Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , MORRIS ( 1799 - 1878 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, and later Independent minister ;

b. at Llechwedd-ystrad , Llanuwchllyn , in May 1799 . He attended for a time one of Dr. Daniel Williams 's schools, which was kept in the ‘ Old Chapel ,’ but the teacher at that time was highly incompetent; however, he was given an excellent grounding in the Bible by George Lewis (q.v.) . The family was so poor that he had to start earning a living when he was 10 years of age, and worked on a number of farms , mostly in the Bala district, until the economic condition of the countryside deteriorated and he was allowed to join his uncle at Bryn Llin , Trawsfynydd , where for some time he had to work for nothing more than his keep. He joined the chapel at Llanfachreth where he was given the opportunity of practising his gift for public speaking . In Feb. 1820 he began his career as a Calvinistic Methodist preacher . In 1824 he went to live at Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog , where he rented a small farm and continued to preach regularly. While there, he got into trouble because of his opinions in regard to ‘ certain matters relating to the teachings of the Gospel .’ He was accused of leaning towards the ‘New System’ in doctrinal matters and of following John Roberts of Llanbryn-mair ( 1767 - 1834 ) (q.v.) and other Independent ministers . In June 1828 his case was brought before the Bala Association and he was forbidden to preach outside his own county until the Association met at Caernarvon in the following Sept., when he was restored to favour. In June 1831 he emigrated to America , whither his father had gone in 1818 . He settled, first of all, at Utica , where he was ordained 7 Aug. 1831 , but moved to Remsen in 1833 where he not only preached regularly in a number of churches but also had a farm . Here again he came into collision, this time with some of the elders, on questions of church discipline and doctrine, and he was excommunicated. He now joined the Independents , among whom he played a very prominent part in the county of Oneida until his retirement in 1871 . He d. 30 June 1878 , and was buried in Fairchild Corner cemetery , Remsen . He was a notable preacher . He visited Wales in 1866 and was given quite a warm welcome, although his name was under a cloud in some quarters because he had closed his chapel against Samuel Roberts of Llanbryn-mair , with whose opinions on slavery and war he disagreed.


  • Edward Davies , Cofiant y diweddar Barch. Morris Roberts, Remsen, N.Y. (Utica, 1879) ;
  • R. T. Jenkins , Hanes Cynulleidfa Hen Gapel Llanuwchllyn (1937) , 169-70;
  • Owen Thomas , Cofiant y Parchedig John Jones, Talysarn (New York, 1868) , 576, 577;
  • Jonathan Jones , Cofiant y Parch. Thomas Jones o Ddinbych yn cynnwys ei gyssylltiad a duwinyddiaeth a llenyddiaeth ei oes (Denbigh, 1897) ;
  • Cymru (O.M.E.) , xx, 169-70.


Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959