Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Welsh Connection - in the US Presidential election

It appears as if the unfortunately named, Mitt Romney (who would name an infant after a child's glove?) is both a leading Presidential contender and a Mormon to boot.

Lord Parry....
.....Brigham Young - hmmm!
The word "Mormon" conjures up images of stern, bearded men with a handful of obedient wives and a playing card pack of children. I do not know if this is an accurate picture of the present day Mormon male. I suspect that most of them have done away with the beards and wives and adopted lightweight mohair suits and iPhones these days.

My late good friend Lord Parry of Neyland (a good guy despite being a Labour Peer) used to tell a story about the early Mormons and, like all good and faithful Welshmen, he had found a link that led from sleepy Pembrokeshire in West Wales right to the capital of Latter Day Saints - Salt Lake City in Utah.

A tenuous link one might suppose.
What was it that Pembrokeshire had that was of interest to Mormons?

The answer is women.

Apparently, and according to the noble Lord, Brigham Young's family hailed originally, from the western banks of the River Cleddau, not far from a hamlet called Port Lyon, once home to Lord P.
As a digression, Port Lyon, which stands on the banks of the Cleddau, was so named after the call coming from the boats and ships that found their way upriver to that place whereupon, spotting the hamlet of cottages, the call would go out "port lee - on".

Now as Lord Parry also quoted this story I fully admit that the main account may be apocryphal but I leave you to make that judgement.

Back to Mr Young whose family still (allegedly) farm the banks of the Cleddau.

The early Mormons had plenty of zeal but very few women (to marry and bear children) and so, what was more natural than Brigham sailing across the pond and up the Cleddau to his homeland to recruit young Welsh maids to return with him to the land of promise that was America.

And so it was. And not just one trip was made but several over a period of years.

I often wonder about this and picture those young women, wide of hip and broad of bosom, as farm lasses were in those days, and I speculate that, if one strolled down the streets of Salt Lake City today, would you be able to identify those with a claim to be great, great grandchildren of the men who made such perilous journeys in order to secure a wife?

And does Mitt Romney know of this important link that could open up his campaign to the Welsh expatriate vote (a powerful force in the USA).
If not, he could be onto a winner and I will have helped a Mormon get into The White House. Oh joy!

Note: Lord Parry of Neyland came from Baptist stock and never wavered from that faith. He thought that the Catholic faith, and me in particular, highly superstitious and eccentric.

He was one of those people who had contacts at the highest level wherever you went in the world and he was a close friend of many US Presidents; George Bush Senior and Jimmy Carter, in particular.


  1. I've always thought, you Welsh were a bit flirty!

  2. Ros - I am not Welsh or flirty (very much) just a dull old Englishman.
    Good to hear from you.