UpstateNYWelsh - Hudson River Valley Welsh

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Hudson River Valley Welsh 1830s-1840s

Welsh immigrants in Ulster, Orange, Dutchess and Rockland Counties

Iron works along the Hudson River at Athens Welsh immigrants came to the Hudson River Valley for high paying jobs in iron works at Haverstraw and Saugerties.

Iron ore deposits occur throughout the region including New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Hudson River Valley of Upstate NY. The Highlands Region of Northern New Jersey and Southern New York contain veins of magnetite iron ore. From colonial and Revolutionary periods into the 19th century iron works were established all along both sides of the Hudson River. The area had all the raw materials and resources required: iron deposits, trees for charcoal and steam, and water power to drive the machinery. Many immigrant groups, including the Welsh, came to work in the regions iron industry.

Haverstraw-Stony Point-Ramapo (Rockland County)

In 1840 the Rev. Edward Jones noted in Y Teithiwr Americanaid (The American Traveller), that there were large iron works in Haverstraw that employed many Welsh workers who were getting good wages. The immigrants met together in homes to worship in the Welsh language.

Ulster-Saugerties (Ulster County)

Saugerties (formerly Ulster) is located about 80 miles up the Hudson from Haverstraw. Welsh iron workers were drawn to higher wages offered in the iron works along the lower Hudson River about 100 miles north of New York City. During the 1830s and 1840s, The Ulster Iron Works at Saugerties, actively recruited skilled Welsh iron workers. They also imported the highly efficient Welsh iron industry technology, adapting it to their use. The necessary anthracite was brought in from nearby Pennsylvania. Company owners and their managers maintained contact with various iron works in Wales including Blenavon Iron Works, Varteg Iron Works and Dowlais Iron Works. For more details about the Ulster Iron Works see Ulster Iron Works Records 1829-1844 at the University of Michigan and a partial subject index to the records.

According to the Gazetteer and Business Directory Of Ulster County, N. Y. 1872-2 (Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1871):

The Ulster Iron Works manufactures bar and hoop iron, employ about 300 hands and have a capacity for manufacturing about 6,000 tons annually. The works, coverying about tow acres of ground, are owned by Messrs, Tuckerman, Mulligan & Co., and make none but the best quality of iron. The works were started about 1828.

Welsh Immigrants in the NJ-NY Iron Region

Joseph Board Home Left: The Joseph Board Home, 1774. Original photograph by by Vernon Royle.

BOARD, Cornelius. In 1730 Board, a Welsh miner (not documented), came to New Jersey to search for copper mines on behalf of Lord Stirling. He scouted upper New Jersey and southeastern New York. In the Ramapo Valley, Orange County, New York he found not copper but iron. He named the place Stirling after his patron. He built and operated a forge there from 1730 to 1736. His sons James and David Board also came before the Revolution and were in charge of the iron works at Boardville, NJ. Another son Joseph was born in America. Boardville no longer exists. The town and the Board homestead are submerged under the Greenwood Lake Division reservoir. For more information:

Cornelius Board at Ringwood, NJ

Cornelius Board OF Boardville, NJ

Wanaque Reservoir Historic District

LEONARD, Henry. First iron works at Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey was established in 1674 by Henry Leonard, Welsh iron master from the Tauton MA ironworks. He was originally from Pontypool, Wales.James Grover enlisted Henry Leonard and his sons to construct the first iron works in New Jersey at Tinton Falls. Read The Navesink Watershed: A Short History. Click here for a full accounting of Henry Leonard and the Massachusetts Leonards

MORGAN, John and Lavina. Came from Wales to America in late 1700s. Families worked in the mines in New Jersey and Orange County, New York. Associated with Mt. Hope and Deerpark. Source: Cathy W. Knauff

Other iron works in the region:

Copake Iron Works
Burden Iron Works, Troy, NY 1813-early 20th century
The Howell Iron Works, Monmouth county, New Jersey, owned by James P. Allaire
Hudson Iron Works
Manhattan Iron Works
McIntyre Iron Works - upper Hudson, near Henderson 1826 - c. 1870
Neptune Iron Works, New York
West Point Foundry - Cold Spring, Putnam Co., NY, operated 1817 - 1880s
Dover, Amenia, and Northeast - Dutchess County: Troy


Hudson River Valley Institute
Iron Works
The Hudson River Valley: Travel and Tourism
Hudson Valley Welsh Society