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“W” is for Welsh

“W” is for Welsh. Settlers of Welsh descent played an important role in the settling of South Carolina backcountry in the 1730s and 1740s. Many of these settlers were Baptists from New Castle County, Pennsylvania (later Delaware). Most migrated for religious and economic reasons. In 1736 Welsh Baptists obtained a generous grant of 173,400 acres situated in present-day Darlington, Chesterfield, and Marlboro Counties. The land became known as the Welsh Tract. The Welsh Neck Baptist Church (whose members were bilingual in Welsh and English) became an important center of Baptists influence in colonial South Carolina, serving as the mother church for more than thirty Baptist congregations. In 1768 the Welsh Tract became St. David’s Parish (named for the patron saint of Wales). By 1790 persons of Welsh descent represented just over six percent of South Carolina’s White population.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.