Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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WILLIAMS , JOHN (RUFUS) ( Rufus ; 1833 - 1877 ); Baptist minister and author ,

born at Merthyr Tydfil , 5 May 1833 , son of William and Hannah Williams , members at Abercannaid , where he himself was baptized in 1848 . He was employed as a youth at the Pentre-bach ironworks , but started to preach 24 April 1850 , and in Jan. 1855 , after a two years' course of training at a school kept at Merthyr Tydfil by Thomas Davies ( 1812 - 1895 ) , he was admitted to Pontypool College . In 1859 he was ordained minister of the English church at Dowlais , where he also kept a school for ministerial candidates , and on 6 Jan. 1861 he moved to the Welsh church at Nebo , Ystradyfodwg , where he remained till his death 12 Feb. 1877 . He m. (1) 1866 , Mary Davies , daughter of Thomas Davies , Ynys y Maerdy , near Llantrisant , who died within a little over two years; (2) N. Jenkins , a member of his church. Although he died young, Rufus became a very prominent figure in the Welsh Baptist world, as preacher , organiser , and historian . He was co-secretary (probably principal secretary ) of the Welsh Baptist Union from its foundation in 1866 till 1874 , published a number of the early Handbooks at his own expense, and did more than anyone else to remove the opposition to the Union which arose among some of the Associations. As a denominational historian , he published two series of articles in Seren Cymru , the one on Baptist Academies (published in volume form in 1863 ) and the other on the Baptists of Ystradyfodwg (also published in volume form, under the title of Ystradiana , in 1886 ); he compiled the Glamorgan Association letter for 1873 ; and delivered a lecture to the Welsh Baptist Union in 1875 on the history of ministerial education among the Baptists of Wales and Monmouthshire . He was co-editor of Yr Athraw from 1864 till his death, and published a volume of sermons and essays under the title of Gweithiau Rufus , i, 1873 (no subsequent volumes appeared). In addition, he actively organised the Baptist cause in the Rhondda valley during a period of intense industrial development, and was instrumental during the late '60s in founding the English church at Ystrad , and the churches at Hebron ( Ton ), Noddfa ( Treorchy ), and Moriah ( Pentre ).

Sources:

  • Y Geninen , 1907 , 20 (D);
  • Baptist Handbook , 1878 ;
  • Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru , 1938 , 44;
  • Yr Athraw , 1877 , 67, 99, 121, 152, 185, 259, 281;
  • Y Greal sef Cylchgrawn Misol at wasanaeth y Bedyddwyr , 1877 , 68; 1886 , 258.

Author:

Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959