James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

(John) Oswald Owen (1872 - 1950): His life in Llanidloes

The eldest of James and Mary Owen's children to survive into adulthood was (John) Oswald Owen. He was born on 31 May 1872 [Newtown]. In the summer of 1893 he passed, with first class honours, the examination in religious knowledge for admission to Church training college. [Evening Express, 11 Sept 1893]. In 1891 he was a teacher lodging with a widow, Ann Davies, at 23 New Street, Wem, Shropshire, but in 1895 "Mr. J. Oswald Owen (formerly of Milksham, Wiltshire)", was appointed assistant master at the National School, Llanidloes [Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-wales Advertiser, 14 September 1895]. That year he was on the committee of the Young Men's Friendly Society in Llanidloes and, with his brother Maurice who was secretary, he was involved in several of their performances, all of which were well attended. In 1896, Oswald played a detective in a mock murder trial and a month later a defence witness in a mock breach of promise trial. [Ibid. 21 Jan. & 25 Feb. 1896] In December 1897, he and Maurice attended an address by the Borough M.P., Major E. Pryce-Jones, at the Conservative Club, Llanidloes.

Reports in the above-mentioned newspaper show how Maurice and Oswald regularly played cricket for Llanidloes CC and were involved with Llanidloes FC - Oswald was one time captain and secretary. A report of a match at Llanidloes [Ibid. 30 Jan. 1897] began by describing, with amusement, how three players, anxious not to be late for the game, came straight from work (presumably in the lead mines), in corduroys and with black faces but it went on to say: All the home players did well. J. O. Owen, who has been selected to play in the North v South match, played most brilliantly all through, and quite justified his inclusion in this trial game.. (Oswald played for N Wales against S. Wales at Swansea on 30 January 1897.)

In 1898 Oswald passed the certificated exam for school-masters [Ibid. 29 Oct. 1898]. He helped to decorate the National School at Llanidloes and was the MC for its Christmas Party in 1899. Among those present were his brother, Maurice, and several of his cousins from his father's first marriage: Timothy M O Shelby, Wrexham, the son of Sarah Owen: the daughters of Jemima Jones (Owen), living at 'The Close', at least two of whom were teachers in Llandloes: and F Penrhos Owen, Craven Arms, the son of Elisha Owen. [Ibid, 7 Jan 1899]. The previous report also stated that Oswald had secured "the important appointment of assistant master at St. John's National Boys' School, Ealing". [Ibid. 3 Sept. 1898] On his departure from Llanidloes, Maurice replaced him as secretary of the Church Choral Society.