On every first Sunday in August in my childhood, I went to Sun Springs to meet the familiar
faces of the Stephen Picton decendants, quickly eat dinner, and with my cousins and semi-cousins wait an hour after eating until we were allowed to go
My mother had explained that my grandfather John Rees Picton had come from Wales. And that
Wales was a country far away, not a whale like Jonah in the Bible. Then I wanted to know how I could have a cousin named John Picton and I met a person
called Picton John at the family reunion.
In 1976 Owen Picton printed The Family Tree of Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Picton, Their Family and
Descendants. He had collected information from the families and even went to Wales to obtain census records and wills. My mother gave me a copy, and
this book became known as "the Green Book."
VISIT TO WALES:We arrived after dark in Carmarthen, had terrific lamb at an inn on the main street, stayed overnight, and went out to research in the morning. We found a small Picton Bookstore, where we were directed to the obelisk in the center of the street honoring General Thomas Picton of Waterloo fame, a terrace of houses on Picton Street, and the locations of the Carmarthen Archives, the Carmarthen Record Office, and the Carmarthen Library.
In the Carmarthen Archives I held the original record for St. Brynach, Llanboidy, Carmarthen, Wales, with the marriage of Jacob Picton and Mary Lewis. (It looked much like the Bishop's Transcripts of the record that Owen Picton had found.) There was one difference: on this record Mary Lewis had signed her name as Mary Picton and then had marked out the surname Picton and signed with her maiden name Lewis. A marriage for Jacob and Mary Picton's daughter Mary to a David Evans and a marriage of a Margaret Picton, daughter of Owen Picton, to John Owen was also found. Another researcher heard me mention "Corsgandrill" as a farm where the Stephen Picton family had lived. He took us to a large map in the hall and explained that the farm was now called Gorgsegandrill and was down on the A40 near St. Clears.
At the Carmarthen Record Office I was shown an index to births which showed the quarter of the births of the children of immigrants Stephen and Eliza Picton. The children were in the correct order and quarter. When the two infants Jacob were born was unknown at that time. This index indicated that there was one Jacob Picton born between the children James and Phebe and another Jacob Picton between the children Phebe and Margaret.
The Carmarthen Library had census records for the Carmarthenshire. I made copious notes of Picton and Rees entries, but did not make real connections to what I knew.
A GIANT DISCOVERY, FINDING CWM FELIN MYNACH: Owen Picton had an extraction of the 1851 Census entry for the family of Jacob Picton and
their residence as "Monk Mill". When we went to Wales, I did not know where "Monk Mill" was, other than in Carmartenshire. How fortunate we were to stay overnight at Robeston House near Narbeth who had a brochure about the village of Llanboidy. In the brochure, From The
Landsker: Borderland, Llanboidy were these words, "...Whitland Abbey was built in these parts in the 12th Century, and was known as "alba domus" and
"alba landa" the Latin for "white house" or "white land". The reference to white comes from the Cistercian monks, who were also known as the the white
monks. They built the abbey and farmed practically all the land in the area; they also owned the mill at Cwn Felin Mynach - The Monk's Mill - to the
northeast of Llanboidy village. This was used to mill corn grown on their farms, and it remained in use well into the 20th century....". It was evident
that Cwm Felin Mynach was Welsh for "Monk's Mill". Cwm means "valley". Felin means "mill". And Mynach is "Monk's". And so with an Ordinance Survey map,
we found the way to the village.
When we went to the door, we met a young man who took us over to meet his grandmother Nancy Evans. Nancy explained that a mill stone was the only thing left from the mill. Then she asked, "Did we know that Jacob and Mary Picton were buried in the Baptist Cemetery up the hill?" We did not even know that they were Baptists. Nancy sent us up the hill to the Baptist Cemetery where Jacob and Mary Picton were buried. The grandson showed us the stones and translated the dates and and vital information. Nancy also introduced us to Anna Evans, the oldest woman in Cwm Felin Mynach. Anna invited us to her house, and gave us glasses of sherry and conversation. Anna's father had bought the mill from the Pictons. She gave us a photo of the mill as it had existed.
FINDING THE SHIPS OF IMMIGRATION: I knew that Stephen Picton had immigrated with his older children and Eliza Picton came later with the younger children. It was so exciting to find the ships, dates, and places of the immigrations at the local LDS Family History Center with instruction from the docent. (The ship's records are now online on Ancestry.com.) And the ship's manifest made it quite clear that daughter Mary came with her mother.
MARRIAGE RECORD AND BIRTH CERTIFICATES One crucial piece of information was not in Owen Picton's book: the marriage of Stephen Picton to Eliza Rees. I obtained the official marriage record. Later I obtained the Birth Certificates for all of Stephen and Eliza (Rees) Picton's children and death certificates for their two children named Jacob have been obtained. The certificates give the residence of the parents, so we now know the names of the farms where the family was living in Wales. The same farms still exist today. Interestingly, there are some descrepancies between the birth dates on the certificates and those recorded nearly a hundred years later by descendants of these children. We need to remember that day-by-day reliance on calendars and our familiar birthday parties were not a part of a farm family's life in those days.
ELIZA (REES) PICTON'S MOTHER'S SURNAME WAS PHILLIPS: When I started researching, I knew that Eliza Rees' parents were Mr. and Mrs. James Rees.
Discovering the mother's and mother's mother surnames is a particular hobby of mine - being a mother myself.
The death certificate of Eliza (Rees) Picton's mother showed that her maiden name was Phillips. Go to the Rees,Phillips Home Page for new information about Eliza (Rees) Picton's ancestors.
TWO OF STEPHEN AND ELIZA PICTON'S DAUGHTERS WHO MARRIED MEN IN KANSAS FOUND MEN "FROM BACK HOME" IN WALES: Daughter Annie Picton married John Phillip Bowen in Hiawatha, Kansas. Daughter Margaret Picton married Stephen John near Hiawatha. Both of these men were known to have been from Wales, exactly where was not known to me until now. Both men grew up near the Picton home in Wales, and possibly knew the Picton family before the Pictons had immigrated to Brown County, Kansas.
Brian Picton Swann found the marriage of
Richard Bowen and Mary Phillips who were the parents of John Phillip Bowen who married Annie Picton. You may have met Brian at the Picton Reunion in August 2008. Brian did not immediately know where Moor farm was. Moor was the residence of mother Mary Phillips when she married. When I found that Moor farm was only about two miles away from Gorse Gandrill where the Stephen Picton family lived, I was hooked. I then found where John Bowen and his sister Keturah (Bowen) Narbett were born, and where their family was living in Wales in 1871, 1881, and 1891 in Census records and maps. Since I knew that the surname Phillips appeared as the mother of our Eliza Rees Picton, wife of Stephen Picton, the Phillips connection was most interesting.
Later I found that Keith Bowen, family researcher in the UK, had sent the same information to attendees of the Picton Reunion, and also had information about the grandparents of John Phillip Bowen.
The next search was to see exactly where Stephen John who married Margaret Picton had been born. He was born on Llwyncrwn farm, the son of Stephen and Martha John. Again this farm is close to where the Pictons had lived in Wales, and the families may have been acquainted before Stephen immigrated to the US.
THE BROWN COUNTY WELSH COMMUNITY AND MORE PHILLIPS: In 1869 David Evans and his family were the first Welsh to immigrate to Brown County, Kansas. By 1870 my great grandfather Stephen Picton and two other Welsh men were living on David Evan's farm. They must have known each other in Wales for them to all end up in Kansas. Scroll down to David Evan's biography in William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas. In it David Evans mentions that he was the founder of the Welsh community, some ten families, in Brown County. Another mention of the Welsh community was in the newspaper article about the death of Stephen Picton's son David. Information new to me from Lyle Hinz of the Brown County Genealogical Society is helping me with the Evans family in Brown County. And research has tied the 1900 Census David and William Phillips and their sister Emily married to David Morgan to Phillips families in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Are they related to the other Phillips families I have found?
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Owen Samuel Picton for his The Family Tree of Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Picton, Their Family and Descendants, 1825-1976 (now available at the LDS Family History Library film #1036441, item 7) which summarized his research and included descendant information, wills and extractions of Welsh census records, who has his Picton web site with great pictures of Picton family farms from his recent trip to Wales, a link to the
newspaper article of family recollections about the Stephen Picton family immigration to the United States and much other Picton information;
J Glynn Picton who authorized presenting his Picton research back to Phillip Picton and Maud Dyer, some 15 generations before Stephen Picton, in Owen Picton's book and left boxes of his research at the National Library of Wales, and as I have often thought "His pedigree has gazed out of the center of the book put together by Owen for almost as long as I can remember.”;
Donald William Martin and Frances Luella Picton Martin for their conversations about ancestors and creating the most treasured Photo Book of Martin Ancestors with an amazing collection of pictures, exact dates and approximate places, Donald William Martin for his Tombstones of Ancestors Buried in Brown County;
the owner of Robeston House in Narberth, Wales, who gave us a brochure on the village of Llanboidy which led to the village of CwmFelin Mynach,
Nancy Evans of CwmFelin Mynach, Wales, who sent us up to the Baptist Church cemetery where her grandson showed us the tombstones of Jacob and Mary Picton and some of their children and later sent me more cemetery information,
J.P.O. "Owen" Bushell who talked with Nancy Evans and sent me detailed, typed research by Mr. B.P. Swann that he had obtained at the Pembroke Archives, the will of Levi Lewis, husband of Henriette June Bushell and brother of Mary Lewis, who was the wife of Jacob Picton and mother of immigrant Stephen, some photos of Pen-y-groes Chapel Whitechurch, the official church in Whitechurch, and Tyr Bwlchthe farm on which he said Jacob Picton was born, and A Book on Nevern by Dillwyn Miles;
Ann Taylor who sent Picton information she found from her records and extracted the information on tombstones in Rhyd y Parc where Elizabeth Phillips Rees, mother of Eliza Rees Picton, and Anna Phillips, who may be the aunt of Eliza Rees Picton, were buried;
Esther Watkins who wrote The Family Tree of Mr. & Mrs. John Philip Bowen, Their Family and Descendants, 1825-1996 and shared her correspondance to Wales;
Alun Bowen who made email contact "across the pond" and sent a photo of Owen Picton, who was a brother of immigrant Stephen Picton, with the comment about how similar they looked;
Brian Picton Swann who knows more about all the different Picton lines than any one else; and through his careful and well-documented 40 something year research where he has compiled the Golden Grove manuscript, the Bronwyn Manuscript, the Tuckeer MS, the Lewis Dynn pedigree and countless wills and court records, has assembled extensive information on the oldest Picton line starting with Phillip and Maud Dyer in the 13th century and connected our Stephen Picton family to this documented Northern Pembrokeshire line, has introduced me to tithe maps and other sources of information not available here in the States, shared copious amounts of Picton information with me since I had the privilege to meet him in England, has initiated and managed an International Picton DNA project to connect other Welsh Picton lines to the one of Phillip that is documented in writing, was inspiration and major presenter for the first Internation Picton Reunion in Kansas in 2008, and who is organizing a Welsh Picton Reunion in 2015;
Sharon Richards of the Carmarthen Record Office who has found birth and death certificates for Stephen Picton's children,
Catrin Unwin,cousin of Alun Bowen and grandaughter of Owen Picton who was the brother of immigrant Stephen Picton, who emailed carefully labeled photos of three generations for the International Picton Reunion in Kansas in 2008;
Keith Bowen who has sent me much about his Bowen and Phillips lines including the marriage and deaths of his great great grandparents John Bowen and Elizabeth Horton and the deaths of his great grandparents Richard Bowen and Mary Phillips, his quest to save the graveyard at the Bwlchgwynt Baptist Chapel, Cyffig where they were buried, and has reminded me that the Bowen and Phillips surnames are quite common in the Wales as I attempt to make connections between the various Phillips, Bowen, and Evans lines I have discovered;
Eleri Rowlands who shared descendant information about Mary Picton who was the older sister of Kansas immigrant Stephen Picton who married David Evans and with Welsh as her first language translated nonconformist church descriptions;
Geraint Davies who discovered a grave stone for the two Jacobs, sons of Stephen and Eliza Picton at Seion, a Baptist Chapel in St. Clears. This stone indicates that this was their church when they lived at Gorsegandrill where they lived when the Jacob's died.
John Mark Cole and his family tree on Ancestry called Lewis/Rees Family Tree (Eglwyswrw), whose careful research found both records and data that I had been looking for. See the Frances Picton story below based on her Census records that he had found and I could not find.
Exactly when, why, and how did Frances Picton, daughter of Stephen and Eliza Picton, move to California? My mother Frances Picton was later named for this her aunt Frances Picton, so there is a special interest in this woman.
In 1900 both this older France Picton and her brother John Rees Picton, along with their nephews, were living with their mother Eliza Picton on the family farm in Brown County,Kansas. By 1910 Frances Picton was a clerk in a store and lodger in a boarding house in Los Angeles, California. Listed right above Frances' name in the Census was Bessie M Brooks. I recognized that name as the daughter of Phebe/Phoebe Picton Brooks and Joseph Brooks. Bessie was Frances' niece.
By 1913 Frances Picton had married Robert Watson Caudel and stayed in Los Angeles where she and Robert ran a restaurant. By 1917 Bessie Brooks was back in Kansas and married Lewis Napolean Morgan.
What is the legal description and purchase date of the farm owned by John Rees Picton in Brown County, Kansas? It was six miles north of Hiawatha on a northwest corner.
Was Sion Baptist Church in St Clears, Wales, the center from which the Welsh went to Brown County, Kansas? My immigrant ancestor Stephen Picton and family were Baptist. They followed the David Evans family who were also Baptists in Kansas, USA. Are there records for Sion Baptist Church?
What happened to Martha Picton, younger sister of our immigrant Stephen Picton? She had been last seen in the 1851 Census at Monks Mill, and there was no inscription for her on a tombstone in the Baptist Cemetery in Cwm Felin Mynach. This suggests she was married. An Ancestry search for her marriage in the BMD index showed three Carmarthenshire marriages for a Martha Picton: to Griffith Havard, to William Jones, to Bridget Richards. Which was it? A later find was an Ancestry family history by John Mark Cole that showed her marriage to Griffith Havard with her parents as Jacob Picton and Mary Lewis. The most exciting piece of evidence was that her last child was named David Picton Havard. Martha Picton Havard's brother, the next sibling older than she, was named David and had died at the age of about 21 in 1854. This was a few years before she was married.
Who was the Mary Picton who was buried in the Cwm Felin Mynach cemetery Was it a first wife of John Picton who was miller in that village after his father Jacob Picton died?
What are the death dates and places for Elizabeth (Picton) Joslin and Richard Cobden Picton? Both Elizabeth (Picton) Joslin and her husband William White Joslin are buried in Hiawaths Cemetery, in Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas. Their death dates must be close to the date on their tombstones. The burial forRichard Cobden Picton is yet to be found.
Exactly where was the Bethel Baptist Church north of Hiawatha? This is the church the Stephen Picton family and many others of Welsh descent attended in Brown County, Kansas. Where are the records for the Bethel Baptist Church near the Stephen Picton family home? Where are the records for the First Baptist Church in Hiawatha, Kansas, that was also attended by the Pictons?
Please contact me by email: Jeanette@Martin-Froeschner.net