Robert Everett and the Welsh Abolition Community
Robert Wynne Everett (1790-1875) was a Welsh immigrant and Presbyterian preacher at the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Utica who became a leader of Welsh abolitionism in the towns of Remsen and Steuben. He was Born of Scottish-English father, Lewis Everett, and a Welsh mother, Jane, on January 2, 1797 in Cronant, Flintshire. “Called” to ministry at Bethesda Welsh Congregational Church in Utica, 1823. Preached first sermon on July 23, embarking on a career of four sermons a week as well as revivals, prayer meetings and temperance meetings. Involved in temperance movement. Wanted to work with Welsh-speaking Congregationalists so he took on the ministry at Capel Ucha in Steuben and Penymynydd near Steuben. Capel Ucha was founded 1805, built in 1820, with a capacity of 500-600. Capel Ucha no longer stands, but there is a monument in Capel Ucha Cemetery marking its location.
Everett published Welsh-language periodicals, including anti-slavery publications. His Welsh magazine, Y Cenhadwr Americanydd (The American Messenger), with a wide circulation throughout this country and in Wales, became a vehicle for his anti-slavery views. He published Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Or Life Among the Lower Class, the Welsh edition of Harriet Beecher Stow (Caban f’ewythr Twm, cyfieithiad Hugh Williams, gan Robert Everett, Remsen, NY.)Detholydd. 1850-52. large 8 vol. A periodical to advocate the freedom of the slaves in the USA, edited by Rev. R. Everett. Sold for $1 per year. US 9 nearly complete) Utica College. He published Dyngarwr, 1843-1844, a monthly periodical which advocated freedom of slaves and other philanthropic aims, ed. and pub. by Rev. R. Everett of Steuben. The editor’s zeal for Negro emancipation led him in 1843 to give a free copy to every Welsh preacher in the Union, as well as to many others. Most articles deal with the Negro question.
“He was a man of scholarly attainments, exemplary piety, and conscientious devotion to duty. Always in advance of his age, he was an earnest reformer and a leader in every good cause, and therefore by many was considered an extremist.” (Millard Roberts, History of Remsen, p.375)
“He was an abolitionist from the time he arrived in Utica (182); the Everetts’ wagon driver was either a slave or a former slave and had told them much about slavery. New York State was still a slave state, the law passed in 1817 was to abolish slavery in 1827.” (Roberts, History of Remsen)
"Capel Ucha, first built of logs in 1804, was a stone church during the days of the Underground railroad “This served for 83 years and would have done services for many more years had it not been for a spring under the northwest corner of the foundation which with the alternate freezing and thawing slowly but surely undermined the corner and racked the structure. So it was removed an a wood structure was built in 1903 and served until it was closed and auctioned off in 1948 to be used for lumber. This was at first a Union Church, its members being from Calvinistic Methodist and Congregational churches in Wales. In 1804 the church was due to be incorporated and friendly discussion followed and that same year the Congregationals were advised by their sister church in Utica to form a church of their own. Thus a Congregational Church was organized in 1804. The Methodist members were happy to remain with the church until in 1824 they built a Calvinistic Whitefield Methodist Church just east of Remsen, called Pen-Y-Caerau. These churches These two churches were the Mother Churches of each faith and were responsible for other churches being built nearby because of distances members would have to walk to attend week-day services as well as Sunday services.On January 27, 1842, the Welsh Anti-Slavery Society of Steuben, Remsen, Trenton, and Vicinities” was founded at Capel Ucha. Dr. Everett’s home became a station of the Underground Railroad, indicated by a mark on his chimney." (Roberts, History of Remsen)
“Capel Ucha was the scene of thrilling addresses of Alvan Stewart, Beriah Green, and others of antislavery note, and even the plaintive story of the fleeing bondman, who, when he had told his tale, was secretly hurried to the next station on the underground railroad, on his forced flight to liberty in the Queen’s dominions.” (Roberts, History of Remsen)
“His house is known to have served on occasion as a ‘station of the underground railroad’ and aided by him the fugitive slave found his way to the next ‘station’ in his flight toward that goal. Where, if he did but touch the soil and breathe the air, his shackles fell and he was free.” (Roberts, History of Remsen)
His daughter Elizabeth attended Rev. H. G. Kellogg’s Ladies Seminary in Clinton, run by abolitionists and admitted African-Americans. His son John Robert graduated from Oneida Institute. John Robert helped print the Welsh-language The Cenhadwr. He helped John Brown and his antislavery faction by moving his family to Kansas, in days of the “free soil movement’, settling on a farm in Osawatomie. His son Robert Everett, Jr., graduated from Oneida Institute. He helped publish the Cenhadwr, and also lectured on abolitionism, temperance, and missions.