52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – In the City

Evan Parry came to the United States with his mother, Elizabeth (Davies) Parry, and four brothers and two sisters. They left Halkyn, Flintshire, Wales on 7 Nov 1859 and arrived in New York on 20 Dec 1859. Their father, Thomas Ellis, left a job as a coal miner for the United States. He arrived in New York in 1856 to lay the ground for the arrival of his family. The family was apart for three years and four months. They immediately left New York city for Pennsylvania and eventually ended up in Ohio. ¹

Thomas and Elizabeth Center Front. Evan back right. The family appears to be very prosperous.

In the 1800s, a new life in the United States offered wealth through hard work and opportunity. The northeast area of Ohio that beckoned Thomas was dotted with coal mines. Thomas was a miner. Jobs were readily available. And jobs were readily available for his sons. Fortunately for Thomas, while he worked in the mine, he was able to live in the city of Hubbard. I believe it was living in a city that afforded him many opportunities besides mining. Between 1870 and 1880, Thomas transformed his life by moving from a coal digger to a street commissioner. He was a well-respected member of the Welsh Association and Odd-Fellows. The Odd-Fellows awarded him a gold-headed cane on 15 Apr 1885. Three days later, he and Elizabeth left for a visit to his homeland of Wales. ²

Evan Parry was fifteen when his family came to the United States. He followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming a miner. In the picture below, Evan Parry is shown in the back row, second from the left. The picture caption indicates the picture was taken in 1833. It most likely was taken in 1853, rather than 1833, as photography was not introduced to the world until 1839. ³

A copy of this newspaper article is in the possession of the Parry family.

Leaving employment as a miner, Evan became an engineer with Carnegie Steel Company at the Ohio works. He was among one of the first engineers employed by the old Ohio Steel Company during the early years of construction.

Evan left, Jane, Tom, Margaret, and Mary in front.

According to his obituary, Evan and his wife Margaret traveled to England two years before his death. They hoped an ocean trip would improve his health. ⁴ However, according to ship manifests, they arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, and left Glasgow after having spent a month abroad. Hopefully, while there, they visited his brother Robert, who had moved back across the pond to Liverpool. ⁵

Unlike my ancestors, who mostly farmed and lived in rural areas, the Parry’s lived in cities. Cities during the 1800s were dirty and overcrowded. Yet, they offered many employment opportunities. If one was willing to work, employment was available. The Parry’s were industrious and worked hard. They changed from using their brawn to using their brains to survive and thrive. Was all of this due to living in a city? One never knows, but then again, perhaps living in a city didn’t hurt.

As a side-note, my husband’s mother was full Welsh descended from Thomas Morgan Parry and Sarah Elizabeth Mitchell, Evan Parry and Margaret Morgan, and Thomas Ellis Parry and Elizabeth Davies. All were pure-blooded Welsh making my husband half-Welsh, at least on paper.

¹ From a copy of a hand written note in the possession of David Parry.

² Summit County Beacon, Akron, Ohio, 15 Apr 1885

³ https://www.nga.gov/features/east-of-the-mississippi-nineteenth-century-american-landscape/early-decades.html

⁴ “Evan Parry Dead,” Youngstown Vindicator, 3 May 1908, p. 9, col. 5; digital images, MyHeritage (http://www.myheritage.com : accessed 26 Mar 2018).

⁵ Database. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010 1906; Arrival; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 758; Line: 2; Page Number: 73. 

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