John Jones Tirbach, the innkeeper of “The Ship” in the village of Pennant, started a conversation that persuaded six extended families from Cilcennin to leave Ceredigion, sailing from Aberaeron to North America, to join Welsh settlers in the established community of Paddy’s Run, the first Welsh community in western Ohio.
The Welsh community in Paddy’s Run was established by:
- Ezekiel Hughes and Edward Bebb from Llanbryn-mair, Montgomeryshire,
- David Francis, Morgan Gwilym and William Gwilym from Glamorganshire
- John Vaughan and Morris Jones from Carno, Montgomeryshire.
Communities in Ceredigion, Wales were suffering oppression and poverty due to an increase in population, high taxes and rents and a series of poor harvests in 1815 and 1816.
36 Emigrants leave Ceredigion from Aberaeron Harbour
The lure of flat and fertile lands in the Paddy’s Run area and the opportunities for industrious emigrants to make a better life for their families, was to strong to miss out on.
On 1 April 1818, a group of around 36 emigrants left Aberaeron harbour bound for Liverpool and from there they ventured across the Atlantic.
The 6 families were:
- John Jones, Tirbach
- J. Evans, Penlanlas
- Evan Evans, Tymawr
- Lewis Davies, Rhiwlas
- William Williams, Pantwallen
- Thomas Evans, Pantwallen
After a voyage of almost two months – and the loss of a little girl at sea – the pioneers landed in Chesapeake Bay.
They then proceeded in wagons to Pittsburgh and down the Ohio River on flat boats. Their ambitious journey was their first experiences in the new country, documented by Virgil H Evans, in ‘The Family Tree of John Jones Tirbach‘.
Arriving in southeast Ohio
Arrving at Gallipolis in southeast Ohio was a significant turning point, in the story of these Welsh pioneers.
It was at that point that they decided to stay put, rather than continue on their journey to Paddy’s Run.
These pioneers later became known as “The 1818 Welsh” and the founders of the famous Welsh community in the counties of Jackson and Gallia in southeast Ohio.
By 1850 around 3,000 “Cardis” (inhabitants of Cardiganshire later Ceredigion) had crossed the Atlantic to start a new life in areas such as Tyn Rhos, Moriah, Nebo, Centerville, Peniel, Oak Hill and Horeb.
They took their culture, traditions and religion with them and Jackson and Gallia County became known as “Little Cardiganshire”, Due to the influx of Welsh farmers, miners and tradesmen who started new lives there.
Today, it is thought there may be about 100,000 people in the state who can claim some Welsh descent.
The Aberaeron memorial along with the oak tree, stand to the south of Alban Square playing field, commemorating those who left for a new life in America.
The plaque text reads:
Y mae’r dderwen hon yn deyrnged ddiffuant ir cannoedd a ymfudodd (1818-1848) o’r ardal hon I Oak Hill, Ohio. Ac I goffau eu cyfraniad at ledaenu cariad duw yn ogystal a’u cyfraniad I gerddoriaeth, addysg a diwydiant yn eu cartref dewisiedig.
Mai 25, 1975. Pentref Oak Hill, Ohio.
This oak tree is a solemn tribute to the hundreds who migrated (1818-1848) from this vicinity to Oak Hill, Ohio. and their contribution to the promotion of the love of god, music, educatiion and industry in their chcosen homeland.
May 25, 1979. The village of Oak Hill, Ohio.
Wales and Ohio Research
The goal of the Wales – Ohio Project is to digitize a selection of Welsh Americana relating to the state of Ohio, held at The National Library of Wales and to make it available to audiences world-wide via this website.
This site displays:
- more than 10,000 images of archive, manuscript and printed material, photographs and maps
- the contents of The Cambrian magazine (1880-1919)
- sections which chronicle the history and experiences of the Welsh settlers in Ohio in the nineteenth century.
This website is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Welsh-American history and culture including genealogists, researchers, local historians, students and life long learners.
It also celebrates and strengthens the bonds that exist between Wales, Ohio and the United States of America.
Evan E. and Elizabeth F. Davis, Oak Hill, Ohio have generously funded the Wales-Ohio Project.
They kindly provided The National Library of Wales with further financial assistance to enhance this site.