Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GEE , THOMAS ( 1815 - 1898 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, journalist, and politician ;

b. at Denbigh , 24 Jan. 1815 , son of Thomas Gee , printer , and Mary Foulkes of Hendre'r Wydd . Educated at Grove Park school , Wrexham , and Denbigh grammar school , he was apprenticed to his father at the age of fourteen. When he had completed his apprenticeship he was employed from 1836 to 1838 by the firm of Eyre and Spottiswoode , London , returning to his father's business at Denbigh in 1838 . The same year he began to preach in the Calvinistic Methodist chapels and continued to do so while carrying on with his business as a printer and publisher , [though ordained in 1847 , he never undertook a pastoral charge]. His particular interests were the Sunday schools and the temperance movement . In 1845 his father d. leaving him in control of the business and the same year he began to publish the Traethodydd , a quarterly edited by Lewis Edwards (q.v.) of Bala . In 1854 he started another great venture — the publication of Y Gwyddoniadur , an encyclopaedia completed in ten volumes by 1878 at a cost of about £20,000. A second edition of this work was published in 1896 . On 4 March 1857 the first number of Baner Cymru , a weekly paper, appeared and in Oct. 1859 this was amalgamated with Yr Amserau (see under Rees , William , 1802 - 1883 ); thereafter the name of the paper was Baner ac Amserau Cymru and from July 1861 it was, for many years, published twice a week. Through Y Faner Gee exercised great influence on the political, social, and religious life of Wales for a long time. Although at first he was not its editor ‘it is scarcely necessary to say’ writes T. Gwynn Jones , ‘that he left his impression on Y Faner from the very beginning,’ and before long he took over entire control of the paper. He was not himself a great littérateur but he gathered round him a distinguished band of writers and created a paper with a character and message of its own. In addition to working through Y Faner for Liberalism and reform he took a prominent part, both on the platform and in the committee room, in the political, educational, and religious movements of the day . He d. at Denbigh , 28 Sept. 1898 , and was buried in the new cemetery. He m. Oct. 1842 , Susannah , daughter of John Hughes of Plas Coch , Llangynhafal ; they had six daughters and three sons. He was succeeded in control of Y Faner by his son HOWEL GEE who d. in 1903 .

Sources:

  • T. Gwynn Jones , Cofiant Thomas Gee , Denbigh, 1913 , 1913 ;
  • Y Geninen , April 1901 .

Author:

Edward Morgan Humphreys, O.B.E., M.A., (1882-1955), Caernarfon

Published date: 1959