Journal of Wales International       Autumn - Winter 2005

The tales the tombstones tell

Adelaide Eubank Currier visits a Colorado cemetary

William Bramwell, Robert Evans, Thomas H. Evans, E. R. Evans, Hugh Davis, William Davies, Louisa (Mrs. W. W.) Jones, William B. Jones, John Daniel Lewis, Gilbert, 'Spike' Morgan, William Henry Richards, John The Prince of Wales Roberts! Who were these people; whatever happened to them? The stories of these Welsh immigrants, and others like them can be found in part at the Hillside Cemetery in Silverton, Colorado, USA.

The economic situation for the Welsh miners in the 1890's was very bleak with the introduction of the sliding scale for pay making it easy for the mine owners to agree among themselves to fix prices a little bit low and thus give their workers even lower pay wages.

As a result, 80% of the union miners went on strike and most lost their jobs.

When precious metals were discovered in Africa, South America and elsewhere, it became less expensive to import the metals than to use home produced products.

Many miners, both men and women, left Yr Hen Wlad to try their luck in the booming town of Silverton, Colorado. In the last decade of the 1800s,

Silverton and its neighbouring towns had a population of close to 6,000 people, fed by fortune seekers from places like Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, England and Wales.

Some, like William B. Jones, worked in the mines only a few months before succumbing to pneumonia.

Born in north Wales, he was survived by a mother and sister across the Atlantic, names not given in the obituary.

It makes one wonder if they ever received the sad news of their loved one's death or if they waited in vain for news from across the way.

Louisa, (Mrs. W W) Jones formerly of Coedpoeth, near Wrexham, Wales, was killed at Yankee Girl Mine August 31, N 1892, at the age of 31.

One can find her tombstone, inscribed, in Welsh at the Hillside Cemetery just outside of Silverton:

AWST 31AIN 1892

Unfortunately, explosions were all too common during that time period. Besides the dangers of illness and premature detonations of dynamite, an old foe followed some of the Welsh to the New World..

Two men shared the common nickname of The Prince of Wales - John Roberts died November 15, 1905, aged 60, of "pneumonia and drunkenness," according to his obituary in the newspaper..

Arthur Stocks, age 49 - who shared the same title as John Roberts several years later - having gone to his bunk house to sleep off the effects of his evening's activities, he failed to awaken when the fire alarm sounded and thus perished on May 18, 1909.

Robert W. Roberts, a mail carrier, was swept away from his earthly home in a snow slide on December 21, 1855, at the age of 31 leaving his elderly mother who, had followed him over from Wales to grieve her lost son.

Harry Williams from. Newport was taken by typhoid fever while James S Williams left a bereft wife and children in Wales when he died of heart l'foblems. William Henry Richards, 1859 - Jan 29, 1889, was paid tribute by a male choir of his countrymen who sang several beautiful hymns before he was interred at Hillside Cemetery.

A fellow countryman, William Bramwell from Cardiganshire died a few years prior to William Richards simply because his candle blew out while he was working causing him to fall to his death through an open mine shaft. He was only 28.

John Daniel Lewis, born in Salem, Codgriffith, Wales, died in a snow slide at the age of 32 leaving a father and sister in Wales, a brother in Australia and another brother in America.

Others were more fortunate and were able to survive the cold winters, avalanches, illnesses and other hazards.

Many of the William Jones family - brothers, nephews and sisters - can be found in the scenic cemetery with dates crossing several decades.

Some members of the Grand Junction, Colorado, Clwb Cymraeg accompanied by their friend, Arlene M. Currier, took a field trip to the historic town.

Using the book The Story of Hillside Cemetery by Freda Carley Peterson, they were able to track down some of the colorful stories of the 50 or more Welsh who made their way into the heart of the San Juan mountains of Colorado in the 1890s.

Freda's book can be found at the National , Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 3BU, Cymru.

People from allover the world come to this small town seeking their long lost relatives. While searching for the tombstones written in Welsh, I asked another person if she had noticed them in her wanderings.

She replied carefully, "I do not understand," then joined a group of people who were conversing in German.

Perhaps you will want to make a journey through time to the Hillside Cemetery and find the final resting place of some of your long lost family or old friends.

A Welsh roll-call

Here is the list I compiled from The Story of Hillside Cemetery by Freda Carley Peterson:

* William Bramwell died 1882, fall in mine shaft when his candle went out, born Cardiganshire, Wales, age 28 * William Davies, died May 6, 1896 age 46 from Llanewit, Denbighshire, Wales * Dave Davis died July 5, 1906 age 40 native of Wales, brother of John Davis Jr. * Hugh Davis died 1905, born April 27, 1850, born in Aberffraw, Anglesey, Wales * Robert Ellis died Dec. 3, 1898 age 34 from Mountain Ash, S. Wales * Robert Evans died June 25, 1898 age 34 born in Llanrwst, Wales, brother and sister survive in Old Country. * Thomas Evans died Feb. 11, 1889 left a widowed mother in Wales * William D. Harris 1846-Feb.8, 1903 born near Neath, S. Wales * Harry Hopkins March 19, 1861, died June 8, 1932 age 71 born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales * May S. Lewis Jones Hughes, Jan.1, 1881 died Aug.7, 1961 80 years born in Cardiganshire, Wales, came with her parents David and Mary Lewis. * Richard H. Hughes Dec. 23, 1880 , died Nov. 5, 1918 age 37 flu, born in Wales * Gwen Roberts Jones Jenkins born April 21, 1856 died Jan. 10, 1917 born in N. Barmouth, Wales * Richard Jenkins born 1851 died Jan 23, 1913 born in S. Wales * David F. Jones, born Nov. 18, 1883 died Oct. 31, 1913 age 35 flu and pneumonia, born in S. Wales * Henry Jones born Oct. 15, 1850 died July 13, 1897 age 46, 'Dyma Fan Fechan Ei Fedd' on tombstone, born in Brithdir, N. Wales * Joseph Jones died 1889 relative of Henry * John Jones died Dec. 16, 1915, 75 years, born in Wales *John D. Jones died Aug. 16, 1894 age 49 born in Aberystwyth leaving a wife and three daughters in S. Wales.  * William B. Jones died June 6, 1908 here only a few months died of pneumonia. Born in N. Wales leaving a mother and sister across the Atlantic, names not given. * John Daniel Lewis, brother of David D. and Morgan Lewis, born April 1867 died Feb. 1900, 32 years old, born in Salem, Codgriffith, Wales, leaving a father and sister in Old Coundtry, brother in Australia and another brother in America. Died in a snow slide.* John J. 'Jack' Lewis, brother of David, age 34 native of Cardiganshire, Devils Bridge, S. Wales *Joseph Lloyd died Nov. 30, 1907 suicide, born in Wales* Richard 'Dick' Lloyd died June 17, 1901, age 48, born in Cardiganshire, S. Wales. Married and three daughters never came to America but were left all his money after his debts were paid according to his will. * William Mason, died Dec. 14, 1906 age 51, native of Wales died of tuberculosis * Gilbert 'Spike' Morgan born 1883, died July 5, 1911 age 28, suicide from S. Wales * William 'Billy' Morgan 1899 died of heart disease, age 45, of Welsh descent * David Powell, born 1875, died Nov. 23, 1902, age 27, suffocated in mining ore, son of Thomas and Pricilla Evans Powell * John Powell, born 1889, died in 1910, son of Thomas and Pricilla, grew up in Llandyfriog, Wales * William Pritchard born 1875, died June 7, 1913, age 38, born in N. Wales* Dave Pugh died June 24, 1919 (half brother of Richard and Tom Griffith) age 43, died of miners consumption, born Talybont, Wales, left a brother and sister in Wales* William Henry Richards born 1859, died Jan. 29, 1889 age 30, rock slide leaving wife and family in Wales. A male choir of his countrymen sang several beautiful hymns before he was interred at Hillside Cemetery. * Ebenezer L. 'Ebbie' Roberts born Oct. 16, 1891, died Sept. 17, 1892, parents Lizzie Smith and Ebenezer L. 'Bob' Roberts, son of Owen and Laura Roberts, a stone mason in Barmouth, Wales. * John 'The Prince of Wales' Roberts died Nov. 15, `905, 60 years, died of pneumonia and drunkeness.* Laura Roberts (Mother of Ebenezer 'Bob' Roberts, Maggie Roberts and Gwen Roberts Jones Jenkins, born April 1819, died June 30, 1899, Barmouth, Wales. She came to Silverton at age 75 with her youngest son Robert W. Roberts. *Robert W. Roberts, born Dec. 21, 1855, died April 19, 1886, age 31 snow slide, mail carrier * James S. Simmonds died April 1, 1891, Cornwall and William Hooks, of Wales, died of pneumonia on the same day. The funeral was led by Matt Moyle with the choir singing several hymns. *Arthur Stocks 'The Prince of Wales' died May 18, 1909, age 49, died 2:15 AM in bunkhouse fire. * Elias Thomas died Dec. 1, 1888, age 34, pneumonia, born in Perrhyncoch, Aberystwyth, Wales * Cash Williams died May 23, 1920, 65 years old, born in Wales * Harry Williams, died Aug. 17, 1910, age 28, born in Newport, Wales, typhoid fever * James S. Williams 1852-Dec. 14, 1905, age 53, born in Wales, died of heart problems leaving a wife and children in Wales. * Jobe Williams, born 1861, died Dec. 16, 1911 age 50 *Peter Williams (son of Griffen Williams) died Dec. 16, 1909, age 30, lobar pneumonia, flu, born in Tresddol, Wales * Robert F. Williams died Aug. 13, 1909, age 65, brain hemorrhage, born in Wales.

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