“LITTLE JOHN” PHILLIPS 1914 – 1919

by Annette Edwards.

In loving memory of John Louvain Elias Phillips (Little John) the beloved son of W. & M.A. Phillips. Alexandra Road, Wrexham who fell asleep Feb 23 1919 aged 4.

Because “Little John” was born after the last census at first he was a bit difficult to trace, but a search for his birth found that he was born late in 1914 in Wrexham district, and his mother’s maiden name was Elias.

A check on the grave number found that other people buried there were William Phillips and Mary Ann Elias Phillips, they matched the initials on the gravestone.

A search for an Elias / Phillips marriage only found one and that was on 13 September 1899 and it was William Phillips and Pollie Elias who married at Gwersyllt Church.   Probably Pollie`s wedding dress was a bit of a tight fit as before the end of December 1899 Richard William Owen Phillips was born.

It`s beginning to look like Pollie was actually  Mary Ann and sure enough a Mary Ann Elias was born Dec qtr 1876 in Wrexham,  her mother’s maiden was Watkin . A look at the marriage entry shows that Pollie`s father was Owen Elias, a draper.  Williams’s father was John Phillips an agent.

 Both William who was a labourer, and Pollie signed their names. None of the four witnesses were from the Phillips family, two were N Elias, and R.W. Elias. These are probably Nellie and Richard Waktin Elias, Pollie`s siblings.

The other two were Aaron and Elizabeth Maddocks.  This couple lived in Villiers Street which is next to Bright Street. Aaron was a coal merchant.  As both Pollie and William were living in Wrexham I wonder why they didn`t marry at St Giles.

Mary Ann was found under her given name in 1881 at 4 Henblas Street, her father Owen is a linen draper from Pwllheli, and her mother was Mary Ann Watkin from Welshpool.  By 1891 they are living at 25 Chester Street.

William Phillips was born in Summerhill in 1877, his father was John, a coal miner from Shropshire, his mother was Mary Ann Mason from Willenhall, Staffordshire, and they had at least 9 children.

The family moved from Chapel Street, Summerhill to Bright Street in Wrexham,   John left the pits and became a life insurance agent; the elder sons got jobs on the railway.         

After their marriage they are at 45 Alexandra Road in 1901, William Phillips is a banks man foreman working above ground.  His wife is Pollie who is a “singer of music”. They have a son Richard aged 1.

By 1911 they have moved to 6 Alexandra Road, William is now as clerk at a colliery, and we can see he was from Summerhill.  Pollie is saying her occupation is a proprietor at Broughton, Plas. Coal Co.  They have another child, a daughter, M E Phillips aged 7.

Despite a thorough search of the papers there is nothing about Pollie / Mary Ann having been a singer, and no connection has been found with Plas Power Colliery.   Could she just have been telling fibs?

Her father Owen Elias died on 27 January 1927, his probate shows he had effects of £14736 18s 8d so he was a wealthy man.

William Phillips sadly died at Denbigh mental hospital aged 61 and was buried on 19 October 1938

Mary Ann Elias Phillips (Pollie) died at Templefield, Fairy Road, aged 67, she was buried 12 December 1942.

Mary Ann made a will, probate was granted to Richard William Owen Elias Phillips, council rent collector (her first born son) and Ellen Mary Elias Phillips. Effects were £2485 19s 3d, so she was quite well off.

Also in the same grave  is Ellen Mary Elias Phillips buried 2 October 1979 who died at 5 Hampden Road, aged 74, she was “Little John`s” sister.

Wrexham Cemetery 2018

Researched by Annette Edwards, with help from Judy Roberts, Chirk. August 2018.

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery P-04823