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.