This impressive ‘table’ tomb and its inscriptions prompted our researchers to try to find out what they could about the family that it commemorates. It turns out that William Sharp, of Scottish descent but born in Whitchurch, Cardiff, came to the Merthyr area on foot at the age of 13 in 1844 to ‘make his fortune’. After working in a number of Merthyr shops William was able to set up business on his own account in 1851. By 1853 he was married and living in Troedyrhiw where he remained until his death at the age of 87 in 1917 having outlived his wife and most of his children.
An American nephew of William described him in later life as being ‘a fine man with kindly eyes and patriarchal beard. Postmaster there (in Troedyrhiw) for 50 years, father to the folk of the place, father confessor, legal adviser, banker, everything, greatly honoured and respected’.
We know that William was a deacon of three different chapels, Market Square – Merthyr, Saron – Troedyrhiw and Mount Zion-Troedyrhiw. He was presented with this gift by the members of Saron Chapel to commemorate 60 years of chapel membership on the occasion of his 80th birthday:-
William Sharp must have been very successful in his business ventures as, over the years, he was able to take holidays in places which included Scotland , Ireland, France, Jersey, Guernsey and the USA; something that was well beyond the means of most Troedyrhiw residents in those days.
William appears to have been very impressed with America, particularly California, even pondering on whether it would be a good place ‘to end my days’ before deciding it would be ‘Old England for me!’
Two of William’s sons William L. and Ivor T. were motivated to emigrate to California helping to found an extensive family which, today, reside in many parts of the USA. Fortunately for our researchers, they take a great interest in their heritage and have been happy to provide much interesting information only some of which is mentioned here. The death of William L. Sharp is recorded on the family tomb at Saron as follows:-
WILLIAM L. SHARP DIED FEB 15 1892 AGED 31.
BURIED IN BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIA.
Ivor T. Sharp outlived his brother by many years and, interestingly, had a son, also called Ivor, who served with the American forces in WWI.
Further information about this family will be posted on this blog at a later date but, for now, Friends of Saron would like to record their thanks to the following American descendants of William Sharp for the information that they have made available to us :-
Larry Flint. Gina Sammis and the late Marjorie Ames Stacey.