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Home > People > R. D. Thomas

R. D. Thomas ('Iorthryn Gwynedd'; 1817 - 1888)

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 aa 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 cause 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 [funds] 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 nghydag phob hyfforddiad i ymfudwyr, 1854.

H. Egl .Ann., i, 322; iv, 79; Y Gwyddoniadur (2nd ed.), ix, 548; E. D. Jones, Welsh Congregationalism in Pennsylvania, 1797-1931.


Extract from: The Dictionary of Welsh biography down to 1940 (London, 1959), pp. 963-964.