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William Penn Jones

(27 December 1845, Penmachno, Caernarvonshire, Wales - 7 May 1921, Philadelphia, Pa, USA)

The following incidental information was obtained while researching the life of Robert L Jones , one of six siblings who were born and raised in Penmachno, Caernarvonshire, by William and Ellen Jones. This page is about the family of William Jones (1845-1921), youngest of the five siblings who chose to settle in Pennsylvania. (See this section for more information about the Jones family history, which also has links to pages about William's siblings.) This research is far from complete and there will be much more information available in the archives but I do not have the time at present to pursue what is for me a peripheral area of research. However, I do want to make available to other researchers what I have learned about this family; I shall make an announcement in the "News" section if I add anything more to this page.

William (Penn) Jones (1845-1921) was born in Penmachno, Caernarvonshire, on 27 December 1845. His entries in the 1841 and 1851 censuses, together with information about his ancestry, can be seen on this page.

By the time of the 1871 census: William (26), 'slate maker', was married to a lady called Margaret (41) who was 15 years his senior. They had a daughter Elizabeth M (5 months) and were living at the Peniarth Arms; they had a servant, Anne Roberts (15). All were born in Penmancho. The announcement of Elizabeth's birth appeared in Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 16th November 1870 p.8: Hydref 23ain, priod Mr, William Jones, Peniarth Arms, Penmachno, ar ferch. (i.e. October 23rd, to the spouse of Mr, William Jones, Peniarth Arms, Penmachno, a girl.)

The Peniarth Arms was on the eastern outskirts of the small community of Cwm Penmachno (i.e. in the direction of Penmachno) on the only road that gave access to Cwm Penmachno. The landlady of the Peniarth Arms in 1871 was Ellen Jones (70), who had a servant, Catherine Williams (20); both were born in Penmachno. I have no reason to believe she was related to William Jones but she may have been related to Margaret, possibly by marriage. I present the following facts and would be interested to hear if links are found between the parties concerned:

Death of the above-mentioned innkeeper Ellen Jones:
Grave B138 St Tudclud's
Here lies John Jones of Bennar, Farmer, buried 1st September 1830 age 27 years
Also, here lies Elizabeth, daughter of the above named John and Ellen Jones, buried March 29th 1847, aged 19 years
Also Ellen Jones, Peniarth Arms, wife of John Jones, of Bennar who died 22nd September 1879 aged 79 years.
(From Gwynedd Family History Society Memorial inscriptions of the Church of St Tudclud) (see this site)
There was a Margaret Jones who married Rice Jones [Llanrwst 1850, 2nd qt]. In the 1851 census, Rice Jones (20), a farmer of 150 acres employing 2 labourers, was living at the property called 'Bennar' in Penmachno with his wife, Margaret (22), 2 ag. labs., a house servant & a visitor who was a fisherman.

Allowing for inaccuracies in ages - not uncommon in census records - might this Margaret have been the lady who subsequently married William Jones, the subject of this page? I have found neither of them in the 1861 census and there are at least 2 possible deaths for Rice Jones in the 1850s on the General Register; one of these is mentioned on this site about the house 'Plas yn Glasgwm'; the obituaries of William's mother, Ellen, which can be seen here, state that she was related to the Jones family of Glasgwm Hall. The 'Plas yn Glasgwm' site states:

N.B. Rice Jones the eldest son of John & Anne's died in 1863 aged 32 years. His name does not appear on any of the census records at Plas Glasgwm and so he must have already left home by the time the family were first recorded there in 1861.
[The census shows that John (53) and Anne (50) Jones were at farming 400 acres at Glassgwm Farm in 1861]
Thus, through his mother, William would have been related to the Jones family of Glasgwm Hall.

The reason for all this speculation is that, following the death of the innkeeper, Ellen Jones, William took over her role as innkeeper.

Before that the birth of William and Margaret's 2nd daughter was announced in Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 26th June 1872 p 8: JONES - 3ydd, priod Mr. William Jones, Peniarth Arms Inn, Penmachno, ar ferch. (i.e. On the 3rd, the spouse of Mr. William Jones, Peniarth Arms Inn, Penmachno, was delivered of a girl.)

Thus, by the time of the 1881 census the occupation of William (35) was 'Slate maker and Innkeeper'. Still resident at the Peniarth Arms were William, Margaret (51), their 2 daughters, Elizabeth E.M. Jones (10) and Jane M Jones (8), and a servant, Kate Roberts (15).

Sadly, Margaret died a few years later:

Baner ac Amserau Cymru , 26th June 1872 p 8:
JONES-February 1st, in her 52nd year Mrs. Jones, dear wife of Mr. William Jones, Peniarth Arms Inn, Penmachno. She suffered much patience during the last eight years. On Wednesday, a crowd of relatives and friends came together to escort her to her long-term home in Llan. (Dioddefodd lawer o gystudd yn ystod yr wyth mlynedd diweddaf. Y dydd Mercher canlynel, daeth torf liosog o berthynasau a chyfeillion ynghyd i'w hebrwng i dy ei hir gartref yn y Llan.)

I presume this implies that Margaret suffered ill health for about 8 years before her death; having 2 children in her 40s and perhaps having to help run the inn must have taken their toll.

This left William a widower with 2 young children and according to the US censuses they all travelled to America in 1886 (contradicted only in the 1900 census by the girls apparently stating it was in 1885). William's two older brothers had arrived there in 1857 and in 1860 and their two sisters would follow, with their own families, in 1888 and 1890. (see the page about the family history)

An account in 1896, quoted on this page of Robert L Jones's history states: "William Jones was a supervisor of the quarrymen of his brother Robert L. Jones." It continues, "One of his daughters, by Ellin Jones, the Benar, is married and lives in Philadelphia."; that daughter was Elizabeth. Note that here, yet again, William's wife is being linked to 'the Benar' and it is interesting that the writer calls her Ellen. She is listed as 'Margaret' in the 1871 and 1881 Welsh censuses but in the death certificate of their daughter Jane, Jane's mother's maiden name is given as 'Eleanor Jones' ('Ellen', 'Eleanor' and variants appear to have been interchangeable.)

The next record of William's career appears in the 1900 census when he might still have been working for his brother Robert. There were slate quarries on either side of the border and, though most of the quarries Robert L Jones owned and ran were on the Pennsylvania side, he did own at least one on the Maryland side. All the Peach Bottom quarries were spread over a comparatively small area.

In the 1900 US census William P Jones (54 and born in Dec. 1845), a widower, is living alone in Stearn's Precinct, Harford, Md., and his occupation is 'Boss { Slate Quarryman'. It states he had been in America for 14 years, having arrived in 1886. I have not sought the whereabouts of his daughters at this time but they subsequently appear in US censuses and in newspaper reports. Note that, like his brothers, William does not appear to have a 2nd Christian name until he gets to America, when he becomes 'William Penn Jones'. In fact, on his death certificate the typed name "William Penn Jones" is crossed out and replaced by the hand-written name "William Jones". In 1900, William's sisters, Ann Roberts and Ellen Jones, the latter by then a widow, were living with their families in Stearns Precinct; it was an area of Maryland around and including Cardiff and Whiteford, adjacent to the border with Pennsylvania and very near to where their brother Robert lived.

The 1920 census tells us that William became a naturalised US citizen in 1904.

The Jones siblings all settled near one another and near the Mason-Dixon line, separating Maryland and Pennsylvania and in 1910, William P Jones (64), widower of Welsh birth & parentage, who arrived in America in 1886, is boarding in the Delta Borough of Peach Bottom Township, just over the border in Pennsylvania. Like several others on the census page, he is a 'Quarryman' working in a 'Slate Quarry'; there is no suggestion that he has a supervisory role . However, the 1907 biography of William's brother, Robert L Jones (see here), When discussing the members of the family who settled in America, states: "the youngest member, William Penn, who is now superintendent of the slate quarries, owned by our subject, Robert L., emigrated in 1886"; perhaps he had relinquished this role by 1910.

There are many newspaper reports recounting the musical talents of the Jones brothers in America; William is often mentioned performing in Peach Bottom concerts as a singer. The American Welsh language newspaper Y Drych, 21 Jan. 1915 in an article headed "News from Philadelphia" reported on an Eisteddfod in which "W. Penn Jones, Baltimore (formerly Delta)" performed. Another report (Y Drych, 16 May 1918) about William's grandson going off to the war (see below) refers to "Mr. William Penn Jones, formerly of Delta" so he had clearly moved away from Delta after 1910.

In the 1920 census William P. (73) is with his daughter Jane M Jones (45) in Philadelphia. She is the head of the household with no occupation and his occupation is "Watchman" in "Bank".

When William Penn Jones died, aged 75, on 7 May 1921 he was living at 2034 Wallace Street, Philadelphia. He was buried in Slatesville Cemetery, Delta, on 11 May. His death certificate confirms his date of birth as 27 December 1845, his occupation as 'Watchman', the names of his parents, and the cause of death as "Acute cardiac dilation". The informant was "Miss Jennie M Jones" of the same address (i.e. his daughter, Jane). As stated above the typed name "William Penn Jones" was deleted and replaced with the hand-written "William Jones", reinforcing the notion that he added 'Penn' on arrival in America. There is a record that suggests William fought in the army in the US Civil War - clearly not possible as he arrived too late in America but perhaps he acquired this honour through his brother Robert's involvement in that war.

The daughters of William Penn Jones

William's daughter Jane M Jones was born on 3 June 1872. In the 1900 US census Jane (aka Jennie) was with her married sister at 813, Nth 46th St, Philadelphia. Household:

In the 1920 US census Jane M (45) was head of the household and her father William (73) was living with her in Philadelphia. They had both arrived in America in 1886 and she left the occupation box empty.

Jane died on 23 September 1938 and was buried in Slateville Cemetery on 27 September.

In the 1910 US census the Packer family were still at 813, 46th St, Philadelphia, and there was another son, John Packer (8) (he had been born on 3 May 1901).

Y Drych, 19 July 1917, p.2 reporting a meeting at the Welsh church in Philadelphia, which listed among those members of the church who were going to war, "Sergeant Edward Packer, son of Mr. a Mrs. William Packer, 1228 N. 55th Street; grandson to Wm. Penn Jones."

Y Drych, 29 Nov 1917: "We congratulate Edward Packer on his promotion in Lieutenant. He is a son to Mr. a Mrs. William Packer, and grandsons to William Penn Jones."

Y Drych, 16 May 1918: MARRIAGE
PACKER - ROEHNER. - May 3, 1918, Sergt. Edward W. Packer was married to Miss Miriam M. Roehner, by the Rev. R. E. Williams, in his own house in Philadelphia, as one of the last events for the young man before he left with his regiment for the front. He is a son to Mr. a Mrs. W. Parker from the above city, and grandsons to Mr. William Penn Jones, formerly of Delta; The young lady also from the same city. The great friends to the young couple wish them a long life together and that they would be meeting again soon under different circumstances.

In the 1920 US census John (sen) was still a letter carrier but he had changed from being a wage-earner to becoming an employer. The children Elizabeth and James were not with the family at 1228 Nth 55 St West Side, Philadelphia, which they owned - they had previously rented - but Edward's wife, Miriam, was there. The youngest son had become John W Packer Jr. and he was an elctrician and an employer.

During the next 10 years Margaret J Packer married Michael J Miles and John W Packer Jr. married Edna M Boyle (18 Feb. 1905 - 29 June 1970) and they had a son and a daughter. At the time of the 1930 US census Margaret, Michael and John were living with, John (sen.) and Elizabeth in the same house as before and with James . John Jr.'s wife is not with them but his son, John W Packer III (8) was. John had been born on 1 January 1922. There was also a daughter, Marian Elizabeth Packer (b 24 March 1923) who would be raised with a half-brother by her mother; her parents divorced and Edna remarried in 1932.

In the 1940 US census little had changed; Michael Miles was not with the family (America had not yet entered the war so it is unlikely that he was serving in the forces). James was an electrician with the railroad, John Jr. was a bar-tender in a cafe.

Marian (b 1923 married and had at least one child; there may be an association with Australia. She married James Van Wright (19 April 1921, Philadelphia - 9 January 2008, Somers Point, Atlantic, NJ.) and they had at least one child. Marian herself died in August 2005, Somers Point, Atlantic, NJ.

An obituary for John Watson Packer III appears on the Internet:

PACKER, JOHN WATSON III, 81, of Naples, FL., died Sept. 12, 2003. He was born in Phila., PA. on Jan. 1, 1922. Mr. Packer graduated from Overbrook High School in Phila. in 1940 lettering in Baseball. He attended the University of Pennsylvania before joining the US Coast Guard during WWII. Surviviors include his loving wife of 28 years, Cecile R. Packer of Naples, FL, son Herb Packer of Seattle, WA., daughters Theora and her husband Grant B. Cole Jr. of Stow, MA, Elizabeth Packer of Seattle, WA and Robyn and her husband William Jagust of Oakland, CA and grandchildren Grant B. Cole III and his wife Tara Black and Cindy Cole all of MA. His first wife Jacqueline (Steele) Packer preceded him in death in 1970. A Memorial Service was held in Naples, FL. Memorials in John's name should be directed to the National Kidney Foundation, 1040 Woodcock Rd., Suite 119, Orlando, FL 32803.

Elizabeth E M Packer died on 9 February 1947 in Philadelphia. Her husband, John W Packer (sen), died 2 February 1951, Willow Grove Upper Moreland, Montgomery, Pa.. Their son John W Jr. died from Coronary Declusion brought on by sclerosis of the arteries, on 3 January 1953, Philadelphia. The first wife of John Watson Packer III, Jacqueline Ann née, Steele, died in 1970, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Her husband died on 12 September 2003, Naples, Collier, Florida.

I am unaware of what became of the other members of this branch of the family.

Click here to access the Jones family history page which provides links to the pages about each of William's siblings.

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