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Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Welch Emigrants, 1849, (Dan Jones) - Background Information

Oct. 1840 James Burnham, first missionary from Zion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, arrived in Wales and the first branch was organized at Overton, Flintshire with 32 members. Merthyr Tydfil Conference, organized 1844, contained 6 branches. Numerous Welsh publications by Dan Jones earned him the title of "Father of the Welsh Mission." In 1849 a company of 250 Welsh Saints came to Salt Lake Valley. In 1852, there were over 5,000 converts in the Mission.

Wales, bordered on the east, north and south by England, and on the west by the Irish Sea and St. George's Channel, is a land of high mountains and rushing streams. Its people are descendants of the early Britons, but because of the rugged terrain, they escaped invasion by conquering hoards and consequently maintained an unmixed language. Under the direction of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, a plaque with the above inscription was placed on a chapel in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, in 1969.

The Welsh emigrants of 1849 were among the first foreign speaking pioneers in Utah. As others of their countrymen arrived, several areas largely composed of Welshmen were settled, including Wales, Willard, Spanish Fork, 15th and 16th Wards in Salt Lake City; Malad and Samaria, Idaho. Strong supporters of education in their adopted country, they also gave liberally of their extraordinary musical talent. Among those of especial note were Evan Stephens, composer and choir leader, and Thomas Giles, blind harpist. Elias Morris, another prominent Welshman, was placed in charge of delivering the valuable sugar manufacturing machinery from Europe to the Great Salt Lake.

On January 4, 1845, Captain Dan Jones arrived in England to fill a mission to which he had been appointed in Nauvoo, Illinois, previous to the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. A few months later, he was on his way to Wales. During the four years of this, his first of two missions to his native land, a large number of branches were organized, which were divided into eleven conferences. In 1846 Elder Jones commenced the publication of a mission periodical in the Welsh language named Prophwyd y Jubili (The Prophet of the Jubilee), the first publication in the Church to be printed in a foreign language. He also published forty-five different pamphlets, the sale of which sustained ten or twelve missionaries at a time in the field. Captain Jones and the company of Saints sailed from Liverpool February 26, 1849, on the Buena Vista.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.