The Welsh in Alberta – Wood River Farming
The Welsh in Alberta – Farming
There is an area east of the town of Ponoka in Alberta, Canada, that is called Wood River. Despite the English name given to it by an early settler from Wood River, Nebraska, it is an area that was settled predominantly by Welsh farmers. The first arrived about 1900. The steady influx of Welsh immigrants came mostly from the Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Washington States in the USA.
A Mr. Levi Davies moved into the area from S. Dakota in 1902. The Carmarthenshire woman he married in Calgary in 1904 is said to be the first settler to arrive directly from Wales.
The first Welsh church organized in the area was the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church named Sion. Eisteddfodau and Gymanfa Ganus were once very much a part of the provincial scene. Sadly the last Gymanfa Ganu was held in 2012 – now awaiting a resurgence of interest by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of earlier settlers.
The photos are of our friends Margaret and Hugh T Jones of Ponoka. Margaret, a leader in Welsh community affairs passed away from cancer last year. Missed by all!
[Source: From Wales to Wood River – A Short History of the Welsh Who Settled this Area. Compilers and Editors: Kelt Hughes and Griff Jones]