My sincere thanks to Pam Tait of Caergwrle for providing me with the fantastic research unearthed by her cousin Rita Vaughan, the great granddaughter of Griffith John Vaughan.
Griffith John Vaughan was born on 14th October 1882 in Caergwrle, one of 12 children born to Thomas & Martha Vaughan (nee Griffiths) who married in a civil ceremony in Wrexham on 4th April 1864. Based on the fact the family were living in the same property in Lower Street (now named Derby Road) in the census’ of 1881 & 1891, it is reasonable to assume that Griffith was born here.
In the census of 1891 Griffith’s family consisted of his father Thomas, born 1844 in Caergwrle; His mother Martha, born 1847 in Plas-yn-Bwl Caergwrle; Cyreas b.1875; Naomi b.1877; Enos b.1878; Ruth, b.1880; Griffith himself in 1882, and Alfred, b.1884. At this time his elder siblings Sardinia b.1873; Mary Ellen b.1871; Ann Jane b.1869; Sarah Elizabeth b.1867 and Thomas Samuel b. 1865 are not at the family home. Griffith’s father, Thomas, was a general labourer and the family had also taken in 3 boarders who were local mine workers.
In 1901 the Vaughan family are still living in the Lower Street house. Griffith’s mother Martha is now a widow and head of the household. Records show that her husband Thomas had only recently died, as his death is recorded in the first three months of 1901. Griffith is still living at home – now 17 according to the census, and is a coal miner. His brothers Enos & Alfred are also living at home & both are also coal miners. In the house on the night of the census is Griffith’s nephew George Alfred Godding, the son of Griffith’s sister Naomi who is living next door with her husband John and their two other children. Next door to Naomi & her family is another of Griffith’s siblings, his brother Cyreas who lives there with his wife Alice. It seems that Griffith grew up with a close family unit.
After the 1901 census Griffith’s life started to change immensely.
On 2nd August 1901 he enlisted in the 6th Batallion, Manchester Regiment – Regimental number 8094. He was, at the time residing at his brother-in-laws home in Tyldesley, Manchester, and he declared that for the previous 12 months he had been living with his parents in Caergwrle. He was 18 years old, was working at a colliery & was a single man. He signed on for 6 years, but from his later attestation papers when joining the Canadian regiment, he declared her served three years.
From this point on he seemed to live a very transient life.
In 1905 he married Martha Ann Richards from Rhos, a village near Wrexham in a civil ceremony. He stated his address at this time was High Street , Gwersyllt. Later the same year Griffith sailed, with his brother Thomas, to Boston USA from Liverpool. Griffith left behind his wife Martha, who was now pregnant.
Griffith & Martha’s first child, Griffith William Vaughan was born at 8, Johnson Street, Ponkey, Rhos, Wrexham on 28th May 1906.
In January 1911, Griffith, Martha & Griffith William emigrated. They sailed from Liverpool as 2nd class passengers on the ‘Hesperian’, arriving in Halifax Nova Scotia on 22nd January, and finally in Detroit, Michigan on 24th January. In August of the same year, Griffith & Martha had a second child, Ernest Robert, who was born in Detroit.
It is clear that between 1911 & 1913 Griffith & Martha had crossed the Atlantic again – but not always together. Their second child, Edith May was born in Rhos, Wrexham in the second quarter (Apr/May/Jun) of 1913. However, Griffith sailed again to Detroit via Nova Scotia on 7th March on the ‘Grampian’. He travelled alone as a 3rd class passenger. Martha followed on with baby Edith on 10th September on the ship ‘SS Victorian’.