Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , DAFYDD RHYS ( 1877 - 1946 ), schoolmaster and musician .

Born 10 June 1877 in Maes Comet , Drofa Dulog , Patagonia , one of the 10 children of Dafydd Jones and Rachel (née Williams ) his wife. The father was among the first group to land on the beaches of Patagonia . He came from the Blaenporth area, Cards. , of the same family as John Jones , Blaenannerch ( 1807 - 1875 . His mother's family had emigrated from Bryn-mawr to the Welsh settlement in Rio Grande in Brazil and she was fluent in Portugese and Welsh . When that small settlement was dispersed they moved to Patagonia . The grandmother was a notable character in the religious history of the colony and was one of the founders of the Presb. church in Tre-lew . Her grandson inherited much of her adventurous spirit.

After attending the school of Richard Jones Berwyn the 15-year old youth was sent to Wales to be educated in Cardigan board school ; Ardwyn school , Aberystwyth ; and Newcastle Emlyn grammar school . Contemporaries at Newcastle Emlyn were William and David Davies of Pontrhydygroes with whom he spent part of his holidays, thus beginning his very long association with that area. He gained a teacher's certificate at Aberystwyth College , and taught in Corris , Bryn-mawr , and Park Boys' School in Aberdare , before taking charge of Cwmystwyth school in Dec. 1902 . At the end of March 1906 he returned to Patagonia to be first headmaster of the secondary school there. A few weeks earlier Eluned Morgan had visited Cwmystwyth school and addressed the pupils. Apparently there was a connection between this visit and his appointment as headmaster in Gaiman where he spent 8 influential and successful years. In 1914 he returned to Britain to teach in Hereford . G.J. Williams , the headmaster of Cwmystwyth school (and cousin of Professor Griffith John Williams ), was called for military service and replaced by temporary headteachers . In Jan. 1917 Dafydd Rhys Jones began his second term as headmaster of his old school, and remained there until the permanent headmaster returned at the end of Jan. 1920 , and again for some weeks in April and May after G.J. Williams had taken a similar post in Pontrhydfendigaid . Dafydd Rhys Jones was then appointed headmaster of Ysbyty Ystwyth school and remained there until he reached retirement age in 1941 .

He was an ardent supporter of eisteddfodau , and conductor of a well-known children's choir and a mixed choir from Pontrhydygroes and Ysbyty Ystwyth for over twenty years, winning many prizes. As a remarkable elocutionist he was in great demand at concerts, and he often served as music and literary adjudicator in eisteddfodau . He supported drama , being active on stage and as an adjudicator , and collaborated with his friend David Joshua Davies , the author of Maesymeillion . He took a prominent part in the educational life of his county, becoming chairman of the Cardiganshire teachers’ union . He was an approved lay preacher (Congl.) , and a member of Baker Street (Seion) church , Aberystwyth . He had preached in Patagonia , and offered his services to all denominations. He was a firm nationalist , and worked for years on behalf of the New Wales Union as chairman of the Glennydd district. He did much to foster relationships between Wales and Patagonia . At his suggestion Cymdeithas Cymry Ariannin was formed during the national eisteddfod in Denbigh in 1939 , and he was elected its president . After retiring he farmed Maesybeudy , Pontrhydygroes , and he took a particular interest in agriculture .

He m. twice: (1) in 1902 , Jane daughter of John and Mary Morgan , Hafodnewydd , who d. in 1904 ; they had one daughter; (2) in 1927 , Daisy , daughter of John and Jane Jones , London . He d. 9 Jan. 1946 , and was buried in Ysbyty Ystwyth .

Sources:

  • Baner ac Amserau Cymru , The Cambrian News and The Welsh Gazette , Jan. 1946 ;
  • Cwmystwyth school log books;
  • information from Kathleen Hughes .

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001