Joseph Seth Jones’s letters, c.1866-1868

Reference: NLW MS 18177C

Letters to his family by Joseph Seth Jones from Patagonia, The Falklands, and on board the Ivanhoe on his homeward voyage c. January 1866 - 29 April 1868. This manuscript contains valuable information about the early days of the colony.

 

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 a diary during his trip on the Mimosa and of his life in Patagonia (NLW MS 18176B), and for these letters that he wrote home to his family in Wales during his short stay.

 

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