Monday, 19 March 2012

Charles Henry May - Pendeen, Treherbert and the May and Thomas Families.

My great grandfather was a miner from Pendeen in Cornwall called Charles Henry May.  Born in 1976 Charles was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Ann May.  No-one is actually sure who Charles' father was, there are some rather fanciful family stories, none are confirmed.  Charles was brought up by his step father, John Charles Oats and who married his mother and became a tin miner by at least the age of 15.  From thereon in Charle's life would be dominated by mining, travelling all over the world as well the British Isles, in pursuit of a living wage.  Charles first married Margaret Ann Matthews on the 25th of November 1899, they had at least 2 children Charles Wyndham May and Florence May.  Sadly, Margaret died somewhere between 1899 and 1903 with Charles marrying my Great Grandmother, Rachel Ann Thomas from Treherbert, Wales.  By this time Charles has spent time in South Africa, Gold mining, and South Wales (Where he met Rachel) as a miner.  They had the following children;

Davey James May – 1903 – Born inTreherbert
John Henry May – 1905 – Born in Treherbert
Elizabeth Ann May – 1907 – Born in Pendeen
Owen May – 1909 – Born in Treherbert 
Rachel Ann May - 1911 born in Pendeen

Rachel Ann May is my paternal grandmother.  As you can see there was a considerable amount of mobility between the two family communities, I imagine that Charles moved between sites as tin and coal prices rose and fell.

(Pictured left Boscaswell were the May family lived in the early 1900's).

(Picture left below - Treherbert, one the Coal mines that covered the Rhondda valley and typical of one of the places that Charles Henry May would have worked)

Charles eventually died young of one of the lung diseases common to hard rock and coal miners, because he did both it is difficult to know which one.

Rachel Ann May (Nee Thomas) family were from a line of Welsh coal miners from Blackwood and Bedwellty South Wales.  Her father John William Thomas is recorded in the 1891 census as being a Coal miner from Blackwood.

No comments:

Post a Comment