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Thomas Jesse Pitt

Thomas was born on Boxing Day 1864 at Glascoed, the son of John and Sarah Pitt.

His father died when Thomas was only seven months old, so he would not have remembered him. The family were probably living at Rose Cottage at the time of his birth. Thomas’ mother, Sarah, re-married when Thomas was 3 years old in 1868 - to James Williams. Thomas kept his surname Pitt, in spite of the re-marriage. While her marriage certificate stated that she was living at Penpedairheol near Hengoed, Glamorgan, we know from newpaper reports that she had never left Glascoed. The mention in an earlier article of the burning of an effigy of James Williams by other villagers and the “suspicion of infanticide” probably meant that Sarah and James wanted a quieter wedding outside of Glascoed and gossiping tongues! James had been brought up for some of his life in Glascoed, with his parents Walter and Rachel Williams. James had been married before, to an Ann Pritchard, who I presume died young.

Thomas never appeared on a Glascoed census. He was with his Aunt and Uncle (Thomas and Ann Davies) at the time of the 1871 census in Gwaun-yr-allt, Hengoed and also in 1881. This must have been the link with Gellgaer church where Sarah married James Williams. I assume that Ann was his natural Aunty, since she was born in Llansawel, Carmarthenshire (the same place of birth as Thomas’ mam). It appears that Thomas was brought up by his Aunty and Uncle, since on the 1881 census, he is listed as being Thomas J Davies, born at Glascoed, the only child at their home. At this point he was a pupil teacher.

By 1891 he had moved to England, working as an Officer of the Inland Revenue (must have been popular - a tax man!) at Cambridge.

By 1901 he was married to Unity Jane Devine, of Whitstable, Kent, was working as a labourer at Woolwich Arsenal (London), living at 371 Woolwich Road in Charlton. They had six children:

Gwladys Elizabeth Pitt, born 27th February 1897, at 21 Crawford Buildings, Homer Street, W. London, died 8th February 1968 at Runcorn Cottage Hospital). Gwladys married Sydney Vincent Fairall on 26th June 1920 at Woolwich Registry Office.

Alice Edith Pitt, born 17th January 1899 at 2 Springbank Road, Hither Green, Lewisham, SE London. Alice died on 14th March 1922 at 71 Ceres Road, Plumstead.

William Charles Pitt, born 29th May 1901 at 371 Woolwich Road, Charlton, SE London. He married Florence Hassal. William died at Joyce Green Hospital, Dartford.

Ellen Pitt, born 17th March 1903 at 31 Dicey Street, Woolwich, SE London. She married Fredrick Johnson at Bedwellty, Monmouthshire in 1925. Ellen died on 10th July 1966 at Maple Avenue, Runcorn, Cheshire.

Violet Lilian Pitt, born 30th August 1905 at 76 Cedar Grove, Charlton, SE London. She died 3 days later on 2nd September 1905 at the same address.

James Devine Pitt, born 25th October 1906 at 12 Trinity Street, Woolwich, SE London. He married to a lady named Muriel. He died on 17th January 1966 at 16 Guildford Grove, Greenwich, SE London.

By 1911, the family had moved to Plumstead in Kent. Thomas was by now a Storeman at the Army Ordnance Department. Ceres Road was a leafier street, so I suppose that the family was becoming a little better off financially.

Thanks to Evelyn Hayes (nee Fairall) for most of this information. She also provided this insight into Thomas from family oral history:

“Thomas left home as a very young man after a row. My mother thought it had been his father's funeral but perhaps it was his mother's. He did go back and he and his sons William and James worked in the mines. They lived at Markham (Monmouthshire) and my Grandmother (Unity Devine) died there in April 1928 . . . Thomas was I believe rather a hot headed man did not like bosses, and I only found out from a cousins wife my Aunt had told him he only returned to Wales as he was in trouble for being involved in the Unions in Woolwich.”

Thomas returned to London soon after the death of his wife, Unity and died at 170 Park Road, East Ham on 26th November 1928.

Census records: