UpstateNYWelsh - The American Traveler - I. New York State

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Where the Welsh Lived in New York State 1840

The American Traveler or Instruction to Emigrants from Wales to America. I.--New York State

by E. Jones, America
Aberystwyth, 1840

Translation from the Welsh by Anne Kelly Knowles © 1993.

Notes from the Translator

I undertook translating Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (The American Traveller), by the Rev. Edward Jones, Cincinnati, in order to make it available to the growing number of English-speaking people who are interested in Welsh immigration. His booklet is less well known in both the United States and in Wales than is its contemporary, Yr American (The American), by the Rev. Benjamin W. Chidlaw, in part because Chidlaw himself was a prominent figure in his time and becasue his booklet has been translated into English on both sides of the Atlantic. Both publications make fascinating reading as historical documents and as windows onto the two men's different concerns about the act of emigration and what they believed emigrants should know before setting out. Chidlaw emphasizes that immigrants must be upright, moral individuals prepared to work hard if they are to achieve in the United States.. He encourages settlement in the best lands along the American frontier and looks askance at industrial locations with their dubious morals and at rural districts with poor prospects for farming, such as the hilly area around Oak Hill, Ohio. Jones takes a more practical approach giving brief accounts of livings conditions in each of the significatnt Welsh settlements across the country (including their provision for religious services), as well as a detailed accounting of the routes from which travellers could choose to reach each destination. Rather than warning emigrants to shore up their morals, he tells them what to bring on the journey, how much everything will cost, and what sort of work they can expect to find when they arrive.

I have no idea who read YTeithiwr Americanaidd. It was first published in 1837 in Aberystwyth. Immigrant accounts suggest that it was influential in directing Cardiganshire immigrants to settle in the Oak Hill area, which Jones does single out as the most promising location in Ohio, itself the state that he considered "the best place for the Welsh" at that time. The booklet did apparently sell well enough to warrant a second edition in 1840, which is the version I have translated. Wherever possible, I have retained the punctuation and phrasing of the original in order to convey its style and flavor. Similarly, the translation follows the typographic style of the original as closely as possible. Where the Welsh did not translate neatly into a literal English equivalent, I included the Welsh in brackets or in a footnote to clarify the meaning behind the translation. I have, however, replaced all the author's approximations of English spellings, as in placenames, with the current, standard American spelling.

Anne Kelly Knowles
Madison, Wisconsin February 18, 1993

Note from UpstateNYWelsh

Thank you to Anne Kelly Knowles for extending permission to UpstateNYWelsh to publish the section on New York State from her translation of Y Teithiwr Americanaidd (The American Traveller). Placename descriptions from the 1840 edition may be accessed from an interactive map of New York State.

The American Traveler
or Instruction to Emigrants from Wales to America

by E. Jones, America

Translated from the Welsh by Anne Kelly Knowles © 1993

I.--New York State

This State is surrounded on the North by Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River; on the east by the States of Vermont, Massachusets, and Connecticut; on the South by parts of the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey, and the State of Pennsylvania; and on the West by Lake Erie and Niagara Falls.

LANDSCAPE.--There is a great deal of good, level land here, and some mountains quite high and wooded; so, in truth, was the whole country before it was pioneered.

CLIMATE.--The weather is quite warm in the summer, and many a rain shower descends without warning. The winter persists from November until April, quite similar to the Northern side of Scotland. In some winters the ice and snow are perpetual; and on those occasions the residents will use a sledge (a kind of cart pulled along the surface of the snow by one or two horses) to visit their relatives and friends who live at a distance, and to fulfill other tasks.

CONVENIENCES.--There is a great abundance of conveniences here for travelling and carrying goods, and those of various kinds, such as on the sea, lakes, rivers, canals, and railroads; along which they are conveyed to any district, and at any time, for a quite reasonable price.

RELIGION.--Great efforts were made, and are being made still, in the cause of religion in this State, and that in many ways, so that now there is an abundance of churches of different denominations, especially in the towns. There were mighty revivals, at different times, in this country, which had the most pleasing effect upon the residents.

Click a highlighted placename on the map below
for a description from the 1840 edition of The American Traveller.


© Barbara R. Henry