1904: Publishing Records of Welsh Tract Baptist Church

Welsh Tract Baptist Church

In 1904, the Society published the records of Welsh Tract Baptist Meeting in Newark, providing access to the history and vital records of one of Delaware’s oldest churches. Dating from 1701 to 1828, the records include church history, membership lists, vital records, membership issues, and church business.

In 1701, a group of Baptists seeking freedom of worship organized themselves as a church and emigrated from Pembroke and Caermarthen counties in South Wales to Pennsylvania, where all faiths were welcome, which was a rarity at the time. In 1703, William Penn gave them a grant of 30,000 acres, most of which is in Pencader Hundred, New Castle County, with the remainder in Cecil County, Maryland. Upon arriving in Delaware, they built a log church, which was replaced with the existing brick church in 1746. This was the first Primitive Baptist Church in the United States. This small group of Welsh people added another layer of ethnic and religious diversity to Delaware’s already varied population.

Services were in the Welsh language until about 1800, and the early records were also in Welsh. Several other churches were started from Welsh Tract, although all are now closed. By the early 1950s, Welsh Tract held only monthly services, and the church is no longer active. A friends group maintains the church and holds the records.

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