I checked Google maps yesterday, and I believe I've located Plas Uchaf farm, in Talsarnau civil parish, part of Merioneth in North Wales. That was the name of the parish and county in 1901.
According to the 1901 census which I wrote about in a previous post, my grandpa, John Griffith Williams, was a servant at the age of 13, listed as a cattleman. This would be where he learned how to handle cattle, and I assume the interest lead him to work on a ranch in Three Hills Alberta, Canada, in 1916! On the map above, you will see a white star beside the town of Blaenau Festiniog where John lived. There's a red star next to Plas Uchaf, not too far from Blaenau Festiniog.
Plas Uchaf means "the place above" and apparently there are three such places in this area.
I had mistakenly assumed that the one in Llangedwyn in Oswestry was at first the one John may have worked at, but it's too far away and much too grand for a young lad of 13 to have worked at, probably for his first job after school. A friend who lives in Wales informed me it was the custom for children to finish their schooling at this age, as after that the high schooling cost too much. It wasn't free as it is today in Canada.
I wonder what John G Williams felt living so far from home, and working hard each day.
Did he enjoy it? None of his children ever asked him about his young days, to my knowledge. How interesting it would be if they had, and it was all written down!
So we can only assume and pretend about those long ago days in 1901 - 1910.
In 1910 John set off on a new adventure to Alberta, Canada.
Maybe he dreamed about owning his own farm and raising his own cattle.
The picture above shows the roadway beside the house, with a large barn or outbuilding on the right.
I'm not sure if it's part of the current farm, or part of another. It could once have been all one farm, as the 1901 census lists a family of 7 living here, with 3 servants for a total of 10 people.
Another view of Plas Uchaf farm.
The scenery is very pretty but it seems like a lonely and secluded sort of place.
Another view of the farmyard and buildings.
Of course this is my assumption that my Grandpa lived here at age 13; I'm not 100% positive, but 99%!
It's so fun to imagine what his young life was like, as we'll never really know unless a secret journal comes to light.
By Loretta Houben