, and it was the 18th of July when we reached the port of New York, some two days after the anti-negro riots had occurred there. After our ship anchored, two gun boats laden with soldiers went by with full speed. They had been sent to quell the rioters, which they did in short order. The journey across had been very monotonous, taking nearly nine weeks to make the journey. The health of most of the people on the voyage was fairly good. One child was buried at sea. My brother, Timothy, was very sick nearly all the way. It was supposed that he had Typhoid Fever. He was attended by the ship's doctor, and whenwe reached New York he was just able to walk. Thus, father was deprived of the assistance of his two oldest sons. David remained in Wales, and Timothy, disabled by sickness, had to be nursed and cared for like a child. However, the doctors passed him at New York. The next day we landed at Castle Garden, and our names, ages, and destinations were taken. The officials there treated us with very kind consideration and courtesy. the next day we were taken up the Hudson River and boarded a train for Albany. It was war time and our
progress was very slow. At Detroit a little girl belonging to a Dowlais family died, and was taken and buried by the city. The family had come alone, the father remaining behind. themother was the wife of Thomas Davis, President of the Dowlais Branch. The remaining members of the family were nearly all little girls, the oldest being only about 15 years of age. It was surely a sad trial for that mother to thus leve one of her loved ones so soon on the journey.
Soon after leaving detroit we were detoured into Canada because the railroads were congested. It was war time and food was almost impossible to secure. Whenever a stop was made, father immediately went in search of food. By making many stops we finally reached St. Joseph, on the Missouri, having made the last leg of the journey in stock cars. The rebels had burned all the passenger coaches in that section. At St. Joseph we took a boat for Florence, called WINTER QUARTERS in Mormon history. It took the boat several days to make the trip as the water was slow, the boat making many stops. We finally reached the vicinity of Florence, and for the first time we saw Utah men and ox teams. Our baggage was loaded on wagons. the land was very sandy on the river bottom, and it required a good use of the whip by the teamsters to make the fat oxen pull the wagons up the bluffs to the higher land. Florence only consisted of a few log buildings. Most of them were vacant. However, we were glad to get there and rest for a few days. We received rations which consisted of some fat bacon and a little flour with a package of salaretus. With these we tried to do some cooking. Our bread was a complete failure, as we were inclined to put too much salaretus in it, but we learned to use sour dough by and by, and in that way were able to make a better article. A couple of days after our arrival at Florence we were taken out to the camp of the Utah boys, some five or
six miles out. It happened that among the young men sent to take us and our few articles of baggage out to the main camp, my father recognized one John L. Edwards, who had come out a few years before from near Llanwenog, or the very vicinity of Drefach where I was born. This was the second trip for Mr. Edwards to make from Utah to the Missouri River after the saints, and father was exceedingly happy in meeting one whom he knew. It was agreed we were to go with Mr. Edwards as a part of the company allotted to him. After being established at the camp, we began to prepare for the journey across the plains. We had to buy a few cooking utensils. Before starting we were requested to sign a note obligating ourselves to pay to the perpetual emigration company the sum of forty dollars each upon our arrival at Salt Lake, or as soon thereafter as possible, with ten percent interest until paid in full. We were happy to learn the little band that was with us aboard the Amazon was to be with us again crossing the plains. The captain of our company was a man by the name of Thomas Ricks, and he was a very energetic man, too. It required nearly two weeks to prepare for the start, as they were waiting for freight to haul to Salt Lake. The wagons were loaded with merchandise for the merchants of Salt Lake, and the people were to walk.
I have not the date of our start, but the weather was wet and rainy. The oxen were in splendid condition, having been on good grass, and they remained so all the way. The wagons numbered about one hundred. The form of the camp at night was oblong, with an opening in the front and one at the rear. In driving in for camp, the lead team would stop at a place indicated by the captain or his aid, and the next wagon would stop so that its front wheels would be just near the rear of the first wagon. This would be so until half of the wagons would be lined in a half circle. Then the teamster of the other section of the train would drive to a spot about 75 or 100 feet from and abreast of the leading wagon on the other side. The yokes and chains of the second section would be on the outside, usually, to be handy. In the morning they would be carried to the inside of the circle. In the morning the oxen would be driven in at the rear of the enclosure. When so driven in it was the custom of the boys to go in search of the oxen belonging to their wagons and drive them near so the teamsters could place the yokes on their necks. It did not take long to have our outfit ready. After being on the trip a week or two, I was a good teamster and did a good part of the driving. When I got so that I could pop the whip good and loud, I felt that I was a real bullwhacker. Each wagon usually had from four to six yokes of oxen, according to the load and size of the
wagon. Walking gave us a tremendous appetite, and our rations were really half what they should have been. Timothy, just recovering from his long sickness, could have devoured the food of the whole family. Father tried his luck at fishing, but with poor success. The first stream of any importance we arrived at was called Loopfork. This stream we had to cross by ferry boat. It was here we saw the first American Indians, and they were nearly naked. After crossing the Loopfork, we soon came to Wood River, a small stream, where the various companies had supply depots for the return trip. There was also a store here. Up until this time there were few scattered settlers to be seen, but we soon came to the Platt River Valley, and then there were no more except military stations long distances apart. I presume this stretch of coutry is really the " plains" so much spoken of, for there is a very great sameness to it day after day. We followed the river for a great many days. The water was low, mostly in the sand. The road finally was farther away from the river and we saw less of it. We finally reached Platt Bridge. At this point there was quite a strong garrison of soldiers guarind the mail, and watching the Indians. In my memory I have only one really sunny spot to mention. It was a beautiful afternoon. My brother, John Henry, and a aboy by the name of Joseph Jenkins were on the road far in advance of the company when a team of four mules came along
with some soldiers in the wagon. We quickly caught ahold of the wagon end--the road being good we could easily keep up. We commenced singing an old song, " My Old Kentucky Home." We finished singing the song and the wagon came to a sudden stop. The officer said, " Come up here, boys," and we gladly climbed up among them and then sang everything we knew. They gave us hardtack and sugar to eat. After a time we were afraid they would carry us farther than our company would travel that day, but they said, " No, your captain is ahead of us. You need not fear. We will put you down on the place he selects for a camp," and they did. We gathered a fine lot of sagebrush for a campfire, and gave Mr. George Harding, the mess cook, some brush upon the arrival of the campany. For this, we got a fresh flapjack for supper. It may be well for me to state who composed our mess. They were all Willard, Utah, men. There was first George Harding in command. Then came John L. Edwards, John Taylor, Edward Morgan, George Rees, and George Ward. Willard sent those men and supplied them with teams, wagons, and food for all free. These men were frontiersmen and were accustomed to travel, or fighting Indians. Mr. Harding was cook all the time, and the others were on guard duty, gathered wood, fixed fires, and carried water. Their food was not ratioined out to them. They could eat all they desired, while we were in half famished condition all the time. Our sister did the
cooking, and did the very best she could to make the small rations go around. I am satisfied she often went hungry herself. We were very fortunate in 1863 as the Indians were peaceful and never molested us on any of the journey.
We were now getting into a high altitude and the weather was cooler at night. We slept on the ground under the wagon. Our sister slept in the wagon under the covers with little Henry John and Mary Jones, who later became the wife of George Harding. I have written but little of our brother, Henry John. He must have suffered many a want. He was such a meek little child, always satisfied, but he had to subsist on such plain food. Had he had the care of a mother on this tiresome journey, he might have fared better. We finally reached that part of Wyoming so famous for bad storms, and we certainly got our share of snow and wind. We did not sleep pthat night as the snow blew over our bedding, but we were finally shown water that flowed to the Pacific Ocean and the weather became milder. We reached and finally crossed Green River and entered Echo Canyon, having passed Fort Bridger and other famous land marks, such as Independence Rock, Chimney Rock, which I can remember seeing at a distance. I did not see Pulpit Rock where Brigham Young preached his first sermon in Utah. At the mouth of Echo Canyon we turned South and camped that night not far from the little settlement of Coalville. The next morning we passed through this settlement, and leaving the valley of the Weber, turned westward into the mountains again. We made our camp somewhere in the region where Park City is now situated. Starting early the next morning without breakfast in order to
make Salt Lake city before noon, we crossed the divide separating the waters of the Weber and those flowing into the valley near Salt Lake City. We left Mill Creek Canyon and crossing a divide drove down into Emigration Canyon and out onto the foothills near Fort Douglas, and in sight of the city of Salt Lake. The train drove into Emigration square about noon on the 8th of October, 1863, and camped. We remained in Salt Lake a couple of days unloading freight, then left for the north, reaching Willard at noon on the third day. About two miles south of Willard we met Mr. John Edwards, Sr., on a gray pony. He was glad to meet my father, whom he knew so well in Wales, and we were glad to reach our destination after such a long and weary journey. Mr. Edwards took our family to his home, where his wife had prepared a fine dinner of which we heartily partook. Having met John L. Edwards at Florence, and forming a part of his quota of people across the plains, it was natural that we go with him to his home settlement and make Willard the place to establish ourselves in the land. It seemed that it was to be so, for in time John Lodwick Edwards married my sister, Gwenifred, on November 21, 1863. I was also destined to marry Margaret E. Davis, who was born in Willard.
In 1869, now being able to do a man's work, I, in company of a friend, Thomas Pierce, went to Weber Canyon to work. The Union Pacific Railroad was being built westward from the Missouri River. We carried our blankets and walking the first day from Willard, we made our camp on the foothills southeast of Ogden City and slept on the ground among the oak brush. Starting early the next day, we walked into the canyon. We were offered work at a number of places, but we had our own plans. We were given a ride by a young man who was going to Coalville after coal, and at about 6 o'clock we stopped at the camp of some Spanish Fork people who had taken a large contract, and needed some good men. My friend, Thomas Pierce, knew several of the Spanish Fork men. To my delight, I found a friend from Dowlais by the name of David Evans, who had come out the year after us, and I soon became acquainted with a man by the name of Howel Davis, who was the husband of a woman and the father of several children who were on the train with us leaving Cardiff, and were with us at the time we crossed the ocean. In this camp were quite a number of men from Wales, and a number from England. On Sundays we were kept busy writing letters for them. My brother, John Henry, was working for Sharp and Young in Echo Canyon, and when he learned that we were down the Weber a little way, he came down and joined us. We built us a shanty to sleep in. Late in December Thomas Pierce
became sick and had to go home. My brother and I remained until the work was completed, and then started for Salt Lake to spend Christmas. Carrying our bedding, we walked to Morgan and slept in some grainery building. There were three of us -- my brother, John Henry, myself, and a Scotch boy whose name I have forgotten. Coming out of Weber Canyon we turned south along the mountain road. About noon we became hungry, and somewhere east of Kaysville on the high road, we entered a house and asked for some dinner. There were two elderly women there who became interested at once, but said they had nothing to eat themselves. We told them we had plenty of money, so we planned a dinner. The women had some chickens, and we soon caught one and had it cooking. The Scotch boy went about a mile and bought some bread. We paid the women liberally for our dinner, and went on south through Farmington, Centerville and Bountiful. It was getting late and we wanted to reach halfway house. This was a hostelry well remembered by old timers. They made us welcome and we had supper with the family although it was late. We were glad to be so near the end of our journey that we commenced to sing. We sang together and in turns "Ten Nights in a Bar Room" -- a popular new song. Finally, the host came into our room with a jug of beer and some glasses and treated us for singing. He said it was the best ever done in this house. Next morning, after an early breakfast, we
started for the city , it being our first visit since coming in 1863. After resting in Willard, we went to work for Thomas E. Jeremy at the Hot Springs. After we finished our work we went to the Promontory Point where we entered the employ of John L. Edwards. My brother, John Henry, and I homesteaded land there when we became of age.
New information found since the death of Thomas Ap. Davis was added to this history to make it true and correct to the best of our knowledge.
The full particulars of the activities of this family for a few short years after their arrival in Willard are not known. However, we do know that Titus Lazarus Davis and his daughter, Gwenifred, settled in Willard, Utah. He was a shoemaker by trade and, as all Welsh people, a fine singer, being a choir leader in Wales. He sacrificed much for his family and religion, coming to America with his five sons and one daughter, leaving his wife and one child in Wales. She never joined the church and died a few years after he left. It was a sad and lonely life for both. Titus Lazarus was born August 8, 1806 at Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, South Wales. He married Mary Bowen, born January 6, 1819 at Maesyfelin, near Llanwenog. She died January 29, 1879 at Blamnantillwyd (Cremdu), South Wales, and was buried at Talley, Cardiganshire, South Wales. Titus L. died April 12, 1898 at Willard, Utah, and was buried in the Willard Cemetery.
Josiah Bowen was born September 8, 1839 at Llanwenog, and died in November, 1839.
David Lazarus was born January 21, 1841, at Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, South Wales. After filling a mission in Wales he emigrated to Utah in 1864 and settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. In November, 1865, he married Hannah Jeremy. In 1866 he married Esther Jeremy. They were daughters of Thomas E. and Sarah Evans Jeremy. He was the father of eleven children. After being in the employ of Wm. Jennings and Z.C.M.I., for several years, he became a member of the firm of Barney & Davis, which carried on an extensive business on East Temple Street. He died April 20, 1926, and was buried in Salt Lake City.
Timothy Bowen was born September 18, 1842 at Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, South Wales. He settletd in Logan, Utah. He married Charlotte Hayball, a daughter of Jacob Hayball, in Logan June 27, 1887. He was in business with his brother, John Henry. Two or three months after his marriage, he was called to serve a mission in Wales. He was happy for the opportunity of visiting his family there once again. He died April 21, 1916 in Logan, and was buried in Logan. His wife died in Salt Lake City, December 19, 1923. She, also, was buried in the Logan City Cemetery. Following the death of Timothy Bowen his family sold the business and moved to Malad, Idaho.
Gwenifred was born July 15, 1844 at Drefach, Cardiganshire, South Wales. After the family settled in Willard, Utah, she married John Lodwick Edwards, November 21, 1863. He was engaged in the farming and livestock business. It is interesting to note that Mr. Charles Dickens was a press representative on the boat out of Liverpool, and that he mentioned Gwenifred Davis in one of his books. He was much impressed by her singing and wanted to have her study voice. He said he would make her another Jenny Lind. Gwenifred died February 14, 1912 in Willard. Her husband died December 15, 1920 in Los Angeles, California. They were both buried in Willard. John Lodwick was born July 2, 1838, Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, South Wales.
Evan Thomas was born May 28, 1848 and died in September, 1948 in Drefach, Cardiganshire, South Wales.
Thomas Ap. was born June 10, 1849 in Drefach, Cardiganshire, South Wales. He married Margaret E. Davis of Willard April 10, 1871. He homesteaded on Promontory Point, raised a large family, and later moved to Malad, Idaho. He was engaged in farming and raising livestock. He entered politics and was elected to the State Legislature and also the State Senate. In the summer of 1897 he was appointed Mineral Commissioner for Idaho by President William McKinley. His wife died October 29, 1921. He died April 21, 1926. They are both buried in Malad, Idaho.
John Henry was born August 9, 1852 in Drefach, Cardiganshire, South Wales. He settled in Logan, Utah. At one time he was in business with his brother, Timothy Bowen. He married Martha Williams of Logan September 29, 1887. In 1897 he was called on a mission, to labor in Pennsylvania. He died May 5, 1928, and was buried in the Logan City Cemetery. His wife died March 22, 1943 and was also burired in the Logan City Cemetery.
Daniel John was born April 17, 1851 at Drefach, and died the same year.
Jenkin and Hannah were born June 18, 1855, at Drefach. Hannah was still-born. Jenkin remained in Wales. He married and was the father of six children. He was buried in Talley, Cardiganshire, South Wales.
Henry John was born August 7, 1859 in Llandilo, Cardiganshire, South Wales. He settled in Salt Lake City, where he married Alice Stephens. During most of his adult life he was a sales representative for Z.C.M.I. He died April 19, 1925 in Salt Lake City.
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