Racine County ALHN

Welsh Congregational Church

As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879), p. 396

Devoutness is one of the characteristic features of the Welsh people, and wherever they settle, they soon build an altar to the Lord. Rev. W. T. Mathews said: "When I came to Racine, in the year 1842, there were not many Welsh here, and the Calvinistic Methodists and Congregationalists were holding union meetings. At the end of the year, the following Congregationalists -- John T. Jones, W. J. Williams, Robert Pritchard, W. R. Price, E. P. Thomas, Edward Jones, Richard Williams, David James, Lewis L. Phillips, Lewis Pugh, John Williams, Griffith Jones, Robert Davis, W. D. Williams, John Jones, W. W. Williams -- met to consider the propriety of organizing a Welsh Congregational Church. It was decided advisable, and Rev. Richard Morris, of Prairieville, was invited to officiate at the organization meeting, held in December, 1847. The same year, a house of worship was built on College avenue. At this time, the congregation numbered fourteen members. John T. Jones and Robert Pritchard were the first Deacons; the latter still lives. In June, 1848, Rev. Evan J. Evans, who came from Wales, was ordained and became the first Pastor of the Church. Rev. Richard Morris, John Jones, of Prairieville, and Rev. Hopkins, Pastor of the English Congregational Church, of Racine, took part in the ordination services. After three years of useful labor, Mr. Evans moved into Indian territory, and now lives, reatly respected, on his farm at Williamsburgh, Iowa. The next Minister was Rev. John Parry, formerly of Wern, in North Wales, whose ministry commenced here in May, 1851, and who labored with remarkable efficiency for two years. Then came Rev. Evan Griffith, remaining four years, and accomplishing very gratifying results. In January, 1861, Rev. W. J. Hopkins became Pastor of the Church, but his health failed the following year, and he died here in October, 1862. Rev. C. D. Jones became his successor, commencing his labors in April, 1863, and remaining until 1866. He was followed by Rev. Wm. Watkins, during whose pastorate it became apparent to the congregation that a new and more commodious house of worship was necessary. Through the efforts of Mr. Watkins, the liberality of the members of the Church, and the aid of friends at a distance, the new edifice was built at a cost of $11,000, and ready for use in 1870. The building is constructed of brick, measures 60x40 feet inside, and is considered one of the most convenient and beautiful church structures among the Welsh in the United States. In 1871, Mr. Watkins moved to Old Man's Creek, Iowa, and continued his labors there until 1878, when he died. In 1872, Rev. John Jones, of Columbus, Ohio, was called to the pastorate, and remained three years. Mr. Jones co-operated faithfully with the Church to pay off the $3,000 debt, which still hung over it. Rev. John P. Williams, the present Pastor, entered upon his duties in June, 1876. He was ordained in St. Asaph, Wales. The condition of the Church at present is hopeful and encouraging. It has a membership of 130. The Deacons are: W. J. Williams, O. Roberts, E. D. Davis, J. P. Williams. The Sabbath school has an average attendance of 90 children.

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