Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , ROBERT DAVID ( Iorthryn Gwynedd ; 1817 - 1888 ), Independent minister ;

b. at Llanrwst 17 Sept. 1817 . He began to preach in 1838 and soon developed an inclination to write both prose and verse . He spent some time at a school at Oxford , kept by Eleazer Jones , son of Dr. Arthur Jones (q.v.) . He received a call to the church at Penarth, Mont. , and its branches, and was ordained there, 25 May 1843 . In the course of his ministry Canaan church was erected and Penarth chapel re-built, and he was largely responsible for starting the Welsh causes at Welshpool and Newtown . In 1851 he went to America to raise money for paying off the debts on his chapels and was able to realise sufficient for this purpose. In 1852 he m. a talented girl known as ‘ Sarah Maldwyn ,’ and in 1855 they, and a number of others with them, emigrated to America . He spent two years as minister of Rome and Floyd , Oneida County, N.Y. , and then became the first minister of Mahanoy City Independent church where he remained until 1870 . In 1872 he went to Knoxville , Tennessee , and afterwards ( 1875 ) to Columbus , Ohio , where he remained until 1877 . He visited Wales in 1872-3 . He d. 25 Nov. 1888 and was buried in Gray cemetery , Knoxville , Tennessee . He was a regular contributor to the different periodicals and was a well-known figure at the eisteddfodau . He published Hanes Cymry America , 1872 , and Yr Ymfudwr, yn cynnwys hanes America ac Awstralia; yn nghyda phob hyfforddiad i ymfudwyr , 1854 .

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , i, 322; iv, 79;
  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig , 1889-96 (2nd ed.), ix, 548;
  • E. D. Jones , Memorial Volume of Welsh Congregationalists in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 1797 to 1931 , Utica, 1934 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959