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Home > Places > Delaware County, Ohio

Delaware County, Ohio

Radnor, Troedrhiwdalar and Delaware


Buying land

A young Welshman called David Pugh was the first pioneer of the Welsh settlement in Radnor. He arrived in America in 1801 and after spending a year in Baltimore he moved to Philadelphia where he met Dr Samuel Jones. Jones had received 4,000 acres of land in central Ohio for his service in the Revolution in America and he was keen to find out more about the quality of that land. He employed David Pugh to survey it on his behalf and when he returned, he reported that there was fertile and valuable land there.

In an article on the history of the township of Radnor, Delaware County, published in The Cambrian, the Rev. B.W. Chidlaw noted that Dr Samuel Jones had sold the land in 1803 to David Pugh for $2,650. Chidlaw's article (English) >>

The first pioneers

The first man to settle in the Radnor area was Henry Perry. He came originally from North Wales but by the turn of the nineteenth century he was living in Baltimore with his wife and children. He was persuaded by David Pugh to venture further west and therefore in 1803 he traveled more than 500 miles with his two sons until they reached that wooded land bought by Pugh in Radnor. The three chose a suitable location to build a wood cabin and over winter they proceeded to clear some acres of land.

Henry Perry returned to Baltimore during the spring of 1804 leaving the sons in charge of the cabin and the crops they had planted. He then returned to Radnor with his wife and his other children. There is a description of the family's efforts to start a new life in the neighborhood of Radnor in Chidlaw's article (English) >>

1804 - establishing a Welsh community in Radnor

David Pugh was the one responsible for naming this township "Radnor", in honor of his birthplace in Wales. He divided the land he had bought into 100-acre lots and sold them one by one to the pioneers. Henry Perry was the first to buy - he bought Lot No. 1 for $150 in June 1804. In September Lot No. 2, which was to the west of the land bought by Henry Perry, was sold to John Jones and another hundred acre was sold on the same day to John Watkins.

The other pioneers who came to the area are named in Chidlaw's article, and we are also given a description of their everyday lives and their relationship with the Indian tribe of Wyandot, Shawnee, Delaware and Pottawottamie.

The settlement's development

"There are more Welsh people here than anywhere else in Ohio. The land is suitable to raise all sorts of cereal, and is excellent for hay and pasture. It is possible to buy a homestead, and parts of it cleared, with an house and a barn, from 4 to 6 pounds; untamed land is half that, or less."
digital library documentYr American, p.35
No more emigrants came to the area for a while because of the 1812 war but the influx started again from around 1818 onwards. The Welsh flocked to this area because the land was so fertile. The letter Gryffith Thomas sent home to his friends in the Llanfynydd area, Carmarthernshire, shows how it was possible for an ordinary Welshman such as himself to succeed very soon after arriving in Delaware. In 1845, Gryffith bought 100 acres for $300 and during his first year there he managed to build a house and clear half his land. He then bought another 100 acres for the same price the following year. This letter has been digitized as part of the Wales-Ohio project.
digital library documentGryffith's description of his farm and his attempt to persuade his friends to emigrate to America (Welsh; English translation) >>

By the fifties this was a settlement of successful farmers and there were chapels and churches there by Welsh Churchgoers, Baptists, Wesleyans and Congregationalists.
Read William Harvey Jones' article for more information about the churches of Radnor (English) >>

Troedrhiwdalar

Welsh people from Brecknockshire were drawn to this agricultural area between Radnor and Delaware in 1842. That year, James Davies and his family from Llanwrtyd settled there with many other families from the same community. It is believed that 50 Welsh people were living in Troedrhiwdalar in 1842 and according to R. D. Thomas, the number of Welsh people had increased to 200 by 1872.

Delaware

Delaware is located approx. 25 miles to the north of Columbus. According to R. D. Thomas, the Welsh Congregationalist Church was established there in the thirties and he estimated that the Welsh population of the town of Delaware was over 150 in 1872.

Digitized Materials

digital library documentNLW 16704E: Letter dated 17 June 1846 from Gryffith Thomas, Delaware, to Thomas Evans, Llanfynydd (Welsh; English translation)

digital library documentCMA 22300 - Letter dated 23 January 1864 from Rowland Price, Radnor, Delaware County, to his brothers and sister (Welsh; English translation)

digital library documentCMA 22301 - Letter dated 23 December 1865 from Rowland Price, Radnor, Delaware County, to his brothers and sisters (Welsh; English translation)

Iorthryn Gwynedd visited Radnor on his journey through Ohio State in 1851 and he recorded some facts in a notebook (NLW 9521A):
digital library documentHis visit to the cemetery (Welsh) >>
digital library documentA way to find water (Welsh) >>
digital library document"Friends from the Old Land", some of the Welsh people of Delaware and Radnor (Welsh) >>

There are brief descriptions of Delaware, Radnor and Troedrhiwdalar in:

digital library documentR. D. Thomas, Hanes Cymry America (The History of the Welsh in America) (Utica, 1872), pp.108 - 109

digital library documentEdward Jones, Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (The American Traveler) (Aberystwyth, 1837), p.21

digital library documentB. W. Chidlaw, Yr American (Llanfair, 1839), p.23 (Only available in Welsh)

General Bibliography

Rev. B. W. Chidlaw, 'Radnor Township, Delaware Co., O.', The Cambrian, Vol. I, No. 5, pp. 173-181.

William Harvey Jones, 'Welsh Settlements in Ohio', (in three parts) The Cambrian, Volume XXVII, No. 8 (July-September 1907), pp. 344-50.

Links

The Welsh Society of Central Ohio

History of Delaware and Ohio



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