Genealogists Discover a Red Dragon Breathing Fire in US Presidential Candidate's Past

Article excerpt

Byline: David Williamson

DEMOCRATIC presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be the direct descendant of an American pioneer born in Anglesey in the 18th century.

If elected in November, he will make history as the first black President of the United States.

However, genealogists have gathered evidence which suggests his mother's family are descended from Welsh trailblazers who founded the Radnor township in Ohio.

Anglesey's Plaid Cymru Assembly Member, Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones, responded to the news by inviting the candidate to the constituency.

He said: "If these links have been established, I would very much like to invite Barack Obama to Anglesey to the home of his ancestors where he could rediscover his Welsh roots.

"The Welsh have contributed in so many ways to shaping America's past and present - not least by the fact that so many of those who signed the American Declaration of Independence were Welsh or of Welsh descent.

"If he came to Wales, I certainly think he' dempathise with the politics of hope and change that are enshrined in the new programme of government in Wales."

Research by William Addams Reitwiesner, one of the internet's best-known genealogists, suggests that Mr Obama's great - great - great - great-great great- grandparents were Henry and Margaret Perry.

It is believed they left Anglesey to build a new life in the United States close to the beginning of the 19th century.

Anglesey is listed as the birthplace of their son, Robert, who was born in 1786 and died in 1852.

The 1880 History of Delaware and Ohio states: "The first marriage in the township was that of Robert Perry, who wooed and won the fair Sarah Hoskins. The ceremony took place in the logcabin of Richard Hoskins in 1808, and was performed by the Rev Cloud, a Methodist minister, who had travelled all the way from Franklinton for that purpose."

The 1880 history records that Henry Perry was persuaded by fellow Welshman David Pugh to leave Baltimore and found a settlement in Radnor in 1803.

With sons Ebenezer, 15, and Levi, 13, he traveled more than 500 miles before starting the hard work of clearing land and building a log cabin.

The next year, he left his sons in charge of the homestead and returned by foot to Baltimore to bring his wife, Margaret, and the rest of the Welsh-speaking family to their new home.

The Welsh language thrived in the community as new migrants arrived. The visit of an itinerant preacher to the Perry home also ensured that Methodism flourished. …