Born 7 March 1825 at Aberdare, son of Morgan and Ann James. He was taught music in Rosser Beynon's classes. He had a good voice and, in 1845, was elected precentor of Bethesda chapel, Merthyr Tydfil, where he started a choral society which won many eisteddfod prizes. The society published Organ y Cysegr, a collection of sacred music arranged by Robert James. He was a good composer and many of his anthems were popular in the Merthyr area. One of his tunes, ‘Aberafan,’ is to be found in Rosser Beynon's Telyn Seion.
In 1853 he married Ann Parry, sister of Joseph Parry (1841 - 1903), but she died in 1855. In 1857 he went to Australia where he lived for five years. Returning to Wales, he spent six months organizing a series of concerts. He then emigrated for the second time, this time to the U.S.A., taking his relations by marriage with him and settling at Dannville, Penn. Thence, in 1876, he moved to Ashland where he was appointed Clerk of the Courts of Lucerne County, and, later still, to Wilkes-barré where he died 6 October 1879.
Published date: 1959
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