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The Great Plains Welsh Heritage Project (GPWHP) was established in September of 2000. The inception was brought about by the interview and oral history taken of Ellsworth Closs, a Wymore native and the only Welsh speaking person in Gage County, by Lori McAlister. From this point the research began on the Welsh settlements in the local area as well as the state of Nebraska and Great Plains region.
It was found that at the crossroads of section lines five miles south of Wymore, where currently lies the Bethel Cemetery, is where the Bethel Welsh Church was built in 1879. It stood until 1960. This church became the hub for Welsh immigrants that made the area its home. The area reminded immigrants of their homeland with rolling hills and the Blue River. Bethel Welsh Church, Wymore, NebraskaThe settlement located on both sides of Highway 77, joining on the east was the Otoe Indian Reservation; on the north was the town of Blue Springs and extended three miles south and west. These Welsh settlers, as well as the Germans and Bohemians settlers were and are currently key figures in Wymore success and history. The town of Wymore did not come into existence until May 21, 1881; the date the plat was legally recorded by Sam Wymore.
Unfortunately, Ellsworth died September 27, 2000. His family designated the GPWHP as the recipient of his memorials. These donations became the financial foundation of the project. We can never express to his family how much this meant to us and he is honored at the Welsh Heritage & Cultural Centre in Wymore. Click here for biography of Ellsworth Closs.
Since 2000 the GPWHP has gone through changes, growth and enhanced education of what the Welsh-Americans have contributed not only to the Great Plains but to the entire nation. As Lynn Owens-Whalen, President of the Welsh National Gymanfa Ganu Association, Inc. states, "I am delighted to support the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Centre in Wymore, Nebraska. I do so as President of the WNGGA, an organization whose membership includes North Americans who take pride in their Welsh culture and ancestry and who come together to promote and enhance Wales and Welsh culture on this continent. We are very pleased that the Great Plains Welsh Heritage & Cultural Centre in Wymore is an associated member of the WNGGA and as such shares the goals of the WNGGA."