University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Chapter VII,   pp. 468-498 PDF (15.0 MB)

Page 498

498                         HISTORY     OF COLUMBIA       COUNTY.
     The Eistedfod is an ancient institution, and was probably peculiar to
the Celts. Now it
is peculiar to that small branch of the Celts inhabiting Wales and their
children in foreign
countries. First established by the Druids, and being then of much more importance
than at
present-all public matters in law, religion and literature being settled
in those meetings in
presence of the public therein assembled-it was deemed necessary, or at least
beneficial, to
keep up this Bardic assembly, after the overthrow of Druidism by Christianity,
in order to fos-
ter learning and especially poetry. For ages, each Eistedfod was held under
the auspices and
protection of some Welsh prince; afterward they were under the patronage
of the Barons, and,
last of all, they were licensed by the English sovereigns. The last royal
license was granted
by Queen Elizabeth in 1567 or 1568. Since that time, the Welsh have felt
enough to hold an Eistedfod when and wherever they choose, without asking
any one's consent.
     The Welsh in Columbia County have held an Eistedfod (sometimes on rather
a small scale)
at home, or have joined with others to hold one in some other part of the
State almost every
year since 1856. Money is sometimes contributed beforehand; sometimes the
sale of tickets
to the meetings is depended upon and rewards are offered for the best compositions
in prose,
verse and music, and sometimes for works of art.   Umpires are usually chosen
from a distance,
to determine upon the merits of the competitors. Everything is arranged as
well as can be to
secure justice. Each of these occasions brings out a great number of competitors,
and it does
much to stimulate and encourage the youths to labor hard for excellency,
and it has contributed
not a little to the education of those who must educate themselves or remain

Go up to Top of Page