Letter from Lilian Cosslett Clayton

**Just a quick preface.  I am still in the process of trying to decipher the genealogical clues to be found in this letter.  The names and references have been difficult for me to decipher in some instances.  As always, the endeavor of family research is an ongoing project....


14 Heol Caerhys, Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Glam, S. Wales. C. Y4 – 6AN

(post marked Sept. 1971)

My dear cousins all,

  I think I had better begin this letter by letting you know who I am.  I am the eldest, and only living daughter of the Jack Coslett you mention in your letter.  My true eldest sister was buried somewhere in Crowley, Louisiana, 78 years ago, at the age of 14 months.  I am assuming that Aunt Polly is yours.  My Dad is the one of your great grandmother’s, Mary Polly Phillip’s brother.  When my Dad went out to Louisiana, at the age of 21, at the request of his sister Polly and his Aunt Polly.  Before going, Dad and Mom were married, and arrangements made for Mom to follow as soon as he could make a home for her, which he did, some two years later.  Now my dear this must be just a brief outline, as now I am 76 years of age, and although I and another sister and brother were born in Crowley, I was only 3 years old when we came back to Wales, so can only remember what my parents have told me.  Mom’s health was ruined out there, and she died at the early age of 48, also my sister died, aged 51, and my brother died at the age of 67, so I am the only survivor of the 5.  So now, my dear, you can guess what memories you have revived when I read your letter.  It had been passed on to me from my cousin.  In it, you said you had in your possession, letters from Jack, Ted, and Joseph, well I wouldn’t know if the Joseph was my Dad’s father or his brother Joe.  Now the Ted you mentioned was my Dad’s cousin, his mother was a Mrs. Robert (?) Cosslett, sister of my grandfather.  Now I hope you can work out the family tree from here, because I could go on and fill a volume.  But I would just like to mention this, I was very fond of my Dad’s cousin Ted and his family, and was always in touch with them.  One of my daughters went out to America after she married, and when their first child was born, they decided to come to Wales on a visit to their parents, that was during the first World War, they were on the Lusitania, when it was torpedoed, near the coast of Ireland, they were never found.  It was a great tragedy for the family.  Another interesting milestone happened well over 50 years ago, my Dad’s Aunt Polly, and Lizzie, the saloon keeper, (Mom’s grat aunt) decided to make a trip to Wales, she brought with her an adopted son called Joe Harrell, they stayed for a while with Ted’s family, the outcome of that was, years later, Eva, one of her daughters went out to America and was married to Joe Harrell, and lived there until Joe died 30 years later.  Then she returned to Wales, and settled in Devon with an only nephew and his family.  Eva never had any children of her own.  But she loved our City of Cardiff best, and often came to stay with us, I used to take her to visit all her remaining friends.  She died a year ago, aged 87.  I never wearied of her stories of relatives in the U.S.A., she loved to seek them out and pay them a visit.  One of these stories concerned a cousin of Dad’s named Ned Edges, like Dad he had gone over to America to his Aunt Polly, leaving a wife and daughter in Wales.  When they went out to America, the wife found that her husband was involved with another woman, a divorce case followed, the marriage was dissolved, and the wife, - I can’t remember her name, was married later to the Judge who had conducted her case.  His name was Judge Addams.




  Now, I would like to go back to me again, I am wondering if my Dad made any mention in his letter any worry concerning his daughter, Lili, -me-.  I caused them concern, because I was becoming lame, I was taken to the doctor who said it was only growing pains, however at the age of 5, I was admitted in to our hospital and treated for a hip disease, I was there for several months, but eventually was able to run and jump with the rest of the family, I had just a slight limp.  When I was in my 20’s and after I was married, I overestimated a weak joint, I developed inflammation in it, and was kept in bed for two years, arthritis followed, - however here I am at 76, still going strong on my walking stick.  But, I must not forget to say, thanks to my car, which, I am convinced when I look back over the years was a gift from Heaven.  Twenty six years ago, I was knocked down by a car, nothing serious, my wrist was broken, and as it was the hand which held my stick, I was rendered helpless for several months, at the time, I thought it was the end of my world.  I was so fond of my Chapel meetings, choir, and my whist drives.  However, as I was not the cause of the accident, the motorist was prosecuted, and I was awarded a couple of hundred pounds and at the same time a very small car came on the market, a one seater, I decided to buy it, paid for some driving lessons, passed my test, and “Hey Ho” I was a driver.  Some 8 years after, my little car gave up the ‘Ghost’.  Since then I have driven an Austin A30, after having to pass another driving test.  Now, I have been driving fot 25 years.


  Also, to add to my blessings, I have 2 brothers and a sister, 4 of us left from a family of 10.  We are all devoted to each other, and live fairly close.  Then I have one only Son, Len, he is married and I have 3 Grand/daughters, and a grandson, also living near to me.  Len’s Dad died when Len was 18.  I married again 7 years later, and had the companionship of my second husband for another 15 years.  And as both my husbands were were railwaymen, we were able to travel all over our Island, and the Continent free, you may guess, we made good use of our free passes.  So there you are, just a brief history of my life up to now.  Now, I would like to tell you of the snaps that I possess, which my Aunt Polly, your great grandmother sent to my Dad and Mom, some 60 years ago.  The first is of Aunt Polly and a gentleman, - I don’t know if it was my uncle – feeding her poultry, another is a picture of 3 of my cousins taken with friends on a boat, another taken while on a picnic on the banks of Lake Arthur.  Another with Isabel & Ruth and friends, another of Ruth and Gwen and a friend taken at Point DeLou, another of Myrtle & Willis taken on the bank of the Lake.  Another of a pretty little girl, dressed all in white, I should think she was 18 months or near.  Her name written on the back of the photo is Margaret Madora Thomas.  Another photo which I value very much is of Main St. in Crowley on the 4th of July, 1913 celebration, taken on Parkerson Ave., an automobile parade.  You can guess what a revelation that was to my Dad and Mom.  Because only 15 years before that it was prairie land and my Dad’s farm was a part of it.  The doctor had advised Dad to sell his farm and to take us back to Wales,



PAGE 5 & 6.

  If only he had been able to stay there a few more years, he would have had more money in his pocket to come home with.  I would like to tell you one more of Eva’s stories, it concerns the Ned Edges that I have mentioned in this letter, he also married again after the divorce, and one of his daughters by that marriage was named Ruth.  Eva was able to find her, and they exchanged many a visit.  Now Ruth had a son who became quite a well known figure in his town, something to do with the law courts—I wish I could remember more about him.  After Eva returned to Wales, they still exchanged their letters, then all of a sudden they stopped, Eva worried quite a lot about it, and tried to get information but failed.  So I suppose we shall never know any more about that side of the family.  But I can imagine that there are quite a number of our family tree have their roots well established in the U.S.A.  Starting from Joseph Cosslett and family.  By the way, Eva’s husband was a nurse and caterer.

They have had a nursing home in Houston, the last one was in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he died.  I keep wondering since I read your letter, which was several weeks ago and my memory not so good these days,-- if I remember right you signed your letter from “Margaret”.  If so, are you the little girl in my photo dressed in white?, and if so, you could  be a grandmother yourself.  I am not very pleased with my effort of our family tree, but I hope it will be of some help.  I would like to go back a little, you will see that I said I could fill a volume, I should like to explain that my Grandfather Joseph lived to be 91, and he just loved to talk of his family tree.  By the way, he also had another daughter named Margaret, she lived to nearly 80.  Altogether he had 2 daughters and four sons, Joe, Bill, Jack, and Sam.  I am in touch with all my surviving cousins from these families, hence the reason of your letter reaching me.  Well, my dear, I hope I have been able to tie up a few broken ends.  I very much regret that my dad was never very good at correspondence, Mom with her poor health and large family, letters were few and far apart.  Now that I have read your letter, it has made me want to know how my cousins Ruth, Isabel, Gwen, and Myrtle, also the little girl Margaret Madora Thomas has weathered these last 50 years.  My two brothers and my sister are also interested and we all send our greetings, and love to you all.

Yours Sincerely

(signed) Lilian Clayton

Your cousin several times removed