Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DAVID STEPHEN ( 1841 - 1898 ), preacher, temperance reformer, man of letters, and colonist ;

b. at Brynffynnon , Plas-marl , Swansea , 14 Feb. 1841 , son of John Davies ( 1803 - 1854 ) (q.v.) , minister of Mynydd-bach , Llangyfelach . In 1854 his father was killed in the mine , and the boy was forced to leave school and go to work as an engine-driver at Aberdare . In 1857 there was a strike, and he emigrated to the U.S.A. , where he began to preach at Holidaysburg . He then underwent training at the Wyoming Seminary , Kingston , and the Western Theological Seminary , Allegany , and in 1862 was ordained minister of Emmett and Ixonia ; he m. G. Stephens of Wisconsin in the same year. He moved to Denton in 1864 , then to Centreville , and, in 1872 , to New York . Here he formed a company to promote emigration , the ship Rush was purchased, and twenty-nine emigrants were sent off to Patagonia . They got no further than Montevideo , where they dispersed. Another company was formed comprising forty-two emigrants, himself among them. The ship Electric Spark , 200 tons, was purchased, and sailed with a company and a cargo of 250 tons of agricultural implements. This ship was wrecked off the coast of Brazil , the cargo was lost, and it was only after great tribulations that the emigrants reached Patagonia , penniless. It was rumoured in the U.S.A. that they had all been drowned, and a memorial service was held for D. S. Davies , and obituary notices were published. Four months later he returned from the colony to Wales and, in 1875 , was invited to become minister of Ebenezer , Bangor , in succession to Robert Thomas ( Ap Vychan , 1809 - 1880 , q.v.) . He went to New York to fetch his family and there arranged for a third ship, the Lucerne , to sail for Patagonia . This voyage also was a failure. In 1886 he went to Carmarthen to take charge of the church at Union Street , and there he remained until his death, 29 Oct. 1898 . He was editor of Y Celt and published a number of books: Llawfer (Shorthand), Ystyr Bedydd (The Meaning of Baptism), Adroddiad , 1875 , which gave details about Patagonia , and two others designed to appeal to intending settlers in that country, Y Cymro: Llawlyfr y Wladfa , 1881 , and Atodiad i'r Cymro , 1882 .

Sources:

  • NLW MSS 2381-2407, 4611-9;
  • R. Bryn Williams , Cymry Patagonia , Aberystwyth, 1942 and
  • Rhyddiaith y Wladfa , Denbigh Gwasg Gee, 1949 .

Author:

Rev. Richard Bryn Williams, M.A., (1902-81), Rhuthyn / Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959