A WELSHMAN IN RUSSIA In the National Library of Wales Journal for the summer of 1943, Professor David Williams wrote a short yet stimulating article on the Welsh settlers in Russia and the establishment of the township of Hughesovka later renamed Stalino. The following, taken from letters published in Y Gwladgarwr of 1871 and 1872,1 is an account of one Evan Williams, and of his experiences in South Russia at Seminafka (Seminovka). He left Mountain Ash on 31 October 1871 for Cardiff, where he took train for Hull, arriving there in the early hours of the morning. As the ship on which his passage had been booked for Riga did not leave until the following day, he had the opportunity to do some sight seeing and to feel the first pangs of homesickness. He found Hull quite impressive, with its parks and monuments, but particularly the dock area, with its huge warehouses, which paid adequate testimony to the extensive carrying trade of the port. He finally embarked on the s.s. Gozo on the evening of 2 November. This vessel, which had only been built in 1868, was about 200 feet long and of about 1,000 tons. She carried a crew of 22 and was loaded with cotton and woollen yarns, textiles, machinery, hardware, earthenware, Surat cotton and cases of olive oil for Riga.2 They left Hull on the morning of 3 November, handing their letters to the pilot and setting course north-east, and by early afternoon were out of sight of land. Although the weather was fair, the sea was choppy and due to the rolling of the ship those of the Welshmen who were not seasick found it impossible to sleep the first night at sea. On Sunday evening, 5 November, they picked up the light on Jutland, and the following day passed a considerable amount of shipping. On Tuesday, 7 November, a pilot came aboard to take the ship through the straits between Sweden and Denmark, and they were soon in the approaches to Copenhagen. From what he could see of the country, Williams was very impressed with Denmark. Once in the Baltic, the pilot left them, taking their letters with him, and apart from a brief sighting of the coast of Sweden, they were out of sight of land until Friday, 10 November, when wooded land as far as the eye could see gave them their first introduction to Russia. A pilot came aboard and was swiftly taken to task by the captain for not having met the ship five miles out. Despite the warmth of the weather, there was much snow and three inches of ice on the river (the Dvina), through which, however, tug- boats were able to make their way. On setting foot in Russia for the first time they immediately noticed many fine buildings, which, Williams maintained, would have put a great number of those in England in the shade. Their baggage was examined to the accompaniment of violent gestures and a good deal of sign language. They were given practically no time to look about them, and by 6 p.m. on Saturday, 11 November, they were in second class accommodation on a train to Dunaberg, which they reached in the early hours of the morning. Here they 1 Y Gwladgarwr, 30 Dec. 1871, 20 Jan. 1872, 10 Feb. 1872, 30 March 1872, 22 June 1872. 2 Information supplied by the British Transport Commission, Hull.