Keeping the family together
Intent on keeping her family together, Mary's grandmother wouldn't let anything stand in her way.
"My Gran and I were very close, with me being the first grandchild. She would take me everywhere with her and I loved her dearly.
In the year 1912 my Gran's life was shattered when her beloved husband was killed underground. The manager of the pit brought his body home in a hessian sack and put a ten shilling note on the table. That was all she had left of him.
Gran was rather a colourful character. She wouldn't accept money from the parish at any cost and was determined to get a job so that she could keep her family together.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered, only recently, that in order to do this she had chained herself to some railings and demanded that the Blaenavon Company employ her although they never employed women. Gran was successful. She was given a heavy job weighing coal. As well as this she looked after her three bachelor brothers and her two children - no mean feat.
The day they buried my Gran was terrible with snow about four feet high. The hearse couldn't manage to fetch the coffin from her house so the funeral directors had to put the coffin on a kind of sledge. The many mourners managed to pull her to her final resting place to be with her husband.
I can remember sitting on my grandmother's knee. I can see her now with her flat cap and a little white pipe, pleasantly happy to be nursing me. I am still known as the granddaughter of Sarah of the coal yard. I am so very proud of her and her bravery in fighting to keep her family together."