James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

The 1870 US census shows Robert in Peach Bottom, York Co., Pa, (maps). He was then twenty-eight years old and living with his brother, John W. Jones (34), John's Welsh wife, Ellen (27), and their three children, all of whom had been born in Pennsylvania. Robert and John's occupation was "works in slate quarry" and both were citizens of the United States. The census was enumerated on 19 August 1870, a few days after Isabella and Robert's marriage, though the square to indicate if the person had been married within the year was left blank for Robert. On the same page of the census, there were seven other families. In every one the parents had been born in Wales. Three household heads were wealthy owners of quarries - John Humphreys, Hugh C. Roberts and Richard Jones - and one was a Congregationalist minister. Robert worked for John Humphreys who had arrived in West Bangor in 1849 and had become a leading figure in the area.

To return to Isabella: she arrived in Pennsylvania in 1869. The 1870 US census, her page enumerated in June 1870, lists Isabella Roberts aged 18, born in Wales, and residing in Philadelphia (subdivision No 25). Like her mother, she had become known as Isabella, which is the name I shall use to distinguish her from her mother. Isabella would have been seventeen but later evidence confirms this was Isabel's daughter. She was living with an American housekeeper, Anna Hartshorne, aged 78, and an Irish servant, Mary A. Quigley, aged 38.

Less than a year after her arrival Isabella and Robert were married. She would have been only seven when Robert left Wales so, either theirs was an arranged marriage or they had carried out a courtship by letter or they met soon after she arrived, in which case theirs would have been a short courtship by the standards of those days. She was not pregnant since, according to the 1900 census, she and Robert lost no children and their first child was not born until 1872.

Isabella and Robert spent their married life in West Bangor (maps), a community within Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania. (Information about this area and how the slate within the 'Peach Bottom formation' drew many Welsh slate workers to it can be found here). By the time Isabella arrived as a new bride, there were already about 600 Welshmen living there. West Bangor lies about 1 mile ENE of Delta, a town which, having thrived through trade along the Susquehanna River, benefitted from the coming of the railroad and rapidly became a leading industrial centre. From about the mid-19th century until the early 20th century about 12 quarries operated along "Slate Ridge" which ran northeast to southwest of Delta.