James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

In 1871 Elijah was living in Bethal Street, Llanidloes with his step-father, George Gibbons, his mother and her children Timothy and Victoria. In 1881 he was living with Timothy and his mother, in Birkenhead. In 1891 he was a grocer's cart driver, living with his mother, Timothy and half-sister, Isabel. Thomas Maskrey and family lived at the same address and on 1 May 1892, at St Nicholas church, Liverpool, Elijah married Thomas’s sister, Mary Emma Maskrey (b 19 March 1870). the daughter of Elizabeth and Ralph Maskery, a cab driver. In 1891 she was a shop assistant living in Collingwood Street, Birkenhead, with her mother, her brothers, John and Edwin, her stepfather, Thomas Reed, and his son, James, the men all being shipyard workers.

In 1901 Elijah was a ‘Corporation Labourer (Sanitary)’. He was living at 12 Millar’s Place, Birkenhead (map) with Mary and their children Thomas E Roberts, aged 7 (b 25 March 1894), Mary E Roberts, aged 5, Susannah Roberts, aged 3 (b 5 January 1898), and Edwin James Roberts, aged 1. In 1911 they were all still at 12 Millar’s Place but Elijah was then a labourer for a builder and there were more children: John Roberts who had been born on 23 May 1905, Elizabeth Roberts, who had been born on 13 February 1903, and Isabel Ellen Roberts who had been born on 31 January 1910 [b Birkenhead 1910, 1st qt]. By 1911 there had been ten children born but three had died. There was also Elijah Roberts (mother née Maskrey) born in 1914 [Birkenhead 1914, 2nd qt] who died soon after birth [Birkenhead 1914, 3rd qt]. Only the three youngest, Elizabeth, John and Isabel Ellen, were named as dependant children when Elijah enlisted in 1915.

When Elijah joined 5th Cheshire RE at Chester as a private on 1 February 1915 he was forty-six and a bricklayer living with his family at 106 Oliver Street, Birkenhead (map); his name was entered as 'Elijah Trevallon Roberts'. He was already in the 1st Cheshire Royal Engineers in the National Reserve. He later transferred (probably in December 1917) to the Inland Waterways and Docks Regiment RE as a sapper. This regiment was formed in December 1914 to deal with and to develop transport on the canals and waterways of France and Belgium, at first incorporating railways but a special waterways directorate was formed in October, 1915. Details of some of his service are missing due to damage in World War II but he served in France; in August 1918 he was at Richborough near Dover (the RE Headquarters Depot was there) but he was in France prior to his demobalisation in February 1919. His 'Victory' and 'British' medal record stated he served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers (554678), Cheshire Regiment (19006), Royal Defence Corps (20062) and Royal Engineers (WR/305431).

Elijah died in the winter of 1930/31, aged 62 [Birkenhead 1931, 1st qt]. In 1939 the widowed Mary was living at 106 Oliver Street, Birkenhead with her unmarried children, Thomas and Susannah. Mary died in 1950, aged 80 [Birkenhead 1950, 3rd qt].