Evan & Elizabeth Davis
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Evan and Elizabeth Davis
Sponsors of the Wales-Ohio Project
The Wales-Ohio Website owes its existence to the vision, enthusiasm and generosity of Evan and Elizabeth Davis, of Oak Hill, Ohio.
No-one has done more to nurture the links between Wales and Ohio in recent decades than Evan and Elizabeth. In 2006, they provided the National Library of Wales with substantial financial assistance for the creation of this innovative site in order to ensure the continuance of the special relationship in the modern world.
Evan and Elizabeth Davis live on Maesglas farm near Oak Hill, in south-east Ohio, and have three children. Elizabeth is a native of Wales and is a Welsh-speaker. She was brought up in the town of Aberaeron, in west Wales, and after following a teacher training course she taught in a local primary school until the early seventies. She met Evan on a visit to her family in Ohio and they got married in 1974 at Horeb Chapel, in Oak Hill.
In 1992 a television program was broadcast about the life of Elizabeth Davis and her family in Oak Hill. Click on the image on the right to listen to her talking about her experiences on her first visit to Ohio in "Breuddwyd Pedair" (Welsh only) >>
Evan is one of the descendants of the Welsh families who emigrated to Ohio in 1840 from the Cilcennin area of Ceredigion. He attended Oak Hill High School and after graduating from Wooster College, Ohio he started work with his father, E.E. Davis, in the family's business ventures and the banking business.
Evan has had a very successful career and is by now one of the most prosperous businessmen in the Jackson area of Ohio. He was elected President of Davis Refractories Corporation between 1974 and 1986. He was elected President of Oak Hill Banks in 1974 and later elected Chairman of the holding company, Oak Hill Financial Corporation. In 2004 he was elected Emeritus Director.
Evan and Elizabeth have a lively interest in their family history and are very proud of their rich cultural heritage . Their tireless work to maintain and promote Welsh traditions in the Oak Hill area has won the couple great respect throughout Ohio, North America and Wales. They are respected - internationally - for their enthusiasm, their leadership and above all, perhaps, for their kindness and sincerity.
Our Heritage: early history of Tyn Rhos Welsh Congregational Church and its neighborhood
In May 1979, a special ceremony was held in Aberaeron to celebrate the planting of an oak tree in memory of those enterprising Welsh settlers who emigrated from the area to south-east Ohio between 1818 and 1848. Evan prepared a booklet on the history of Tyn Rhos and the Welsh community in the Oak Hill area to coincide with the celebrations.
Industrial History, Oak Hill, Ohio
Evan was also responsible for publishing the industrial history of the Oak Hill area.
Tyn Rhos and letters from emigrants
As we have already said, Elizabeth too has a consuming interest in the history of the Welsh settlers in the Oak Hill area.
Watch Elizabeth showing the old Tyn Rhos chapel to Professor Hazel Walford Davies on the program "Breuddwyd Pedair" (Welsh only) >>
<< Click on the image on the left to watch her discussing emigrants' letters on the same program (Welsh only).
Click on the image on the right to watch Elizabeth teaching the local choir to sing in Welsh (Welsh only) >>
Oak Hill Welsh-American Heritage Museum
Evan and Elizabeth were among the founders of Oak Hill Welsh-American Heritage Museum. With Evan's practical help and financial support, an old chapel in the town was converted into a museum providing a varied record of Welsh life in the area from the early days. Since it was set up, the couple have spent hours there as volunteers and Elizabeth has used it as a venue for her Welsh lessons.
<< Click the image on the left to watch a clip from the program "Breuddwyd Pedair" showing The Welsh-American Heritage Museum at Oak Hill and Elizabeth teaching (Welsh only).
The Gymanfa Ganu Association of Southeast Ohio
Evan has been connected with the Gymanfa Ganu Association of Southeast Ohio for fifty years. He has provided the association with financial support and has personally invited Welsh ministers, artistes and visitors over, welcoming them into his home at Maesglas. His support and leadership have set the Gymanfa on a firm foundation and were it not for Evan and Elizabeth it is doubtful whether it would have survived. Having been a trustee, he agreed to become Moderator in 1975, and held the post until 1995. He was elected Moderator for a second term in 1999.
The University of Rio Grande and the Madog Center
Evan and Elizabeth have a long and remarkable connection with The University of Rio Grande. Evan was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees in 1993, and his leadership and generosity lead to his proclamation as a Fellow of the Institution in 2004.
Evan and Elizabeth were the driving force in the project to develop up a unique center at Rio Grande to "to sustain opportunities within the University of Rio Grande and its surrounding community for increased understanding and appreciation of Welsh heritage". Their vision was fulfilled when The Madog Center for Welsh Studies was established in 1996. The Center is now located in a building named in honor of Elizabeth, Elizabeth F. Davis House. Visit the Madog Center website for further information.
The National Welsh-American Foundation Heritage Medallion
"It is a great privilege for the NWAF to confer upon them its highest honor, The Heritage Medallion, at its joint banquet with the WNGGA in their home state among an international gathering of Welsh people. Their leadership and example is an inspiration to all as we celebrate and practice our Welsh way of life."
Dr Philip Davies, President of the NWAF
In September 2006, Evan and Elizabeth were awarded the Heritage Medallion of the National Welsh-American Foundation, at the North American Festival of Wales for their exceptional contribution to the life and culture of Welsh Americans over the years.
Congratulations to you both!