0877e Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia / Wales-Catalonia Website. The Welsh in Minnesota an online version of a book published in 1895 - "History of the Welsh in Minnesota, Foreston and Lime Springs, Ia. Gathered by the Old Settlers. Edited by Revs. Thos. E. Hughes and David Edwards, and Messrs. Hugh G. Roberts and Thomas Hughes"

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Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia
La Web de Catalunya i Galles
The Wales-Catalonia Website

The History of the Welsh in Minnesota, Foreston and Lime Springs, Ia. Gathered by the Old Settlers". Editors: Rev. Thomas E. Hughes, Rev. David Edwards, Hugh G. Roberts, Thomas Hughes. Published in 1895.

(pages 111-116)
43 Interest of the Welsh in Music
44 Interest of the Welsh in Politics

(delwedd 6654)

Adolygiad diweddaraf / Latest update:
25 09 2001


History of the Welsh in Minnesota, Foreston and Lime Springs, Iowa, gathered by the Old Settlers
Edited by the Reverends Thomas E. Hughes and David Edwards, and Messrs. Hugh G. Roberts and Thomas Hughes.


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Hugh Jones
Miss Anna Jones
Miss Mary Price
Mrs. Hugh Evans
Hugh D. Hughes
Miss Susie Hughes
Mis Esther Ellis
Mrs. Wm. F. Jones
Evan Hughes

Group of Welsh Singers, Mankato, Minn.


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Music Among the Welsh of Blue Earth County.


The Welsh people are passionate lovers of music and have been such from time immemorial; and the Welsh of Blue Earth county are as ardent devotees of this divine art as their brethren across the Sea. Their interest and proficiency in music have been promoted by frequent visits from some of the noted singers of the other Welsh settlements in America and from Wales. Among the first of these was Mr. Edward Lewis of New York, the compiler of the Welsh hymn book "Hosanna." Mr. Lewis visited the Welsh settlement of Blue Earth county in 1869. His plan was to visit and stay a short time in each church in the settlement. The people crowded the churches and he taught them how hymns should be sung and exemplified his teaching by leading them in singing different hymns. He also gave a few lessons in reading music to the young people many of whom then had the first start in developing their musical talents.

In March, 1870, Mr. John Owens visited the settlement. He adopted about the same plan as Mr. Lewis, and met with great success starting many young men and women in music reading and imbuing all with an enthusiasm that has not died out to this day.

Mr. L. W. Lewis (Llew-Llwfo) {sic, should be Llew Llwyfo; Lewis of Llwyfo, or the lion of Llwfo; Lewis William Lewis (1831-1901), bardix name Llew Llwfo, a poet and novelist from Pen-sarn, Llanwenllwfo, county of Yns Mn; Lewis had been considered an English equivalent of Welsh Llywelyn / Llewelyn, though their similarity is a coincidence. Llew is a short form of Llewelyn, though the fact that this is also the Welshname for a lion is a coincidence, since the more correct form of Llewelyn is Llywelyn, based on llyw = leader) together with his daughter Nellie and the great baritone, Mr. James Savage, made a tour through the settlement in 1871 giving their concerts in many of the churches and school houses. These concerts were very much enjoyed and added not a little to the interest in music.

The famous musical composer, David Jenkins, of Wales, visited the settlement in 1887. He followed about the same plan as Mr. Lewis and Glanmarchln {pseudonym from a place name; glan = shore, edge, bank, lakeside; Marchln = horselake).

William ap Madoc adjudicated the singing in the Eisteddfod held in Mankato in 1891, and after the Eisteddfod he made a trip through the settlement giving concerts and short talks on the subject of music.

Among the early settlers one of the most earnest and efficient musicians was Edward Thomas, Sr. He taught school at South Bend, Cambria and other places in the county, and whereever he went he always taught music to his pupils and usually had night schools to teach those who could not attend the day school. -Besides having a good voice and considerable knowledge of music, he had the talent of imparting to his pupils his own passionate fondness for music. At times Mr. Thomas attempted composition, and one of the old Cyfaill {American magazine in Welsh for emigrants from Wales and their descendants full name Y Cyfaill or Hen Wlad - the friend from the old country) contains a musical composition of his which he states in a foot-note was composed by him while looking upon the beauties of Llyn Tegid in South Bend, Minn.

Another music lover well worthy of mention in the musicall annals of Blue Earth county is Mr. William P. Davis of South Bend. Mr. Davis, like Mr. Edward Thomas, is a school teacher


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(x112) who has taught at South Bend, Cambria, Rush Lake and other places in the county and he has always taught music in his school and generally has had night schools to teach the rudiments of music to all who desired to learn.

When Rev. John C. Jones first came to Blue Earth county, he formed and taught a. number of singing schools at different places between and including Mankato and Cambria and all with marked success. But his great ability and success as a preacher obliged him to give up music teaching.

Choirs almost without number have been trained here by different leaders for various occasions. We would be glad if space allowed to give a list of these different leaders for they are worthy of all honor, but we are sure they will gladly pardon us for mentioning Mr. Humphrey H. Jones of Judson and Mr. Hugh D. Hughes, of Mankato, who for any and all occasions whenever called upon have freely and cheerfully tendered their services to train and conduct choirs and always with marked ability and success., And we are glad to be able to state that their musical zeal has not abated with years. John F. Jones, William Shields and John J. Shields must also be mentioned because of their long and able service as conductors of choirs.

The Welsh of Blue Earth county take great pride in having two brass bands, of exceptional merit, named respectively, the Cambria Philharmonic Band and the Salem Cornet Band.

The Cambria Philharmonic Band received their instruments on April 19th, 1890 and at once began to take lessons from Mr. Thomas C. Jones then of St. Peter, Minn. When first organized the band were D. C. Davis, leader; D. E. Bowen, Evan Price, Elmer Davis, David Roberts, Alvin Davis, D. C. Price, J. J. Shields, Peter Davis and William Pugh. They played in public for the first time at the Fourth of July celebration at Cambria in 1890. They also played the same year with other bands at the dedication of the monument erected by the state at New Ulm in commemoration of the Indian attack upon that city. Since then this band has played many times at Lake Crystal, Courtland and Cambria. The band is now composed of:


Evan Price, Leader

Alvin Davis

Peter Davis

D. E. Bowen

D. C. Davis

Luther Hughes

Hugh Roberts


David Roberts.

D. C. Price

Benjamin Evans.

J. D. Price

Osborne Davis

Lester Davis

Elmer Davis

Inspired by the fame and renown of the Cambria Philharmonic Band the young men on the line between the towns of Judson and Butternut Valley bought instruments and in December l893 organized the Salem Cornet Band. The band consists of:

William E. Jones

Frank Shelby

Jabez R. Lloyd

Robt. F. Jones, Leader

Hiram J. Lloyd

Bezzaleel James {Added from page v, Errata: in list of Cornet Band read Bezzaleel Jones instead of James.)

Owen M. Jones


John C. Davis

Robert Bulkley

Frank Jones

Lewis J. Lewis

Thomas Morse

Robt. G. James

John E. Jones

Their first public playing was at the Old Settlers' reunion held at Lake Crystal, June 13th, 1894. Since then they have played on many occasions with great success.


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(x112a) Cornet Band, Butternut Valley and Judson, Minn.

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The same photo with the names of the musicians added

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(x112b) Cambria Philharmonic Band, Cambria, Minn

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The same photo with the names of the musicians added

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The Welsh of Blue Earth and Le Sueur Counties, Minn.
Their Interest in Politics.


The Welsh have always taken an active interest in matters of state. No people were ever more devoted to the great principles of our government than the Welsh pioneers of this settlement; none took greater interest in the great political questions of the day than they.

With hardly an exception they were strongly anti-slavery, and it was devotion to this great principle which drove them so unanimously into the republican party.

Without exception, also, they were loyally devoted to the Union, and many a Welsh pioneer enlisted in his country's service during the dark days of the civil war with no other incentive than zeal for this principle; and the honorable position the Welsh towns took and maintained of being the banner towns of the county in the quotas of men furnished for their country's service in those days is evidence of the fact.

Among the other principal planks of our Welsh pioneers political platform have always been: Protection of home industries and labor, honest money, public schools, temperance and a sound moral and religious tone to every department of state.

Our pioneer's love of country is further shown by the early interest they took in celebrating the national holidays.

The first Fourth of July celebration occurred immediately on the arrival of the first settlers as early as 1855. It was held on the claim of David J. Williams (Bradford), in Nicollet

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(x114) county, on the opposite side of the Minnesota river from Judson. The young men cut the tallest tree they could find for a Liberty pole and the young ladies prepared a flag for it by painting a strip of white calico with red and blue paint. Addresses were made by Wm. F. Davis and others. In 1856 the Fourth was celebrated in a grove near John E. Davis' house in the present town of Cambria, when addresses were made by Dr. David Davis, Rev. W, Williams, David P. Davis, Henry Hughes, David J. Davis and others. The young people also rendered a number of songs. In 1858, 1859 and 1860 successive celebrations of Independence day were held at the same place. In 1858 another Fourth of July celebration was held at South Bend, near the new hotel. Squire Bangs delivered the address. In 1861 a Fourth of July celebration occurred at the village of Judson, when a dinner was served, the children of Sunday Schools and the Band of Hope marched, and an appropriate address was given by Rev. Jenkin Jenkins.

With a few years interruption after the Indian massacre these Fourth of July celebrations have been regularly held in the town of Cambria every year to the present time.

Though the Welsh settlers took great interest in matters of state and had such strong political convictions, yet they seem to have been slow and reluctant to assume the lead or to assert their right to their proper share of political preferment. This was due to want of self confidenc6 because of lack of training and lack of acquaintance with the English language. Some chance American usually had the most to say about their local politics and held most of the offices.

In the fall of 1855, D. C. Evans was elected one of the three commissioners for Blue Earth county, and served during the year 1856, being the first Welshman in the settlement elected to a county office. In the fall of 1857, J. T. Williams was elected clerk of the district court of Blue Earth county, being the only republican elected that year in the county. Mr. Williams held this office from the date of Minnesota's admission as a state on May 1st, 1858, until January lst, 1862.

In the fall of 1861 Mr. Williams was elected county treasurer of Blue Earth county and held the office from March 4th, 1862, to December, 1863, when he resigned to accept the position of clerk of the committee on Indian Affairs in the United States House of Representatives, of which commiittee Hon. William Windom was chairman.

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Hon. D. C. Evans, South Bend, Minn.
Hon. R. H. Hughes, Cambria, Minn.
Hon.T.M. Pugh, Duluth, Minn.
J.A. James, Seattle, Wash.

A Few Welsh Members of the Legislature

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Hon. Richard Wigley, Mankato, Minn.
Hon. Richard Lewis, Lake Crystal, Minn.
Hon. Wm. R. Jones, Judson, Minn.
Hon. Wm. P. Jones, Lake Crystal, Minn.

A Few Welsh Members of the Legislature

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The first Welshman to win legislative honors was our old friend D. C. Evans who was elected state senator in the fall of 1859. No Welshman was elected to the legislature after Mr. Evans until the fall of 1872 when Thomas C. Charles was chosen representative. In the fall of 1873 Robert H. Hughes was elected representative on the alliance and democratic tickets and re-elected in the fall of 1874, and James H. James {Added from page v, Errata: read Jas. A. James instead of Jas H. ). was also elected representative with him in the fall of 1874. Mr. James was re-elected in the fall of 1875 and again in 1876. At this last.election of 1876 Wm. P. Pones {sic; = Jones) was chosen rep resentative. Richard Lewis became representative by the election of 1880, Owen Morris in 1882, Richard Wigley in 1884, and Wm. R. Jones in 1886. In this 1886 election Thos. E. Bowen was chosen state senator from Brown county, and J. N. Jones was chosen representative from Red Wood county. In 1888 J. H. Phillips was elected representative from Fillmore county, and in 1890 Job W. Lloyd was elected to the same position from Le Sueur county.

In 1868 and 1869 Evan Bowen was the sheriff of the county of Blue Earth, and for four years beginning January lst, 1872, Hugh G. Owens was the register of deeds of this county. In 1888 Richard Bumford was elected register of deeds of Lyon county, to which office he was re-elected.

In the fall of 1873 D. C. Evans was elected treasurer of Blue Earth county and held the office for eight years. He was succeeded in 1882 by Wm. Jones, who retained the office for six years. Mr. Jones, in 1888, was succeeded in the treasuryship by Peter Lloyd the present incumbent. So that this important offlce has been held by Welshmen for over twenty consecutive years. During 1891 and 1892 the county attorneyship of Blue Earth county was held by Byron Hughes.

A large number of Welshmen have also been county commissioners of this county of Blue Earth. Besides the terms held by D. C. Evans already mentioned Rev. David Davis was on the board from September 14th, 1858, to March 25th, 1859, when he was succeeded by Geo. Owens who held the office until 1860.

In those days the county board consisted of the chairmen of the various town supervisors. Since the change in 1860 the following Welshmen have been elected commissioners of this county. David J. Davis for the years 1862-3, John 1. Jones for 1864-5-6, David D. Evans for 1867-8-9, Richard Wigley for 1876-7-8, Wm. S. Hughes for 1879, 1880-1, Timothy Rees for 1882-3-4,

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(x116) John S. Jones for 1887-8, Hugh H. Edwards for 1889, 1890-1-2, and Robert S. Hughes since January lst, 1893.

In addition to those before mentioned the following Welshmen have been appointed to offices by the state and United States authorities:

In July, 1873, Hugh H. Edwards was appointed mail agent and held the position until August, 1886. In August, 1874, Thomas M. Pugh was appointed receiver of the United States Land Office at Fargo, Dakota, which office he held for nine years.

From July, 1885, to December, 1886, J. A. James was chief deputy grain inspector and from December, 1886, to August lst, 1889, he was chief grain inspector. In July, 1887, Joshua Wigley and Arthur N. James were appointed to the state weighing department, and in September, 1887, Ed. H. Pugh was appointed to the same office and Wm. E. Williams in November, 1891, In 1885 John F. Dackins was appointed mail clerk, and in 1883 Owen Pritchard was appointed postmaster at Lake Crystal. John Bowen, at Courtland, and David Y. Davis and Evan Lloyd, at Ottawa, have held the same office.

At the election of 1894, Job Lloyd was chosen state senator of Le Sueur county, and J. N. Jones, representative from Redwood county. In Blue Earth county, Peter Lloyd was re-elected treasurer, Daniel Bowen was chosen sheriff, and Robert Roberts commissioner from the city of Mankato.

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0879 Gwefan Cymru-Catalonia / Wales-Catalonia Website. The Welsh in Minnesota an online version of a book published in 1895 - "History of the Welsh in Minnesota, Foreston and Lime Springs, Ia. Gathered by the Old Settlers. Edited by Revs. Thos. E. Hughes and David Edwards, and Messrs. Hugh G. Roberts and Thomas Hughes"

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