Dulais Higher                    Family Histories

Dulais Higher

William Morgan 1890-, Coelbren & USA

John Morgan (1861-99) & Mary Anne Powell (1866-92), Coelbren 

Winston Jones (1915-75)

Most unfortunately, little is known about William Morgan, the only male Morgan to continue the name once his brothers had died in the first world war.  It is doubtful that he served in WW1, as it appears he emigrated to the USA.   His brother Richard’s obituary states that he went to America at the age of 24 which would imply 1914-15.                                                                                                                                                                                               

In 1901, aged 12, William is shown living with his widowed mother at Bryncelyn House, next door to Coelbren House.  He cannot be found definitively on the 1911 census although it is likely he is the William Morgan shown as a Boarder in the Richards household in Ystradgynlais.

William Morgan had at least one child - a son, Winston - but he would not continue the male Morgan name and line.   William refused to acknowledge the child, ran off to America shortly before or after the birth, and left it to be brought up as a Jones by his sister.

Winston was the child of William Morgan and (Catherine) Bronwen Jones.  In 1911, Bronwen is recorded aged 15 as a domestic servant on the farm of Lloyd and Margaret Morgan, Talgarth.  By some accounts, she may then have been a schoolteacher in the Coelbren area at the time although no obvious record can be seen for her at Coelbren School itself.  Winston was born in Cardiff on the 8th February 1915.

William’s lack of taste for marriage is said to have encouraged him to emigrate.   His son, Winston, born it appears in February 1915 in Cardiff according to the births index, was adopted immediately after birth by William’s sister, Margaret and given her then married name of Jones.   She had married John Jones in 1905 and there were two children, Evan and Mary Ann.  We don’t know what John died of, suddenly, on the 4th December 1908.

In the 1921 census, Winston is shown aged 6 years 4 months at Bryncelyn House, Colbren.  This was next to Coelbren House and been built originally for Winston’s grandfather John Walter Morgan.  His daughter Margaret and husband Sephania Williams are heads of the household, with Winston recorded as their adopted son.  In this census, householders had to indicate whether the parents of any children were alive or dead.  Sadly, in Winston’s case, it is noted “Mother alive, Father N.K.” - Not Known. 

This ‘Not Known’ designation is not exactly what it might appear.  Certainly, Winston’s father, William Morgan, was known to the family  What was not known, following his abrupt departure to the USA seven years previously, was whether he was alive or not, and it is this that the census field attempts to capture.  Partly, following the end of the war in 1918, it would show up the number of fatherless children - who in aggregate were far larger than motherless ones.  

One wonders when and what the luckless Winston was to be told of his parentage.  His mother is recorded as ‘Alive’ and one can only suppose there was some form of contact between her in Cardiff (she qualified as a nurse) and the family back in Coelbren.  Certainly, she had very limited contact indeed with Winston in her life, amounting only to the writing of two or three letters from her to him as an adult.

On the 1939 register, Winston E. Jones is again shown at Bryncelyn House, aged 24  with his aunt (again, sadly, a widow) and cousin Richard Williams.  He is recorded as a Colliery Hewer, Heavy Worker.

William Morgan did return at least once to south Wales after emigrating, perhaps in the 1950s, but unsurprisingly received a rather frosty reception, according to family memory.  One aunt told him, “It’s just as well you have her [a step-daughter] with you, for otherwise…”



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Copyright © the text and authorial photographs Gareth Jones 2015-23