30th July 1814
On Saturday last, two brothers, who were promising youths, the one 15 and the other 18 years of age, were unfortunately drowned in Aberavon river. They had lately arrived from the interior of Brecknockshire, for the purpose of sea bathing, but going into the river on the reflux of the tide, they were overpowered and borne off by the stream.
The article does not give the name of the local lad who risked his own life and plunged in once, then twice, in an attempt to save one, then the other. But it was too late. And we do not learn the brothers' names either only that they were buried in Margam churchyard on Monday evening: 25th July 1814.
The Glamorgan Parish Registers helped me find Rosser's baptism record in January 1796 in Llansamlet, named for his father. Isaac was baptised in October 1798. Their mother was Jane Morris, who married Rosser Thomas, also at Llansamlet, in 1790.
Wouldn't a mother and a father want to bring their young sons home, bury them well, these young men who could never have anticipated the end of their lives that warm summer's day?
I have no doubt they would have wanted to. But Rosser Thomas, the elder, had died in 1797. Jane Thomas was buried in 1804. It seems there was no-one to remember the boys, to have their names carved into a stone.
The 200th anniversary of their death falls this month. I'll be home in Port Talbot and will remember the two lost boys by reading this story at Taibach Community Library at their coffee morning on Friday, July 25th.
It was hot, they would have been laughing, jostling each other at the river bank, imagining the first cool splash. Brothers looking out for each other.