son of John Howell (died 1841) and his wife Gwen, of Tor-foel, Penderyn, Brecknock. He had little schooling, being apprenticed at eight years old to a shoe-maker; five years afterwards he went to work at Pont-Neath-Vaughan. When fourteen, he was at Merthyr Tydfil, a town of poets and musicians and of eisteddfodau; thence he moved to Aberdare, where he attended night-schools kept by John Anthony and Dan Isaac Davies. He gave up shoe-making, and from 1854 till 1861 worked with his brother-in-law as a sawyer. But on the advice of his pastor Thomas Price (1820 - 1888) he became a printer, opening works of his own in 1867. His frequent contributions to the press won him repute in all parts of Wales — much poetry of his appeared in Yr Ymofynydd, Seren Gomer, and Y Geninen. He himself printed many Welsh books, besides the newspaper Y Gweithiwr Cymreig which he owned and edited. He was an authority on the folklore and the dialect of eastern Glamorgan, and at the Pontypridd national eisteddfod of 1893 he shared with T. C. Evans the prize for an essay on ‘Glamorgan Folklore.’ Two years before his death, he began a series of articles, in Y Geninen, on the older history of the Aberdare valley. He died 14 June 1902, and was buried at Penderyn.
Published date: 1959
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