Welsh voters for the most part went over to the new Republican Party and voted overwhelmingly for its 1860 presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. Several items in the Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress illustrate the very personal way the Welsh of New York State supported Lincoln, before and after his election.
In 1860 David C. Davies, a book and job printer at 131 Genesee Street, Utica, N.Y., sent the letter below to then Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. That year Davies had published 50,000 copies of a Welsh-language biography and speech of Lincoln for distribution among Welsh-Americans.
Hon. Abraham Lincoln--
I hope you will please to pardon me for intruding on your patience thus knowing well that I am one among thousands, nay, millions that pays homage to our next President. Enclosed you will find a copy of his Life and Speach (the one delivered at N.Y.)--in the Welsh Language. My motive in writing to you is to trouble you for the name of the Chairman of the State Rep. Com. I understand there are many Welsh people in the State of Illinois. The Welsh as a people must understand the issues of the Campaign before they can freely and conscientiously vote. I have issued 50,000 copies, and hope they will be of great service to the good cause. Hoping you will excuse my boldness,
D. C. Davies
Utica, Aug. 14/60
the most striking feature of the nineteenth-century migration was its concentration in industrial locations. Certainly this was true for coal mining.3It must be noted that the Welsh stayed with the Republican party and shunned the Democrats, partly because the latter was the Party of the Democrats who were ousting them from Labour Organisations.
Welsh miners came first to the anthracite fields of eastern Pennsylvania, but they were soon North American Journal of Welsh Studies Vol. 6, 1 (Winter 2011)
33 followed by others bound for the bituminous fields of western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and beyond the Mississippi River as the mining frontier advanced westward during the nineteenth century. Relatively few ventured south of the Ohio River. Known for their opposition to slavery, their support for the Republican Party, and loyalty to craft unionism, Welsh immigrants found little to attract them in states with oppressive labor systems. The limitless coal region of Central
Appalachia was developed after Welsh immigration began to decline. Therefore, the vast majority of Welsh miners settled in the northern fields, the largest number in Pennsylvania, and secondly in Ohio.Welsh industrial immigrants, like the British generally, were the expert workers of the industrial revolution who transferred their knowledge and skills to the infant coal industry of nineteenth-century America. They moved from field to field, coal town to coal town, and mine tomine, making decisions about when and where to go based on knowledge passed along through
the network of personal and professional relationships that bound Welsh occupational
communities together.Transitional institutions, such as clubs, societies and fraternal orders, newspapers, and churches, not only helped to fill the void immigrants felt when torn from their own culture and transplanted in America, but they also gave form and meaning to ethnic communities. In these
enclaves members of the group found necessary services, sympathetic people who understood their language and culture, and acquired vital information about work opportunities, which further bound them together as an expatriated community. As the Welsh adapted their
institutions to American life, they continued to maintain communications with kith and kin back in Wales and with other émigrés in America. To do so they developed complex formal and informal networks linking fellow travelers within the diaspora and back to the homeland.
Various modes of communication, both institutional and individual, formal and informal,
linked the Welsh. Labor leaders in Wales often cooperated with their American counterparts by assisting in the formation of emigration societies to assist miners who wanted to emigrate, and maintained contact and occasionally visited the emigrants in the United States. Moreover, minin gnews on both sides of the Atlantic was reprinted in labor journals, providing an important two way flow of information regarding the state of the coal trade, employment, and mining legislation
in Britain and America.
With the state of Pennsylvania being a vital swing state the traditional loyalties of those Americans with Welsh Ancestry might actually make the difference this time,.