Village history People Records Houses Newspapers Updates


Home About Links Contact

William Morgan (1837)

William Morgan was the second son of John and Mary Morgan of Hill Farm.

He was born on 9th April 1837 at Glascoed, and then christened on the 9th of July 1837 at Monkswood.

He lived at Hill Farm for the first portion of his life. We see him on the 1841 to 1861 censuses as a “farmer’s son”.

William had an adventurous spirit about him … not only did he emigrate to Montreal with his family in his early 50s (in 1889), this wasn’t the first time that he had struck out from these shores to seek his fortune in Canada. In the 1850s and again in the early 1860s, there were gold rushes out to British Columbia. In 1862, William along with his brother Tom and a few other local residents  set out to discover gold at Fraser’s River, Vancouver Island. I don’t know exactly what they discovered although William did return to Glascoed by the mid-late 1860s.

William and Tom’s expedition was recorded by William in a diary and he sent letters to his family, which were published by the Pontypool Free Press in 1862. See these fascinating extracts here and here.

After his father died in 1864, it is likely that William took over the farm.

William married Emma Rachel Price, the daughter of a clergyman, John Price and his wife Rachel. Emma was born at Llansoy. They married at the church where her father was now the Rector - Llanfihangel Torymynydd on 27th June 1865.

They had four children at Hill Farm:

William Henry Gwyn Morgan (born c. 1866, baptised 8th April 1866 at either Usk or Glascoed).

John Endel Morgan (born c. 1867, bap 14th October 1867 at either Usk or Glascoed). John died at Llanfihangel Torymynydd in 1879, aged 11, being buried on 15th April 1879 at that church - apparently he must have been living with his grandfather, John Price, the Rector of Llanfihangel.

Alfred Hedley Morgan was born c. 1869 and was baptised at Glascoed on 6th Jan 1869. He was living with John Price, his grandfather at the time of the 1881 census.

Emma Rachel Gertrude Morgan was born around 19th March 1871 (she was said to be 14 days old on the census of 1871) and baptised on 21st September 1871 at either Usk or Glascoed.

William appears on the Electoral Registers at Hill Farm, from 1868 to 1872, qualifying through “occupation of house and land” - his brother, Arthur was also entitled to vote by having a “share of freehold farm” (both relating to Hill Farm). The first register I could access after his father’s death was the 1868 register. The 1874 register shows a change - by this time William was no longer at the farm, although Arthur still held a share of the ownership of the farm.

I was confused by the 1881 census entry showing William living at Grays, in Essex, now working as a Cement factory labourer, with what seemed to be a new wife (“Susan”). It appears now that “Susan” is actually a census enumerator’s error and that “Susan” is actually Emma! Mary Morgan, a descendant of the couple, provided census records from 1891 to 1921 showing them actually living in Montreal.

On the 1881 census, William and Emma had both William Henry Gwyn and Emma Rachel Gertrude living with them. As previously noted, John Endel had died. Alfred Hedley was staying (or possibly living?) with his maternal grandfather, John Price.

William by now had 5 additional children: The first three were born at St. Brides, Monmouthshire - May (aged 7), Annie (aged 5) and Winifred (aged 4). James Augustus (aged 2) was born at Usk, and Bertha Annie J. was born at Goytre, Monmouthshire. Emma’s birthplace was equally unclear (Hansay, Monmouthshire - which is probably Llansoy), the fact that first caused me to ponder that she may actually be Emma.

I am a bit intrigued as to why William left what was one of the largest farms in the Glascoed to go to work as a labourer in a cement factory, although as my relative John Williams told me, most of the farmers in the Glascoed were “as poor as church mice” and it would have been easy to fall on harder times and move away for more regular employment and income.

So it’s clear from census records and information from William and Emma’s descendants, that the family’s move to Canada was successful. William and Emma continued to live there well into their 80s and possibly even beyond! I’m not sure what William’s occupation was eventually, although in 1901 he was noted to be a “wickle planter” according to the ancestry census transcription, probably a mis-transcription! I’ve no idea what this would have been!


Census: In Glascoed 1841, 1851, 18611871 

In England 1881

In Montreal, Canada 1891190119111921

Registers of Electors: 1868-70, 1870, 1871, 1872

Burial of sonJohn Endel Morgan