James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Marriage & move to Peach Bottom

Isabella arrived in Pennsylvania 1869 and, according to Robert's 1907 biography they married in Philadelphia on 15 August (the IGI gives the date as 6 August). Isabella would have been only seven when Robert left Wales so either 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 when engagements often lasted several years. She was not pregnant since, according to the 1900 census, they lost no children and their first child was not born until 1872.

As I was told recently, America was a land where the slate-splitter could become the quarry owner if he was willing to take the chance. Robert L. Jones was one of those who took his chance and became very wealthy. In 1872, he was one of a group of five men who began to operate a small quarry on their own account and it was from such small beginnings that he rose to become one of the largest quarry operators in the district. After working this quarry for seven years he sold out to his four patrners and leased the big, old quarry at Peach Bottom, which he would continue to control until his death.

Peach Bottom Township (maps) lies a mile north of Delta, a town in the south eastern corner of York County, Pennsylvania, where the Susquehanna River crosses the Mason-Dixon Line, about 20 miles north east of Baltimore and about 40 miles WSW of Philadelphia. Delta became the leading industrial town and trading centre along the Susquehanna River. Nearby were several townships that had taken Welsh place-names such as West Bangor, Bethesda and Cardiff. These and the township of Peach Bottom lie in the district called Peach Bottom in York County, where slate was discovered in the early eighteenth century; several large quarries were created and these attracted workers from Europe, particularly from the slate-quarrying areas of Wales. In 1850, Peach Bottom slate had been displayed at London's Crystal Palace Exposition, where it was adjudged the best in the world. From 1847 to 1937, about 12 quarries operated on what is known locally as 'Slate Ridge', northeast and southwest of Delta; by 1872 over 600 Welshmen were earning their living there. The township of Peach Bottom, where Robert and Isabella lived for a while, had a population of just over 2000 in the late nineteenth century.