The Welsh Pioneer Settlers of Carbondale and
Two Welsh “Firsts” for the Pioneer City
Carbondale has very deep Welsh roots which were established in the early years of the nineteenth century when anthracite mining began here.
The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company’s Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale opened on October 9, 1829 to transport anthracite coal from Carbondale to the D&H Canal at Honesdale (and from there to the Hudson River and the markets of New York).
To meet its market needs, the D&H made the decision in 1830 to conduct deep underground mining by means of shafts. To secure the expertise needed to establish shaft mines, the D&H recruited, in 1830, twenty mining families from Wales to come to Carbondale and to teach the D&H how to conduct deep underground anthracite coal mining.
Those Welsh miners established for the D&H in June 1831 in Carbondale the first deep underground shaft mine in America. The mining engineer in charge was Archibald Law. That mine opening was on the north side of Seventh Avenue on the west side of the D&H tracks, at the D&H Seventh Avenue crossing in Carbondale.
Additional Welsh miners were recruited by the D&H in October/November of the following year, 1832, when a party of seventy Welsh miners and their families came to Carbondale.
Those Welsh pioneers were soon followed by many thousands of Welsh men and women and their families who came here to work in the anthracite coal mines and to begin new lives for themselves.
The Welsh roots of Carbondale can all be traced to those 90 families of Welsh pioneers.
Associated with those pioneer Welsh settlers and their descendants are two very interesting and important “firsts” for Carbondale in the history of the Welsh in America.
1. the first Welsh “eisteddfod” (a traditional language, literature, music festival) to be held in America took place in Carbondale on Christmas Day, 1850;
2. the first lodge of “The Philanthropic Order of True Ivorites” (a patriotic Welsh order) was established in Carbondale in the fall of 1853.
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The Saint David's Welsh Male Chorus of Scranton perform every year in Carbondale at the annual Saint David's Day Dinner that is hosted by the Carbondale Historical Society.