The Diary of Thomas Jenkins
Highlights from the early years
1829 - 16 years old
- Nov 4
- Finished reaping the corn
- Nov 7
- do. binding do.
- Nov 13
- do. carrying do. ("do" means ditto) Paid to labourers £7.14.1
1831 - 18 years old
- Jan 25
- Stuck a knife into my right cheek in cutting up a fat sheep I had killed.
1833 - 20 years old
- Nov 29
- Agreed with Ann Evans, Cefncoed, as servant at £2.10.0 (She later became his first wife.)
- Dec 24
- Went to Carmarthen. Arrived at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks in every street.
- Dec 25
- Went to bed at 4 a.m., too much noise about the streets to go sooner. Dined at the 'Creselly Arms'.
1835 - 22 years old
- Apl 12
- The 'George the Third' convict ship was wrecked off the coast of Australia. There were on board at the time 294 persons of whom 134 perished and of these 128 were convicts.
- May 14
- The convict ship 'Neva' bound from Cork to Sydney was lost in Bass Straits, 224 persons chiefly female convicts perished.
- July 7
- Went to Margaret Evans' bidding, gave 2/- (The social custom of bidding helped young people get married on borrowed money. The bride's family solicited pre-wedding repayable donations, and then the happy couple were bound to do the same when their benefactors got engaged.)
- July 28
- Got up at 3 a.m. to earth potatoes. Worked until 7a.m. The weather was very hot.
- Aug 1
- Found 1 oz. coffee on the pavement in King Street.
- Aug 5
- Halley's Comet was first seen at Rome after an absence of 76 years.
- Aug 11
- Fine day - Left (from Carmarthen) for Llandeilo 8 a.m. (on foot) passed through part of six parishes viz: St. Peter's, Abergwili, Llanegwad, Llangathen, Llandyfeisant and Llandeilo. The harvest in a very forward state, wheat carried in several places, barley and oats cut and some in stacks. Arrived at Llandeilo 10:30 a.m. (Carmarthen to Llandeilo is 15 miles, which he walked in 2 ½ hours!)
- Aug 12
- Went to the Fair, several shows. Saw a Giantess, a Hottentot woman, a flaxen-haired negro, 2 serpents, crocodile, alligator, porcupine, lemon-crested cockatoo, sand sloth, jackal, Muscovey cat, American sea-serpent, boa constrictor, etc. Saw a woman raise 300 lbs by her hair.
- Aug 17
- Went to Llandeilo with a cart for mahogany and clock etc. Left Carmarthen at 4 a.m. Returned at 6 p.m.
- Aug 31
- Got severe cold last night.
- Sept 1
- Much worse, took 1/2 oz salts and senna.
- Sept 2
- Very bad headache, took 4 gr. Calomel.
- Sept 3
- Took 14 gr. Jalap this morning.
- Sept 4
- Much better.
- Oct. 10
- 9 p.m. Halley's comet is now visible about 2 degrees north of the most northward star of the pointers - constellation ursa major.
- Oct 20
- Went to Thomas Jones' wedding and to the bidding in the evening. Gave 2/6.
- Nov 17
- Made picture frame 4 ft 7 ins by 3 ft 9 ins sight moulding 6 by 5.
1836 - 23 years old
- Jany 5
- Made a coffin for a still-born child of Daniel Jones, Cwm-y-nant. Went at 9:30 to Llanllwch to bury it
- June 17
- 3L - x ae (Mysterious secret code means that that Ann Evans, his servant was three months - 'lives' - pregnant.)
- June 22
- Made a coffin for Daniel Jones, Cwm-y-nant's wife. Elm 33 ft
- June 24
- Closed the coffin at 4 p.m. and attended the funeral to Llanllwch.
- Dec 6
- Total received for work this year - £15.7.1/2. Paid £13.14.91/2
1837 - 24 years old
- Jany 30
- Found a silver sixpence opposite the Town Jail.
- Feb 4
- Sold a violin to William Jones, Tailor, for a silver watch.
- May 18
- Saw a tapeworm with Mr. Williams, Druggist, which measured 27 ft.
- June 11
- Went to see Carreg Cennen Castle together with two of Mr. Williams the Druggist's young men. Got a candle and lantern at the farm to see the cave which is under the castle and it is about 195 ft long and has a fine spring of clean water near the further extremity. Returned by Mr. Lawford's house. Went to see his collection of stuffed birds.
- June 30
- Took a cart to Llandeilo with the mahogany for J. Williams, the Druggist's new shop.
- Aug 7
- Mary (his illegitimate daughter born last October) was vaccinated. (It seems by his diary entries that Mary was 'put out to nurse' and her mother, Ann remained as a servant elsewhere.)
- Sep 8
- A poor woman, from near Llandybie, killed by a cart in Bridge Street.
- Dec 22
- Left Carmarthen at 4 ½ p.m. Walked to Llandeilo. Very dark night, the road wet after last night's rain.
- Dec 30
- Made 260 picture frames this year.
1839 - 26 years old
- June 26
- Went to Golden Grove to work.
- July 7
- Having now some prospect of being able to maintain a wife, and having determined that that the wife should be Ann, I got the banns published this morning in Betws Lleucu Church for the first time. Paid 1/-
- July 20
- Walked from Cwmamman to Capel Betws, 36 miles. Heavy rain all the way.
- July 21
- Banns published the third time. Slept at Capel Betws.
- July 23
- Walked to Llandeilo.
- Aug 20
- Married to Ann at 8 a.m. by the Revd. John Lewis at Betws Lleucu Church. Paid 5/-
- Sep 9
- Arrived at Swansea 8 a.m. Went to bathe in the sea. Left Swansea at 3 p.m. with David Davies. Walked through Llangyfelach, Cross Inn and Llandybie. Home at 12 midnight.
At the end of December, Thomas Jenkins rents a house in Llandeilo from Mr. Caleb Jones for 3/- a week and on the last day of 1839, Ann and Thomas actually sleep in their "own" house together. However, they were forced to move in February on the day Thomas found a sixpence outside the 'Cawdor Arms'. They rented three rooms from Mr. Jones, Saddler, on the day that Queen Victoria married to Prince Albert. Thomas catches the influenza and Ann is recorded as being "three lives" on February 16th.