Rev. Robert Everett was a Welsh-American who came to Oneida County, NY in 1823 from Wales. He very quickly became involved in the anti-slavery movement. In 1835, Utica was selected as the site for the first New York State Anti-Slavery Convention.
The meeting was broken up by an angry mob. From Utica Everett was forced to move several times as his church services were often interrupted by people who continued to support slavery. He was physically assaulted while preaching and had his horse injured and home burned down by pro-slavery activists.
Everett encouraged Welsh-American citizenship and support of the abolition movement through political action within the newly established Liberty and Republican parties. Wanting to work with Welsh-speaking Congregationalists, he moved to the Remsen-Steuben area of Oneida County and became a publisher and preacher, taking the ministry at Capel Ucha in Steuben and Penymynydd near Steuben. Capel Ucha was founded built in 1820, and although it no longer stands, there is a monument in Capel Ucha Cemetery marking its location.
Starting in 1840, Everett published a monthly newsletter, Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd (The American Messenger), spreading the anti-slavery message to Welsh communities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and India.
Also while in the Remsen-Steuben area he became a stationmaster in the Underground Railroad and helped many people escaping slavery who were fleeing to Canada.
Everett’s sons attended the integrated Oneida Institute at Whitesboro, NY and his son Robert fought pro-slavery forces with John Brown in Kansas, after moving his family there to support the cause.
Everett came to believe and encouraged the notion that the Civil War was a moral crusade, resulting in extensive participation in the Union cause by Welsh immigrants and their first- and second-generation descendants. His writing aided in mobilizing European public opinion in support of the Union cause and after the war, Everett’s daughters aided freed slaves and were teachers in integrated schools.
Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe considered him a strong voice in the abolitionist movement and allowed him to translate and publish their works into Welsh. Robert Everett believed and preached that “slaveholding was a sin and that a slave was a man for whom Christ, our Lord died.”
By the time of his death in 1874 he was internationally known and revered. He is buried in Capel Ucha Cemetery in Steuben, Oneida County, NY.
Rev. Robert Everett will be inducted into the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum during Induction Weekend set for October 21st through 23rd in Peterboro, Madison County, NY.
Everett’s induction, along with the inductions of Calvin Fairbank and Stephen Myers, was postponed twice due to the corona virus. Rev. Everett was nominated by a group dedicated to his legacy: St. David’s Society of Utica, Oneida County History Center, Remsen-Steuben Historical Society, Welsh North American Association, Professor E. Wyn James, and Ted Engle.
E. Wyn James is a Professor in the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, where he specializes in Welsh literature of the modern period. His research focuses primarily on areas relating to religion, identity, folk culture, gender studies, and book history. James is an authority on the hymn, the broadside ballad, and the literature of evangelicalism. Professor James was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge in 2004. In 2012 he was a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and in 2013 he was a Research Fellow of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York. James is co-Director of the Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies, where he has a special research interest in the anti-slavery movement.
Jerry Hunter PhD studied at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Harvard University. He was a lecturer at Harvard University and Cardiff University before going to Bangor University in UK in 2003. The fields of his research are varied and he has published about Welsh-language literature – from the Middle Ages to contemporary literature. At present he is working on Welsh literature and hopes to build on the foundations outlined in a recent publication The Red Sword, the Sickle and the Author’s Revenge: Welsh Literature and Conflict in the Seventeenth Century. Dr. Hunter has published five novels and a short novel for children. He has also presented and co-scripted three documentary series.
The Abolition Hall of Fame Inductions are held on the weekend closest to the anniversary date of the inaugural meeting of the New York State Antislavery Society held in Peterboro October 22nd, 1835.
For more information, including a full schedule and registration forms, visit the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum website, email email@example.com, or call (315) 684-3262.
Illustrations: Portraits of Rev. Robert Everett.
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