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Home > Places > Hamilton County, Ohio

Hamilton County, Ohio


Life in the city

Cincinnati was a relatively small town at the beginning of the nineteenth century but it developed into a beautiful, thriving and populous city in a short period. During the thirties, craftsmen and traders of all sorts were drawn to the city and there were many Welsh people among them. When Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (The American Traveler) was published in 1837, around 400 Welsh people lived in Cincinnati according to the author, the Rev. Edward Jones. He described the large city asdigital library document"exquisitely beautiful" offering good opportunities for craftsmen and servants.

Early pioneers, Cincinnati(Courtesy of The Ohio Historical Society)

Early pioneers, Cincinnati
(Courtesy of The Ohio Historical Society)
This opinion was reiterated by the Rev. B. W. Chidlaw later when he also published a similar guidebook in 1839, called digital library documentYr American. digital library documentHis description of Cincinnati as a busy, exciting and developing city must have appealed to many prospective Welsh emigrants who dreamt of working in such a city. There were plenty of opportunities for servants and maids and craftsmen according to Chidlaw, and a good wage could be earned. The only problem a Welsh person could face would be trying to find work and accommodation immediately after arriving.

"There are many Welsh people from Llanbrynmair, Maldwyn and Cardigan in this city."
digital library documentNLW 9521A
During his journey through some of the states of America, R. D. Thomas (Iorthryn Gwynedd) spent January 1852 in Cincinnati and was amazed at the size of the city and its organized streets and highways and its residents. His thoughts were written in a notebook, which has been digitized as part of the Wales-Ohio project. digital library documentRead his comments about the city, the Welsh people living there and the churches of the Congregationalists, the Calvinist Methodists, the Baptists and the Wesleyans (only available in Welsh) >>

The Welsh Congregationalist Church, Lawrence Street

The Welsh Congregationalist Church,
Lawrence Street
Iorthryn Gwynedd went on to publish a book on the history of the Welsh in America (Hanes Cymry America) and in it we are given further information about the history of the churches and some of the ministers who served there. digital library documentTurn to page 104 for more information >>

He also emphasized that there was plenty of work available in the plants and works which made boilers, forges, vehicles and ships and that Cincinnati was a suitable place for young women to be in service. Iorthryn Gwynedd estimated that the Welsh population of the city was around 2,000 in 1872.

Digitized materials held at NLW

digital library documentNLW 19331E: The letters of John and Hugh Pugh from Liverpool, Cincinnati, Columbus and Portsmouth (1843 - 1852) (Welsh) >>

"Am quite at home here & feel just as if I was only about an hours ride from home, this is really a beautiful City, Weather glorious." digital library documentNLW 20995: Jack Edwards' letter
digital library documentNLW 20995: The letters of Jack Edwards, Cincinnati (1880 - 1887) (English and Welsh) >>

digital library documentAutograph album with entries by individuals from Ohio

digital library documentThe Saga of the Welsh Congregational Church, Lawrence Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1840-1952 (English) >>

digital library documentFelicity Childs, ''....from your dear brother Jack': emigrant letter-writing as an historical source. An analysis of the letters of Jack Edwards, Aberystwyth' (MA Thesis, Cardiff University, 2006)

Short descriptions of Cincinnati are to be found in:

digital library documentEdward Jones, Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (The American Traveler) (Aberystwyth, 1837), pp.19 - 20 (Only available in Welsh)

digital library documentB. W. Chidlaw, Yr American (Llanfair, 1839), p.25 (Only available in Welsh)

digital library documentNLW 9521A: The notebook of Iorthryn Gwynedd (Only available in Welsh)

digital library documentR. D. Thomas, Hanes Cymry America (A History of the Welsh in America) (Utica, 1872), p.104

Materials digitized in Ohio

Archives and manuscripts
digital library documentRecord book of The Welsh Congregational Conference of Southern Ohio (Y Gymanfa), 1871-1975 [parts in English and Welsh]

digital library documentRegister of the Welsh Congregational Church, Lawrence St., Cincinnati, 1861-1977

digital library documentCompany Descriptive Book belonging to Thomas R. Owens of the 118th Regiment Ohio Infantry (1865)

digital library documentManuscript material belonging to David J. Morgan of Nantcwnlle, Cardiganshire and of Jackson County, Ohio, 1835-1859 [parts in English and Welsh]

digital library documentTwo letters in the Evan E. and Elizabeth F. Davis collection (1849 and 1852) [in Welsh]

digital library documentScrapbook album containing newspaper cuttings of obituaries and wedding invitations, 1889-1909 [parts in English and Welsh]

digital library documentNotes on the family history of Thomas Watkins of Dolau, Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire

Printed material
digital library documentNational Eisteddfod Program (1899/1900)

digital library documentGymanfa Ganu Program of The Welsh Congregational Church, Cincinnati (1935)


The website of the Welsh Society of Cincinnati and the vicinity