Cefnllys Church  - St. Michael's - photo courtesy of Peter and Jackie LongleySolving a mystery ... James Edmund Drew - b. 1825
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It was stated (May/June 2002) to David Ward by Carol McGlasson in America that she has a great grandfather, James DREW who was the son of James Edmund Drew - b.1825 in Radnor. This news precipitated a series of researches - now resolving in a general agreement that the lines are linked by cousins of the same name and same birth year - both lines descended from John Drew and Keziah Beaumont.

Using the 157 LDS listings for all DREW - all EVENTS - in WALES - some theories are offered here, based on the assumption that James Edmund DREW b. 1825 in Cefnllys and James DREW (aged 55 in 1881 UK census) in Cefnllys are two different persons - which seems to be the case as James Edmund. Drew's grave is in America.

During the second and third decades of the 1800s there seem to have been the following main DREW families in the area producing children:

Thomas Drew and MARGARET (Sheen) - children as listed - of Cefnllys, including a James E. Drew and (see later theory) a Fortune Drew. David Ward is a descendant of this line, as is his cousin, May, in England - and more recently discovered, Carol McGlasson in America - Click here for a more detailed analysis of the Drew families in Wales.

Thomas Drew
John Drew
David Drew
and MARY
John Drew
and ANN
Llanddewi Ystradenny
George Drew
1823 John Drew
1825 Martha Drew
1816 Eliza Drew
1817 David Drew
1817 Charles Drew
M. 1859 ? Rachel Morgan
1820 Mary Drew
1822 Sarah Drew
George Drew married Susan Davies 1821 Llanbadanfawr

A 'Keziah Drew' is listed as having had a daughter, Amelia Drew, in 1814. No father is listed. In 1821, a Keziah Drew is listed as marrying (at Llanbadanfawr) a William WEAL. A Hannah Drew married a John Lewis at Llandrindod Wells in 1823.

There is a couple listed called JAMES DREW and MARY - of Nantmel. They are recorded as having a daughter called Fortune Drew, born in 1834. (Carmel Independent, Nantmel). In LDS records, the Drew family in Wales is well represented in the Glamorgan area of Merthyr Tydfil. There is a record of a James DREW marrying a Maria SMITH (back to the Smith/Smyth/Smythe problem!) at Merthyr in 1822.

Thomas Drew and Margaret Sheen had a daughter whom they named Fortune also. She was born in 1836, two years after the Fortune Drew born to James Drew and Mary. Portents of a 'Fortune' to come the Drew family way? - qv the Chancery Court battle mentioned by David Ward engaged in by his ancestor, Vincent David Drew.

If James/Mary and Thomas/Margaret shared the unusual naming of Fortune for a daughter - in such a close-knit community and where names tend to run in the family - is it not possible that James/Mary also produced a son, James Drew (named after his father) in or about 1825 - who is perhaps the James Drew who married Sarah Nias and lived in London, being, the Gentleman Hosier? And might not Thomas and Margaret have named their James (Edmund) after their (possible) kinsman. James Drew, who married Mary?

The names of David and Roderick (the latter name being unique, in my opinion, from research to date into Radnor/Wales Drew lines) appear in one person, David Roderick Drew, born at Merthyr Tydfil in 1907 - or 1909 depending on which record applies to him - probably the 1909 date with the first being a child who died young - to Anthony John Drew and Agnus Jane Davies. They were married in 1866 at the Registry Office in Merthyr. Then, a David Roderick Drew married Blodwen Jones in 1935. However, the name Roderick appears again within a short span of time in the person of John Roderick Drew-Smythe, born during the early 1920s, the second and youngest child of Henry James Drew-Smythe who was the son of Ada Josephine Drew, the daughter of James Drew aged 55 in 1881 and born at Cefnllys.

If the Hosier, John Drew - born circa 1813 at Llandrindod Wells - also mentioned by David Ward - is part and parcel of the same Drew family kin, linking Radnor and Glamorgan - then James Edmund Drew and James Hosier Drew would have been well known to each other and of the same age ... and with an American "aunt" Ann or "cousin" Ann - kin of close nature - married to John Hosier Drew - it would not be a big leap to find James Edmund Drew taking his young bride, Jane Probert, and child James McGlasson Drew to seek their fortune in America, perhaps 'upsetting' his mother to the extent that - as David Ward relates - he was 'snubbed' in her will with an inheritance of next to nothing.

The Drew-Smythe Drew line remains the Drew line of Radnor and welcomes an American cousin. And also wants to know who was the James Edmund Drew, registered birth now at Presteigne, born in the same Radnorshire area in 1862 - and who were his parents?

The irony is that Captain Dicky (Richard David Somerset) Drew-Smythe (great-grandson of James Hosier Drew and elder son of Henry James Drew-Smythe) lived near Leominster from 1954 - 1959 with his first wife and their son David and daughter Janet - and then at Titley (Burcher Court) between Kington and Presteigne from 1965-1972 with his second wife ... the children of his first marriage know the whole Radnor area well but were quite unaware of the Drew connection at that time!

Carmel Independent, Nantmel ...

James Hosier Drew married Sarah Ann Nias. The Nias family had Baptist Church connections. Their daughter, Ada Josephine, married Frank Tompson Smythe who was a Baptist Minister - as was his father, James Francis Smythe, before him. The 'non-conformist' angle may also be an indicator of the kin line - there are clear Quaker and Methodist associations to several Drews of the era and of the area ...

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