Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Americans In The Village!

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, Bette Davies,Tom Cruise,Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Bob Hope and Susan Sarandon all have documented and verified Welsh roots?
Well neither did I until this morning,
I had just dispatched poor Beatrice ( her previous stroke had noticeably extended overnight so it was best that I put her out of her misery) ( see previous blog entry) and I was carrying her body out of the field when a middle aged man with a stunning pair of sky blue slacks called down a hello from on top of the Churchyard wall.
In an American Accent he introduced himself as Howard Jones  from Jackson County in Ohio and he was searching the Churchyard for the grave of his great great great great grandmother who lived in Trelawnyd in the early 19th Century.
Apparantly Her son had emigrated to the US, and had settled in Jackson, which interestingly had become known as ""Little Cardiganshire"" because such a large number of Welsh that settled there.
I found it all rather interesting as I already knew that a significant number of Mormon emigrants led by
John Parry left the village in 1949 to set up new lives in the state of Utah, and when I visited the Spinal Injury Units In Pittsburgh I remember that many streets and landmarks possessed Welsh Names, underlining their Welsh roots but I had no idea that such a historically famous Welsh area was situated in the American Mid West.
Howard apparently was a member of his local "Welsh History group" and had been researching his family tree for a while. The stop in Trelawnyd and another in the nearby village of Ysceifiog were the final places for his investigations.
I wished him well, for I knew that in the 1980s many of the "unwanted" gravestones had been removed from the graveyard, but he seemed to know more than I did about where to find the information that he needed to know.
"I want to get a sense of the village" he said and I suggested he took himself up the Gop so he could view the village as a whole so to speak. He said that he and his wife, who I noted was scanning the gravestones nearby, would give it a go.
It was then he told me of the numerous famous Americans that were descended from Welsh stock.....He asked me where Flint was , as Tom Cruise's grandfather apparently hailed from there.....
I told him that it was around ten miles or so away and was a bit of a "bog hole"
The term "Bog Hole" intrigued him somewhat......"what a quaint phrase" he said....
I did invite him over for a cup of tea, but he declined saying that he had promised his wife a nice tea in Bodysgallen Hall where they were staying.....
I think he might have thought that the Trelawnyd locals were just that little bit strange
After all I was still holding the dead hen by its feet, and had been doing so throughout our long conversation


  1. Oh, I am getting old John!
    Thank you for including the link to your "previous blog post" as I was frantic thinking that your Bulldog had a stroke and died.

    I was amazed at how calmly you discussed dispatching her body...

    Have a wonderful day!

  2. I cannot imagine the story he will tell when he gets back to his home in the US John!

    Incidentally, re my last post, you mention that comics are a no, no as regards children learning to read. I would tend to agree except that some children are so reluctant and comics are better than nothing.

    Sorry about Beatrice.

  3. Having grown up in Ohio, I can say it may not have fazed Mr. Skyblue Slacks in the least to have a genealogical discussion over a dead chicken. Ohio's mostly farmland. On the other hand, I've never heard tell of Cardiganshire, so maybe it's a different Ohio altogether.

  4. Mr. Jones didn't know what he was passing up by foregoing tea with you, John. Would this American (with Scottish, but not Welsh) roots be welcome in Trelawnyd? I'd have tea with you.

  5. Anonymous3:12 pm

    oh John the poor dead chicken!!!

  6. Always an interesting day, John.
    Sorry to hear you had to dispatch the chicken. For the best, as you say.

  7. Hey Brad, I just met this really strange guy who had just strangled a chicken, and he told me to go climb a hill and visit the local bog-hole.

  8. Sounds very surreal John standing in a Welsh graveyard talking to an American in blue slacks whilst holding a dead chicken...sounds like the sort of dreams I have.
    Jo xx

  9. Sorry, I fell about at sky blue pants...
    Jane x

  10. I, too, am one of those Americans with some Welsh ancestry. Maiden name was 'John' -- often used as a euphemism for 'bog-hole'... Not so quaint, though ;-)

    In the meantime RIP Beatrice.

  11. My husband, being raised on a Dairy/Beef farm, can nonchalantly dispose of a dead animal. Just something that has to be done, rather to leave it "rot" where it dropped, so to speak.

  12. Americans are great. Just make sure the beer is cold and you lock up your daughters and when it comes time for the next round, just mentioin the War, and let them run out of breath telling you how they won it and then say, 'Thanks, mine's a pint of heavy'

  13. I've been wondering about Beatrice. Sorry she couldn't recover.

    Jackson is way at the bottom of Ohio, in the beginning of the Appalician mountains that are so famous in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for housing hardscrabble immigrants, incluidng my own. It still is mostly farming country.

  14. The last bit made me laugh out loud.
    I have Welsh ancestry too. Sounds like I'm in good company!

  15. I'm one of those of Welsh lines from Pittsburgh. They went in to the coal mines in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, then migrated to Pittsburgh for the steel mills.

    Thomas Corcoran Phillips was my dad. Is that a Welsh name?

    I'd love to come visit and maybe learn how to pronounce the written word! LOL!

  16. cappy
    yes Phillips is a welsh surname!
    I loved Pittsburgh when I was there.....

  17. "Jeez Hank it's true. Those Welsh guys still sacrifice roosters to some ancient Druid god. I met one in Treelawnhead. Though I could hardly understand a word he said, he invited me in for tea but hey - his hands were covered in rooster blood. I'm telling you man, It was like a scene from 'The Village of the Damned'"
    - postcard from Howard Jones

  18. pud... you DO make me smile

  19. I find all the best conversations take place when I'm holding a dead hen by its feet....

    And is Little Cardiganshire going to be renamed Little Ceredigion?

  20. Poor Beatrice, but you did the right thing, as always.
    Great story.

  21. Sorry Beatrice girl didn't make it :(
    It's amazing how small a world it really is, and connections are far more frequent than we imagine.

    The village of Rugby is recreated here on the Cumberland Plateau not too far from our home. When you walk through the village,you get a 'feel' of how terribly homesick those first settlers were, in a harsh environment, trying their very best, to hold onto a way of life they once knew.

  22. Somehow I have a vision of one of Monty Pythons "Gumbys".

  23. What better way to get a feel for a place than to accept every cup of tea on offer - then still go for tea at Bodysgallen Hall as well :-)

  24. Abraham Lincoln, John Quincy Adams, Bette Davies,Tom Cruise,Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Bob Hope and Susan Sarandon all have documented and verified Welsh roots?

    me too, Evans, Hill and Jones :-)

  25. What a good laugh!.... It made me wonder what I would do if one of my chickens died. We have a couple feet of snow!

  26. You never know what the next day's going to bring or who you might meet.

  27. How kind of you to offer a complete stranger a cup of tea. It sure was his loss for not accepting. Removing the old stones from the church yard was sad. Hopefully, all were documented.

    Sorry about Beatrice. Bless her little chicken soul.

  28. Oh. I had somehow missed your last post. I am sad and glad that you were able to do her that last kindness. Perhaps some day we will be able to do it for humans as well.

  29. Sorry to hear Beatrice took a turn for the worse. You did right by her to dispatch as you did.

    I have Welsh roots, too, (Taylors, Reeses, great great uncle Evan Hill, and my one of my grandfather's sisters was named Morvyd), and most of my relatives lived in Midglamorgan, Pontypridd.

    The American should have taken you up on your kind offer. His loss.


  30. Okay John, I'm very sorry about Beatrice, but I've got to tell you a dark family secret of mine that I've yet to confirm. Supposedly, my great-great grandfather came from Wales, after commiting murder. That's the only part I need to still confirm. Then, he met my great-great grandmother (full-blooded Native American, her father was the Medicine Man in the tribe, which is like "royalty") and they married. I don't know what happened to his family in his homeland and NEVER THOUGHT UNTIL THIS MOMENT THAT I probably have relatives living there to this day. Scandalized family.


    You talking about the American showing up made me think about all this family craziness.

    I bet it would have indeed been fun to enjoy some tea with you. Maybe he did notice the dead chicken and was worred that you wouldn't wash your hands. :-/ Okay, you know I have a warped sense of humor...I couldn't resist.


    My Miss Speckles, my Bantam chicken that I ADORED simply disappeared a couple of weeks ago. I'm still looking for her while knowing it's hopeless. Augh.


  31. Interesting post John! I guess almost all of us in America had to come from somewhere! But I had no idea that I had an 'American accent.' I thought YOU were the one with the accent John! :-)

  32. Anonymous5:07 am

    What better way to "get a sense of the village" than having tea with a resident?

  33. Ahhh! I can just imagine you and me strolling don either towns' main street - me in my "T" and boxer undies with snotty hankie tucked in and you in your wellies and carrying a strangled chook! lol!

  34. Anonymous11:04 am

    Good job you can put them our of their misery John! we couldn't do it!
    I did find it funny that you were holding the ned whilst talking.........hmmm the locals are strange in these parts!

  35. Anonymous11:06 am

    My previous post should have read ' whilst holding the dead hen!'
    Apologies - I really need a new keyboard!

  36. Alas dear Beatrice, she deserved more. Funny how the Americans are all desperate to uncover their ancestry... a sign of insecurity perhaps? Wasn't it the American Henry Ford who said history is bunk?


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