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The Welsh Connection in Montour County

Miners & Iron Workers        Welsh Society        Welsh Tombstones at Straub's Lutheran Cemetery
Sisterhood with Merthyr Tydfil        Joseph Parry

Miners & Iron Workers

Larry Mordan, at left, spoke at our October, 2002 meeting about the Welsh miners who emigrated to Montour County to work in the iron mines.  Dressed in the typical garb of the miners, he demonstrated some of the equipment and supplies used by these skilled men, and talked about the lives they led, their families and their faith. He returned for our February, 2003 meeting to talk about the Iron Workers and Puddlers.

Susquehanna Valley Welsh Society

If you'd like to meet with others who share Welsh heritage or just a love of the Welsh culture and tradition, consider attending a meeting of the Susquehanna Valley Welsh Society.  They meet on the 3rd. Wednesday of each month except July in the Bloomsburg YMCA at 7:00 PM.

 

Some Welsh Tombstones at St. Paul (Straub's) Lutheran Church, Valley Twp.

In conjunction with the 2004 Iron Heritage Festival, Larry Mordan and Herman Jones, both Welsh descendants, gave a presentation about the community of Welsh miners in Valley Township near Straub's church.  One can find many Welsh names on the tombstones in the cemetery.   For photos of the tombstones and Larry's presentation click on the link.
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Sisterhood Relationship Between Danville and Merthyr Tydfil

Fiona Powell, our local Welsh and Joseph Parry researcher, returned from her 2002 trip to England and Wales full of information and enthusiasm about beginning a "twinning" relationship between Danville and the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil.  Apparently, Merthyr Tydfil was the iron town in South Wales and many people emigrated to Danville to work in the familiar iron industry. It was also the birth place of Joseph Parry.  (More about Joseph below).
The twinning would result in mutual exchange of information and sharing and possible visits between the communities, much like the relationship between nearby Berwick, PA and its sister town in England. It would be of tremendous value to genealogists with Welsh roots. Fiona began speaking with folks in our community and invited MCGS to participate. She shared further details and updates with us at the September meeting. There was considerable enthusiasm expressed from the MCGS membership and Fiona was encouraged to proceed with this project.  She presented the twinning proposal to the Danville Borough Council in December and at the January meeting the council unanimously voted to sign a declaration of intent. 
April, 2003 update:  It's official!  Fiona traveled to Wales and presented the proclamation from the Danville Borough Council to the citizens of Merthyr Tydfil.  We are now officially a sister city to Merthyr.  Below is a transcript of the proclamation that Fiona carried to Wales.

Proclamation Between Danville, Pennsylvania and Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan

We, the representatives of the Citizens of Danville, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in recognition of the unique relationship we enjoy with Merthyr Tydfil, in the County of Glamorgan, Wales, declare our intention to honor the relationship by twinning Danville with Merthyr Tydfil.

We Declare our desire to promote mutual understanding between our two communities.

We Declare our desire to encourage the citizens of both communities to become aware of each other, so that they may experience the different cultural traditions and aspirations of our two communities.

We Declare our desire to encourage the citizens of Danville to learn and understand more of the history and cultural life of Merthyr Tydfil.

We Declare our desire to welcome the citizens of Merthyr Tydfil to our community and to encourage them to learn more of our culture and traditions.

In Honor of our shared history in the development of the Iron Industry.

In Honor of the many citizens of Merthyr Tydfil who, in the 19th Century, immigrated to Pennsylvania and became citizens of Danville.

And especially, in this centenary year of his death, in honor of Dr. Joseph Parry, Welsh-American Composer, who having been born in Merthyr Tydfil and calling himself "Bachgen Bach of Ferthyr," became in his youth a citizen of Danville and was also known as "Pencerdd America."

We the undersigned Representatives of Danville, do on this First Day of March in the year 2003 declare Danville in the County of Montour, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America to be the sister of Merthyr Tydfil, in the County of Glamorgan, Wales.

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Joseph Parry (1841-1903)

Among the Welsh immigrants to Danville was Joseph Parry, the great Welsh composer, who came to Danville with his family in 1854 at the age of 13.  His musical career is said to have begun when, as a boy, he was employed in the Rough and Ready Iron Works and indulged in singing with his friends, John Abel Jones, John Price and Thomas Davis.  Although he eventually attended the Royal Academy of Music and returned to Wales to teach music, he returned to Danville from time to time and he "never neglected to honor (it) with every opportunity".  His obituary in the Montour American, Thursday, February 19, 1903 said, "His remarkable career possesses a special interest to the people of Danville, for it was here that he lived and moved among the common people - here that his genius was discovered and where he received his first start on his upward career."  Here is a link to the article on the Welsh American website that will keep us updated on what is being planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his death in 2003.

 
Joseph's father, Daniel, is buried in the Christ Episcopal Graveyard, Danville.  Since this photograph was taken, flowers have been planted.
 

 

 

 

 
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Montour County Genealogical Society, 205 Ferry St., Danville, PA  17821  (570) 275-6177

Genealogy Room: Thomas Beaver Free Library, 2nd Floor

 Hours:  Saturdays 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM; Mondays 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

President:  Megan Ryan  mcgsmegsrn@gmail.com      Website Administrator: Cindy Elder  mcgsceld@aol.com             Newsletter Editor:  Lynn Reichen  larmcgs@aol.com         

Membership: Sue Messersmith   mcgssue@aol.com        Correspondence/questions: Cindy Elder mcgsceld@aol.com or Megan Ryan  mcgsmegsrn@gmail.com 

Copyright 2001-14 Cynthia Elder for MCGS.  All rights reserved.

This page last modified on December 15, 2014