In 1845 fifty Welshmen, with their families, emigrated from Dolwyddelan in North Wales. Among them were a number of Rowlands. They arrived in Wisconsin and in a spot roughly between the Fox River and Fox Lake in Columbia County, they came upon "....a beautiful landscape stretching in splendor
for miles in every direction under the variable-colored rays of the setting sun, they decided to make that locality a place around which their countrymen in the future would gather to form a Welsh colony."
The community held on to it's native tongue into the early 20th century. What remains is a small town in a pastoral setting with Welsh street names - Cambria, Wisconsin, the town where Madison born actress Virginia Kathryn "Gena" Rowlands, the daughter of Wisconsin State Senator Edwin Myrwyn Rowlands, was raised.
Gena lived in Milwaukee for awhile and attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison before moving to New York City in 1950 to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has since appeared in many films, Lonely Are The Brave with Kirk Douglas (a personal favorite), Tony Rome with Frank Sinatra, the 1991 Jim Jarmusch film Night on Earth and the horror thriller Skeleton Key. She has won four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes. In 1974, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance A Woman Under The Influence, one of many films she made with her late husband, the maverick film director and actor, John Cassavetes. It's a family business, Gena has the distinction of having been directed by both her husband and her son, Nick Cassavetes, who directed her in The Notebook.