This is a picture of a strong and determined woman. We almost share a birthday. Winnifred, who was called Gwen (Gywn in Wales), was born on November 13, 1822 to John Lloyd and Catherine Griffith who were tenant farmers on a big estate in Llanfrothen, County of Merioneth, North Wales. She was their second daughter.
Daniel L. Roberts was born November 12, 1819 (another close birthday) to Robert Roberts and Elizabeth Edwards in Bryn-y-Sgybor (Hill with a barn) in Llanfrothen Parish. He was the next to last of eight children. Daniel and Gwen were married on January 28, 1843. Daniel worked in a slate quarry near his home. Every Saturday he would bring his wages home to Gwen except for a shilling or two for the pub. Four children were born to this couple; Catherine, Elizabeth, William, and John Lloyd.
In 1846 Daniel's older brother David asked a family friend who was single, Robert Evans, to journey to Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire where the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for Wales was located. He wanted Robert to investigate and bring back more information. Robert was taught by Captain Dan Jones and returned with a testimony that it was the restored gospel which he then taught to David. David was baptized and soon so were several others of his family including Gwen and Daniel. Gwen was determined to emigrate to Utah so they were the first to leave traveling with their four children to Liverpool where they embarked on a sailing ship, the "Joseph Badger" on Thursday, October 17, 1850. The cheapest passage was on empty ships returning to New Orleans after delivering cotton to England. There were 335 passengers of which 227 were converts to the church mostly of Welsh decent. It was the fifty-first company with John Morris as President and 'Captain' David Rees Evans and Owel Williams as councilors. Remember 'Captain Evans' because he has a big part later in this story.
After a remarkably short passage, the 'Joseph Badger' arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi River on November 20, 1850. Their uneventful voyage lasted just over a month. The ship was towed up the Mississippi River and landed at New Orleans on November 22, 1850. After being in New Orleans for two to three days, they took passage on a Mississippi River boat, the El Pasa, for the journey up the river to St. Louis. During this time there was an epidemic of Asiatic Cholera. This became Gwen's worst nightmare as her son William, just three, sickened and died. The same night her husband, Daniel, became ill and passed away before morning just hours after William. Father and son were buried side by side on the banks of the Mississippi at a place called Worthings Landing in the state of Kentucky their names being carved on a tree trunk.
Gwen carried on to St. Louis not speaking or understanding English arriving on December 1, 1850. It was here that she spent the winter during a very sad and trying time in a strange land surrounded by strangers. Her two little girls, Catherine age 8 and Eliza or Elizabeth age 6, and her now only son, John Lloyd age eleven months old were all she had. Fortunately there was a man who had also been on the El Pasa who spoke Welsh as well as English who helped her. Her parents sent a letter offering to pay their passage back to Wales which she refused. Another man was quite smitten with her baby boy (my great, great grandfather) and offered to take him. Once again she refused.
As Spring approached, she traveled on to Council Bluffs, Iowa hoping to continue on the trek westward. She arrived with her little family in May 1851. She would remain here battling for the existence of herself and family until about July 1852. She sold her husband's clothing and with these slender funds she purchased a cow and joined with another emigrant, Mr. Wheeler, traveling alone. He was a tall gray headed man who was partially blind and Eliza would sit on his shoulders to help guide him. Mr. Wheeler owned an ox and had a wagon so the two animals were harnessed to the wagon and the journey began. Gwen walked all the way. John Lloyd, now three, frequently rode in the wagon but was often carried by his mother. Eliza was quite frail so if not on Mr. Wheeler's shoulders would also sometimes ride in the wagon.
It was eleven hundred miles to Utah. The caravan arrived in Salt Lake on September 29, 1852. When they neared the entrance to the valley, they were met by an old Welsh acquaintance, Tom Jones, who gave Gwen some flour, melons and other supplies. Tom Jones also asked Gwen to marry him. When Gwen refused his proposal, Tom demanded pay for the provisions. During that first winter, Gwen and her children lived in an earthen floor one room adobe house. They made a bit of money working in the homes of the well to do.
Interesting side note: Gwen's brother-in-laws David and John emigrated with their families in 1856 and came to Salt Lake in the Edward Bunker handcart company which traveled the same summer as the Willie and Martin companies. They, however, left earlier and arrived in Salt Lake in early October although they did experience snow in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota, This was an arduous journey and neither brother lived long. John died soon after arriving in Salt Lake and David died in 1858.
Gwen was very lonely in Salt Lake and was anxious to go to Brigham City where so many of her Welsh friends had located. When Lorenzo Snow was called by President Brigham Young to take a group of Saints to colonize Box Elder County, Gwen volunteered to go. She moved to the little settlement southeast of Brigham City called the Welch Fields which made entirely of Welsh people. They enjoyed their own church services conducted in the Welch language.
Upon Gwen's arrival she renewed her acquaintance with Captain Evans and they were married on July 8, 1853 in Brigham City. Gwen and her three small children moved into David's home and helped him with his farm. Five sons were born to them and David was also particularly kind to Gwen's three children as well. Gwen was once questioned about which husband she loved the most. She answered that her first love was the greatest, but she loved David Rees Evans the most because he was so kind to her and her children.
Unfortunately, David quietly died in his sleep on January 3, 1861 at forty-two years of age. Three months later his youngest son was born. Three years later, the youngest two boys Frank, age 5, and Samuel, now three, died on the same day and were buried near their father in the Brigham City Cemetery. Gwen and her now six children continued to reside on David's farm until April of 1871.
She knew that her boys were growing up and that they would need more land. She sent her sons out looking for suitable locations and they ended up in Malad, Idaho where there was land which could be homesteaded four miles north of Malad village.She received enough money from the sale of her farm to buy seed and livestock for the farm as well as had some to use to further her sons' education. Gwen also bought a large lot in Malad and her sons built her a log home where she remained for the remainder of her life. This house was located on North Main Street.
All of her children led good and successful lives and took active parts in their community and church. Gwen was considered a very fine looking woman and was tall and well built. Her eyes were dark and her naturally curly hair was black with a touch of gray. She was a very practical person and had her grave, grave marker, and burial clothes all paid for and available for use when she died on May 2, 1909 at age 87. Her sons chartered a special train to take her and all who wished to go to Brigham City, where she was buried in the city cemetery by the side of her husband and two little boys.
Pictures of her children who lived to be adults. My great, great grandfather is John Lloyd Roberts who came from Wales as a baby.
This is a picture of her father, John Lloyd, and her sister, Catherine. Later in life she and her father corresponded and sent photographs to one another.
Gwen has a special insignia on her marker showing that she was a pioneer.
The Evans family maker.
The final resting place of her youngest sons.