The Welsh of Northeastern PA
~~ Y DRYCH ~~
Northeastern Pennsylvania and Wales
“The Mirror” of Wales… that’s who we are. No other place on earth can claim this connection.
The Pattern of Life Continues…
Struggling for identity everywhere they went, the Welsh undoubtedly made their impact in the new world. Penn’s Woods was no exception. William Penn, a Welshman with Tudor lineage, declared his land charter ‘New Wales’ – a refuge for persecuted Quakers that eventually became the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For Northeastern Pennsylvania, the 1750s brought land grants for thousands of English settlers known as ‘Connecticut Yankees’. As famine, disease, economic decline, and religious persecution escalated in Europe, a second wave of immigrants appeared decades later in this area of the Commonwealth. They were Welsh or, as they were known, Cymry. Attracted to the rich soil and the region’s natural resources of coal, iron, and timber, their presence became integral to the area.
Despite the Act of Union of 1536 two centuries earlier, this distinct ethnicity never assimilated with England.
The propagation of Welsh lifestyle not only negates the torrid ancestral act, but also exemplifies the stark dissimilarities that inhabit the Northeastern Pennsylvania region centuries later within the realm of poetry, prose, music, Christian lifestyle, industrialization, and governance. Whether from coal to the eisteddfod, no doubt we mirrored Wales for over three centuries, and more than anywhere in the U. S.
Many area descendants throughout the generations of old Cymru still retain the hiraeth, return home, and hunger for origin.