Author: Tom Nicholas

Arvin B Congleton 1939-2006

Arvin Congleton was a great grandson of Benjamin Lewis Nicholas.

He was born on March 13, 1939, in Holland MI, the son of the late Clayton and Harriett (Burrows) Congleton.

Arvin grew up in Ft. Lauderdale FL, resided several years in Cambridge MA, and lived in the state of New Hampshire since 1974. He graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering and was employed by Raytheon for many years in the radar and missile systems division. At Raytheon, he assisted with the development of the guidance system of the scud busting Patriot Missile. A ham radio operator, Arvin had a fascination for antique radios, receivers, and transmitters.

He was a member of the New England Antique Radio Club, the Photographic Historical Society of New England, the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and the Chester Senior Citizens Group.67, of Chester NH, died October 26, 2006, at the Parkland Medical Center in Derry NH.

He died October 26, 2006, at the Parkland Medical Center in Derry NH.

BIRTH13 Mar 1939 Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan, USA
DEATH26 Oct 2006 (aged 67) Derry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA
BURIALGreat Hill CemeteryChester, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA
Source: FindaGrave

How did Thomas Nicholas meet Martha Lewis?

One of the questions that has remained unanswered is how Thomas Nicholas (1820-1898) met and married a girl born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, almost 200 miles north of Bletherston!

Unable to find a Martha Lewis, born: Manchester, Lancashire, England between 1821 and 1825 (1823 +/- 2 years) in the 1841 Census of England & Wales; I ordered a copy of Thomas and Martha’s marriage certificate which confirmed that Thomas and Martha were married 23 June 1842 at St Non’s Parish Church, Llanycefn, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Using the information on their marriage certificate and on the assumption that most couples in the UK marry in the bride’s home parish I searched the 1841 census again but limiting the location to Llanycefyn, Pembrokeshire, Wales and extending the range of Martha’s birth year to +/- 5 years and the first entry found was as follows:

Sych Cant, Llanycefn, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales


Source: 1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census

The address ‘Sych Cant’ was the address shown on the marriage certificate so I believe this was the right ‘Martha Lewis’. However the head of the household was Evan Lewis born 1791, occupation: Farmer. Unfortunately the 1841 Census only recorded the address, first name, last name, sex, age and occupation and the relationship and place of birth were not recorded. Also an Evan Lewis is one of the witnesses who signed Thomas and Martha’s marriage cerificate. Therefore we must assume that Evan Lewis was not Martha’s father but possibly her uncle and her father, David, was Evan Lewis’ brother.

I then went to the National Library of Wales website to search the Welsh Tithe Maps (1840) to identify the location of the ‘Sych Cant’ farm farmed by Evan Lewis and discovered that the farm is located on the road from Llanycefn to Maenclochog…

John & Theodocia’s Grave

John & Theodocia Nicholas’ Grave

To the memory of



Who died September 22nd 1828

Aged 33 years

My friends grieve not my early fate

You all must try this untry’d state

When my memory brings a sigh

Apply the words I too must die

Also of THEODOCIA Widow of the

above who died 28 November 1881

Aged 83 years


SS Bothnia

SS Bothnia was a British steam passenger ship that sailed on the trans-Atlantic route between Liverpool and New York City or Boston. The ship was built by J & G Thomson of Clydebank, and launched on 4 March 1874 for the British & North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, which became the Cunard Line in 1879.[1]

Holloway & Whitehook in 1840

Link to a Tithe Map from 1840 showing the Ownership, Tenancy and extent of both Whitehook and Holloway Fach

Bletherston Parish

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bletherston in Pembrokeshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.



5 Emigrate to United States

5 descendants of John and Theodocia Nicholas of Whitehook, Bletherston, Pembrokeshire, Wales emigrated to various parts of the United States between 1881 and 1913.


1. Benjamin Lewis Nicholas (1856-1939)

Benjamin and his wife Margaret Beynon were the first members of the Nicholas family to emigrate to the USA in 1881.

Emigration: 7thApril 1881 (Age 25 years), Liverpool – New York, SS Bothnia

Birth: 12 March 1856, Holloway, Penfford, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Marriage: Margaret BEYNON, 28thFebruary 1881, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, England

Death: 3 March 1939 (Age 82 years)Mason City, Custer County, Nebraska, United States

Note: Margaret’s older brother Edward Beynon had immigrated to Hyde Park, Scranton, PA, USA in about 1869 (Edward returned with his wife Elizabeth and 2 children in about 1876).


2. John Nicholas THOMAS, 1869–1949

John Nicholas Thomas was Benjamin’s nephew
(his mother was Benjamin’s sister Sarah and his father was Benjamin Thomas).

Emigration: 10 September 1892 (Age 23 years), Missouri via New York City, NY, United States

Birth: 28 March 1869, Whitland, Carmarthen, Wales

Marriage: Evie Mae Scrutchfield, 6 May 1900, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

Marriage: Ida Irene Scheuneman, 14 January 1903 (Age 33 years), Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

Death: 13 January 1949 (Age 79 years), Laclede County, Missouri, United States

Burial: 1949 (Age 79 years), Prosperine, Laclede, Missouri, United States of America


3. Thomas John NICHOLAS 1875–

Thomas John Nicholas was also one of Benjamin’s nephews (his mother was Benjamin’s sister Martha who married Evan Nicholas of Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales ).

Emigration: 19 January 1895 (Age 19 years), Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Birth: 18 October 1875, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales

Residence: 1881 (Age 5 years), 85, Baptist Well Street, Swansea (Town), Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales

Residence: 1891 (Age 15 years), Address: Pentre, St John, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales

Residence: about 1917, (Age 41 years), Address: 77 Monitor St, Brooklyn, Kings, NY

Occupation: Metal (Copper) Inspector, , about 1910 (Age 34 years), Address: Laurel Hill, Queens, NY,USA

Employer: Phelps Dodge Co at Nichols Copper Co and Company


4. John Bowen NICHOLAS, 1873–1950

John Bowen NICHOLAS was another of Benjamin’s nephews
(his father was Benjamin’s brother Evan and his mother was Eleanor Bowen).

Emigration: about May 1901 (Age 27 years), CUMRO CUSTER COUNTY NEBRASKA, USA

Birth: 28 June 1873 29, St Michaels, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Marriage: Elizabeth Marie Ghude, 3 March 1908 (Age 24 years), Otoe, Nebraska, United States

Military: WWI Draft, between 1917 and 1918 (Age 41 years), New York City no 55, Address: New York, United States

Death: 9 January 1950 (Age 76 years), Summerfield Marshall County Kansas, USA


5. William Evan NICHOLAS, 1887–

The younger brother of Thomas John Nicholas and one of Benjamin’s nephews (his mother was Benjamin’s sister Martha who married Evan Nicholas of Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales ).

Emigration: June 14, 1913 (Age 26 years), Brooklyn, New York, NY, United States

Birth: about June 1887, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales

Holidays in Wales 1950s

Holidays in Wales 1950s

Holloway Fach

Was Benjamin L. Nicholas apprenticed with Richard Phillips?

Was Benjamin L. Nicholas apprenticed with Richard Phillips?

In the 1871 Census of England and Wales Benjamin’s occupation is listed as ‘Tailor’s apprentice’ but it gives no indication of who the tailor could have been.

Lower Holloway (Holloway Fach) – Benjamin Nicholas, 14, Tailor (Apprentice)

However recent investigations into the 1871 Census have identified a possible candidate – Richard Phillips.

Richard was born in New Moat in about 1830. In 1858 Richard married Hannah Nicholas who was born about 1838. Hannah’s Parents were Stephen NICHOLAS (B:1797 & probably John NICHOLAS’ younger brother) and Ann MORGANS. Which means than Hanah was probably Benjamin’s father’s cousin.

Hannah and Richard lived at Posty-draw which is a house, near Posty Farm, less than  a mile from Benjamin’s family home – Holloway Fach. In the same 1871 census Richard’s occupation is listed as Tailor (employing 1 man).

Posty – Richard Philips, 40, Tailor (employing 1 man)

I firmly believe that means that Benjamin was apprenticed with Richard who was married to his father’s cousin.

John N + Evie (Scrutchfield) + Ida Irene (Schuenemann) THOMAS

John N + Evie (Scrutchfield) + Ida Irene (Schuenemann) THOMAS

 John Nicholas Thomas

Birth: Mar. 28, 1869, Whitland, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Death: Jun. 13, 1949, Missouri, USA

Burial: Sugar Creek Cemetery, Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

Son of: Benjamin  Thomas (1827- )/Sarah Nicholas (1842- Married:  Evie Mae Scrutchfield

Evie Mae Scrutchfield

Birth: Jan. 21, 1877, Chariton County, Missouri, USA

Death: Feb. 5, 1901, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

Died 4 days after giving birth to Evie May Thomas, 15 days past her 24th birthday.

Burial:  Sugar Creek Cemetery, Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

Married:  Ida Irene Schernemann

Ida Irene Schernemann

Birth: 1870

Death: Sunday, June 3rd, 1934?

Burial:  Sugar Creek Cemetery, Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri, USA

United States Census, 1910

John N Thomas Head M 41 Wales
Ida J Thomas Wife F 40 Missouri
Sarah Thomas Daughter F 6 Missouri
August Thomas Son M 5 Missouri
William Thomas Son M 3 Missouri
May Thomas Daughter F 9 Missouri

United States Census, 1930

John N Thomas Head M 61 Wales
Ida I Thomas Wife F 60 Missouri
Sarah L Thomas Daughter F 26 Missouri
August B Thomas Son M 25 Missouri
William H Thomas Son M 23 Missouri
Martha E Thomas Daughter F 19 Missouri
Albert C Thomas Son M 16 Missouri

United States Census, 1940

John N Thomas Head M 71 South Wales
August B Thomas Son M 35 Missouri
William H Thomas Son M 33 Missouri
Martha E Thomas Daughter F 29 Missouri
Albert C Thomas Son M 26 Missouri
Laura E Thomas Daughter-in-law F 22 Missouri
Charles A Thomas Grandson M 3 Missouri
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