Eliza Ann REES was born in Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales in 1882 to Henry Thomas REES and Hannah WILLIAMS. Eliza was the third child out of seven that I know of. I wish I could have met Eliza, she didn't have an easy life but she had a head for business. Eliza's grandchildren and great grandchildren would tell how Eliza's father was no good with money, however her mother certainly seems to have been a clever woman (who ran a number of businesses) and taught her children how to earn, manage and invest money.
Eliza was married at the age of 20 (1902) to George Emmanuel SAUNDERS, after 3 children and 10 years together, Eliza was left a widow (1913). Eliza didn't grieve very long, with 3 children to tend to, having a husband to help keep them and raise them would have been the most practical thing to have. About 1 year after loosing George, Eliza was wed Henry Uppington LEWIS (1914).
When Britain went to War Eliza must have feared here husband would be called to fight and had most likely told him so. Eliza's grandchildren and great grandchildren recounted that Henry 'ran away' and joined the Army without telling Eliza. For three more years Eliza raised her children alone and soldiered on. In November 1918 Henry was transferred to the Labour Corps, at lease now he was not on the front lines. Finally in February 1919, Henry was discharged from the Army and returned home to Eliza and the children.
Eliza and Henry purchased the lease hold on their house and ran a grocers shop from the front room. Eliza's Great grandson speaks of how Eliza wouldn't turn away someone in need, be it a cup of sugar or a weeks groceries. Eliza kept 'tabs', little wooden blocks detailing what her customers owed her, but would after sometime knowing that the family could not afford the bill burn those tabs to clear the debt. Eliza would also receive visitors to the backdoor at weekends or after hours, since she couldn't sell them anything at that time she would 'give away' what was needed and the bill would be settled at a latter date.
At 69 (1951) she purchased the freehold to her house from the land owner and still she kept working. Eliza continued to work for the rest of her life, taking her rest in July 1963 when death claimed her. She was 81 years old. Her beloved Henry joined her just a year later.
Eliza's home is now home to her one of her Grandchildren, but her true legacy is that her daughter and granddaughter have the same heart as she did - always sacrificing their own needs for the sake of other people.
Yes, how I wish I could have met Eliza, despite the heartache she endured, she raised her children to be loving, caring, selfless individuals. An inspiration.
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