Thomas Edwards was born in Swansea on December 6, 1848. the son of Richard and Mary Owen Edwards. His family moved to Cwmbach. Where he went to school where he was educated in Welsh and English schools, with the Mr. Dan Isaac Davies (Trecynon), and afterwards became assistant-teacher in the Merthyr Tydfil School with Mr. Evan Williams, M.A. His pastor, the Rev. Jonah Morgan, whose daughter Miss Bessie Morgan of whom he married in 1871. In finding religion as a youth he was encouraged by the preacher to utilise his gifts and proceeded to Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, and graduated in 1870. He found his health failing and in July of 1870, they emigrated to America and moved to Ohio, and then later to Wilkes-Barre, where he then became pastor of the Welsh Congregational, Church there.
In 1880 he graduated at the National School of Oratory in Philadelphia with the degree of Master of Oratory, and from that year to 1890 he was a professor of elocution at Wyoming Seminay, where he established himself, firmly as a leading elocutionist. In later years he had the degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred upon him by Marietta College, Ohio. He became an author, lecturer, traveller, composer, translator, editor, and preacher, he was best known to Welshmen, however, as eisteddfod conductor.
The full-time ministry in the Edwardsville Church began on January 1, 1880, and continued, with the exception, of two years, 1891 to 1893, when he was pastor of Ebenezer Congregational Church, Cardiff, until his death in 1927. In America, he was one of the most successful ministers of his time. He travelled throughout the States and was known as far west as Oakland, California. His distinguished personality and excellent voice were world renowned. He was a fluent and popular preacher, an excellent organizer, and a leader in his denomination. In 1913, at the International Gymanfa in Pittsburgh, he was invested Archdruid of America by Dyfed, Archdruid of Great Britain. This honour made him chief of the Bardic Fraternity in this country. He was the first Archdruid invested in this country.
Dr. Edwards was elected to the Board of Directors of the Kingston Bank and served as Secretary of the Board and later as Vice President, and to the time of his departure served in this capacity. He taught elocution at Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pa., and lectured on various subjects of popular interest throughout the country. He won many important prizes in the field of poetry and composed many of the hymns in the Welsh-English Hymnal he edited. Above all, he was regarded as an Eisteddfod Conductor in a class by himself. Between 1891 and 1897, he conducted five of the National Eisteddfodau in Wales.
This hymn was among others was written by Cynonfardd.
Victory by the Cross
Near the Cross, O Jesus, keep me,
There a fountain full and free,
With a stream of grace to heal me,
Flowing over Calvary:
There my Saviour died for me.
When before the Cross I trembled,
Fearing sin would vanquish me,
Then my Lord cried “It is finished,”
And hope flowed from Calvary:
Calvary, now for me
Hope of life flows full and free.
In His Cross I’ll glory ever,
His atonement for my sin;
Nothing from His love shall sever;
By this sign the fight I’ll win.
Calvary, now for me
By His Cross comes victory.
Grand National Eisteddfod, Hyde Park, Pennsylvania 22.10.1875
The chief competition of the meeting, at which there were 6,000 persons present, was a contest for a prize of 200 dollars for singing “Rise up, arise” from St. Paul. The competition, by four choirs, was very keen, and the Cambro-American choir, under the leadership of Mr. Robert James, formerly of Merthyr Tydvil, won.
The chair prize was taken by the Rev. Mr Edwards (Cynonfardd). Great interest was shown in the Eisteddfod, and the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railway Company voted 1,000 dollars to the fund. Next year it is confidently expected that President Grant will officiate as chairman of the Eisteddfod.
America and the Eisteddfod, Notable gathering at New Jersey 06.08.1900
Wales is not the only country under the sun where the Eisteddfod finds a congenial home. The institution is growing strongly in popularity on the other side of the Atlantic, and there has just reached us a batch of newspaper cuttings from the “Wilkesbarre Record,” in which serve to show that an eisteddfod held a few weeks ago at Atlantic City, New Jersey, was of such importance as to compare almost, with the great national gathering in the “Old Country.”
Names of Welshmen are numerous and conspicuous among those who took a leading part, Dr. T. C. Edwards “Cynonfardd,” Mr. Herbert Y. Rees, being especially prominent.
Atlantic City is the queen of watering places and the auditorium where the eisteddfod was held seats 5,000 people, which is built on a stool pier which covers a quarter of a mile of the sea.
So great was the success of the eisteddfod that it is now proposed to make it of an international character, also it is the intention that next year’s event shall be opened with a Gorsedd and Druidic rites.
“Cynonfardd Edwards, the well-known eisteddfodic conductor, in the last issue of the ‘Drych,’ writes a strong article in defence of the Merthyr committee against the charges of ignoring the Welsh American visitors to the Eisteddfod, a matter which has been the subject of comment in that journal weekly for some time last.
Cynonfardd very properly points out that the American visitors came to the Eisteddfod in their capacity, knowing nothing of one another beforehand, while the visitors from Brittany and other countries attend as single deputations bearing addresses already drafted, and with their speakers provided and all well arranged for. In, view of this, he urged the American visitors to future Eisteddfodau to make preliminary arrangements, for he is certain. he adds, and no one is in a better position than he to speak, that the committee of the National Eisteddfod will be delighted to welcome the American visitors as a deputation from the land across the Atlantic.
Recognition of a Barry Pastor in America 12.12.1902
On Wednesday, November 19. the L. Ton Evans, formerly of Mount Pleasant English Baptist Church. Cadoxton-Barry was recognised pastor of the First Baptist Church, Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
The service. which was also in connection with the semi-annual meetings of the held this year in the First Baptist Church. was presided over by the Rev. Ivor Evans (ex-president), who called upon the eldest deacon, on behalf of the Church, to state that it extended a unanimous invitation to Mr. Ton Evans to become to pastor.
Mr. Ton Evans stood up and, stated his acceptance. The Rev. T. C. Edwards. D.D. “Cynonfardd” offered a special prayer. Following this, the Rev. D. Wight Roberts (Wilkesbarre) preached In English on the “Christian Ministry,” and the Rev. D. C. Edwards (Taylor), secretary of the association, on “The Duties of a Christian Church.”
Since last May over 50 persons have been added to the Church, the majority by baptism, others are before the Church at present for admission. In the afternoon of the same day the Rev. R. E. Williams (Parsons), and the Rev. D. D. Hopkins (Hyde Parke), both late of South Wales, preached.
It will be welcome news to many that the well-known bard and litterateur, the Rev. T. C. Edwards (Cynonfardd), is now on the road to convalescence. He has been unable to perform his public duties since May last. For several weeks recently has been a patient at the Clifton Springs Sanitorium, N.Y. He is now his duties at his own church Kingston, Pa., with fresh vigour. It was a great disappointment not to be unable to attend the National Eisteddfod at Carnarvon this year, and deeply feels the death of his old friend Silurian, with whom for many years he had been very intimate.
The Welsh Congregational church at Edwardsville, Pa., U.S. America, of which the Rev. Dr. T. C. Edwards (Cynonfardd) is the minister, has invited the Rev. Owen Lloyd Morris, of West Bromwich (Cynonfardd’s son-in-law) to become co-pastor with Dr. Edwards. Mr. Lloyd Morris, who is likely to accept the invitation, is a native of Hebron, Pembrokeshire, and was educated for the ministry at Cardiff and Brecon.
The National Eisteddfod Llangollen 12.09.1908
Welsh Delegates from other Lands.
An interesting episode of the morning meeting was the welcome to the Welsh men and women who were visiting the Eisteddfod as representatives of the Welsh communities in other lands. Cynonfardd, who was conducting, invited, in his resonant tones, all Welsh people present in the audience who lived out of their native country but were now visiting the Eisteddfod audience in the reception of their brethren from abroad. The tiers of seats at the back of the platform were soon filled with the visitors, and Cynonfardd called upon all who were from Patagonia to stand up. Some thirty to forty ladies and gentlemen complied’ with the invitation and were accorded a friendly cheer. Half a dozen or so from Australia and a similar number from South Africa and Canada made themselves known in the same’ way. Three from South America and one or two from New Zealand rose up and when the representatives of the United States Welsh people were asked to declare themselves Cynonfardd hurried to the lowest seat of the tier and stood up with them, indicating that he claimed the United States as his home and country.
His evident anxiety to be considered a foreign visitor caused a laugh and a cheer. Mr. R. Jones Berwyn, the veteran envoy from Patagonia, acted as spokesman for the visitors and was accorded a warm-hearted reception. Returning thanks for the welcome, he pointed out that, as one of the first Welsh settlers to arrive at Patagonia, he had been absent from his fatherland for 53 years. He was now the oldest man living in the settlement of Chubut, but there lived at the foot of the Andes an octogenarian who had for many years sat at table with members of his family of four generations. The day upon which the Welsh settlers landed was still commemorated. At the first annual celebration they numbered all told not more than 105; today they were 500, of whom the large majority were natives of the colony and spoke Welsh.
He had the honour of establishing the first day school in the colony. It was a Welsh school and for years it continued to be the only school in the Chubut Valley, a fact which suggested that in Patagonia there was a better place for the study of Welsh than even their own country. Of the twenty places of worship, the Welsh people had 14 chapels and two churches, and the services were all in Welsh.
In a word, the Eisteddfod motto, “Oes y byd i’r iaith Gymraeg,” was also the motto of the Welsh people of Patagonia. The audience rose and sang “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” at the close of Mr. Jones Berwyn’s speech.
Return of Dyfed, Colossal Eisteddfod at Pittsburgh. Lost luggage Recovered 25.07.1913
There appears to be no division of opinion as to the success of the Pittsburgh International Eisteddfod and as to the Cymric flavour of the proceedings. The best judge of this is Dyfed, and on his return home to Cardiff on Thursday the Archdruid gave his impressions.
“There were thousands there from every State, even distant California being well represented. I officially established a local Gorsedd at Pittsburgh with Cynonfardd as president and Judge H. M. Edwards, of Scranton. Who is a native of Ebbw Vale, and vice-president. Love of the homeland is intense amongst our fellow Cymry out there, and we might well copy their enthusiasm for Wales and its characteristics.
“The eisteddfod was on a colossal scale and conducted excellently by Cynonfardd, who, by the way, is now on the ocean on his way to Abergavenny. Although there were many arrests in Pittsburgh during Independence Day there was not a single Welshman in the list, notwithstanding the many thousands of our countrymen who bed assembled from every quarter.”
“What of the singing?”
“You may say, quite honestly, that the Rhondda Male Voice Choir won on their merits, but we must not run away with the idea that to win choral prises in America is an easy matter, for the American choirs sang with marvellous precision and effect. We may look forward to a visit from one of them in future.”
Dyfed added that it was a big hustle from the time he landed until he boarded the Caronia at New York homeward-bound. In the scurry be had kin sight of all his luggage, but late on Thursday, he received information on its safety.
“That little bit of good news will relieve my mind immensely, I can now settle down to prepare my adjudication for our own, National next month,” added the Archdruid, who is hale and buoyant, having gained a deal of physical strength during his Transatlantic trip.
Gorsedd for America 07.08.1913
The Archdruid gave a characteristically racy account of his recent cadet to the United States. and reported having established a subordinate Gorsedd for America, with Cynonfardd as deputy-archdruid, his Honour Judge Edwards was assistant, and Ap Madoc as herald bard.
Replying to questions, the Archdruid said the supreme authority of the ancient Gorsedd of Bards of the Isle of Britain had been safeguarded by him in the arrangements made.
San Francisco Eisteddfod
It was stated that a great international eisteddfod surpassing In magnitude and magnificence that of Pittsburgh will be held at San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and that the Welsh citizens of the Pacific States will make an application, for the establishment, there was another subordinate Gorsedd on the same lines as that of Pittsburgh, and that a similar application wag shortly expected from Australia.
It was made clearer that these would all be subordinate to the British Gorsedd. and the archdruid thus became the supreme head of the bardic fraternity throughout the world. Attention was called to the fact that the Abergavenny committee had made great effort under very considerable difficulties to provide in every possible way for the comfort of the bards during the eisteddfod week. This was largely due to the efforts of the Rev. Crwys Williams. chairman of the Gorsedd committee; the Rev. Evan Davies, vicar of Llanover, vice-chairman; the Rev. Evan Price, Ebbw Vale, secretary of the Gorsedd committee; ably seconded by Mr. B. H. Jackson general secretary.
Mr. Beriah Evans called attention to the public-spirited enterprise of the Welsh National Council of the Y.M.C.A. Association in volunteering to undertake the task of catering. It appeared they offered to become responsible for any loss upon the enterprise. while prepared to hand over to the eisteddfod fund any profits left after meeting the actual expense. This was owing to the difficulty of securing tender, from capable caterers unless they were permitted to Nell intoxicant.
The Rev. J. T. Job proposed and Pedr Hir seconded, the meeting was unanimously resolved. “That the association placed on record its high appreciation of this public-spirited action of both the national council and the eisteddfod committee.”
Archdruid of America
At the intent eisteddfod at Pittsburgh in 1913, Dr. Edwards was installed as Archdruid of America by Dyfed, the Archdruid of Wales. In 1906 Dr. Edwards took a courageous stand against certain saloons which were not being conducted decently in Edwardsville. This excited the rage of certain Edwardsville hotelkeepers who, it is alleged, employed a gang of dynamiters to blow up the Edwardsville Church.
The attempt was successful. Following the destruction of the church, the pastor was flooded with all kinds of letters and expressions of sympathy. With all his varied and intense activity, he found time to serve in the political field. He was a campaign speaker in Presidential elections, he was a candidate for the State Senate, ran for the Legislature in the Fifth Legislative District, and in 1912 he was put on Roosevelt’s Progressive slate as a Presidential elector. Considered from every point of view, he was a man of genius, broad-minded, and patriotic.
Years in Great Britain and America
The Queen of Romania at the National Eisteddfod 12.08.1890
The announcement made the previous day that the Queen of Roumania intended again visiting the Eisteddfod to witness the crowning of the bard, served to attract a crowd which rivalled that of Thursday, and as the Queen brought with her Royal weather the last day proceed the most successful of all. Her Majesty had requested that there should be no formal procession awaiting her on Friday, but there were a number of ladies and gentlemen went to the railway station to receive her, and to accompany her to the Eisteddfod pavilion.
The Queen of Roumania was the daughter of the Prince of Wied, on the right bank of the Rhine. Though her hair is streaked with silver, her complexion is wonderfully preserved. She has a truly majestic presence but was most gracious in her response to the greetings which welcomed her on all hands. The family seat of the house of Wied is near the town of New Wied, which is the capital of the principality, and her brother, the reigning prince, is married to Princess Fredericka, of the Netherlands. Her Majesty was accompanied on the present occasion by the following ladies of honour: Helene Vacaresce, the daughter of the Roumania ambassador at Berlin; and herself a Romanian poetess of national repute; Zoe Vacaresco, and Zoe Micelesco. Accompanying them was General Grecgano, the Palace Prefect of Romania.
The only bard who addressed her Majesty in English was the conductor, Cynonfardd, a Welsh American was a professor of elocution, now on a visit to this country. He prefaced his poetical address by saying that it was “an American greeting to her Majesty the Queen of Roumania, ‘Carmen Sylva,’ at Bangor National Eisteddfod.”
Twice welcome, Queen of Romania,
To the temple of poesy and song.
We welcome the fair “Carmen Sylva,”
Hurrah is the voice of the throng.
The bards of the Gorsedd do greet you,
The people are happy to most you –
A Queen who in queenly in action,
And royal in beauty and grace,
Whose fame in the realm of her nation,
Is echoed in this holy place.
Long life to her Most Gracious Highness
With welcome the welkin will ring,
And hearts that are loyal to goodness
Pray God bless the Queen and the King.
(Rev.) T.C. Edwards (Cynonfardd), of Kingston, Pa., U.S., America.
Her Majesty had, of course, understood this frequently expressed during its delivery her appreciation of its sentiments and kind wishes. She then, through the chairman announced her desire to read to the assembled multitude a poetical address, to Wales and her bards, that she had specially written for this occasion since she left the Eisteddfod yesterday. This announcement was received with deafening Applause, and the Queen then proceeded to read in a clear and musical, though somewhat powerful voice, and with excellent emphasis and intonation, the following:
For the Eisteddfod
Long live the bards and long live the song,
And the harp with the soul’s own singing.
May ever the thanksgiving choirs’ throng
Where the echoes from old are ringing.
Where the song has a throne and the bard a crown
And the sword of peace is uplifted,
And sweet welcome sounds from the shore to the town
To the stranger with singing gifted.
Long live the smile and the song and the tale,
That nought from the soul can sever:
May sunshine brighten each Emerald Isle,
Hail, Cymru, old Cymru, for ever!
Llandudno, Sept. 5th, 1890 Bard “Carmen Sylva” H.
Her Majesty’s voice like the tone of a silver bell reached every part of the vast pavilion and drew the involuntary tear from hundreds of eyes. She then handed the words, beautifully engrossed on vellum, to the Eisteddfod officials, who forthwith sent it to be handsomely framed and hung up among the eisteddfod exhibitions. The Queen then announced that one of her ladies of honour, Helene Vacaresco, a celebrated Romanian poetess would read an address composed by that lady as the greeting of Romania to Wales. Miss Vacaresco then advanced and received a welcome second only to that accorded her royal mistress. She read the following in a clear voice, but with an evident foreign accent:
Romania to Wales
You have welcomed our Queen
To the land of sweet song,
And far off from the land –
Where the sun’s warmest rays
Are lulling to slumber
The maize in the plains.
From the shepherd’s low flute,
From the Colza’s sad strains
Deep thanks for our Queen
Are now borne on the gales
And wave, like a song,
From Roumania to Wales.
Ministering back in Wales
Rev. T. C. Edwards commences of his pastorate at Ebenezer Chapel, Cardiff 06.07.1891
After an almost continuous absence of 21 years from Wales, the Rev. T. C. Edwards “Cynonfardd” had returned to his native land, and on Sunday he commenced his pastorate of Ebenezer Independent Chapel, Cardiff. It was a matter of some difficulty to induce Mr. Edwards to cross the Atlantic, for the number of large and wealthy Churches on the other side were holding out tempting baits to get him to stay, but his last year’s visit to “yr hen wlad” seemed to have strengthened his desire to return to the land of his fathers, and he turned a willing ear to the “call” of the brethren at Ebenezer. Mr. Edwards is a decided acquisition to the ranks of Welsh Nonconformist ministers, for he stands deservedly high as a preacher, poet, and lecturer. A prominent zeal of his accomplishments is elocution. Dr. Herber Evans will have it that Dickens himself never read his works better than “Cynonfardd” can read them, while his reading of the chapter at the commencement of the service places him in a position occupied by no one else at the present moment.
The Rev. Cynonfardd Edwards, Probable Return to America. 18.11.1892
A Welsh-American paper states:
It seems that the Rev. T. Cynonfardd Edwards, DD., Cardiff has been a bit unsettled in his mind. On Monday, the 10th ult., his old Church at Edwardsville, Pa. wired to him asking for a definite answer to the call they and given him. On the following Saturday he replied, ‘I will be with you in June,’ and this was read to the congregation the day afterwards It is taken for granted that when he comes, he will remain.
A representative of the “Western Mail” on Thursday night waited upon Dr. Edwards to ascertain the true facts of the case. The rev. gentleman admitted that the incident referred to was perfectly true, but up to the present he had had no official call, and no definite reply had been given.
Rev. T. C. Edwards the pastor of Ebenezer returning to the States 26.11.1892
Considerable interest has been aroused in Non-conformist circles in South Wales by reports which have appeared in some of the Welsh papers intimating that it was the intention or the Rev. T. C. Edwards, D.D., the well-known pastor of Ebenezer Congregational Church, Cardiff, to return to his old sphere of labour at Edwardsville, Kingston, Pennsylvania.
The statements which, were obviously unauthorised created considerable uneasiness within the church itself. Dr Edwards, it will be remembered, accepted the pastorate of Ebenezer a couple of years ago, and has occupied the pulpit there with equal distinction and success since that time. Perfect harmony prevailed between the members and their pastor, and the expectation was general that Dr. Edwards regarded his charge at Cardiff as a permanent one.
The statements in the Press, however, caused grave misgivings: and it was felt that they were of such a character that they could not be allowed to pass unnoticed. Having been informed of the feeling which possessed the church, Dr. Edwards on Sunday evening made an important announcement of his intention to a full church meeting. The rev. gentleman pointed out that he had no alternative m view of the statements made on this and the other side of the Atlantic but to declare his, own position, although possibly it was premature.
Hs had decided, after consultation with his deacons that morning, to make a statement to the church. It appears that ever since his first residence in Cardiff efforts have been made and inducements held out to Dr Edwards to return to his old church at Edwardsville. In November 1891, he received a pressing invitation from them, embodying an earnest wish that he would resume his duties in his old sphere in August 1892.
That invitation he refused. He spent his vacation, however, visiting some of his old friends in America, and. curiously enough, occupied the pulpit on the Sunday as from which he was invited to formally resume its pastoral oversight. The invitation was renewed during his visit, but he again declined. Subsequently, another invitation was received inviting him to take up the pastorate, and to re-commence work in April 1893. In September of the present year, Dr. Edwards wrote declining this offer. Then came a cablegram from the church officers, which he received during the Congregational Union meeting at Bradford.
The cablegram asked that Dr. Edwards should give a reply “yes” or “no” to the question “Will you be with us in June?” After reviewing all the circumstances and considering the matter very carefully he cabled back “Yes.” The intention was that he should return to his old field of labour in June next. Having made this statement, the rev. gentleman also paid a tribute to the church at Ebenezer and passed a warm encomium on its fidelity and zeal. It was an honour to have held its pastorate, and he should care to hold no other in Wales.
Many ties of interest, affection, and association united him to his old church in Edwardsville but one of the chief factors in inducing him to return to America was the reflection that the need among his countrymen and his denomination was vastly greater at Kingston thin at Cardiff. It would be far easier for them at Cardiff to secure a suitable minister than for their follow-countrymen in Pennsylvania, whose needs were so much greater. Anticipating the question, why, then, did he leave America, he said he thought he might fairly claim that his two years’ ministry there had been blessed and that the church and himself had benefited by it.
The King and the Eisteddfod 08.09.1904
Lord Aberdare, the president of the Committee of next year’s National Eisteddfod of Wales, has received a letter from Sir Dighton Probyn, in which he states “His Majesty commands me to say that he will be happy to accede to your request to accord his patronage to the National Eisteddfod of Wales for 1905, to be held at Mountain Ash.”
A letter has also been received by Lord Aberdare from Sir Arthur Bigge, in which it is stated that “the Prince of Wales is very glad to give his patronage to the Grand National Eisteddfod of Wales for the year 1905.” The Rev. Dr. T. C. Edwards (Cynonfardd), Kingston, Pennsylvania, America, has just accepted an invitation to be one of the conductors of next year’s National Eisteddfod of Wales, to be held at Mountain Ash, and also to be the adjudicator in the oratorical department of the Eisteddfod.
Mountain Ash National Eisteddfod 12.08.1905
Cynonfardd, a veteran Eisteddfodwr, who has figured pre-eminently at the Eisteddfodau of two continents, gave a most cordial greeting from the Welsh beyond the sea to their kindred in Wales. Many a time had he cheered the hearts of their compatriots across the Atlantic by the means of using portraits of eisteddfodic functions in the old country. “Don’t be surprised,” he said,” if next year 200 Welsh- Americans will come over in one choir to compete at Carnarvon Eisteddfod. But I tell you this in confidence if they do come, then look out.”
He then lifted his eyes to the summit of the mountain. Cynonfardd asked, “Where is Cwmpennar from here? I worked underground at that pit nearly half a century ago. Is Pont Bruce still spanning the river? Over 40 years ago four collier boys used to hold prayer meetings on that bridge. “I was one of them.” His words had a magic effect on the large gathering of Welshmen.
The National Eisteddfod opened at Mountain Ash on Monday under the presidency of Lord Aberdare. In the chief brass band contest, the first prize went to the Ferndale band and in the second contest the winning band was the Ogmore Temperance
A number, of minor awards were made in the musical section, besides those in the art section. Papers were read at the Cymmrodorion Society’s meeting on the subject of a National Museum of Wales.
The quaint Gorsedd ceremony took place on Tuesday morning at the Grove’s Field, near the seat of Lord Aberdare. A large number of bards were in attendance, and the ceremony was witnessed by a great crowd of people. The programme for next year’s Eisteddfod at Carnarvon was proclaimed, and Dr. Cynonfardd Edwards, speaking in the name of Welsh Americans, extended a greeting to the Welshmen of Wales.
While he was at Mountain Ash for the Eisteddfod, while he was talking, he lifted his eyes to the summit of the mountain. Cynonfardd asked, “Where is Cwmpennar from here? I worked underground at that pit nearly half a century ago. Is Pont Bruce (Bruce Bridge, was filled in many years ago), still spanning the river? Over 40 years ago four collier boys used to hold prayer meetings on that bridge.” “I was one of them.” His words had a magic effect on the large gathering of Welshmen. He briefly returned to Wales, in 1891, during his brief stay in Wales, he, however, created a deep impression, he was then called back to conduct the National Eisteddfodau. In that role, he had no peer. He exercised a remarkable influence over the large national gatherings: he could move his audiences to tears by the tragic pathos of description or stir them to laughter by his nimble wit. He was, however, the personification of dignity in the post.
Bryn Seion, Cwmbach 23.09.1905
On Sunday morning and evening Dr Cynonfardd Edwards, the well-known Welsh-American poet-preacher, delivered impressive sermons at Bryn Seion Congregational Chapel. There was an exceptionally large congregation.
Rev. Dr. T. C. Edwards, Ill Forbidden to Conduct at the National Eisteddfod 30.06.1906
Dr. T. C. Edwards (Cynonfardd), who had just accepted the invitation of tie Carnarvon Committee to act as chief conductor of this year’s National Eisteddfod, is now forbidden by his medical advisers from fulfilling that or any other engagement for a considerable time to come. Dr. Edwards, whose name is of course, as familiar in Wales as it is in the United States, and whose pastorate of Ebenezer Church, Cardiff, is still lovingly remembered, was not in his usual health when he wrote his acceptance of the Carnarvon invitation, some three weeks ago, but what was then deemed a mere passing indisposition has developed into a more serious ‘illness and complete physical prostration, necessitating his removal from Kingston to his summer residence at Laketown, Luzerne County, where almost constant living in the open air has already largely benefited him. “Fortunately,” he writes, with his customary humour, “the weakness from which I suffer it is my legs less, and not in my head.”
Cynonfardd at Mountain Ash 08.08.1908
A visit was paid to this place on Friday evening by Dr. T. C. Edwards (Cynonfardd), of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, welcome had been arranged for him Bethania Vestry, when about 60 and gentlemen, including the member of Mr. T. G. Richards’ Touring Party, were present. A small meeting was held, prior, to the luncheon, when the happy gathering partook of a sumptuous repast. The ‘Doctor addressed the meeting and was in one of his happiest His allusions to the spread as co&’ pared with the American’s were hugely enjoyed.
Referring to the tour Party, of which he was the American Agent, the Doctor spoke of numerous engagements and the general success of arrangements. During the evening Mr. Richards’ Party rendered several and Messrs. D. Cynon Evans and Godfrey Price sang solos. Mr. E. Gregor proposed the toast of a Dr. Edwards’ “Health,” and Mr. W. Badham seconded.
When I was introduced to Cynonfardd’ there was nothing that struck me so much as the utter absence of Americanism. After close upon half a century of life “in the States,” I naturally looked for those peculiar habits and accents so-indissolubly bound up in them and it was with no small amount of pleasure that I discovered one at least of our countrymen who spoke Welsh a Welshman and English like an Englishman.
In the few minutes I was in the Doctor’s company I was charmed with his beautiful flow of language, stilted, and not bitten off in that staccato style so much in evidence with the who has lived a few hours across the pond. Doctor Edwards’ personality is one that claims the whole of one’s attention; his bright eye and beautiful voice seem almost to fascinate, throughout one cannot help but grasp the idea that he is essentially a man of business.
This should augur well Glyndwr Richards’ tour. I was highly amused at Mr. Edwards’ story of someone impersonating him out west,” and also of the good time the impersonator on his name. When the tale was told first it was said that “he had had spree with ‘Cynonfardd.’” That led to the exposure of the fraudulent, user of his name, for of course sprees and Cynonfardd are about as far apart as the poles. The hand of friendship is held out to all Welshmen who visit the and practical sympathy and a letter 01 introduction from him has carried many a son of Wales on the high road success.
Doctor Edwards’ personality is one that claims the whole of one’s attention; his bright eye and beautiful voice seem almost to fascinate, throughout one cannot help but grasp the idea that he is essentially a man of business. This should augur well Glyndwr Richards’ tour. I was highly amused at Mr. Edwards’ story of someone impersonating him “out west,” and also of the good time the impersonator on his name.
Glyndwr and his Boys Presented 14.11.1908
One of the most interesting features of Mr. T. Glyndwr Richards’ tour in America secured at the first annual Gwent Eisteddfod held at Edwardsville on Oct. 29th.
The choir were not of courses competing but rendered several items from their extensive repertoire in excellent style. Their singing was thought very high class, and the engagement of the Mountain Ash boys gave an extraordinary fillip to the first eisteddfod held by the Gwent Glee Society. Mr. Richards was, in company with his agent, the Rev. T. C. Edwards, D.D. (Cynonfardd), acting as musical adjudicator.
During the evening the President of the session made a presentation of a handsome medal to Mr. Richards and all his choristers, Cynonfardd and his son-in-law. One interesting matter in connection with the affair was the presentation of an extra medal to Mr. Richards which is to be handed to Mr. David Sheffra Morgan, 41 Allen Street, Mountain Ash, who was unable to go with the party. The act is a most gracious and thoughtful one on the part of the eisteddfod committee, and will surely cement closer, if possible, the ties of friendship already existing between the two Welsh parties on either side the Atlantic.
Dr. Cynonfardd Edwards Noted Welsh Ambassador visit to Cardiff, 12.06.1909
Dr. Cynonfardd Edwards, of Kingstown, Penn., who has come ewer from the States, in order, to conduct at the National Eisteddfod in London, delivered a lecture on Wednesday evening at Bethlehem Chapel, Splott, Cardiff. Sir Marchant Williams presided over a large audience, and the doctor, who is a great traveller and a favourite in Wales, gave a delightful series of “lessons of travel on land and seas.” He described many places of interest in all parts of the world and remarked that humanity the same all the world over.
Lecture at Cwmbach 23.08.1913
On Wednesday at Bryn Seion Church a greatly appreciated lecture, entitled “Life on the Four Continents.” was delivered by Dr. Cynonfardd Edwards, Pennsylvania, America.
Mr. Morgan John, Aberdare, presided. He remarked that Dr. Edwards was a native of Cwmbach and had worked as a pit-boy in the place.
Cynonfardd was a conductor at the National Eisteddfod this year and had also attained eminence as preacher, poet, and elocutionist. Cynonfardd, in the course of his address, said that it was 57 years since he visited Cwmbach last.
He had the pleasure of coming there on one of the canal boats which were in use at the time. Dr. Edwards then proceeded to deal with his subject with a master hand. He related his experience on the four continents and described the ways of the people that lived there. A vote of thanks to the speaker was proposed by the Rev. R. H. Davies, B.A., pastor of Bryn Seion.
Mr William Morgan seconded the motion and remarked that he hoped that the Doctor would be spared to pay another visit to the place. He wished him a safe journey across the Atlantic, and a long life to serve his nation. This was carried unanimously. A song was given by Mr Thomas Evan Williams. The accompanist was Mr. Fred Rees, A.L.C.M
Cwm Rhondda 24.05.1927
Many Welsh people accompanied the choir, and after a prayer was offered up the choir sang “Yr Haf,” Gwilym Gwent’s composition, and a few Welsh hymns. The concert at night was a great success, and before its close, the late Cynonfardd, who was present at the concert (the last he attended), called for “Cwm Rhondda.” The choir immediately responded. Similar experiences were met by the choir throughout the tour, and so many invitations were made to Miss Gronow for a return tour that the Royal Welsh Ladies’ Choir is certain to respond next season.
Cynonfardd dead, Bard, Conductor and Preacher
The death has occurred, in his 78th year of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Edwards (Cynonfardd), the Welsh bard, for half-a-century pastor of Edwardsville Congregational Church, Wilkes Barre, U.S.A. He was for two years pastor of Ebenezer Welsh Congregational Church, Cardiff.
An Appreciation, Qualities which won the Nation’s Regard by Alfred Probyn
It must be more than 30 years since Cynonfardd left Cardiff for the United States. In the case of en ordinary minister of the Gospel, or an ordinary eisteddfod conductor, his name would long ago have been forgotten in the old country, but Cynonfardd’s is still familiar in Wales. That is because he was much more than an ordinary Nonconformist minister or an ordinary conductor, he was in no sense an ordinary person, because he retained his interest in Wales and kept in touch with it. He will be fondly remembered by many Cardiff people as the pastor of Ebenezer Congregational Church, where he ministered faithfully for a few years. He was successful, both a pastor and in the pulpit: he was also a capable organiser and administrator, and his, personal popularity was considerable. He h.td personal charm and many attractive qualities which endeared him to people.
To the present generation, he is best known as a successful conductor at eisteddfodau. He frequently acted in that capacity at the National Eisteddfod, and his visits to this country upon those occasions were looked forward to by many of his old friends and admirers.
Dignified and Correct
As, conductor he was never a clown, as some are, and many more have been. He was always dignified and correct. His jokes and stories were carefully prepared, and there was nothing impromptu about his fun. Like other conductors, he would dress up an old story and work it off when the occasion (which he engineered) arrived, thus following the orthodox method of his time.
He was, however, capable and an efficient conductor, who always had his audiences under control, and his resonant voice-enabled hint to be easily heard. In the pulpit and on the lecturing platform the same dignity and propriety were observed, both his matter and manner being in good taste.
He was not an orator, because he was too calm and collected, if not too cold, ever to lose himself in a torrent of words, but an elocutionist, and a professed elocutionist. More than thirty years ago he published a little book, entitled “Elocution and Oratory.” and on the title page described himself as “Professor of Elocution” and “Graduate of the National School of Elocution and Oratory, Philadelphia, U.S.A.”
Cynonfardd undoubtedly rendered good service in impressing upon students and others the importance of giving effective expression to their, own thoughts and those of other people. The Welsh pulpit has been notoriously deficient in that respect, reliance being placed upon the ‘hwyl.’ The reading of the Bible and hymns was, unfortunately, is, very frequently slipshod, while seldom does the delivery of the sermon approach oratory. As might be expected, Cynonfardd’s voice was powerful and well-trained, with the result that he could be heard distinctly in all parts of the largest buildings. He will not be remembered for his literary work, but he was a kindly, genial soul, who filled a niche in the life of Wales. and who will be missed by many to whose edification and entertainment he contributed.
Cynonfardd an American Newspaper Pays Tribute
The “Wilkesbarre Record ” (U.S.A.) pays a fine tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Thomas Edwards (Cynonfardd), whose death was reported in these columns three days ago. It speaks of him as “one of the most eminent clergymen in the United States, particularly in the ranks of Welsh preachers,” and adds:
“He was a man of great ability, a convincing logician, and a clear thinker. When be expounded the Word of God his words struck conviction into the hearts of his hearers.
“As is natural with people of his nationality, Dr. Edwards was passionately fond of music. There is no man in the country more capable in Eisteddfod gatherings than was the Rev. Dr. Edwards. In his native land, he presided over several National Eisteddfodau. In Edwardsville be built up one of the largest churches in the Wyoming Valley and one of the most earnest congregations. The community has suffered a great loss. It can ill afford to spare so devoted a Christian, so able a leader, one so outstanding in all the characteristics that sound out the great man. The whole community will mourn.”
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