Born at Bala, 14 July 1811; his parents were prominent members of the Independent chapel there. The family followed the father, in 1821, to U.S.A., settling at Delaware. Chidlaw's education was completed by three years of study in Miami university. In April 1835 he was licensed to preach, and was ordained in 1836 as pastor of the Congregational church at Paddy's Run, Ohio. In 1844 he became pastor of the Presbyterian church at Cleves and district, but left in 1846 in order to become the first commissioned missionary of the American Sunday School Union. In 1861 he undertook missionary work in the Southern Ohio military camps of instruction established for Union volunteers, and a little later accepted the chaplaincy of the 39th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but was unable to retain this position for more than a year owing to failing health.
The results of his indefatigable labours during fifty-six years of service for the American Sunday School Union can hardly be overestimated. He established Sunday schools in all parts of the Central West, and from 1855 onwards he was ‘the best-known Sunday-School advocate in the U.S.A.’ He was an evangelist as well as a Sunday school missionary. During his visits to Wales, he found abundant time and opportunity for revival work; in 1839 in Llanuwchllyn, 250 persons were converted by one of his sermons. He was also a remarkable platform speaker.
He died suddenly at Dolgelley, 14 July 1892, on his eighty-first birthday. His remains were brought to his home in Cleves, Ohio, and laid to rest in the Berean cemetery nearby. He published The History of Paddy's Run, n.d., Yr America, Golwg ar Dalaith Ohio, Hanes Sefydliadau Cymraeg yr America, Cyfarwyddiadau i Ymfudwyr, in 1840, two editions; also an interesting volume called The Story of My Life. In the year 1894 a memorial volume to him was published under the title Sunset and Evening Star.
Published date: 1959
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