Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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LEWIS , THOMAS ( 1859 - 1929 ), Baptist missionary in the Cameroons and Congo ;

b. near Whitland, Carms. , 13 Oct. 1859 , a son of William Lewis , blacksmith and devout Baptist . In 1871 he was baptized and received into Nazareth Baptist church , Whitland . For a while he worked in his father's smithy , but imbued with a missionary purpose (inspired by the story of William Carey ) and encouraged to preach , he studied under the Rev. John Evans at S. Clears grammar school and, in 1880 , he entered Haverfordwest Baptist college . Accepted by the Baptist Missionary Society , he sailed for Africa in Feb. 1883 , and began his many years of arduous and often perilous services to its people. From the Cameroons he went to Congo , and there he became a leader in three historic events in the development of that great mission — the formation of the church at San Salvadore (the first in Congo ), the establishment of the work at Kibokolo , and the opening of the United Training Institute at Kimpese (of which he was the first principal ). His last fourteen years were spent as the Welsh representative of the Baptist Missionary Society . During that period he was also chairman of the select committee which revised the Congo Bible . This work was completed after ten years’ labour and was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society . Thomas Lewis was thrice married; he d. in London 5 Dec. 1929 , and was buried at New Southgate .

Sources:

  • His autobiography, These Seventy Years (1883-1923) , London, 1931 , 1931 , published by the Carey-Kingsgate Press;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Rev. Edward William Price Evans, M.A., (1887-1972), Pontypool

Published date: 1959