As mentioned previously, Thomas & Charlotte Roderick’s youngest son Eli emigrated to South Africa (circa 1903-04). He headed to Pilgrims Rest, Mpumatanga Province in the N.E. of the country to work as a gold miner. This was in the second of the Transvaal’s gold fields, and it seems likely that Eli had sensibly waited for the Boer Wars to end (1902) before he left South Wales. Eli had married Mary Morse (b.1871) and two of her brothers had previously gone to join the South African gold rush; this appears to have been the reason behind Eli’s bold decision. Eli made the long journey on his own with his wife and their offspring joining him later. Mary and the five children sailed to Natal in January 1905 – sadly a sixth child, Edna Irene, died just before the family emigrated. She died in Tonyrefail in May 1904 aged just four; her Uncle Nefydd registered the death in his brother’s absence. Sadly Nefydd himself would pass away just two months later. Edna Irene’s Welsh born siblings were – Margaret (1889), Thomas James (1891), Lilian (1893), Elizabeth (1896) and Llewelyn (1902).
They were later joined by four South African born children – Nefydd (1905-d.1992), Irene May (1907), Kenneth (1909) and Iris (1911). The family remained in Pilgrims Rest until 1911; nowadays it is a small museum town and a protected heritage site. Eli Roderick died in Johannesburg in 1926 from pulmonary tuberculosis and silicosis; it seems swapping coal for gold made little difference health wise. Sadly his widow Mary had to face 34 years of widowhood, eventually dying in 1960. A nice foot note to end with, apparently in her later years, like her mother-in-law Charlotte back in Tonyrefail, she too was affectionately known as “Gia”.
Thanks to a South African cousin for her help with this branch and for the use of the photograph.