PeopleOf Cwmamman

Tom Walters

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Tom Walters worked at the Gelliceidrim colliery at Glanamman. The above photograph was taken on the balcony of the Workmen's Hall where he was a committee member for many years.

Tom was born in 1865 at Aberdare and, as was normal at the time, started work at the age of 12. He came to Cwmamman c.1909, with his first wife, Jemima Young, whom he married in 1895. They lived near the Stepney Road area of Garnant. Disaster struck the family when Jemima pricked her finger on a rusty needle and died of septicemia in 1910. She left four children, the youngest of which was only 6 weeks old.

Tom's' brother, Mordecai, was married to a lady named Lou. Her sister, Mary, was sent to help Tom to look after the children. To preserve her good reputation, Mary insisted that Tom went back to Aberdare every weekend, leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday night. Tom had to walk all the way over the Black Mountains; there and back, as he couldn't afford the bus fare. Tom and Mary married in 1912 and had 9 children. They eventually moved to Heol y Felin, Garnant.

Mary Walters c.1946

Tom and Mary were members of New Bethel Chapel at Glanamman and the above photograph of Mary was taken outside the chapel c.1946.

Tom Walters was a wonderful singer, and sang "Bonny Mary of Argyle", when Wilfred Pickles held a Go As You Please at the Workmen's Hall. This was broadcasted on the radio and the program reached as far as America. Tom Walters received a couple of telegrams from America congratulating him on his performance.

Tom was a member of the Garnant lodge of the following philanthropic societies; Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes and later, Knights of the Golden Horn. The R.A.O.B. had local branches at Glanamman, Garnant, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and Brynamman. The R.A.O.B. were active fundraisers for good causes and were praised in the 20th June, 1918 edition of the Amman Valley Chronicle, for the successful eisteddfod and flag day which they organised at Cwmamman Recreational ground. This event raised £125 11s and 4d for the National Institute for Blind Heroes of the Great War.

Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes certificate dated 1919

Knights of the Golden Horn certificate dated 1921

Knights of the Golden Horn certificate dated 1924

Thanks to Ann Wyatt of Bristol for the above images and information. Other sources include the Amman Valley Chronicle.

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