WILLIAM Jones was born in Llangadfan in 1726.

His calls for an independent Wales and known French Revolutionary sympathies had for a time seen him spied upon by the Government.

William had also championed a Welsh colony in the New World and had shared his views with shoe maker Ezekiel Hughes in Machynlleth in 1789 and had made an impression on the 23 year old.

William died in 1795 though Ezekiel had not forgotten his call for a colony in Kentucky.

In the same year Ezekiel was joined by his cousin Edward Bebb and friend George Roberts of Mochdre, in forming a small party in leaving Llanbrynmair for the New World.

The party had narrowly avoided being press ganged in Carmarthen en-route but on August 6 they left Bristol on the Maria and endured a gruelling 13 week passage before arriving in Philadelphia in October.

Within three months they had arrived in the unbroken wilds of the Miami Valley near Cincinnati where they subsisted by hunting and fishing and building a cabin, clearing the land and growing potatoes, turnip and corn.

The three men led key roles in the settlement of a Welsh colony in Cincinnati with land near the Miami river bought, settled and cultivated.

George settled with his family in the Allegheny Mountains in land owned by the Welsh Migration Society and known as Cambria and town of Beulah founded by settlers in 1798.

Ezekiel returned to Llanbrynmair to marry in 1803 but his new bride died within a year and became the first grave opened at Berea churchyard.

Ezekiel remarried and had nine children as the Welsh colony blossomed.

He became a friend of the future President, William Henry Harrison, when both attended the same Sunday School class while also being commissioned to build a road to the town of Hamilton in Ohio.

In contrast George had struggled with debts in Cambria but his fortune changed in 1806 when he was appointed pastor of Ebensburg as the new Welsh colony continued to expand and flourish.

Elezkiel died on September 2, 1848 and was described as a man who was ‘the friend of the poor, a true patriot and a loyal Christian’ and five years later his lifelong friend George died having published diaries of his life and his emigration to America for prosperity.

The last of the three Montgomeryshire friends to die in the new world which they had made for themselves was Edward Bebb who passed away in Iowa in 1868 with the future of the Welsh colony secure.