Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd
A Township of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania,
Settled, 1698, by Immigrants from Wales
by Howard M. Jenkins
Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1897
Edward Foulke's Narrative of his Removal
"I, Edward Foulke, was the son of Foulke, ap Thomas, ap Evan, ap Thomas, ap Robert, ap David Lloyd, ap David, ap Evan Vaughan (ap Evan), ap Griffith, ap Madoc, ap Jerwert, ap Madoc, ap Ririd Flaidd, Lord of Penllyn, who dwelt at Rhiwaedog."
"My mother's name was Lowry, the daughter of Edward, ap David, ap Ellis, ap Robert, of the Parish of Llanvor in Merionethshire."
"I was born on the 13th of 5th month, 1651, and when arrived at mature age, I married Eleanor the daughter of Hugh, ap Cadwallader, ap Rhys, of the Parish of Spytu in Denbigshire; her mother's name was Gwen, the daughter of Ellis, ap William, ap Hugh, ap Thomas, ap David, ap Madoc, ap Evan, ap Cott, ap Evan, ap Griffith, ap Madoc, ap Einion, ap Meredith of Cai-Fadog; and (she) was born in the same parish and shire with her husband."
"I had, by my said wife, nine children, whose names are as follows: Thomas, Hugh, Cadwallader, and Evan; Grace, Gwen, Jane, Catherine, and Margaret. We lived at a place called Coed-y-foel, a beautiful farm, belonging to Roger Price, Esq., of Rhiwlas, Merionethshire, aforesaid. But in process of time, I had an inclination to remove with my family to the province of Pennsylvania; and, in order thereto, we set out on the 3d day of the 2d month, A.D. 1698, and came in two days to Liverpool, where, with divers others who intended to go the voyage, we took shipping, the 17th of the same month, on board the Robert and Elizabeth, and the next day set sail for Ireland, where we arrived, and staid until the first of the 3d month, May, and then sailed again for Pennsylvania, and were about eleven weeks at sea. And the sore distemper of the bloody flux broke out in the vessel, of which died five and forty persons in our passage; the distemper was so mortal that two or three corpses were cast overboard every day while it lasted. But through the favor and mercy of Divine Providence, I, with my wife and nine children, escaped that sore mortality, and arrived safe at Philadelphia, the 17th of the 5th month, July, where we were kindly received and hospitably entertained by our friends and old acquaintance."
"I soon purchased a fine tract of land of about seven hundred acres, sixteen miles from Philadelphia, on a part of which I settled, and divers others of our company who came over sea with us, settled near me at the same time. This was the beginning of November, 1698, aforesaid, and the township was called Gwynedd, or North Wales." This account was written the 14th of the 11th month (January), A.D. 1702, by Edward Foulke. Translated from British into English by Samuel Foulke.
His narrative of his removal indicates that Edward Foulke possessed some education, and it must have been superior to the average of his time. His "Exhortation," addressed to his children, late in life, is a good piece of composition. Some details concerning his life in Wales, previous to his removal have come down by tradition, and are doubtless trustworthy. His purpose of immigration, it is said, was formed from his conviction of the hardships and injustice inflicted upon those subject to a monarchical government. He had attended, the tradition says, at a military muster or drill, required by law, when a person in his company, a kinsman, engaged in exercise with a broad-sword or other weapon, had the cap of his knee struck off by his antagonist. The bystanders, with the one who had inflicted the injury, showed no regret at the occurrence, but rather exulted over it, while Edward, distressed at the suffering of his kinsman, was shocked to consider that the barbarous occurrence was a natural outgrowth of the system under which they lived. His mind turned to Pennsylvania as a place of escape, but he felt extreme reluctance to undertake the difficulties and perils of the long voyage with his large family. He "opened" the matter, however, to his wife, and she, as the tradition says, regarded the impression that had been made upon his mind as having a Divine origin, and while he hesitated and argued the pecuniary disadvantage a removal might be, she earnestly declared to him that "He that revealed this to thee can bless a very little in America to us, and can blast a great deal in our native land."
Being accounted an excellent singer, large companies were in the habit of collecting at their house on First-days to hear Edward sing. "But with this he became uneasy, as he found that his company was of no advantage to him, nor he to them, as their time was spent in vain and trifling amusements. On one occasion, expressing his uneasiness to his wife, he found that she shared the feeling, and was dissatisfied both with the singing and some of the singers. She urged that the way to spend First-day with profit would be to read the Scriptures, and said that then the undesirable part of the company would soon become weary and leave them, while their truest and most valuable friends would adhere to them more closely. The plan being adopted, it was found as his wife anticipated; when companies had collected, and Edward was tempted to undue levity, she would say, 'Put away, and get the Bible.' The light and unprofitable portion of their visitors soon fell away, while others more weighty and solid continued with them. Their meeting and Scripture reading continued for some time, and the gathering at their house increased. At length Eleanor reminded her husband of his exercise of mind on the subject of emigration, and said that as they had so evidently benefited by their following the path of duty in regard to the observance of First-day, it remained for them to proceed in the removal to Pennsylvania, which had also been indicated to them. And when they resolved upon the step, some who had attended their meeting came with them."