THE WELSH CHURCHMadison County’s cultural history would not be complete without including our rich religious contributions. In 2006, for Madison County’s bicentennial project, the booklet, “The Churches of Madison County,” was compiled by the Family Life and Education Team, Church Booklet Committee. Stated within, of the 102 known churches, 87 responded with active church dates from 1801 (pre-Madison County).
From this booklet, Sonia Davies relates that “One of the predominating characteristics of the Welsh people is their religious enthusiasm, along with their love for music and poetry.” The present Welsh Church structure was built in 1876, and until about 1908, Welsh was the only language used in the church. Every year, a Gymanfa ganu (gathering for song) was held in October which lasted two days and preachers came from far away. Today, the church is lovingly maintained by a few dedicated descendants of the founders and others. All are welcome to see its original fixtures, including the pump organ (used every Sunday) and more. Listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, it is open from the first Sunday in June (7:00 p.m.), which features their traditional “Welsh Tea” until the second Sunday in September (3:00 p.m.). Visitors from around the world join together and enjoy community and the beautiful, serene landscape.”
Below is the incorporation dated July 23, 1860 transcribed from Book 2 of Religious Incorporations:
“State of New York Madison County as we the undersigned two of the members of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church Society in Nelson, Madison County, herein intentioned being a Religious Society in which Divine worship is celebrated according to the rites of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church and not already incorporated do hereby certify that as the 8th day of August AD 1859 the male persons of said church and society of full age met at the private house of Richard Owens of the town of Nelson in said county which house is used at present for public worship for the purpose of incorporating themselves and here did elect by a majority of votes by ballot Edward Richards, Richard Jones, John Richards, Richard Owens, David Hughes as trustees for the said church and society as aforesaid and the said church and society did hear and then determine by like plurality of votes that the said trustees and their successors in office should forever hereafter be called or known by the name and title of the trustees of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church and society in Nelson. Witnesseth our hands or seal this 23rd day of July 1860. Robert L. Roberts, William R. Morris (L.S.) Personally appeared before me Robert L. Roberts and William R. Morris and acknowledged that they executed the within certificate on the 23rd day of July, 1860. William L. Smith, Justice. Recorded September 21, 1860.”
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