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VILLAGERS
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EMIGRATION

The villages of Fochriw, Pentwyn, Penybanc and Pantywaun were populated by people who had immigrated from all corners of the UK, but mainly from the rural areas of south west and mid Wales and for a typical cross section of the population please click HERE for the information.

However, some locals also emigrated from the district to places that were located all over the world as the following information advises.

Societies were set up with the sole purpose of assisting people who wished to emigrate as the following newspaper article illustrates

“Merthyr Express” 6 June 1868    The Merthyr Tydfil Emigration Society   The object of this Society which was established on the 18th  May 1868, is to purchase land in the American States, in order to establish its members thereon to follow mineral and agricultural pursuits. Members will become free holders of their respective lots, and such land to be inherited by their descendants for ever, in a country where all people are equal in the sight of the law. The members of this society are not to be sent to the overcrowded towns, cities and manufacturing districts, but chiefly to one of its States which will secure the success and welfare of industrious emigrants. That state is Missouri, which is celebrated for richness of soil, mineral wealth, and salubrious climate. This Society will include colliers, miners, and others, to all of whom impartial facilities for emigrating will be afforded. The first of the six conditions for entry is that every member who intends to emigrate shall pay into the fund a monthly contribution of 1s. 1d. or 6½d. fortnightly, and 3d. entrance fee.

Other societies of the time, such as the Cambrian Emigration Society and the Worker’s Emigration Fund which, unlike the Merthyr Tydfil Emigration Society, looked at the industrial areas of North America.

It was not only adults that emigrated as the following article illustrates

“Merthyr Express” 16 May 1874   Juvenile Emigrants  A group of little girls from the Workhouse attended before Mr. de Retzen at the Police Court on Wednesday to receive His Worships sanction prior to leaving for Canada. Mr. de Rutzen spoke very kindly to them, and told them they would be accompanied by a lady (Miss Rye) who would take care of them. They all seemed to be much pleased.

Other countries that were popular were, South Africa, Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, however, the quest for a better life was not always successful since the same dangers related to mining were not just confined to the valley pits, as the following newspaper report shows.

“Merthyr Express” 10 February 1906   Australian Mine Disaster: Fochriw Men Victims    Further information has been received at Fochriw where some of the victims in the recent mine disaster in New South Wales once lived. The mine was worked by steep slants, in a similar way to the Park Slip Colliery, Tondu. David Jones, the Fochriw man referred to, was killed in the presence of his wife and children. It appears that flames were coming up the drift with considerable force, and in order to smother the fire, he went with the others to wall up the mouth of the drift, and was in the act of carrying out this work, when the fatal explosion took place. A few years ago, his brother and his brother's son, were killed by a fall of roof at a Rhondda colliery. The widowed mother of deceased, who is now 80 years of age, and lives at Fochriw, is naturally prostrated with grief at the sad news from of the colony. Henry Morgan Williams, the manager of the works, who was injured in the accident, was originally a collier at the Fochriw pits. In company with about half a dozen others, including Evan Evans, he emigrated to New South Wales. Of studious habits, he devoted himself to the science of coal mining, and won a prize offered by the Government for the highest marks attained at a mining examination. He was then engaged at a colliery in the vicinity, and subsequently became under-manager. Two years ago, the then resident manager returned home to the Rhondda for six months, and Williams took charge of the colliery. Later on, the Karai Karai was opened, and he secured the appointment. Williams was the founder of the Fochriw Band, and was a successful conductor at eisteddfodau. Many South Walians from the Aberdare, Rhondda and Rhymney valleys live in the Karai Karai district.