We recently published “Letters from America” which were shared with us by Rhyl History Club member Maggi Blythin. To read the first and second letter click on the following links:
As a reminder Maggi writes:
My great grandfather, Griffith Griffiths, moved to Rhyl in 1900. He farmed at Trellewelyn Farm and his youngest son Edward Herbert took over from him. Griffith had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. One of his older brothers, Edward, had a Poultry and Greengrocery business in Rhyl for many years, but, prior to this he travelled to America with the eldest brother Philip.
The letters were found many years later in a relative’s loft. They were translated into English and the original letters were given to the National Library of Wales.
This third letter is written to Harriet, Edward’s sister. The first part was missing so we don’t know exactly where or when this was written.
. . . . .there is a very wild place where I am at present, but I do not intend staying here long. I am working on a new gaol here, the most essential thing they need. We have made one strong room for the prisoners and there are quite a number of black and white ones in it and many of those murderers. Murders are quite common here. One of our old masters would be in gaol quite quickly if they could get hold of him. He murdered a man in this town a week tonight in a ghastly way. The murdered man was an Irishman and he was quite drunk. Frank was the name of our master. He was also a bit drunk but he knew quite well what he was doing because the poor Irishman was very drunk. He nearly knocked over two women who were walking along the street. Frank went to him and struck him twice with his fist. His face was bleeding very badly. He pleaded with Frank to leave him alone. Then he went to the public house and to the back yard to wash his face. Frank went after him with a big piece of wood and struck him on the head three times until he smashed it. There was a hole 2 inches by 2 1/2 inches on the side of his head and he soon died.
One of Frank’s partners was a Welshman and I am lodging with him, but I was 6 miles away in the country at the time. Frank fled to the forest. About 2 o’clock n the morning he came to this Welshman’s home and begged to stay there until the morning, that the people were watching for him and that he could not get away. Next morning he wanted the Welshman to give him 200 or 300 dollars because he was a partner and he gave him 50 dollars and the suit that he wore and he tried to get my best boots on his feet, but as luck would have it they were too small. If I was there I would have put the Sheriff on his back rather than give him my boots. However he has succeeded to escape so far. He left a wife and four small children unprovided for. If he escaped the law he will not escape from his conscience.
This is a small town on the banks of the Mississippi. There are no trains arriving here but boats on the river. The river is blocked up with ice to the north throughout the winter but it is rising very high this week and there are plenty of boats coming down. I am going to go to the North next week if I can whilst the water is high, it is calmer and the boats are travelling faster when there is plenty of water for them to sail. I was thinking of having a trip to the old country next summer if things turn out as well as I expect. I see an account in the papers that England and Russia are talking about war. If they go to war, let them do their worst. I will keep as far away from them as I can.
It has been very cold up in the North this winter with heavy snowstorms so that a number of people and animals were losing their way and freezing to death. That is all that I have against the country is the weather. It goes to extremes both ways. It becomes so hot in summer so that we cannot sleep at night and then it goes to extreme cold in winter.
Please excuse my letter this time. I will send a better one when I go to Chicago if I have the health and life to go there.
Now I conclude sending my regards to you in the most kind manner. Expect a letter soon. I have sent a letter home about a month ago. I have not received one since three months but I expect there are letters in Chicago. This untidily
Your loving brother