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Travels of a Welsh Preacher in the USA

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 9781845241087
  • Author: William Davies Evans
  • Publication March 2008
  • Adapted/Translated by Margaret Morgan Jones.
  • Format: Paperback, 209x147 mm, 200 pages

In 1883 a Welsh Methodist Minister, William Davies Evans, published his book Dros Gyfanfor a Chyfandir ('Across Ocean and Continent'), describing his travels in the United States. This publication is the first English translation from the original Welsh text. William Davies Evans's book inspired Dr Jerry Hunter to write Llwch Cenhedloedd (2003).

Gwales Review
In November 1880, William Davies Evans bade farewell to his wife, family and friends and set off from Aberystwyth to begin his peregrinations in America. He had been several times before and seems even to have spent some of his childhood there. Later, he and his family were to leave their home in Pontrhydfendigaid to emigrate permanently to the United States. This particular trip, however, he made alone – part tourist, part travelling preacher – covering a distance of some 38,000 miles over a period of eighteen months. His account of his travels, in the original Welsh, was published in 1883 under the title Dros Gyfanfor a Chyfandir. One hundred and twenty-five years later, those of us who do not have the ‘hen iaith’ have Evans’s great-niece to thank for her wonderful English translation of this fascinating book.

The span of Evans’s writing matches that of his travels, as he trains his eye for detail on all manner of things: America’s vast and varied landscapes; the cities, towns and settlements he passes through; the behaviour and mannerisms of the many people he meets. He might have been a preacher, but he is rarely preachy and displays a warm sense of humour and general lack of prejudice, railing against the minister and deacon who fail to invite him for supper, and spending time with all sorts of ‘strange religious people’ for whom he has more curiosity than judgment. His many tales and anecdotes are a delight: the excitement of his first ride in an elevator; his various encounters with snakes, scorpions and ‘stinging savages’ (mosquitoes); his lone ascent of Pike’s peak, Colorado; sheep and goats being used as ‘threshing machines’ in Texas; entertaining snippets of overheard conversations; and so much more.

‘May the blessing of God be upon [...] you, my fond reader, inasmuch as you will find enjoyment whilst reading my book. Yours sincerely, THE AUTHOR.’ I love it!

Suzy Ceulan Hughes