slate river ramblings . . . .

Arvonia: Old Castle

Old Castle, Arvonia, 1936

The 1936 story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch continued, describing “The Old Castle,” home to many Welsh immigrants.

“Old Castle” Stands Alone in Barren Quarry

In the midst of the quarries today stands a lonely, shabby old building that through all the years has been “The Old Castle.” There M. E. Jones lived. Here 40 Welsh quarrymen were boarded for a long time.
Here was held the first Sunday School, the first prayer meeting service for the Welsh people are devoted to their religion. They are fond of singing hymns, and reciting poetry, and have meetings called “Eisteddfods,” where they enjoy competing in these two activities.
When the services grew too large for the Old Castle to hold the attendance, loyal hearts solicited funds to build the first church, a little chapel that held 300 persons, strangely, yet appropriately called “Bethel.”
As the years passed, old age came on the most robust, as well as the frailer flesh, and so they began to lay these “strangers within a strange land” within the shadow of the little chapel. There must have been many a pang of longing for the hills of the Landberis (sic), Wales, from which many had come as these sojourners felt the end drawing near.
Walking in the silent rooms of the “Old Castle,” one thinks of the many reunions that took place there, as kindred and friends came over to join their loved ones. What eager inquiries, what tender reminiscence, what sacred confidences exchanged. But its walls are as quiet as the grave, so far as any revelation of those days long past are concerned.

Recognize “Old Castle”?  If so, please comment.

Note: The article is unsigned; however, it is reminiscent of the prose of Buckingham County historian Lulie Patteson.