Skip to content
January 17, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Slate: The Williams Brothers

Buckingham_Williams_Slate HouseGwen Arvon (2011),  photo by Joanne Yeck

During the 1870s, the Williams brothers of Caernarvonshire, Wales, brought their considerable expertise and strong work ethic to the Buckingham slate quarries. John Williams lived in Richmond, handling marketing and sales; Evan Williams ran operations on Hunt’s Creek. The Williams brothers’ success was concurrent with the coming of the railroad, taking Buckingham slate to destinations far beyond the county limits. The family displayed their affluence with a private rail car, which they referred to as “the accommodation.”

Other Welshman followed, bringing names like Davis, Davies, Lloyd, Jeffery, Jones, Pierce, and Thomas to Buckingham and the quarries. The growing settlement was eventually called Arvon (later Arvonia), its name rooted in Caernarvon. The Arvon Presbyterian Church was established, where Welsh hymns were sung and where the Arvonia Memorial Cemetery contains many graves with epitaphs written in Welsh.

As slate products diversified from roofing material to other uses, the Williams brothers built “sample houses” designed to demonstrate the material’s versatility. Bryn Arvon (Evan Williams) and Gwen Arvon (John Williams) were Queen Anne-style marvels. They sported slate mantels, staircases, baseboards, and even the kitchen sinks were made of slate!

Today, Gwen Arvon, still owned by a Williams descendant, has been beautifully restored.


Leave a Comment
  1. Iwan Hughes / Jun 3 2016 10:46 am

    If you’d like the gravestones translated (free of charge!) just send them on to me!

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 3 2016 1:50 pm

      Thank you, Iwan. I will look through my photos and, if I find some stone in Welsh, I will send them to you. Joanne

      • Iwan Hughes / Jun 3 2016 3:19 pm

        I’ll look forward to seeing them!


  1. Buckingham County Business: Williams Company Store | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. World Famous Buckingham County Slate | slate river ramblings . . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: