Birth to marriage
Elijah Owen, my great-grandfather, was christened at Domgay Congregational or Independent Chapel (left), Llandysilio, on 15 November 1835; the chapel is actually at Four Crosses, on what is now the A483. The chapel records reveal that he was born on 7 November 1835 in Deythur (now called Deuddwr), Montgomeryshire, which is where his family lived at the time (map 1). His birthplace is given as Llandysilio in the 1851, 1871 and 1881 censuses, a parish in the hundred of Deythur, in which Domgay was one of the principal townships. Elijah’s university record states that he was born in Oswestry, which was Llandysilio’s post town six miles away, that he was educated at Llandysilio National School and that he attended Caernarvon Training College. It is more likely that he attended Llanidloes National School since Llanidloes was where the family lived from 1840 (map 2). The writings of Elias and his brother, Thomas, give an insight into their childhood.
In 1851, aged fifteen, Elijah was living with his parents at Club buildings, Lower Green, Llanidloes and was employed as a printer. Information about Llanildoes (and there are early pictures on the following page) can be seen (here).
On 9 July 1863 at St. Mary’s Church, Welshpool, Elijah married Elizabeth Adams, who was born in Welshpool on 14 March 1837; his brother, Timothy Morgan Owen was a witness. Elizabeth was also a teacher which was probably how the couple met. For many years Elizabeth’s family lived just across the road from the church. The graves of Elizabeth’s father Francis Adams, a plasterer, and his parents Richard and Martha Adams lie just to the left of the church building in St Mary's graveyard. In those days the education of girls was often concerned more with domestic duties but Elizabeth's father thought girls should receive an education comparable to that of boys so Elizabeth was well educated.
By the time of his marriage, Elijah, like his brother Elias, had become a teacher so he may have met Elizabeth at college. He obtained a teaching post at Penmon National School on the Isle of Anglesey, an area to which he would later return as a church minister, though still with a great interest in education.