JONES, DAFYDD RHYS (1877 - 1946), schoolmaster and musician

Name: Dafydd Rhys Jones
Date of birth: 1877
Date of death: 1946
Spouse: Daisy Jones (née Jones)
Spouse: Jane Jones (née Morgan)
Parent: Rachel Jones (née Williams)
Parent: Dafydd Jones
Gender: Male
Occupation: schoolmaster and musician
Area of activity: Education; Music; Performing Arts
Author: Evan David Jones

Born 10 June 1877 in Maes Comet, Drofa Dulog, Patagonia, one of the 10 children of Dafydd Jones and Rachel (née Williams) his wife. The father was among the first group to land on the beaches of Patagonia. He came from the Blaenporth area, Cardiganshire, of the same family as John Jones, Blaenannerch (1807 - 1875). His mother's family had emigrated from Bryn-mawr to the Welsh settlement in Rio Grande in Brazil and she was fluent in Portugese and Welsh. When that small settlement was dispersed they moved to Patagonia. The grandmother was a notable character in the religious history of the colony and was one of the founders of the Presb. church in Tre-lew. Her grandson inherited much of her adventurous spirit.

After attending the school of Richard Jones Berwyn the 15-year old youth was sent to Wales to be educated in Cardigan board school; Ardwyn school, Aberystwyth; and Newcastle Emlyn grammar school. Contemporaries at Newcastle Emlyn were William and David Davies of Pontrhydygroes with whom he spent part of his holidays, thus beginning his very long association with that area. He gained a teacher's certificate at Aberystwyth College, and taught in Corris, Bryn-mawr, and Park Boys' School in Aberdare, before taking charge of Cwmystwyth school in December 1902. At the end of March 1906 he returned to Patagonia to be first headmaster of the secondary school there. A few weeks earlier Eluned Morgan had visited Cwmystwyth school and addressed the pupils. Apparently there was a connection between this visit and his appointment as headmaster in Gaiman where he spent 8 influential and successful years. In 1914 he returned to Britain to teach in Hereford. G.J. Williams, the headmaster of Cwmystwyth school (and cousin of Professor Griffith John Williams), was called for military service and replaced by temporary headteachers. In January 1917 Dafydd Rhys Jones began his second term as headmaster of his old school, and remained there until the permanent headmaster returned at the end of January 1920, and again for some weeks in April and May after G.J. Williams had taken a similar post in Pontrhydfendigaid. Dafydd Rhys Jones was then appointed headmaster of Ysbyty Ystwyth school and remained there until he reached retirement age in 1941.

He was an ardent supporter of eisteddfodau, and conductor of a well-known children's choir and a mixed choir from Pontrhydygroes and Ysbyty Ystwyth for over twenty years, winning many prizes. As a remarkable elocutionist he was in great demand at concerts, and he often served as music and literary adjudicator in eisteddfodau. He supported drama, being active on stage and as an adjudicator, and collaborated with his friend David Joshua Davies, the author of Maesymeillion. He took a prominent part in the educational life of his county, becoming chairman of the Cardiganshire teachers’ union. He was an approved lay preacher (Congl.), and a member of Baker Street (Seion) church, Aberystwyth. He had preached in Patagonia, and offered his services to all denominations. He was a firm nationalist, and worked for years on behalf of the New Wales Union as chairman of the Glennydd district. He did much to foster relationships between Wales and Patagonia. At his suggestion Cymdeithas Cymry Ariannin was formed during the national eisteddfod in Denbigh in 1939, and he was elected its president. After retiring he farmed Maesybeudy, Pontrhydygroes, and he took a particular interest in agriculture.

He married twice: (1) in 1902, Jane daughter of John and Mary Morgan, Hafodnewydd, who died in 1904; they had one daughter; (2) in 1927, Daisy, daughter of John and Jane Jones, London. He died 9 January 1946, and was buried in Ysbyty Ystwyth.


Published date: 2001

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