The Influence of the Welsh in America

Recognize Welsh Contributions to America on St. David's Day

Everybody knows about the English, the Scots, and the Irish contributions to America, but what about the Welsh people? You really don't hear much about the Welsh, mainly because there's not a huge pool of Welsh in Britain, so therefore there wasn't a lot of them to come over. Also, it seems that the Welsh think it bad form to toot their own horn. However, March 1 is St. David's Day and St. David is the patron saint of Wales, it's a good time to look at the Welsh contribution in American history.

Although few Welsh people crossed the ocean as compared to their British brethren, their influence in America is greater than their numbers. A whole community of Welsh Quakers leaving persecution in Britain, acquired 40,000 acres in Pennsylvania and settled in 1682. Welsh Baptists acquired 30,000 acres of land on the banks of the Delaware River and settled in 1683 with a later wave arriving in 1795. A true Welsh colony was established in Cambria, Pennsylvania around that time. Other Welsh groups settled in the mining towns of Pennsylvania, other mid-Atlantic states and Midwestern states.

Bryn Mawr College was founded by Welshman, Joseph Taylor. Photo Attribution: http://flickr.com/photos/thatpicturetakr/ / CC BY-ND 2.0
Bryn Mawr College was founded by Welshman, Joseph Taylor. Photo Attribution: http://flickr.com/photos/thatpicturetakr/ / CC BY-ND 2.0
Thomas Jefferson was the son of Welsh immigrant parents and proud of his Welsh heritage. (Picture is public domain)
Thomas Jefferson was the son of Welsh immigrant parents and proud of his Welsh heritage. (Picture is public domain)
Andy Griffith's family had Welsh roots. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush on Nov 2005. Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Griffith,_Andy_(Whitehouse).jpg
Andy Griffith's family had Welsh roots. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush on Nov 2005. Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Griffith,_Andy_(Whitehouse).jpg

Famous Welsh-Americans

Our founding fathers, John Adams,Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams were of Welsh descent. Jefferson's family came from a village near Snowdon. In fact of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 16 were of Welsh descent! A few more of our presidents had Welsh roots, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, and Richard Nixon.

In addition to fomenting revolution, Welsh individuals also went on to establish several universities. Elihu Yale, the son of Welsh immigrants, was a major benefactor to the financially struggling Collegiate School of Connecticutt founded in 1701.  With Yale's substantial financial contribution, the school flourished and eventually became known as Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Joseph W. Taylor, a Welsh Quaker, was the founder of Bryn Mawr College, one of the first colleges for women in 1885. He named the college after his ancestral home in Wales. Morgan Edwards, a Welsh Baptist, co-founded the college that came to be known as Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 1764.

In government, Chief Justice John Marshall, Senator Daniel Webster (of dictionary fame), and Hillary Rodham Clinton (so she says) have Welsh ancestors. Pioneers Daniel Boone and Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis and Clarke Expedition) have Welsh roots; so does Jesse James, the notorious outlaw.

In the world of business, the extraordinarily wealthy banker JP Morgan, multifaceted Howard Hughes, and the giant of American architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, are Welsh-Americans.

Bet you didn't know that Tom Cruise, had Welsh origins. So do Donny, Marie, and the entire Osmond Clan, Humprey Bogart, Bette Davis, Andy Griffith, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, and Kelly Clarkson (the first winner of American Idol).

There are many more accomplished Welsh-Americans that are not household names as these mentioned, but as you can see, the influence of the Welsh really do exceed their numbers. So on March 1st, when St. David's Day is being celebrated in Wales, think about pinning a daffodil (a symbol of St. David) to your lapel to recognize the contribution of the Welsh people to America.

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Comments 30 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Wow! I had no clue! I'm only about 45 minutes away from Yale University, which is about as close to being "Welsh" as I'll ever be :) Awesome hub, Flightkeeper! Thanks for sharing it.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi dohn! One of the reason why I like doing the hubmob is i get to learn so much. Thanks for visiting.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Wonderful history lesson! Thanks.

Love and peace

Tony


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi Tonymac! Thank you for the compliment and thanks for stopping by.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Thanks for bringing the Welsh to light Flightkeeper, I enjoyed your educational hub. I am a big fan of Thomas Jefferson and Susan Sarandon to name a couple of folks from Wales. I like the historical foundation you layed when explaining Welsh roots here in the States.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thanks for your attention Ben, I'm happy you found it informative.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I had no idea a bout the Welsh heritage of our forefathers. This is a very interesting, well-written hub. Great job.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi Pamela, I didn't know about the great things that the Welsh did for America either until I did the research for this hub. Thanks for coming by.


TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Great Hub! I also never realized the welsh had such an influence on our countries history. Good research and an excellent article.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Great job Flightkeeper! You're research has revealed some very interesting historical information about our country. Thanks for sharing what you've learned. :)


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi Tn and Money, it was fun to find out about these connections between America and Wales. Thanks for your attention.


haaris_1 profile image

haaris_1 6 years ago

well it was informative and nice to find out about wales contributions to America... Nice one :)


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi haaris, glad you enjoyed the hub and welcome to hubpages!


haaris_1 profile image

haaris_1 6 years ago

Thx...ive published two new hubs, will be grateful if you have a look and advise me something nice.. :)


haaris_1 profile image

haaris_1 6 years ago

Thanks a lot for such a nice advice. It was really helpful, Check my hub now whether i made the right corrections :) . and one more thing , i have my adsence account and its connected with hubpages but still i have'nt earned a single penny....... can you please guide me about it....


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi haaris, go back - I made comments. To learn more about adsense, search the hubs using the word adsense. You'll get a ton of answers three.


bat115 profile image

bat115 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

good hub... I looked into my family history recently and found my ancestors come from Wales... looks like I'm in good company. lol.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi bat! From your avatar it looks like your Welsh ancestors guarded the castles! :) Thanks for reading my hub.


taffgrindal 6 years ago

As a welshman still living here in Wales,

Its such a nice feeling to find that the information about our influences on the world is out there.

So i just wanted to say thanks to you Flightkeeper.

For such an interesting aticle...


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi taffgrindal, them's nice words, thank you.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

This is great! I had no idea. I named my blonde English cocker spaniel Snowdon years back (Snowdog for short, lol). Always wanted to travel to this fair land. Ah well, you have given me more reasons for the trip... thank you!


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Glad to be helpful storyteller. Wales looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thank for stopping by.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

Why doesn't my hub come up as realted? It is most definatley related and I love your stuff and I am one of the decendants of the Welsh who camne over here. Anyway here is my hub: http://hubpages.com/hub/My-LEWIS-Genealogy

Of course I rated this up and useful and awesome! I am also going to follow you. I also bookmarked this.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

I put this on my FaceBook page for you.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thank you Lady Guinevere, that's sweet of you.


Earl Williams Jr. B.A, M.div 6 years ago

Mistake here Yale University was not founded by Elihu Yale!it was named after him by his contribution of books to the school! I lived in New Haven area all my life and my family live on a part of the Ial/Yale estate in Wales!


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi Earl, thanks for the clarification. I've amended that section.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

Hi Pam, i originated in a town called Stourbridge in England forty miles from the Welsh border. My surname is Buffey and we think that our ancestors were French and probably responsible for chasing the Brits into the Welsh hills. I love History and enjoyed your American take on those brave Welsh pioneers. Now residing in Oz (since 1977) i can relate to their adventures in a different environment. Stourbridge has been on the map for a thousand years. The bridge over the river Stour was an important crossing point and during the middle ages toll gates had to be negotiated. In the early seventeenth century Flemish glass makers arrived and started to produce glass under the name of Stuart Crystal. I worked at the factory in about 1968 and stumbled across old disused brick tunnels that ran under the factory and led to the canal alongside the factory. They stopped using the tunnels in the twenties when lorries took over from the canal barges. The Stewart Crystal brand is now Waterfords

and as obsolete as those brick tunnels. I've written a story set in those tunnels which i'll put on a hub in the not too distant future. Anyway i hope you liked my bit of history. Bye for now, from wintery Melbourne, Australia.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi attemptedhumour, I'm Flight the hubber who wrote this hub, I think you got me confused with Pamela99 who wrote a comment on one of my hubs. Those brick tunnels are an interesting reminder of what times were like when a city depended on canals to move their goods.


bronwyn 4 years ago

i was surprised that america was named after a welshman. Richard Ameryk.ap merrick..i was skepical until i saw his coat of arms..low and behold it was the stars and strips from the 14th century..He financed giavanni cabots exploration of the New world 5 years before Amerigo appeared on the scene. Bristol sailors were calling the New world America, after cabot named it after his benefactor

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