James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Robert L. Jones

The 1907 biography states: “On August 15, 1870, Mr Jones was united in marriage with Isabella Roberts, daughter of John and Isabella Roberts of Wales”. The 1900 census confirms that Robert, a ‘slate manufacturer’, was born in Wales in March 1841 and that his wife, Isabella R Jones, ‘keeping house’, was born in Wales in November 1852. ( (This site reveals that on marriage she had taken her maiden name as her middle name, as was quite common in those days.) [Note that the IGI states that Robert L Jones married Isabella E Roberts in Philadelphia on 6 August 1870.]

The 1886 Biography reports that Robert was born on 15 March 1841 in Penmachno, Caernarvonshire. He was known in America as “Robert L Jones” but it appears that he added the “L” himself; there is no evidence of what it stood for, though “Lee” was a name used in one branch of his descendants and occasional reports replaced the "L" by "Ll", suggesting the name "Llewellyn". He was the third child of William and Ellen who “were natives of Wales and never left that country” (1907 biography), unlike five of their six children who emigrated to America. In fact Robert and his siblings were among the many who travelled from the Penmachno area to settle in Peach Bottom Township. These nineteenth century Welsh quarry workers - labourers, splitters, blacksmiths, and stone carvers – appeared to believe there would be better opportunities in America and for some like Robert this was true. The Welsh workers brought with them improved quarrying techniques and men like Robert were able to make a success of quarries which in at least one case had failed under less experienced management. Crossing the Atlantic was not to be taken lightly - 580 prospective immigrants, many from Bethesda and Llanberis, sailed from Liverpool in 1854 and were never seen again - but Robert, aged eighteen, sailed from Liverpool aboard the City of Washington and arrived safely in New York on 28 March 1860. From there he travelled to join his elder brother John in West Bangor, Pennsylvania, (maps); John, who became known in America as ‘'Sion Penmachno' (Mister Penmachno) had arrived in 1857. I believe that all three Jones brothers adopted second Christian names; thus John became John W. Jones, Robert became Robert L Jones and William became William Penn Jones.

The 1886 Biography (printed after Robert had become a quarry owner) commented, "Though he attended school in Wales only two years (between seven and nine), and about two months in America, yet he keeps his own books, and directs his large business unassisted." After a meagre education and when he was still quite young, Robert had joined his father, working in the local Penmachno slate quarry (see here or the same pictures with more information can be seen here.)