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Home > Education > The Welsh in Ohio

The Welsh in Ohio

(a) The Ship Inn, Pennant, in the parish of Cilcennin, 1975

The Ship, Pennant,
Parish of Cilcennin (1975)

(b) Adapted from Early History of Tyn Rhos Welsh Congregational Church and Its Neighborhood by Evan E Davis (1979)

The first Welsh people to settle in Gallia and Jackson counties arrived in 1818. During the 30s and 40s a Great Wave of Welsh people, over 3,000 immigrants, arrived from the parishes of Pennant, Tregaron, Llangeitho, Llangwyryfon, Trefilan and Llanddeiniol in Cardiganshire (now Ceredigion), as well as from some from other parts of Wales.

The first Welsh settlers were lead by John Jones, of Tirbach, owner of the Ship Inn, Pennant, in the parish of Cilcennin.

Locally, these families are referred to as the "1818 Welsh", and they influenced other families from Wales to settle in Jackson and Gallia counties by writing home, and through the stories about the economic state of the area carried home by other Welsh people who visited them.

(c) Adapted from Industrial History, Oak Hill, Ohio by Evan E Davis (1973)

Almost every one of the pioneers of the world of industry in Oak Hill was Welsh. The first Welsh settlers arrived in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio in 1818 from the Parish of Cilcennin, and in a few years others had arrived and established the communities of Centerville, Tyn Rhos, Moriah, Nebo, Peniel and Horeb, bringing their language and their culture with them. It was from these communities that almost all our industrial leaders emerged.

These first founders were not all temperate people, and some of them were heavy drinkers. In fact there was the odd black sheep among them who was fleeing from the law. There were not all successful in business. The Welsh established three iron furnaces in the county, called Jefferson, Cambria and Limestone. Jefferson was very successful, but the other two failed.

In spite of this, a number of the Welsh established themselves as hard and industrious workers who were determined to succeed however much work it took, and their chapels, schools and other institutions are an outstanding record of their vision.

(d) A Welsh farm in Gomer, Ohio, USA, (about 1955)

A typical Welsh-American
farmstead (about 1955)

This is the farm of Zachariah Evans in Gomer.
He was born in Llanbryn-mair on 11 August 1811 and emigrated to America in 1849. When this photograph was taken, the farm was occupied by Everett Evans, a third generation descendant of Zachariah Evans.

(e) Adapted from Hanes Cymry American (A History of the Welsh in America) by the Rev. R D Thomas (1872)

PADDY'S RUN, Butler County. This was the first Welsh settlement in Ohio, and many descendants of the first settlers still live in Paddy's Run and in the neighborhood. There were only a few houses in Cincinnati at the time when they traveled through, and Hamilton and Butler counties were covered in extensive forests. They settled on the banks of the Dry Fork and Miami rivers, meeting in their homes to worship together. I believe that the number of Welsh speakers in Paddy's Run and the surrounding area today is about 800.

CINCINNATI, Hamilton County. This great and excellent city is on the banks of the Ohio River in the lower part of Hamilton County, about 25 miles from Paddy's Run. It has grown enormously during the last 20 years, and now contains buildings, streets and shops as good as those to be seen in New York. Many well-respected Welsh people have settled there over a period of 35 years; they are mainly craftsmen, laborers and businessmen, and some of them are by now extremely wealthy.

Read sources (a), (b), (c) (d) and (e) before answering the questions:
1. The leader of the first Welsh settlers in Ohio was John Jones, of Tirbach. What was the name of his tavern in Pennant according to source (a)?
2. How does Evan Davis explain in source (b) the way news got home to Wales?
3. Sources (c) (d) and (e) contain information about the type of work being done by Welsh people in Ohio by the end of the 19th century.
Write a paragraph to include information about the different types of work being done by the Welsh and how successful they were.

Emigration | Settlement | Two impressions of Ohio | The Welsh in Ohio