Rachel Davies (Rahel o Fôn)

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Rachel Paynter Davies
720.Rahel o Fon photo portrait web.jpg
Rachel Evans Paynter Davies "Rahel o Fôn" circa 1870
Born Rachel Evans Paynter
25 August 1846
Born most likely near Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, Wales
Died 29 November 1915 (1915-11-30) (aged 69)
Resting place Watertown, Wisconsin
Nationality Wales
Occupation Preacher and theologian
Known for First woman minister ordained in the state of Wisconsin
Spouse(s) Edward Davies (Born Tregaron, Wales 18 April 1830 - died 17 January 1888 buried in the Llanidan Church Yard, Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, Wales)
Children Annie Davies (10 March 1874 - 22 June 1889 -- Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Watertown, Wisconsin) and Joseph E. Davies (29 Nov. 1876 - 9 May 1958 buried in the National Cathedral, Washington, DC)

Rachel Davies ("Rahel o Fôn") (1846–1915) was a Welsh-born lecturer and evangelist preacher who emigrated to the USA. She was the first woman minister ordained in the state of Wisconsin.[1] Rahel o Fôn is the Welsh Bardic name for “Rachel of Anglesey”.

She started preaching with the Baptists at the age of 20. She was later invited on a preaching tour of the United States and when living in Ixonia she joined the Calvinistic Methodists. While in Wisconsin, she met and married Edward Davies, a prosperous wagon maker who had emigrated to Watertown, Wisconsin from Tregaron, Wales. After her husband died she was ordained a minister, at the age of 44, and carried on preaching all her life.[2]

She returned to Wales for a period and lived at her sister's home Cefn Derwen, Anglesey across from Caernarfon Castle. At one time she gave some assistance to David Lloyd George in his electoral campaign.[3]

She died 29 November 1915 in Washington, DC at her son's home and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Watertown, Wisconsin. A 50 ft stained glass window given in her memory by her son, Joseph E. Davies, can be seen at the Washington National Cathedral.


A theatrical play about her life, Rahel o Fôn.[4] was written by Emily Sprague Wurl.[5] Although quite banal, it is informative, and won First Prize in the Wisconsin Centennial Playwriting Contest, 1948.[6]


She was the daughter of William Cox Paynter, and his wife Jane Mary Williams of Llanfihangel-y-pennant, Caerns.[7] She married in the U.S.A. to Edward Davies, a native of Cardiganshire. Her son, Joseph Edward Davies, was the second Ambassador to represent the United States in the Soviet Union as well as the US Ambassador to Belgium before World War II.


  1. ^ Joseph E. Davies Rev. Rachel Davies
  2. ^ Boskenna and the Paynters by Jim Hosking ISBN 0-9501296-4-X (page 11)
  3. ^ http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-DAVI-RAC-1846.html?query=llanfihangel&field=content
  4. ^ Rahel O’Fôn, The Play, 1947
  5. ^ Robert Edward Gard Grassroots theater: a search for regional arts in America
  6. ^ From the archives of her great grand daughter, Mia Grosjean.
  7. ^ http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-DAVI-RAC-1846.html