History of the Welsh settlements of Licking County -
the characteristics of our Welsh Pioneers - their church
history, with Biographical Sketches of some of our
principal Welshmen. Read at a Meeting of the
Licking County Pioneer Society, held in the First
Presbyterian Ch: in Newark, April 7th, 1869.
By Isaac Smucker.
Our early days! - How often back
We turn on life's bewildering track,
To where, o'er hill and valley, plays
The sunlight of our early days!
In 1787 John
H. Phillips and his two younger brothers,
Thomas and Erasmus, son of Mr. Thomas
Phillips, a Welshman of large fortune, were students
at a college in Wales. John H. was the reputed
author of some seditious or treasonable writings, and to
avoid arrest and punishment, he decided to emigrate to
America. Accordingly he sailed for Philadelphia,
accompanied by his brothers, who were more or less
implicated with him, arriving in the above named year.
They soon after went to live in a Welsh settlement in
Chester county, in the vicinity of Philadelphia.
Here they met with Chaplain Jones, a Welsh
minister, who was the subject of Pioneer Paper No. 10.
Gen. Anthony Wayne was also a resident of Chester
county, and when he organized the expedition against the
Indians in the North West Territory in 1794, through the
influence of Chaplain Jones, appointed John H.
Phillips a member of his staff.
These sons of Mr. Thomas Phillips succeeded,
after much persuasion, in obtaining the consent of their
father, who was a man of wealth, to close his business
affairs and follow them to America. Mr.
Theophilus Rees, a neighbor and friend of Mr.
Thomas Phillips, both residents of Carmarthenshire
in South Wales, who was likewise a man of liberal means,
after a full consideration of the subject, also decided
to try his fortunes in the New World, and forthwith
proceeded to make arrangements to that end. They
accordingly closed up their business, and when that was
accomplished they bade adieu to their native hills in
'Wild Walia,' and sailed in the ship Amphion, Capt.
Williams, on the first day of April, 1795, (or as
some accounts have it in 1796), for the United States,
where they arrived safely after a passage of nine weeks.
Many of their old Welsh neighbors, by arrangement,
through the kind generosity of Messrs. Phillips and
Rees, came as emigrants in the same ship with them,
though many of them were unable to pay their passage,
but agreeing to do so upon earning the money, after
their arrival here.
In October after their arrival most of his colony
removed to Big Valley in Chester county, Pennsylvania,
where there was a Welsh settlement. Mr.
Theophilus Rees and Mr. Thomas Phillips lived for
some time in or near Philadelphia, but both soon removed
to the Welsh settlement in Chester county. Here,
however they did not remain long, but
soon, (probably in 1797,) they, together
with others of their countrymen, who had crossed the
Atlantic with them, removed to Bulah, Cambria county,
Pennsylvania, where they formed a portion of a
considerable Welsh settlement. In this community
Mr. Phillips' son Thomas, who came over in
1787, died in 1801. The other son, Erasmus,
John H. Phillips' brother, died in New York some
In 1801, or earlier, when all our county constituted
Licking township, Fairfield county, Mr. Thomas
MORE TO COME.....