Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JOHNS , DAVID ( 1796 - 1843 ), for seventeen years one of the London Missionary Society 's missionaries in Madagascar ;

son of John Jones of Llain , Llanina, Cards. He was a member of the Independent church at Penrhiwgaled . After being trained at Neuadd-lwyd Academy , Newtown Academy , and at Gosport , he was ordained to the mission field, 16 Feb. 1826 . He m. Mary , daughter of William Thomas ( 1749 - 1809 ) (q.v.) , Independent minister at Bala . He took out to Madagascar a printing press and spinning-jenny and co-operated with David Griffiths and David Jones (qq.v.) in founding over twenty-five schools with a total attendance of over 2,000. Working ceaselessly in the face of bitter persecution, he helped to translate the Bible ; he also translated the Pilgrim's Progress into Malagasy , brought out a Malagasy-English dictionary , and edited a number of books . He wrote, jointly with Freeman , A Narrative of the Persecutions of the Christians in Madagascar , a summary of which was also published in Welsh . He suffered terrible hardship when Christianity was being rooted out of the island. When he was compelled to leave Madagascar he continued to give support to the persecuted Christians and maintained contact with them. After a short period of furlough in 1839 he returned to the island, where he d. 6 Aug. 1843 .


  • A Register of Missionaries, Deputations etc., from 1796 to 1885 (1886) , 1923 ;
  • E. Lewis Evans , Cymru a'r Gymdeithas Genhadol, sef hanes ei Chychwyn (1945) ;
  • G. Penar Griffith , Cenhadon Cymreig .


Reverend Dr Evan Lewis Evans, D.Th., (1898-1978), Pontardulais / Swansea

Published date: 1959