PURPOSE & ACTIVITIES
The purpose of our Society
is to promote activities which are unique to the Welsh culture,
and to support efforts to preserve contributions made by Welsh-Americans
in the development of this area. Membership is open to persons of
Welsh heritage and also those interested in Welsh culture.
Committee oversees the activities of our Society.
RECOGNIZE A NAME?
one of these Welsh names belongs to you or a member of your family.
If not, you must know at least one person with such a name. Chances
are, with a name like those above, there is some Welsh in the family.
There are many beautiful
flowers in Wales but the yellow daffodil, associated with St. David,
is the Welsh national flower. Our logo provides a look remindful
of a stained glass window for the Church historically and in preservation
efforts. The Celtic medallion, at the bottom, ties the old country
to the new and the background of hills and valleys in central New
York are reminiscent of those in Wales.
THE WELSH LANGUAGE
The Welsh language is
a member of the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family.
It was the ordinary spoken language of the people of Britain before
the Roman occupation and during the 400 years of that occupation.
Even as it is spoken today, Welsh could probably be fairly well
understood by the Britons who fought against Julius Caesar in the
year 55 B.C.
St. David, the Patron
Saint of the Welsh, was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in the year
520. He was the son of the Prince of Ceredigion and the grandson
of Prince Ceredig, of the Royal House of Gwynedd.
He was ordained a priest after study in Aberaeron in the present
County of Cardigan. With his friends and disciples he founded several
monasteries in South Wales, with his final choice of settlement
being a site in a steep-sided river valley near the sea. Here he
founded the monastery that flourished in the centuries after his
death as the Seat of a Bishop, a Center of Piety and Latin Learning.
Today, the Cathedral of St. David, in the village of that name,
attracts pilgrims from around the world each year. In the year 1120,
he was Canonized by Pope Calixtus II, who decreed that two pilgrimages
to St. David's Shrine would equate to one journey to Rome.
AMERICANS OF WELSH DESCENT
Americans of Welsh descent
have played important roles in the founding of our great nation,
in its subsequent development and in its continuing welfare. Among
those who have contributed much to America are the following:
- John Adams, William
Floyd, Robert Morris and fourteen other Signers of the Declaration
- Thomas Jefferson,
James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln and eight other Presidents of the
- Charles Evans Hughes
and two other U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
- Elihu Yale, founder
of Yale University
- Architect Frank Lloyd
- Jefferson Davis, President
of the Confederacy and General Robert E. Lee
- Author/radio personality
- Meriwether Lewis,
of the Lewis and Clark expedition
- Daniel Boone, frontiersman
- Henry M. Stanley,
- D. W. Griffith (David Llewelyn Wark Griffith),
motion picture pioneer
- William Penn, founder
- Comedian Bob Hope;
Harold Lloyd, silent screen actor, actors Richard Burton and Anthony
Hopkins, singer Tom Jones; Catherine Zeta Jones, actress.
Society sponsored programs
include the Annual Dinner Meeting/Election of Officers in April,
St. David's Day Banquet and Presentation of the Welsh Person of
the Year Award in March; the Spring Gymanfa Ganu in May; the Welsh
booth at the Remsen Festival of the Arts in September, the fall
Gymanfa Ganu in October.
The Society also sponsors
musical groups from Wales, including outstanding choirs, that are
on tour in the U.S. and provides scholarships to worthy young men
and women for college study.
The Society also encourages
participation in other Welsh related activities and programs in
our area. These include special July and August services at the
Historic Bethel Church; May, July and September services at the
Enlli Church; and July services at French Road Church ...all in
nearby Remsen, N.Y. Members also participate in Remsen-Steuben historical
society programs at Historic Capel Cerrig (Old Stone Church) in
Remsen. The annual Gymanfa Ganu at Welsh Church in Nelson, and the
annual Remsen Gymanfa Ganu are well attended by Society members.
THE STORY OF THE LEEK
Revered by the ancient
Egyptians as a symbol of the universe and prized by the Romans as
an emblem of virtue, the Leek reached its true apotheosis in Wales.
Celebrated as one of its national emblems, the Leek is worn by the
Welsh Guards and the Prince of Wales. In the Battle of Heathfield
in the 7th century, Welsh troops wore Leeks in their helmets to
distinguish them from their enemies.
Y DDRAIG GOCH . THE
The Druids, ancient priests,
spoke of a heaven-sent dragon which would lead the nation in its
struggle to perpetuate Welsh language and culture. This dragon was
also associated with Calwaladr, called the last King of the Britons,
who fought the Saxon forces in the 7th century. Eight centuries
later, Henry Tudor marched under a "fiery dragon" on his
way to the Battle of Bosworth where he defeated Richard III and
was crowned King Henry Vii. Y Ddraig Goch is recognized as the Badge
of Wales and appears on the Arms of the Prince of Wales. In 1953,
it became the authorized National flag of Wales.
The famous historian,
Geraldus of Cambresis visited Wales in the year 1188 and wrote of
the unique Welsh skill in vocal music, which they sang in "parts"
rather than in unison. This skill and custom, developed through
the ages, finds ifs expression today in the Gymanfa Ganu or Festival
of Sacred Song.
The Remsen Gymanfa Ganu, and other such festivals in the area, bring
capacity crowds to churches each year to celebrate the cherished
Welsh tradition of expressing their deep and fervent religious feelings
through the human voice. The origin of the tradition can be traced
to the little chapels and churches in the hills and valleys of Wales
where the congregations would remain after the regular service for
an hour of singing unaccompanied by any musical instrument
During the early days
of the Colonies, there was, relatively speaking, a flood of emigrants
from Wales. Some 40,000 settled in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia,
Delaware and the Carolinas between 1620 and 1640. Others came in
large numbers to Vermont, Wisconsin and New York.
Welsh heritage in New
York dates from the late 1700's to the mid 18OO's, when Oneida County
could claim the largest concentration of Welsh settlers in America.
The main areas of settlement were Utica, Steuben and Remsen. After
the Revolutionary War, land was granted to Major General Baron von
Steuben by a grateful government. This land, 16,000 acres in the
town of Steuben, was divided into 100-acre plots and sold to the
newly-arrived Welsh settlers.
In these early days,
Welsh families came together to keep alive their cultural traditions,
maintain friendships and honor their Patron Saint, St. David. Two
of the earliest groups were the Welsh Society of Philadelphia, founded
in 1729 and the St. David's Society of New York State in 1835. The
St. David's Society of Utica can trace its roots to the Cymreigyddion
Society's Eisteddfod in 1856.
ST. DAVID'S DAY
St David's Day, as celebrated
today, dates back to 1120, when Dewi (David) was canonised by Pope
Callactus the Second, and March 1st was included in the Church calendar.
Each year, throughout
the world, wherever Welsh families can foregather, St. David's death
is commemorated on March 1st.
Locally, St. David's Society members and friends honor this event
with the Annual St. David's Day Banquet, held on March 1st, or the
Sunday immediately preceding that date.
author of the words of this Song and Chorus, Evan James -- known also
by his bardic name "Ieuan ab Iago" (Evan the son of James)
-- was a weaver by trade, who was born in Caerphilly in South Wales
in 1809, and died in the neighboring town of Pontypridd in 1878. The
music was written by his son, James James, who was then landlord of
an inn called the Welsh Harp in Pontypridd, and who could play the
harp himself. The piece was first published in the first number of
Owen's "Gems of Welsh Melody", 1860, the English words (in
addition to another set), "with symphonies, accompaniments, and
chorus," being by the editor. It is now, and has been for some
time, recognised generally as the Welsh National Anthem.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land
of My Fathers)
(aka "Welsh Cakes")
Rose Williams Jones)
1/4 Cup Milk
margarine with sugar, add eggs, beat well.
Add dry ingredients and milk.
Roll on floured board, approx 1/4" thick.
Cut with cookie cutter.
Bake on electric fry pan at 300 for about 5 minutes each side.
Sprinkle with sugar while cooling.
for other variations...
(A sweet bread version made without yeast)*
4 cups of self-rising flour
2 2/3 cups of mixed dried fruit, including cherries
2 tbsp. marmalade
6 tbsp. sugar
1 ¼ cups warm tea, without milk
1 tsp. mixed ground spice
Honey, to glaze
- Mix dried fruit and sugar together and pour warm, milkless tea over and let stand overnight or for several hours until the fruit is swollen up.
- The next day, stir in the flour, spice, marmalade and finally the well-beaten egg.
- Line a loaf tin (4’x7”) with greased paper, put the mixture in and bake in a moderate oven (325˚) for 1 ¾ hours.
- Turn out onto a wire rack when cooked and brush with warm honey to glaze.
- When cold, slice thinly and spread with butter.
*This recipe is believed to have been handed down originally from Mrs. Moir, of the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Most recently is has been revived by Barbara Credle of Remsen, New York who serves it at the summer service at French Road Church. Barbara reminds us that no “Capel Tea” is complete without a plate of Bara Brith.
St. David's Society of Utica, New York offers scholarships to students
pursuing post secondary education through college or university
degree programs or through specialized secondary education such
as technical schools.
Applicants must be a
member of the Society or relative of the immediate family (Parent,
Grandparent, Brother, Sister) of a member of the Society for the
past two years.
are for the coming school year.
The scholarship application
form has been revised, and is available as a downloadable (MS Word
format) document. Please refer to our Scholarship
page for details.