With a lifetime of hardwork, frugal living and determination they carved a farm out of the wilderness. Today that acre may sell in the neighborhood of $1800.
Your ancestor possibly gave land on which to build a school or a church with an adjoining cemetery in which he now lies.
No doubt he cooperated in establishing law and order, serving on an early jury, helping with the elections, filling such responsible jobs as director of the infirmary, member of the school board, judge or Justice of the Peace.
More than likely he helped build roads where there were holes big enough to swallow a horse.
We know of at least two Van Wert County pioneer families (in the townships of Jennings and York) unceremoniously dumped out of wagons in the middle of the night with their belongings because the driver refused to drive in the dark on such a dangerous road.
Descendants of one of the above have the legend that a kindly old man, routed out of his bed, took the strangers in, feeding and sheltering them until they could find a place to live.
Later, when they had settled close by, they heard their hospitable host had the reputation of taking his swine to market minus their ears. At that time it was customary for owners to notch the animals' ears with certain identifying marks. When the old fellow was asked about the missing parts he said his wife liked to eat them.
We thought we had written and published about all there was to learn about the first three families who immigrated from North Wales in the 1840's to start the Welsh settlement of Venedocia.
The Jervises, Bebbs and Morrises, closely related, were intelligent talented and religious.
A grandson of James Jervis (scholar and historian) reached the White House and guarded seven consecutive presidents of the United States.
Jervis's daughter, Mrs. Martha Meredith, saved all of her father's papers, sharing them with many people, but one newspaper clipping written in the Welsh language has kept its secret for many decades.
We could recognize the name Jervis, French Huguenots and Holland. We have known for sometime that the Bebb family had a legend of being French Huguenots which explains the non-Welsh sounding of their names.
Although there are Venedocians who can sing the old Welsh hymns, repeat Bible verses in Welsh, and remember everyday phrases in the old country language we failed to find anyone who could read or translate fluently what we wanted to know.
Finally we found professor of languages in a large eastern college
who gave us the gist of the clipping. The translation was dotted
with tongue-twisting names of Welsh places that are not on the map
due to the Welsh custom of giving the names of church parishes as
their birthplace instead of the nearest town. The churches of the
ones who came here long ago are gone and so are the records.
EXCERPTS FROM THE TRANSLATION
Interesting notes about some of the old families of Llanbrynmair (The double L is pronounced thl):
The Jervises, a great monastery in Montgomeryshire, North Wales, was "bequeathed" to the monks of Talfolwen Castle by a famous Welsh warrior-poet in the 12th century.
About the time the monastery was disendowed (no date) the name of John Jervice, "Gentleman," was appointed by the government over Deffredd (Called Pasture Houses including Typella) and from that time for 500 years without a break in the line (no date) there has been a family successor of John Jervis inhabiting extending, tilling and cultivatin old Typella farm on the western slopes. Thomas Jervis, having no heir to take over, moved to the bridge of Lianbrynmair and for the first time in five centuries the farm was turned over to others.
According to tradition and other sure sources, the Jervis family is of Low Dutch ancestry and French huguenots.
The family name, characteristics and individual traits of the family are proof of its foreign origins.
There were among them, generations ago, some characters remarkable for their wit and skill. They were fond of art and skilled in making objects d'art.
The family diversified, intermarrying with many famous families among them the Morrises, Davies, and Tibbot. They also married into the Woods family, known for their hosiptality and religion.
It was at their home the Jervises heard such famous preachers and
after hearing Rev. Howell Harris they joined what became the Welsh
Calvinistic "Methodist Movement."
(End of translation)
We will take it from there. After researching for many weeks we literally inched our way back through history. We found the low Dutch were descendants of the Celtic race of northern Europe migrating to Britainy, France, until the Germanic tribes descended on them, finally driving them to Wales where their brythonic or Cymric became the language of Wales.
Since some of these people fled to the Netherlands, the Jervises may have migrated that way. But since they have the legend, they worked their way from Holland (the unofficial name for Netherlands) through Germany. They were so named because of living in the low countries. The low Dutch were thought to have been the spreaders of the Psalter (translation of the Psalms) and Netherlands was among the first to receive it.
The monastery mentioned in the translation could possibly have been of the semi-monastic order of brethern called Lollards (Lullards) often called matemans. Lollards were taken from the Dutch name "lullen" which means to sing soft and low.
They were scattered throughout the British isles and severely persecuted. They administered to the needs of the sick and dead, singing at funerals.
The brethern followed the translation of the Bible by Wycliff in 1388... Martin Luther acknowledged his great debt to Wycliff's work.
The French Huguenots were organized by the great Protestant reformer John Calvin (Jean Chauvin) born in France. Because of political reasons several rulers of France suffered the Huguenot movement to grow, hold meetings, build churches and scatter over Europe.
Louis XIV, then feeling them a threat, revoked the Edict of Nantes that had given the Huguenots so much freedom, plunging France into a bloodbath and civil war. Those who escaped fled the country.
Rev. Howell Harris, the Welsh preacher mentioned in the clipping, who won the Jervis family over to his side at the Woods home, was born in Wales in 1714, the son of a nobleman who attended Oxford. Harris and the noted Rev. Daniel Rowland held the Welsh revival in 1735-36 that planted Methodist in Wales.
The translation mentions the skill of the Jervis family in works of art done in iron and wood. they were following their Celtic heritage that goes back to pre-Christian and the Iron Age.
Parts of their mysterious stone formations in Scotland, Ireland and Wales are still standing. Before Christianity, the Celts worked with designs of chevrons, elliptical curves and spirals. They made helmets and war-like weapons.
The museums in Europe display their works in bronze, silver and gold. Their beautiful enamel works in various colors, pottery urns, drinking cups, etc. have been preserved. After Christianity they worked on illuminated pages of manuscript copies of the Bible, chalices, bells, crosses and shrines.
Our search on the prolific Bebb family is not so complete. Mrs. James Jervis was also of this family. The first Bebb in Wales (probably William) was also a French Huguenot.
The spelling in French was Bieb and in English Beeb. He was a weaver by trade coming to Wales in 1685.
According to Ohio historians Edward Bebb was the first Welshman to settle in Ohio.
Many years ago when we were on a field trip to Pennsylvania, we found a record showing that Edward with his cousin Ezekial Hughes sailed on the ship Maria of Salem Mass., april 1795, spending 13 weeks on the voyage. Bebb walked to Ohio, secured land at Paddy's Run, returned to Pennsylvania and brought back a wife.
They became the parents of William Bebb, born in 1804, the 14th Governor of Ohio. Edward Bebb and the Venedocia Bebb lines all descended from William Bebb of Montgomeryshire, who was born in 1724.
Unless some of the Morris family in Wales has kept old records, very little can be run down on the third of Venedocia's first families.
We know they were from Tolgwiddyl of Montgomeryshire.
In some of the few census records available in the old country the householder's name is listed, the wife often retaining her maiden name, and each of the children named after favorite ministers, relatives, or friends ... none of them carrying a common surname. When the Venedocia Salem Presbyterian Church celebrated its 125th anniversary, descendants of those first three families, some of them from the west coast, got together for the reunion.
Back to Venedocia's history index page