Joseph Seth Jones’s diary, 1865-1866

Reference: NLW MS 18176B

Joseph Seth Jones’s diary giving an account of the voyage of the Mimosa to Patagonia with the first settlers in 1865, and his diary for 14-21 March 1866. This is the only document which records the history of this historical voyage.

 

Joseph Seth Jones (1845-1912) was born in Penanner, Barrog, Llanfairtalhaiarn in 1845. After leaving school at 14, he started working as an apprentice with the Visitor Office, Robert Jones’ printing works at Abergele. He left the job six months before finishing his apprenticeship, and began working full-time as a printer at Gwasg Gee, Denbigh.

It is suggested that he was inspired to emigrate after seeing an advertisement that appeared in the Yr Herald Cymraeg, asking for '12 young boys, accustomed to work, and of good character' and the offer of an 'easy system to reimburse' the costs of the trip. NLW MS 18197B contains a collection of letters from his family begging him to reconsider his decision to emigrate, but at the age of 20 he traveled to Patagonia as part of the first contingent aboard the Mimosa. In the colony, he and his working partner David Ifan from Aberdare were given a piece of land to farm but Seth Jones has set his sights on travelling. After a period in Puerto Madryn he became a chef on the Fairy, a ship hunting seals in April 1867, and sailed to Port Stanley in the Falklands, where he left his job and found employment on the islands. He then sailed back to Wales in 1868 and accepted a job as a postman in Holywell. He died there on January 17, 1912.

Joseph Seth Jones is remembered for keeping this diary of his trip on the Mimosa and of his life in Patagonia, and for the letters he wrote home to his family in Wales during his short stay (NLW MS 18177C)

 

Bibliography