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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, LearnNC:

Moving Through History, NC Museum of History:





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?



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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,
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Elizabeth Hayden


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


Do you have any information on Lewis Edwards born in1761 in Brunswick County VA and relocating with wife Rachel Wright to Lincoln County NC. We believe our Edwards family came from Wales.


I am looking information on my gggg grand father Isham Williams who was born in Brunswick County NC 1765. Anything about his parents would be great. Thank you!


Henry Wease (1810-1860) is recorded in both 1850 and 1860 Indiana census as born in NC. There is an Adam Wease sr and jr and John Wease in Buncombe county NC in 1810 and 1820 census, but no other info on thie families. Can you steer me in the right direction? Thank you for considering my request.



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Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library


I have been told my father's people (Lloyd) were from Wales, but I cannot find the connection. The farthest back I have been able to confidently trace is William Lloyd, my ggg grandfather, born 1792 in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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