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Home > Education > Two impressions of Ohio

Two impressions of Ohio

(a) Adapted from Yr American by the Rev. B. W. Chidlaw (1839)

Yr American
There are many Welsh people living in the state of Ohio. People constantly arrive from every country to live here. The state of Ohio is divided into 75 counties, and each county is divided into parishes. There are 26,000,000 acres of land in Ohio. Idleness and drunkenness are the only things that can cause poverty in such a large and fruitful country as this.

Between the wool, the agricultural and garden produce, and the manufacture of soap, sugar, and candles, there is no need for an industrious farmer and his family to worry about having plenty of food and clothing. There are also many rivers in Ohio which offer an opportunity to build mills and wool and cotton factories.

Because of the type of government there, there are very few taxes to pay. The government spends very little, and most of the taxes are only collected to build canals and roads, so that everyone benefits from this. There is help for the poor and needy in every parish, but this help is very rarely required.

Chapels are being built, and ministers are supported by the voluntary contributions of the chapel members, and there is no such thing as a church tax or tithe. The only time people mention the tithe is when they give thanks that such oppression does not exist in Ohio.

(b) Adapted from History of Welsh Settlements in Jackson and Gallia Counties by the Rev. William R Evans (1896)

History of Welsh
Settlements in
Jackson and
Gallia Counties

The first Welsh settlers in this area arrived from Cilcennin in Ceredigion in the year 1818. After a long and rough voyage lasting 7 weeks they arrived in Baltimore and hired wagons to carry them to Pittsburgh. There they bought an open boat and started down the River Ohio for Paddy's Run, without rudder, compass or sails. After rowing hard for days they arrived in Gallipolis, and for a number of reasons decided not to travel further.

The men found work because the government was building a road from Gallipolis to Jackson at the time. The government was selling land for $1.25 an acre, so the Welsh decided to settle in the area. Each family picked some land and built a log cabin in the forest. At that time they were ugly little cabins in the midst of a wild and inaccessible forest.

During this period the settlers faced hard and disappointing times. On the whole they were poor, business was slow, and they had arrived in the country at a bad time. It was not easy to find work, and many of the men left their families in the wilderness for a time to go to work on the canal that was being built in Hocking Valley.

Trees covered the land, the Welsh were not used to felling trees, and it was hard work clearing the land to grow crops. Once they had succeeded in clearing the land and growing Indian corn or wheat the prices for these were low. It is said that some people traveled twenty miles to sell pork at one and a half cents a pound to raise money to pay taxes.

Before answering the questions, read the two sources that give you two different pictures of Ohio:

1. According to source (a) Ohio was a wonderful place to live. List 3 good things about living there according to B W Chidlaw.

2. Source (b) says that life in Ohio was sometimes difficult. List 3 things that were difficult according to William R Evans.

3. Why do you think the two sources saw things differently?

Write a short paragraph including the information you have gathered and other information from the sources.

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