THE number of persons of Welsh descent in the province of Pennsylvania was much less than the number of the Germans. Yet they were a large body; the early Welsh settlers were of a high grade; they furnished many leaders to the province, in politics and in all three of the learned professions; and they for the most part settled as a compact body in one large area, commonly known as the Welsh Tract. Therefore, they made upon the life of the province so large a mark that they deserve to be represented in such a volume as the present.
The narrative which follows, great as its interest is, was not written by or concerning a member of the chief contingent of Welsh settlers. Thomas John Evan seems to have been the first Welsh colonist in Penn's province, arriving in April, 1682. But the mass of the first Welsh settlers arrived in August of that year. They were Quakers from Merionethshire who had felt the hand of persecution. They had bought from Penn in England five thousand acres of unsurveyed land, and had been promised by him the reservation of a larger tract, which they meant to keep exclusively for Welsh settlers. As the royal charter permitted Penn to erect manors, they perhaps expected to have a manorial jurisdiction. At all events, they had for a time some special privileges of local self-government, and the tract of forty thousand acres which they ultimately secured was often called the Welsh Barony. After their arrival in the province they found some difficulty in obtaining a survey laying out their promised amount of land in one tract, but finally received grants substantially covering six townships. Their tract lay on the west side of the Schuylkill