Born 9 December 1819 at Bryn-du, Anglesey, son of David Elias, Pentraeth, and Elizabeth Roose, and nephew of John Elias. He received his early education at a school kept by Owen Jones (Meudwy Môn, 1806 - 1889) at Pen-y-garnedd; and afterwards R. Hughes of Gaerwen was his tutor. Later he entered Tattenhall school. His parents had intended that he should assist them in the family business at Pentraeth, but the son had set his mind on being an engineer. He joined a Liverpool business firm, then moved to Manchester and acted for many years as a traveller for the North Wales district of a firm of Manchester warehousemen. On his father's death in 1856 he returned to the family business at Pentraeth, where he devoted his leisure to literary and antiquarian pursuits. He contributed a large number of articles to the Welsh and English press on literary, political, and social questions, in which he displayed considerable critical acumen. He reviewed a series of articles on the tithe question which had been published in Yr Herald Cymraeg (1865-7), and this essay is described by Mathetes (John Jones, 1821 - 1878) as the most important contribution to this subject. He wrote a good deal of poetry both in English and Welsh and published a small collection of his compositions under the title Llais o'r Ogof, 1877. At considerable expense to himself he attempted to establish a Welsh antiquarian society, but the venture failed through lack of support. He frequently adjudicated at national and local eisteddfodau, particularly on historical subjects. At first he called himself ‘Thesbiad,’ but when a writer attacked the Methodists in the press under this name he gave it up and called himself ‘Y Thesbiad.’ In Manchester he came under the influence of the political movement founded by Cobden and Bright for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and being a staunch free trader he distributed the League's literature on his travels through North Wales. He died 19 January 1881.
Published date: 1959
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