James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Success & tragedy

Elias remained at Efenechtyd for almost eleven years and while the family lived there, his children enjoyed considerable success. William represented Wales several times at football and qualified as a solicitor (Elias himself was fond of sport and "took a great delight in football and cricket", Bygones, 24 May 1899 & Arch. Camb. 1901, ser. 6, Vol I): Edwin graduated from Oxford and went into the Church and in 1888 Thomas William was starting his studies at Durham with a view to following a similar path.

At about the same time, his brother Elias was completing his course at Lampeter College. He too played international football and he wanted become a vicar but tragically took his own life on 20 September 1888, an event which must have had a devastating effect on such a close-knit family. He was reportedly suffering from depression as a result of performing badly in his final exams but a descendant believes that his depression and suicide resulted from the discovery that his wife had been having an affair; she ran off with her lover but was left destitute, fell into abject poverty and died at the age of forty-one.

It is likely that ill health led Elias to reduce his workload and to retire as an HMI. The Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (10 June 1892) reported that Elias was "seriously unwell" though it was not until January of the following year that he preached his last sermon at Efenechtyd (Ibid., 20 Jan 1893)).