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William and Elizabeth The final Chapter Part 2

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bridan Report 16 Aug 2004 22:38

Not knowing a thing about genealogy we were only drawn into it when we found an old journal in an attic belonging to Mary May Griffiths. Intending just to follow her story how, then, on learning some of the history of her brother William and his love Elizabeth could we resist also learning more about them? While it has never been confirmed as to why William’s family did not welcome Elizabeth I believe I have found the answer. It has been recorded that William’s father was such a staunch Welsh Congregationalist that he even refused to pay a tithe to the Church of England. This being the case he certainly would not be prepared to have his youngest son marry an Irish Catholic girl. I had wondered how my father in law came to be born in America, (see William and Elizabeth, a tragedy) Our research again took us back to Penally and the small church established by William’s father. By now it was closed and in a bad state of repair. A former parishioner kindly opened it for us to look around. Still hanging on the wall was a white marble tablet with the face of its founder (William’s) father carved into the marble. In recognition by his friends and erected it in tribute to J.M.Griffiths. Now what really drew my attention was yet another white marble plaque, bearing the inscription “ In memory of our son William, who died in Lead City, South Dakota, U.S.A. 1896 Erected by his loving father and mother “ followed by their names. No mention of his loving wife or children! I had come across many letters and documents extolling the kindness of William’s father and yet, here he was denying the existence of his son’s wife and children! How very sad. But let us not condemn him, again during our research we discovered a copy of his will and it showed he had left £240 to each of Williams and Elizabeth’s two children, a vast amount in those days. Now the younger family members were becoming interested in the story of their G.Grandparents. A far distant cousin had business in S. Dakota and decided to try and find the burial place of William. She did find the graveyard, now much overgrown and forgotten. She carried a picture of the grave to help her identify it. Despite searching really hard she could not find anything matching the grave with the “stubby cross on top” A year later and again in Lead City she decided to try again. Having no luck, she was just leaving when near the entrance she spotted a small broken cross lying in the grass almost covered in high grass. Picking it up she again went down the rows of graves until she did eventually come across the one with a small spike, which had held the cross. She had at last found the grave of William, which had not been visited since Elizabeth’s departure from America in 1897. What should she do? She decided to take it away and bring it back to Ireland on her next trip home. It was duly returned to Co. Galway and placed on his wife’s Elizabeth’s grave with a small inscription. I truly loved the idea and feel happy knowing in some small way they are reunited. I took many years but I feel love did conquer all in the story of William and Elizabeth. May they both be at peace with their children. I have put some very old pictures of them on photo page, also one we took of the returned cross from Williams grave. P.S. The small church is to be turned into a dwelling but the buyers have agreed to the removal of the Griffiths headstones in the front being transferred into the back garden. And the plaques placed on a sidewall. In effect, we can still visit the graves of our Griffiths ancestors. Love, Bridget. x