James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Move to near Wrexham

By 1863 the family had moved north once more, this time to near Wrexham in Denbighshire (map 4). In 1871 they were living in Evans Row, Ruthin Road, Pen Y Gelli - at least one of their younger children was born at nearby Minera - and John was then a lead miner; Pen Y Gelli was part of the community of Coedpoeth.

John and Sarah brought their three children, Louisa Morgan (b 1853), Margaret Jane (b 1860) and Miriam Shelby (b c1862), to an area that was booming. There was a brick-works but lead mining was the most important local industry, reaching its peak in 1863-4 when 6822 tons of lead ore and 1179 tons of zinc ore were produced, yielding a profit of just under £70,000 that year.

Sarah and John were to have five more children. James Pritchard (b 1863) and Susannah Ellen (b 1865) were both born at Adwy'rclawdd, (map 5) "a small pleasantly-situated village", close to Coedpoeth, "a populous village, having all the pretensions of a little town", both villages being in the Parish of Bersham and about 3 miles west of Wrexham and both enjoying "a good view of the surrounding country" from their high vantage points. (from Villages & Parishes in the County Of Denbigh, 1886).

Thomas Francis (b 1868), Timothy Morgan (b 1869) and Sarah Ann (b 1871) were all born in nearby Pen Y Gelli. Sarah and John also adopted a deaf-mute boy, Henry Huband. Five of their children - Margaret Jane, Susannah Ellen, Sarah Anne, Timothy Morgan, and Thomas Francis - were christened at Minera Parish Church on the same day, 28 October 1874.

Various local newspaper reports provide an insight into the lives of members of the Shelby family and leave us in no doubt that they were Wesleyan Methodsists. Incidentally, there were no other Shelbys in the area but two newspaper reports mention an 'Edward Shelby' (1867) and 'Mary Ann Shelby' (1871). She was probably 'Sarah Ann Shelby' (the mother since the daughter of that name was not born until the following year) but Edward appears not to have existed. The reports are included in the hope that someone can shed light on them but they may simply be cases of mistaken identity or reporter error.