Letter from David Williams to Wales

I just came upon this letter written by David D Williams to his sisters in Wales.  In it he describes his trip to Utah from Wales.  The letter was originally written in Welsh.  I have written of David and his immigration in his biography.  As mentioned in the history, David is the son of Frances Henneys and John Williams born in Wales in 1832.  He immigrated to Utah in 1864.  I am including a picture of some rolling hills in Southern Wales that I took with some friends in 2003.  Funny how he thinks how beautiful Utah was (then), and yet we feel the same about his Wales!

Ogden City

October 13, 1864

My dear sisters,

I have reached the end of my journey in the valley of Great Salt Lake well and happy, and I hope that you are the same. I shall now give you some of the history of my trip from the Old Country. This little letter is not large enough to describe all I saw, but I shall do my best to describe the outstanding features as briefly and inclusively as possible. We started from Aberdare on May 17th for Merthyr, where we stayed overnight. Next morning, the 18th, we started for Liverpool. After leaving the old rugged, craggy mountains of Wales behind us, we came to the flat plains of England and there saw the most desirable land such as we had never seen in all our lives. It was full of apple trees, plums, pears, and all kinds of other fruit, nature was a feast of beauty, all kinds of beautiful buildings of red brick. By evening we reached Liverpool. (One-half dozen words obliterated by creased paper) the streets were all paved. There is no time now to give details about this place. Next day we went down to the docks, and there we saw the General McClellan. This immense vessel laid about 70 yards long carrying 2000 tons. After getting everything in order, the steamboat pulled us on to the river, where we saw the great eastern, the world’s chief wonder. May 21st, we set sail for New York across the Atlantic Ocean. We saw many large fish. About the banks of Newfoundland we saw many large icebergs, some of them 200 feet high, and the portion above the surface of the water was but a third of the whole, so this enormous block would stand 600 feet high if it were all visible. We had a successful journey. We got one bad storm for about 24 hours. We were on the ocean for a month and 3 days. After reaching New York, we were taken to customs offices where all immigrants have to pass. After getting all in order there, we started out by steamboat on the river Genessee for about 160 miles to Albany. Here we took the train, and away we went for hundreds of miles along the borders of Canada. Then we crossed the river to St. Clair and through a part of Canada, then recrossed the same river to the United States and on to Buffalo. Here laid a large lake called Buffalo Lake. I don’t know its size but it was scores of miles long. After changing trains, we went on to Quincy. This lies on the bank of the Mississippi River. We crossed this river to the State of Missouri. Here is the most delightful land we ever saw, vast plains for hundreds of miles. I did not see a single mountain during my journey from New York to Wyoming (in Nebraska). We went along the banks of Mississippi for about 900 miles to St. Joseph. This was as far as we went by train. We were on the train for 11 days and nights, and were very tired for want of a place to sleep, having traveled 2000 miles.

From here we went by steamboat on the Missouri River for 200 miles to Wyoming, and here we came to the plains. We stayed in Wyoming for 3 weeks. July 21st we started over the plains, a company of 500 to 600 people, men, women and children, and about 80 wagons. After traveling on the plains for about 11 weeks, we reached the City of Great Salt Lake on Oct. 4th. This is the most beautiful city I ever saw in my life. It is full of apple trees, plums, pears, peaches, damsons, grapes, melons and all kinds of other fruit. The buildings are large and beautiful, and you seldom see a double house, but each house separate with a garden adjoining. The streets are all straight for miles, not a crooked street in the city. I stood by Brigham Young’s house facing the south, and I could see 20 to 30 miles of perfectly straight road. We can see for 80 miles here better than you can see for 20 there. After being here several days, I learned that father and my brothers were in Ogden City, 40 miles away, and that Richard is coming down to the festival (conference). This gave me no small amount of joy, for this was the first news I had of my father that he was alive. I saw Richard in the city, and when the festival was over, we started for Ogden City. John has moved out 200 miles from here, and he and his family were well when last heard from. Father is well and contented and he was as glad to see me here as I was to see him, and to hear that you are all well there. They want you to come next time and would love very much to see you. This is three times as good a country to live in if you care to work. I know that Sally is unable to come without help, but if Mary is able to come if nothing untoward has happened, and I would advise you, Mary, to come out next time, so we can later help Sally and her family. I would like to know whether or not you intend coming next time so I can give you a few instructions. It is a great country if one is wise to take advantage of the elements, and to do everything for one’s self, for which I can greatly commend these people, more so than the people of the old country. The women make all their own clothes – weave, roll, and everything; it’s a poor place for a tailor to live on his trade. They also make soap, candles, vinegar, yeast and everything for their own use. These people raise the material for sugar, and make molasses like the tressels you have, except that it is much better. The sugar is all in this molasses, and the refuse that comes from this is what you have for treacle. There is nothing else in particular that I can add at present. Father sincerely sends his regards to you, to his old neighbours, and to all the Saints, and hopes to see some of their names in the paper as immigrants the next time. Richard sends his regards to you and to all the saints and his acquaintances. Give me an answer as soon as you can, so I can have sufficient time to write back if you should come out next time. If you want to know anything, ask in your letter and I shall answer it with pleasure.

This briefly from your dear father and your brothers, John, David and Richard Williams.

Please give this letter (accompanying this one ) to William Rees.

A few words to William Rees, my brother in the gospel. I have taken my pen in hand to send you a few lines, hoping you are well and happy, and enjoying the comforts of the gospel, as I do myself at present; and I thank God for that. I intended to give you a little news of the plains and its creatures. But from what we hear, it is not likely there will be an immigration over the plains for some time, because the Indians are rather cruel and are at war with the United States. We were on the plains for 11 weeks because of difficulties. We joined another train (wagon train) and in all we had 150 wagons with about 1200 people; our train was about 4 miles long. The last train of saints came to Salt Lake City on Oct. 20th. Trains of gentiles had joined them along the line, and I heard people saying that they stretched over 10 miles while traveling. Eighty of the rich people of Salt Lake City were called, last festival (conference) to go south 600 miles and raise cotton, and the rich everywhere are being called on to help; and there is also a widespread call for people to go there to settle. They are going to build ships on the Colorado River, for that is the way the next immigrants will come, around the Cape Horn. I have to finish at present for want of space on this paper, with fond regards to you, to Thomas Griffiths and his family, to Mary Hoskins and her family, and to all the saints alike.

This briefly from your old brother in the Gospel, David Williams.

D.R. Mr. David Williams, Ogden City,

LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH

I have previously written of my visit to Llangollen, Wales with the store sign reading “YSIOPFACHGARDIAUWRTHYBONTDROSYRAFONDDYFROWYYNLLANGOLLEN.”  When I came home from the mission, I had the photo above in my collection.  I must admit, I never actually visited the town nor took this picture.  Although, if Amanda and I had realized we were within 3 miles of the town when we traveled to Beaumaris, Wales through Menai Bridge we probably would have stopped.

Unlike YSIOPFACHGARDIAUWRTHYBONTDROSYRAFONDDYFROWYYNLLANGOLLEN, I can point you somewhere on how to say it.  I stumbled upon this little video which is clear on how to say LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH and even has a catchy tune if you want to remember it.  One of my missionary companions had a tape that taught the listener how to say it.  I listened to it once and had other things to do.  Now I wish I would have learned.  Maybe some time dedicated to the song will help me sound smart the next time someone asks the most novel place I know of in Wales.

John and Elizabeth Quayle

Here is a photograph of John Quayle and Elizabeth Sharp and presumably one of their children.  Since I have the photograph, I thought I better make it available.

Elizabeth Sharp was born on Christmas Day in 1834 in Misson, Nottinghamshire, England to Thomas Sharp and Elizabeth Cartwright.  If you are interested, I have written about her parents, the family’s conversion to the LDS faith, and the family’s trip to America in her brother’s short biography, Sharp-Bailey Wedding.

Siblings William and Isabella continued west with a LDS wagon train and Elizabeth stayed behind with her brother James in St Louis.  Elizabeth’s mother died in St. Louis shortly after arriving.  Elizabeth and James did not join the LDS faith with their mother (Elizabeth), William, and Isabella.

Elizabeth married John Quayle who was a shoemaker and born 14 March 1833 in Kirkham, Isle of Man.  I have not been able to find this town, so either it is a mistake or misspelling.  The 1860 Census has the family living in Meramec, St Louis, Missouri.  1870 places them in Central, St Louis, Missouri.  1880 finally places the family back in St Louis, Missouri, where both of them died.  By the 1880 Census, John had become a foreman in a pork house, probably the pork house of his brother-in-law James.  I have a photo of James and his short biography will be available soon.  The family seemed to have some difficulty informing the census takers because their ages jump pretty wildly from the right year to up to nine years in difference.  Further, John Quayle is listed as Isle of Man in one, Wales in another, and even Missouri in another.  We are pretty confident in the date given above, but it is not perfectly sure.

John and Elizabeth have seven children that we are aware of, some believe there is another named Thomas but we cannot link him with any clear documentation.

John Quayle (Jr) was born 5 November 1855 in Illinois and died 13 May 1910 in St. Louis.  He was buried on the 15th in the New St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis.  He married Laura Breitenstein 19 June 1833 in St. Louis.

James H Quayle was born 15 February 1858 in St. Louis and 6 September 1864 in St. Louis.  He is buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

Isabella Quayle was born October 1861 in St. Louis and died 12 September 1864 in St. Louis.  She is also buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Margaret Quayle was born July 1864 in St. Louis and died 25 April 1866 in St. Louis.  She is also buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Ida Quayle was born in 1867 and died 13 November 1888.    We do not know much more.

Emily Quayle, also apparently called Emma on some records, was born 29 January 1868 in St. Louis and died 1 February 1928 in St. Louis.  She was buried on the 3rd in St. Marcus Cemetery.  She married Gustavus Crause.

Elizabeth Quayle was born December 1870.  She married William Duggan.  We do not know much else about this family besides this little bit shared with family near the early 1900′s.  She died 25 June 1903 in St. Louis.

In 1878 the family lived at 1286 S 8th St in St Louis.  In 1880 they were living at 1727 Decatur in St. Louis.

John died in 1894 after falling off a load of hay.  We do not know much more than this and it does not appear he is buried with the rest of the family in Bellefontaine Cemetery, if so, it is misspelled or under another name.

Elizabeth lived with her daughter Elizabeth, known as Lizzie to differentiate, until her passing.  Elizabeth died of typhoid fever 6 November 1902 in St. Louis.  She was buried the next day in Bellefontaine.

YSIOPFACHGARDIAUWRTHYBONTDROSYRAFONDDYFROWYYNLLANGOLLEN

I have told a number of people about this little shop in Llangollen, Wales over the years.  Nobody seems to believe me that this sign and place really exist.  Here, for all to see, is the photo.  It says, “YSIOPFACHGARDIAUWRTHYBONTDROSYRAFONDDYFROWYYNLLANGOLLEN.”  You will have to click on the picture to see it more clearly.

If you do a search by the name, you find only a few hits for it on the web.  I do not know why they placed it all as one word since Welsh does permit spacing when you write it.  Perhaps it was to create a novelty to attract tourists.  At any rate, it means something like “the card small shop by the bridge over the river Dee in Llangollen” and is to clarify just in case you should confuse it with other card shops in Llangollen.  My welsh was pretty weak as I learned some of it in Wales and is even worse these days, so I hope that is kinda close.

We visited one Preparation Day in early 1999.  I only lived and served in Wallasey, Liscard, Moreton, Seacombe, West Kirby, and New Brighton in the Wirral Peninsula from around the 23st of December 1998 to about the 19th of January 1999 before being assigned to Hyde.  We made my first trip to Chester in Cheshire and Wrexham and Llangollen in Denbighshire, Wales.  The Valentine’s Day decorations in the window would seem to hint at later January.  My journals would tell, but they are in Idaho.

Llangollen is a small town, probably not more than a few thousand people.  I really remember very little about it.  I remember seeing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the drive down but not a whole lot more.  We drove down just to see this little store.  Which, now that I have posted the picture, everyone can rest assured it really does exist.

Perhaps some day I can return to Llangollen.  Maybe we can arrange it so it corresponds with the International Eisteddfod.  Or maybe some day I can visit Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.  Only time will tell.  Until then I will just have to make due with the Welsh Festival in Malad, Idaho.

FYI, I cannot pronounce either, so please do not ask.

My Blood Lineage

Walking and visiting with a professor today, she asked the name of my daughter.  I indicated it was Aliza and she stated, “A good English name.  You definitely look English, is it a family name?”  We chatted a little longer before we separated, but it left me thinking, “Exactly what are my proportions of nationality?”  Well, here they are.  Even though I had always thought I was more German, I was wrong.  I am more British.

Looking back 6 generations, I took each ancestor and assigned them 1/32 of my blood line (obviously).  I then assigned them the nation to which their ancestors came from.  Most of this generation were still in their native country so it was easy.  My “US” line is only those designated that I do not definitively know which mother country they came from because they are so long in Virginia (at least to 1780).  I debated about whether to lump the Saxon, Prussian, and Wuerttemberg lines because I am not lumping the Ireland, Wales, and English lines.  I have provided a separate indication of my “German” and “British” lines.

3/16 – England – Sharp, Bailey, Stoker, Eames, Coley, Rogers

1/8 – Netherlands – Van Leeuwen, Weenig, Janzen, Van der Meij

1/8 – Saxony – Schneider, Andra, Knauke, Richter

1/8 – Wuerttemberg – Wanner, Schmid, Nuffer, Greiner

1/8 – US – Meredith, Shepherd, Graham and Miles lines

1/16 – Ireland – Donaldson, Todd

1/16 – Norway – Christiansen, Jorgensen

1/16 – Prussia – Jonas, Schumacher

1/16 – Sweden – Nelson (Nilsson), Benson (Bengtsson)

1/16 – Wales – Williams, Jordan

All together

5/16 – British

5/16 – German

I am willing to bet all 4 of my US lines were Wales and England.  Therefore, 7/16 would be British.  This is the largest percentage of them all, almost 50% of me is British!  Maybe that is why I served a British mission (although none of my family came from within my mission).

Williams-Jordan Wedding

Perhaps there is something intimidating about writing your own thoughts. Sometimes those creative juices flow, but usually I sit down thinking I need to write something and nothing is really there. I find life fascinating so I know it is not because nothing is happening around me or in my own life. I write in my journal every night, for the most part, and do not feel like rehashing the same stories. My journals will be available to my family and others probably for a long time to come. However, I do have hundreds of photographs that I think I have learned some stories on which probably are not recorded.

Therefore, as a hope of continuing family history by preserving the stories with some of these photos, I start my new goal. To start posting pictures with my thoughts, perspective, musing, and whatever else I might feel to include.  So, here we go.  A sort of a picture is worth a thousand words expose.  I think part of me hopes I might find further clarification and other answers for the unknown bits of the stories I might present.  Please feel free to share.

Here is a portrait of David D Williams and Gwenllian Jordan.  I do not know what the D stands for.  Still hoping I will find that out at some point.

David was born 12 November 1832 in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales to John Williams and Frances Henneys.  His father was a Collier (coal miner).  On the 1841 Census, John is then listed as a farmer in Pembrey.  David joined the LDS church 12 July 1849.  His father joined in 1851, and siblings John in 1837, Joseph in 1853, and Richard in 1855.  John Haines moved to Pennsylvania in 1855.

In 1864, David immigrated through Liverpool and New York to America. He met Gwenllian Jordan in Liverpool, probably with the other Saints waiting to immigrate to the Zion.  They embarked on the “General McClellan”  on 21 May 1864 with a shipload of Mormon converts.  The two married on the ship 22 May 1864.  David and Gwenllian married while the ship was still in the Bramley-Moore dock of Liverpool Harbour.  Gwenllian’s sister, Mary Jordan, was also on the boat and married William Evans the same day on the River Mersey as they left Liverpool.  Thomas Jeremy, the presiding Elder on the ship married both couples.  These four disembarked together at Castle Gardens, New York (both Gwenllian and Mary using the Jordan name) on 23 June 1864.  I do not know if any other siblings of either David or Gwenllian were on the ship.  None of the others on the ship appear related.

The company of Saints from the ship were met by Joseph and Brigham Young Jr, sons of Brigham Young.  They then took the “”St. John” to Albany.  From there they took a train to Rochester, St. Joseph, and then Chicago where Parley P Pratt Jr met them.  From Chicago they took the “West Wind” to Wyoming, Nebraska Territory.  There a wagon train awaited and provided transportation to Utah.  The train arrived on 4 October 1864 (depending on which wagon train they traveled).

Gwenlliam was born 2 August 1842 in Merthyr-Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales to Margret Watkins and David Jordan.  She joined the LDS church on New Years Day (in probably cold baptismal waters) in 1851.  Her parents joined a few years before and I don’t know if any of her other siblings besides Mary joined the LDS church.  I believe Thomas did.  Her parents immigrated to Utah in 1872.

I am guessing the photograph of David and Gwenllian was taken while they were in the 40′s.  That is, of course, assuming the photograph is really of them.  This is a photograph in my Great Great Grandmother’s, Mary Elizabeth Williams, possessions.  She was the third child of David and Gwenllian so I have little reason to suspect the authenticity of the people in the photograph.  The photo was probably taken in Ogden since they settled and remained there the  rest of their lives.

David and Gwenllian had 10 children, 5 who lived to adulthood. I list the children below.  David worked as a farmer.  He passed away while sitting in his chair 27 November 1911 in Ogden.  Nobody was around when he passed but it seems to have been peaceful.  He had suffered from some heart problems and senility that came with his age.  Gwenllian apparently died in Slaterville from what her death certificate indicates as paralysis of the brain.

The 1870, 1880, and 1910 Censuses have David and Gwenllian in Ogden.  The 1900 has the family in Slaterville which is where Gwenllian passed away.

I really do not know anything more about the lives of David and Gwenllian.  If you have anything more, please share.

The five who died as children are as follows:

David Moiah Williams – 15 August 1866 – 15 January 1867 both in Ogden.

Margaret Ann Williams – 22 June 1867 – 4 March 1868 both in Ogden.

Sarah Jane Williams – 4 June 1874 – 4 January 1880 both in Ogden.

Katherine Williams – 15 June 1876 – 22 July 1877 both in Ogden.

Rosa Bell Williams – 15 June 1878 – 15 September 1879 both in Ogden.

The children who lived to adulthood are as follows:

Mary Elizabeth Williams – 7 April 1869 – 29 Mar 1951 both in Ogden.  Married William Scott Donaldson (Link to their marriage post here: Donaldson-Williams Wedding).  Five years after his death, she married Anthon Edward Peterson.  Three years after his death, she married Thomas William Stoker. This is my Great Great Grandmother.

John Haines Williams – 14 May 1871 – 29 October 1954 both in Ogden.  Married Bernice Cowan.  He married a Charlotte and Pamela, but I do not know if the information I have is correct so I will not include it.

Joseph Williams – 10 March 1880 in Slaterville – 25 October 1960 in Ogden.  He married Charlotte Dinsdale.

Louisa May Williams – 16 October 1881 in Slaterville – 1 February 1960 in Ogden.  She married Louis Jackson.  Twenty-five years after his death, she married Thomas Wilson Laymon.

Thomas Hyrum Williams – 1 July 1885 in Slaterville – 21 May 1967 in Ogden.  He married Ethel Peterson.  Five years after her death, he married Erma Amanda Carlisle.

Back on American Soil

We have arrived back in America after a very long day of traveling.  I am very glad it is over.  Our luggage was lost somewhere on the way.  It took another day to arrive.  They must have ran it through the oven.  All chocolate melted and everything else was jarred.  They even opened the luggage to inspect.

I just uploaded 169 photos for the album.  After going through and naming all 169 of them, the thing defaulted and then did not save them.  So you may want to wait before looking at the photos.  I will let you know when I get them named.  Additionally, I have ran out of room again for the second month in a row.  The photos only run to Northern Wales.  Everything for the past week I cannot upload until August arrives.  I suppose you will just have to wait!

Life is good.  I am glad to still be alive and feeling in one piece after the flights.