Letter from America 6

Here is the sixth letter in the series “Letter from America”.

This continues a series of letters written home to Wales, from America, by Phillip Griffiths – they have been contributed by Rhyl History Club member, Maggi Blythin.  The previous letters can be found following the links at the bottom of the page.

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.

Chicago, August 1871.

Dear Family
I am availing myself of the privilege to send you a few lines hoping you are well and comfortable as I can testify that we to a great extent are well, but Philip is not feeling too strong yet. He has been quite ill for about two months but he has recovered rather well now and has begun working a little again.

Thomas Williams and John Price arrived here on Saturday July 22nd. I was very glad to see them. It was pleasing to see them in spite of their bereavement. I am sorry to tell you that Thomas R. Jones the son of Cefn Mawr had been buried three days before they arrived here. He was ill for about five weeks.


Philip and Jones were working together all winter and I was working in a small town called Lake Providence and they were 9 miles in the country. The two came to town one morning very ill. Philip had the ague and fever. These are common complaints in the South and is a rather dangerous disease. They were here for a fortnight quite ill and we decided to return home to Chicago. We got a boat on the Mississippi river from Sunday morning until Tuesday morning when we landed in Memphis. The two were very ill all the way. There were four of us – the man we lodged with and us three. We started from Memphis on Tuesday afternoon on a train which reached Chicago on Wednesday afternoon which was a great joy for us as we felt more at home here. We are boarding in the nicest part of town we think. If one of us is ill they are like a mother and father to us, willing to do anything they can.  Jones was feeling very poorly and we sent for the doctor immediately.  He came here every day and sometimes twice a day.  Jones felt better some days but he was becoming more poorly every week.  We asked the doctor if he understood Jones’ illness or not. He said that he had typhoid fever of the worst kind and that it was impossible to cure him. We sent for Doctor Davies who is reckoned to be the best doctor in town – the two came together on Monday night, July 17th.  Dr Davies said as soon as he saw him that there was no hope of recovery but they did their best.  Despite every effort he was getting worse and worse and at half past twelve on Wednesday afternoon July 19th he departed this life. John and Hannah Price and myself and the family of the house were in the room at the time.  We had been with him in turns since Sunday.  Before he died he was calling on Philip and talking quite plainly and wanting him to send a word home to my father and desired him to go to Cefn Mawr and tell his mother and sister that he was getting every attention as if he were at home and desired John Price to do likewise.

The funeral took place on Thursday when a number of Welshmen gathered together. It was an excellent funeral. There were eleven coaches, two horses and four one horse shandries all full of Welshmen. The cemetery is about four miles from town. It is a very big cemetery, many acres and there are men working all year round keeping it nice. There are rows of carved stones everywhere. It is very beautiful and all nationalities are buying land. The Welsh have their own land and Jones was buried with the Welsh.

We are feeling quite well now. Philip not feeling too strong yet, but he is working every day now. I have had good health for some time now. I am healthier here this summer than since I arrived here.
Now may I conclude with the kindest memories. Remember us to the family of Cefn Post and Cefn Mawr and Gwerni in the kindest manner. We wish to hear from you soon.
Edward Griffiths.

To read the previous letters follow the links below:

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letters 4 and 5




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