Serendipity

James Page Steadman (1878-1957) left his home in in Herefordshire as a young man to make his living in the coal mines of the Aber Valley of Glamorgan little knowing how a series of events would eventually take him to Canada and California.

And how his great-granddaughter Janeese is only with us today because of an explosion the Senghenydd Colliery on 24th May 1901.

On the 28th of December 1899, James Page Stedman married Elizabeth Jane Miller (1883-1970), the adopted daughter of Francis Muller/Miller and Elizabeth Ann Bright (1866-1943).

James Page Steadman and Elizabeth Jane Miller

Francis Muller and his brother Reinhard immigrated from the Rhine Valley in Germany to Wales to work in the coal mines in Wales. Francis and his wife had six children of their own between 1885 and 1902, five of whom survived to adulthood. Francis adopted Elizabeth’s daughter Elizabeth Jane from a previous relationship.

On April 1st 1901 for the 1901 census, Francis and James lived next door to each other on High Street in Eglwysilan and both worked at the Senghenydd Colliery. Living with Francis were three young men from Bristol who also came to work in the coal mines. The family story is that on the 23rd of May, James injured his foot and was not able to work the next day. Francis did go to work on the night shift at the mine.

Shortly before the night shift ended, a explosion wrecked the mine. Eventually, the bodies of 82 miners were taken from the mine, including the body of Francis Muller. Unfortunately, the mine owners did not fix all of the problems with that mine and in 1913 another explosion happened and over 400 miners were killed. But that is another story. Francis was buried on the 31st of May.

Elizabeth Ann Miller was pregnant with her last child at the time and was suddenly left a young widow. One of the Bristol colliers, Edward Colston Deverell, lodging with her family came to the rescue, and the two married in the spring of 1902.

Edward seems to have been an adventurous man, not only because he was only member of his Bristol family to leave home, but also because in 1905, he and his new family removed to Brantford, Ontario, Canada, to work in the textile mills there. James Page Stedman and his family followed in 1906. I would assume they had seen enough of life working in a colliery.

Edward’s wandering was not yet complete. During April 1918 while the Great War was raging in Europe, he decided to move his family again. This time he decided to settle in Anaheim, California where he died in 1922 and is buried in Fullerton.

About 1922, James’s oldest son William George Steadman decided to move to Anaheim with his now widowed Grandmother. Another son followed the next year. And then by 1925, James brought his whole family to Orange County, California. William also decided that the family surname should be spelled Stedman!

Because Francis died in the mine, Elizabeth married Edward who decided to take his family to Canada and that resulted in James and his family coming to Canada.

Because James hurt his foot and did not go to work one day, he lived to father Phyllis in 1902 who was Janeese’s grandmother.

Because Edward immigrated to California in 1918, James and his family ended up in America in 1925.

Because Phyllis Maude Steadman (1902-1989) came to America, she met and married Ernest Erwin Garner on Missouri (1894-1966) in 1925. They had Jack Page Garner (1929-2009) who joined the Army to serve in World War II and who in 1948, stationed in Texas, met and married Anne Syrenia Blanton (1932-2009) of Fort Worth.

I doubt that this is the end of the story.

Serendipity.

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