Larry Mordan, at left, spoke at our October, 2002 meeting about the Welsh miners who emigrated to Montour County to work in the iron mines. Dressed in the typical garb of the miners, he demonstrated some of the equipment and supplies used by these skilled men, and talked about the lives they led, their families and their faith. He returned for our February, 2003 meeting to talk about the Iron Workers and Puddlers.
In conjunction with the 2004 Iron Heritage Festival, Larry Mordan and Herman Jones, both Welsh descendants, gave a presentation about the community of Welsh miners in Valley Township near Straub's church. One can find many Welsh names on the tombstones in the cemetery. For photos of the tombstones and Larry's presentation click on the link.
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Fiona Powell, our local Welsh and Joseph Parry researcher, returned from her 2002 trip to England and Wales full of information and enthusiasm about beginning a "twinning" relationship between Danville and the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil. Apparently, Merthyr Tydfil was the iron town in South Wales and many people emigrated to Danville to work in the familiar iron industry. It was also the birth place of Joseph Parry. (More about Joseph below).
The twinning would result in mutual exchange of information and sharing and possible visits between the communities, much like the relationship between nearby Berwick, PA and its sister town in England. It would be of tremendous value to genealogists with Welsh roots. Fiona began speaking with folks in our community and invited MCGS to participate. She shared further details and updates with us at the September meeting. There was considerable enthusiasm expressed from the MCGS membership and Fiona was encouraged to proceed with this project. She presented the twinning proposal to the Danville Borough Council in December and at the January meeting the council unanimously voted to sign a declaration of intent.
April, 2003 update: It's official! Fiona traveled to Wales and presented the proclamation from the Danville Borough Council to the citizens of Merthyr Tydfil. We are now officially a sister city to Merthyr. Below is a transcript of the proclamation that Fiona carried to Wales.
|Proclamation Between Danville, Pennsylvania and Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan|
|We, the representatives of the Citizens of Danville, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in recognition of the unique relationship we enjoy with Merthyr Tydfil, in the County of Glamorgan, Wales, declare our intention to honor the relationship by twinning Danville with Merthyr Tydfil.|
|We Declare our desire to promote mutual understanding between our two communities.|
|We Declare our desire to encourage the citizens of both communities to become aware of each other, so that they may experience the different cultural traditions and aspirations of our two communities.|
|We Declare our desire to encourage the citizens of Danville to learn and understand more of the history and cultural life of Merthyr Tydfil.|
|We Declare our desire to welcome the citizens of Merthyr Tydfil to our community and to encourage them to learn more of our culture and traditions.|
|In Honor of our shared history in the development of the Iron Industry.|
|In Honor of the many citizens of Merthyr Tydfil who, in the 19th Century, immigrated to Pennsylvania and became citizens of Danville.|
|And especially, in this centenary year of his death, in honor of Dr. Joseph Parry, Welsh-American Composer, who having been born in Merthyr Tydfil and calling himself "Bachgen Bach of Ferthyr," became in his youth a citizen of Danville and was also known as "Pencerdd America."|
|We the undersigned Representatives of Danville, do on this First Day of March in the year 2003 declare Danville in the County of Montour, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America to be the sister of Merthyr Tydfil, in the County of Glamorgan, Wales.|