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Henry Morgan of Little/Middle Wernhir

Henry Morgan is one of those characters that kept cropping up in articles when I was researching local newspaper reports that concerned Glascoed. From these reports we see someone who was a pretty colourful character - I’ll leave you to make your own judgements about him.

He was the son of Charles Henry Morgan and his wife Elizabeth. They lived at Little Wernhir farm (also known as Middle Wernhir). He appears to have been an only child.

In 1856, he was accused by Eliza Lewis, a former servant at Little Wernhir of fathering her baby. This case was upheld indicating that this is in all likelihood Henry’s first child. A second shorter article on the case states that Eliza was actually Henry’s first cousin and had a previous child out of wedlock six years ago.

Henry was the subject of two more court cases from 1858 and 1862 (who knows - there may possibly have been more in addition to the ones I have found).

In the first case, he pleaded guilty to assaulting James Williams after an argument. The two men worked together as farm labourers at Little Wernhir. He was described in court as “a very powerful man”.

In the second case he was found to have fathered Emmyra Davies’ child (Florence Davies Morgan). It is worth reading the article to get a flavour of what Henry was like, but we do find among other things that he played violin and definitely had an eye for the ladies . . .

He married Sarah Williams (daughter of William and Margaret Williams of Middle Pentre Farm, Mamhilad) on 30th January 1863. She too, must have been expecting a child by this point, since their daughter, Sarah Morgan was born in August or September 1863. The transcribed baptism record that I found notes that she was baptised on 24th September 1863 (the daughter of Henry and Sarah Morgan of Mount Pleasant, Mamhilad). The burial record indicates that she was buried on 25th August 1863 (aged 8 days of Mount Pleasant, Mamhilad). One of these transcriptions must have been wrong - unless there is such a thing as posthumous baptism.

Henry tragically died a matter of days later - an untimely death, on Sunday 4th October 1863, after leaping from a train to shorten his walk home. This was something that he was rumoured to have done regularly whilst living at Little Wernhir, although he had not taken into account the additional speed that trains travelled at near his new abode. He was travelling back to his new marital home, Mount Pleasant, Mamhilad from Abergavenny on the late train.

While the newspaper article states that the person who died was named William, all other indicators point to the man being our Henry. This is the evidence:

1. A Henry Morgan was buried at Mamhilad parish church on 7th October 1863 - the note in the burial register is “killed by jumping off steps of the train at Little Mill”. His address was noted as Mount Pleasant.

2. The person who died married the daughter of a farmer from the Pentre farm, Mamhilad a few months back. The 1861 census records for Mamhilad are missing, although in 1851, a Sarah Williams was residing at Middle Pentre farm with her father William. This links with the information in the article re Henry/William’s death.

3. In the death indexes for the Oct-Dec 1863 quarter, there were two William Morgans registered as having died in Pontypool district. One was a William Morgan, the other was a “William Henry Morgan”. I believe that if you add these pieces of information together (plus the fact that I could not find Henry Morgan on any later censuses) it is reasonable to claim that “William Morgan of Little Wernhir” from the accident article was our Henry (who probably had the full name of William Henry Morgan).

4. There is no trace of a William Morgan at Little Wernhir in any of the previous censuses.

A short but eventful life!

Read the articles for more detail:

Assault on James Williams (1858)

Affiliation case brought by Myra Davies of Pontymoile. (1862).

Myra was the daughter of Jesse and Eliza Davies of Lower Cwmhir. Their daughter, Florence Davies Morgan married James Edwards, the son of Thomas and Maria Edwards in 1883.

Railway accident


Census: 184118511861.