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Home > Places > Licking County, Ohio

Licking County, Ohio

Granville, Newark and the Welsh Hills

Land purchase

In 1801 Theophilus Rees and Thomas Phillips bought 2,000 acres of land between Granville and Newark and later that year Theophilus Rees sent his son, John, there to build a cabin, clear part of the land and sow wheat. By 1802, Rees and his family were ready to move to the digital library documentWelsh Hills and start farming there.

Further information about digital library documentTheophilus Rees and digital library documentThomas Phillips can be found in History of the Welsh settlements in Licking County by Isaac Smucker.

The growth of the Welsh community in Licking County

"It is an excellent place for serving-men and workmen: some, who had failed to get enough milk, potatoes, and barley bread in Wales, had their fill and to spare of wheat bread and other fruits."
digital library documentY Teithiwr Americanaidd, p.22
A number of Welsh settlers were attracted to the area in the years that followed. It is estimated that there were about 15 to 20 families living in Licking County in 1817 and by 1843 there are believed to have been almost 800 Welsh settlers in the Welsh Hills. The names of digital library documentthe first Welsh settlers to move to the Welsh Hills were recorded by Isaac Smucker.

He also describes digital library documentthe hardship suffered by the Welsh pioneers and the characteristics of digital library documentthe Welsh pioneers of Licking County.

"Newark is a fast-growing town, on the banks of the canal leading from Lake Erie the River Ohio. Many Welsh craftsmen dwell here, and live extremely comfortably." digital library documentYr American, p.24
There was plenty of work for the settlers. At that time the town of Newark was developing fast and there was a demand for workers to lay the railroad between Newark and Lake Erie. There was a good living to be made by farmers and craftsmen too, as R. D. Thomas ('Iorthryn Gwynedd') testified when he visited the area in 1851. digital library documentIn his notebook (only available in Welsh), he recorded the information given him by one homesteader, near Newark, about his livestock and crops. He lists the digital library documentprices of corn, Indian corn, oats, butter, cheese and good-quality cheese, potatoes, bacon, mutton, beef, poultry and wool. He also noted the digital library documentwages for a mason, a carpenter, a cartwright, a blacksmith, a tailor, a shoemaker, a laborer and a maidservant in Newark and how much a "good man" and a 15-year old boy would earn annually on a farm. At the end of the notebook he lists the names of digital library document"Friends from the Old Country" in Newark and Granville (Welsh only) >>

The Welsh Chapels and Churches of Licking County

Details of the early Welsh chapels and churches in Licking County can be found in History of the Welsh settlements in Licking County by Isaac Smucker:

digital library documentBaptist Chapel, Welsh Hills >>

digital library documentWelsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel in the Sharon Valley >>

digital library documentHarrison Township Welsh Congregationalist Church >>

digital library documentThe Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel at Granville >>

digital library documentGranville Welsh Congregationalist Church >>

digital library documentThe History of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel at Newark >>

digital library documentThe History of Newark Welsh Congregationalist Church >>

Something of the history of the Welsh chapels and churches of digital library documentNewark, digital library documentGranville and the digital library documentWelsh Hills is also recorded in Hanes Cymry America (A History of the Welsh in America).

Digitized materials held at NLW

digital library documentCMA 22312 - Letter dated 12 March 1866 from William H Breese, Newark, to his uncle (English)

digital library documentCMA 22313 - Letter dated 30 May 1867 from William H Breese, Granville, to his uncle, Mr Owen Prys, Aberystwyth

digital library documentCMA 4 (B) 22331 - Letter dated 4 February 1870 from John M. Jones, Saron, Welsh Hills, Newark, to a friend

digital library documentGroup of letters sent to Welsh emigrants [in English and Welsh]

digital library documentIsaac Smucker, History of the Welsh settlements in Licking County, Ohio: the characteristics of our Welsh pioneers--their church history with biographical sketches of our leading Welshmen (Newark, 1869)

digital library documentFlorence Jenkins Cope, 'The history of the Jackson, Ohio eisteddfod' (MA Thesis, Ohio State University, 1937)

Brief descriptions of Newark, Granville and the Welsh Hills can be found in:

digital library documentEdward Jones, Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (Aberystwyth, 1837), p.22 (Only available in Welsh)

digital library documentB. W. Chidlaw, Yr American (Llanfair, 1839), p.24 (Only available in Welsh)

digital library documentR. D. Thomas, Hanes Cymry America (A History of the Welsh in America) (Utica, 1872), pp. 106 - 108

Materials digitized in Ohio

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

General bibliography

Isaac Smucker, 'Historical Sketch of the Welsh Hills, Licking County, O.,' (in two parts) The Cambrian, Vol. I, No. 2 (March/April), pp. 46-53; Vol. I, No. 3 (May/June 1880), pp. 81-6.

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

Rev. E. I. Jones, 'Congregationalism in Newark, Ohio', The Cambrian, Vol. XXIII, No. 12 (Rhagfyr 1903), pp. 495-98


Welsh Society of Central Ohio - WSCO

History of Licking County, O. Its Past and Present