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Welsh Settlers

The Welsh settlement of the Cape Fear region in the early eighteenth century extended 80 to 90 miles inland along the creeks flowing into the Cape Fear and the Northeast Cape Fear (Click to view map) A map created by Edward Moseley in 1733 documenting two Welsh settlements along the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear Rivers in southeastern North Carolina. Map Collection (MC no. 17), Special Collections Department, Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville.Rivers. These bodies of water included Rockfish, James's, Swift's, and Smith's Creeks, Black Mingo and Goshen Swamps, and the Black River near Elizabethtown. This region today covers parts of the counties of Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Jones, Brunswick, and Sampson. The Welsh settlement was spread out because of the naval stores industry; when the British Parliament granted a bounty on naval stores in North Carolina, this encouraged Welsh settlers to migrate from Pennsylvania (later New Castle County, Del.) to the colony in the 1720s. The Welsh settlement in North Carolina preceded the Welsh settlement that began in South Carolina in 1736 on the upper Pee Dee River near the present town of Society Hill.

Welsh settlers in North Carolina were primarily Presbyterians of a strongly Calvinist bent who had attended the Pencader Hundred Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania. They, along with immigrants from Scotland and Ireland, organized the colony's first Presbyterian congregations in the 1730s and 1740s, and the churches they established had a strong cultural influence in the region. Rock Fish and Hopewell Presbyterian Churches in Duplin County are examples of churches begun by Welsh settlers in the eighteenth century, and their graveyards have tombstones bearing Welsh surnames such as Morgan, Edwards, Thomas, Evans, James, Jones, Williams, and Wells. These surnames are very prominent in the modern Cape Fear.


Edward George Hartman, Americans from Wales (1983).

George Lloyd Johnson Jr., The Frontier in the Colonial South: South Carolina Backcountry, 1736-1800 (1997).

Hugh Meredith, An Account of the Cape Fear Country, 1731 (1922).

Additional Resources:

Lloyd Johnson, “The Welsh in the Carolinas in the Eighteenth Century,” North American Journal of Welsh Studies, Vol. 4, no. 1 (Winter 2004), 12-19.

Welsh Tract, NC Historical Marker D-34, NC Office of Archives & History. (accessed February 23, 2015).

Immigration in U.S. History. ANCHOR.

Moving Through History, NC Museum of History:




Trying to find information on Uriah (1816) and Senith Smith (1830-3 )Jones, married 1851. Also John 1792 and Nancy 1799 Smith, 1850 census Wolf Pit. NC
What a family to follow Smith and Jones! All my gggg+parents!


I am looking for information on my ancestor Lewis Thomas who was the master of a schooner called "Four Brothers". I have found articles where he smuggled in goods and begged for mercy.

The first document I found on him was when Lewis bought land from Burwell and Elizabeth LANIER on the 8th of February in 1774. I have seen where someone claimed his fathers name was William Thomas but found no proof of this. I am starting to think he sailed himself over perhaps?

Lewis Thomas was an auditor during the Revolutionary war and sold corn to the army. He bought a lot of land all around Duplin County and eventually dying on May 26, 1803.

We have always been told my Thomas family was from Wales but would love to find proof. I would love to find out anything I can about his Welsh origins before my mother passes away so she can know where her people come from.

Anthony Lock


Have you got on Family Search? A lot of info. It's free.


I am at brick wall trying to find when gggggrandfather Timothy Aldolphus Morgan arrived in North Carolina. Date of birth 1825. Not sure if born in Wales and cane as child, or born in NC



Rather than starting at birth, it would be best to start with when you first find him in NC - look for land records and court records - often when they move to a new area, records will say something along the lines of "John Doe, formerly of xxxx" - this is true for both immigration and migration, especially during the colonial period. Feel free to contact us at if you have additional questions and we would be happy to help. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


I have a gg grandmother, Nancy Evans, born 1816 in Lenoir County, NC and married Jesse Daughety. Her father is Thomas Evans. We cannot find anything on him. Her married residence was in Sand Hill community and the Evans family could have lived in neighboring Craven County (New Bern). Checking out deeds and death forms could be helpful, but not on Ancestry yet. I would like to know her mother and father. I only know the father is Thomas Evans. Which Thomas? Where did he go?



Thanks for visiting NCpedia and asking your question.

I am forwarding your query to our Reference services who can assist you:

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


I have been searching for my 5th great grandfather. Anderson Morgan from Chatham co NC. Anderson was born before 1783. His son was Alston Morgan born 1803 in Chatham co NC. I would be thankful for any information! This is my brick wall.


Hi Kimberly,
Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your question. I am connecting you with Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library at
Best wishes,
Elizabeth Hayden


Thank you so very much! I just saw your response.

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