James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Mary Owen

We return again to the children of Rev. Elias Owen and Margaret. Their eldest daughter, Mary, was born in Llanllechid in about 1866. I was told she married, had at least one child and that she and her family moved abroad. A niece of hers thought her brother and sister, Jack and Sally, who arrived in Chile in 1906, lived during the summer on the 30,000 acre ranch of a man called Wharton, presumed to be his surname, and during the winter in a hotel he owned in Santiago. Once it was discovered that Mary's sister Lizzie Wilde and family also sailed to Chile later that year, the evidence was mounting that Mary could have preceded them. It was several years before confirmation arrived, courtesy of the National Library of Wales and its project to reproduce old Welsh newspapers online.

A small entry in several Welsh newspapers revealed that Mary had married Wharton Peers Jones - the distinctive name soon revealed more about the couple - and that they were living in Chile. One such, from the Rhyl Journal, 14 July 1906, read:

DEATH. The "Star of Chile," just received, records the death "at Wharton Hall, Carahue, at 11.15 a.m. on the 3rd of May, of Emily Peers Jones, eldest daughter of Wharton and Mary Peers Jones, aged 15 years." The young lady was grand-daughter of the late Rev Elias Owen, Vicar of Llanyblodwel, and of the late Dr Pryce Jones, Rhyl, and grand-niece of Mr Morgan Owen, J.P., Penbryn Hall, Monts, and Bronwylfa, Rhyl.

Another announcement of her death [Denbighshire Free Press 14 July 1906] stated she was 15½ but if she was the Emily Peers Jones born in England [Hackney 1891, 4th qt] (no other records for this person in UK) she would then have been 14½.

To date the only certain UK civil record for Mary was found in the 1871 census, when she was aged 4 and living with her family in Llanllechid, though in the 1881 census she might have been the Mary Owen, aged 14 and born in Bangor, who was a boarder at Howell’s School, Denbigh. This was a school set up under a charitable foundation for the instruction of girls, and to maintain, clothe and provide portions for orphan students. In 1881 it drew students from England as well as from all over Wales. Mary was definitely living with her family at Efenechtyd Rectory in 1888 at the time of her brother Elias's suicide; she and her sister Maggie showed great presence of mind and maturity in the way they acted on the night of his death and in the way they gave evidence at the inquest (see reports). Perhaps it was the trauma of these events that prompted Mary to start afresh in a different country.