Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


A Note of Remembrance . . .

The last time I saw Rhys, two years ago, we were sitting in the King’s Arms backyard patio in a glorious cool noontime, birds and bees and scents of late spring surrounding us, and talking with John Turner of Rhys’s long memories of his work in Williamsburg, his visions of the past that happened there. “It was there, just down there,” he said, pointing at the House of Burgesses, “it all began there, right there!” Like a little leprechaun, impish, smiling, he looked again down toward the Burgesses—“It all began there!” His enthusiasm—and reverence—were palpable. He conveyed such joy at having been able to see and learn and imagine that moment when Patrick Henry’s Stamp Act resolves were delivered. He was content, more than content, and it was a treasure to see the heart of his enthusiasm, his love for what he had witnessed year after year in research, in reflection, but most of all in the physical presence of the place that had birthed all he treasured. His work has helped all of us remember, anew.

Rest well, Rhys. And thank you for sharing your joy. The little Welshman from Australia has left us all a great gift!

Jan Swearingen,
Texas A&M University