DAVIES FAMILY HISTORY

Immediately before their marriage, on 30th June 1896, at St. James' Church, Pyle, Glamorgan, our grandparents, William Wiltshire Davies and Sarah Powell were living some 140 miles apart, Sarah in Pyle, and William at Wickcroft Farm, Englefield, near Reading, in Berkshire. But for the previous two centuries, and probably for much longer, their respective ancestors had lived at no time more than 30 miles apart. Indeed, the previous two generations had lived in adjacent parishes in Glamorgan, within walking distance of each other. So, it is in the county of Glamorgan that our story starts.

THE DAVIES FAMILY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The Family of Joyce Hilda Davies

by Evan Daniel Flaschen

(extracts from a comprehensive history of his family compiled by Evan)

Joyce Hilda Davies Flaschen was an exceptional person in many ways—as a teacher, a chemist, a professional photographer and, of course, as a wife, mother and grandmother. She was the oldest of 5, born in rural Western Canada to a strict Presbyterian reverend. Our father regaled us with stories of Joyce playing semi-professional softball with the Vernon (Canada) Pink Stockings. Alas, it slipped out years later that this was only one of his many “tall tales” but, of course, we completely fell for it. Joyce was the kind of person that we believed could do anything, including playing semi-pro softball.

In an era when education beyond high school for Canadian women was rare, especially coming from a rural area, Joyce’s very first train trip was to travel cross-country in order to attend Queens’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Even more rare, Joyce moved on to receive a Master of Science in Chemistry at Miami University in Oxford. Ohio, in 1949. It was at Miami that Joyce, “the smartest woman in my physical chemistry class,” met and married Steward Flaschen.

Joyce spent many years raising a rather rambunctious lot. By the time I was in high school and (reasonably) under control, she yearned to put her master’s degree to good use and obtained employment with Perkin-Elmer (now part of PerkinElmer) in Simsbury, Connecticut. She soon yearned for independence, however, and taught herself professional photography. Joyce opened “jphoto” and became a fixture in the community, particularly at school athletic events.

In later life, Joyce joined with Steward to form Flaschen & Davies, a telecommunications consulting business, and to start TranSwitch corporation, which developed commercial switches for converting analog to digital.

Joyce was not without her faults, of course, but consider that while Steward was working in the business world, she raised three incredibly accomplished children—two become doctors and the third, after his professional soccer career ended, obtained an M.B.A. from Wharton and rose to several major President and CEO positions, and numerous board seats, in the business world. She also raised a lawyer, but 3 out of 4 is not bad.

One unusual accomplishment is worth noting. With Steward, she traveled to Chile with a cooler-full of salmon eggs. This started what is now the world’s second largest salmon farming country, with annual exports over $5 billion. The last picture in the first row is with one of her brothers, Ivor.

Parents

Joyce’s beloved father was Jenkin Henry Davies (1889-1957), b. Berkshire, England. Jenkin immigrated to Canada in 1909 but returned to England to serve in WW I. (See also second part of page under Canada tab above).

Gwyneth (Gwen) Dubois, Joyce’s sister, assembled a “Davies Family History” in the early 1980’s, including newspaper clippings, letters, and copies of pictures, including 4 of the above 5. The middle picture is Jenkin Henry at 11 years old, when he won a prestigious scholarship to Christ’s Hospital School in London, founded 1552.

The long quotations that follow are generally cribbed from Gwen’s materials. Given the ability to do internet research today versus the limited information available at the time the materials were assembled, there are some minor errors in Gwen’s materials. However, overall, it is a wonderful tribute to recent Davies history. Items indicated in bold face, whether in quotations or in general discussions, particularly stood out to me as bringing historic matters to life.

“[Jenkin Henry] received his Bachelor of Arts degree at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the LLB degree in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, his Bachelor of Divinity Degree at the Rochester Theological School, Rochester, N. Y. and his doctor's degree from the University of Chicago. Jenkin became Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Dean of the Chapel at Western College, Oxford, Ohio and later Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf's College, Northfield Minnesota. Also held teaching posts in Puerto Rico and West Virginia.

“He returned to England and World War I broke out in August of that year. He joined the Royal Navy and, for over a year served in the Grand Fleet on the S.S. Conqueror, one of the super-dreadnoughts. He then transferred to the Army and was given a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the First Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. For six months he was stationed in the south of Ireland. From there he proceeded to France where he was in the front line in the Arras-Cambrai Sector, where he was wounded eleven days before Armistice. He was taken to No. 10 British Red Cross Hospital, Le Treport, where he remained for three months, and was then moved to Epsom Hospital, England, He then returned to Canada in 1919.

“[Jenkin married Hilda] after his graduation from Law School in Calgary in 1922. He had originally planned to enter the ministry, but his faith was badly shaken while serving in the British army and navy in World War I. However, upon graduation from law school, he decided to return to his original calling, and they left for Rochester, N.Y. and the theological seminary. Joyce was born here in 1923.

“Although their home continued to be in Oxford throughout this period, Jenkin held the post of visiting professor of philosophy and religion at the Polytechnic Institute in San German, Puerto Rico from Sep 1955 to Sep 1956 and he and Hilda lived in Puerto Rico during this year. Following that, Jenkin held the post of Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, but this time Hilda remained at home in Oxford.”

In 1921, Jenkin married Hilda Irene Lane (1895-1975), b. Ontario. Hilda:

“Attended normal school, obtained her teaching certificate and then spent a year teaching in a one-room rural school (this is how most teachers started at this time). She lived with a local family and rode one of their horses to school, arriving in time to take care of the stove in winter. She often laughed about the horse as it always bolted for the barn as soon as they were close to home and she had some wild rides.”

Jenkin and Hilda’s marriage merited a nice blurb in the nearest city newspaper, Calgary, including an indication that they immediately left for a honeymoon in Banff and Lake Louise (very challenging places on a bicycle, I might add):

Grandparents

Jenkin’s father was Ebenezer Davies (1855-1936), b. in Glamorgan, Wales, as were many generations before him. In 1881, he was working on Wickcroft Farm (the family residence) as a “fitter agricultural machinery.” By 1911, Ebenezer worked as a “secretary and director public company,” and served as the secretary of the Royal South Berks Agricultural Association He also served in the Border Regiment, Labour Corps, Royal Fusieliers, during World War I. In 1888, Ebenezer married Mary Elizabeth Margaret Jephcott (1857-1936), b. Ipswich, England. I find no record of Mary working outside the home.

John Russell Lane (1868-1943), b. Ontario, worked as a construction engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway for more than 40 years. He served in the 13th Canadian Light Railway Operating Company in France in WW I. In 1893, John married Euphemia Amelia Hanson (1868-1930), b. Ontario:

“[Amelia] was prominent in the societies of Knox Church, and was provincial literary secretary for the Women's Missionary Society of Alberta.”

Great-Grandparents

Ebenezer’s parents were Jenkin Davies (1824-1893) and Anne Wiltshire (1832-1855). (See also under Brynchwith & Candleston tab above). Mary’s parents were Joseph Jephcott (1828-1869) and Ann Howell (1829-1908).

John’s father was Thomas Lane (1846-1918), b. Ontario. When he was young, John worked as a train despatcher; he then turned to farming. In 1867, John married Nancy Anne Russell (1843-1897), b. County Antrim, Ireland, which is now part of Northern Ireland. Her family had moved to Ontario by 1852.

Euphemia’s father was William Henry Hanson (1838-1892), b. Lancashire, England. He moved to Canada before 1866. In 1866, William married Louisa Lasby (1840-1932), b. Canada West (now Ontario).

“[William] was from England but did not keep in touch with his family after moving to Canada. He was a stationary engineer in a furniture factory in Bowmanville, Ontario. While visiting relatives in Grand Rapids, Mich. He fell down a “box” stairway and struck his head on a stove stored there. He mistook the door to the stairway for the door to his room.”

Great-Great-Grandparents

Jenkin’s parents were Richard Davies (1782-1847) and Gwenllian Rees (1793-1871); Anne’s parents were Henry Steven Wiltshire (1805-1879) and Martha Ball (1813-1843). (They and their ancestors are covered in detail elsewhere on this website).

Joseph’s father was John Wells Jephcott (1806-1893), b. Bedworth, Warwickshire, England. In 1825, John married Elizabeth Whitcroft (1801-1868), b.Newton Linford, Leicestershire, England. Ann Howell's parents are unknown.

Thomas’ father was James Lane (1812-1877), b. Buckinghamshire, England. James married Mary Chilton (1812-1896), b. Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire. It is hard to see but Mary’s name is below James’ name on their joint headstone. Mary died of “diarrhoea & old age,” according to her death certificate.

Nancy’s parents were Robert Russell and May Kennedy—I can find nothing else about them other than that they were from Ireland.

William’s father was John Hanson (1777-?), b. Newchurch, Lancashire, England. In 1810, John married Jane Hitchon (1783-1845). Jane was the second of John’s three wives. They lived in Lancashire, England.

Louisa’s father was Oliver Lasby Sr. (1808-1887), b. Nichol, Canada West (Ontario). About 1832, Oliver married Mary McTavish (1818-1890), b. Scotland. Oliver and Mary’s marriage was memorialized in an interview of an “old timer” in the 1924 “Pioneer Days in Nichol” (talk about obscure resources…):

"There were nae meenisters tae marry folk, nae kirks to cry them in, an' nae leesbensse. A notis had tae be pit up on the maist publc tree o' the deestrick, an' the magistrates did the marryin'.

“I mind fine seein’ ane o’ thae nottis and it was take this effec’: “Mary McTavish an’ Oliver Lasby will be married on sic a day at sic a place; onyane that has ony objections maun apply tae Squire Reynolds or Squire Smith. It wis tackit on a tree by the side o’ the r’od. This is the first weddin’ that I mind hearin’ o’ in the neeborhood.”