FUNERAL OF THE REV. W. EDWARDS, EBENEZER. 1813-1884
On Tuesday a vast number of people assembled at Meirion Cottage, Trecynon, to pay the last honours to a man who has played an important part in the religious history of the Aberdare Valley during the last 40 years, and whose death leaves a gap not easily filled. When he settled at Ebenezer Chapel 42 years ago, Aberdare was a scattered country village, but the development of the coal trade resulted in a most rapid growth of the population, and with it were developed in an equal proportion deep religious instincts. Mr Edwards was a native of Ffestinog, North Wales, and from the commencement of his career laboured with untiring energy, and founded not only the majority of the Independent churches of the district, but has throughout taken a leading and active part in the great educational development of South Wales during the period of his career. His predecessor at Ebenezer was the Rev. Dr. Rees, of Swansea.
As a preacher Mr Edwards was powerful and eloquent, but inclined to be discursive as a writer he showed great grasp, and his address as president of the Welsh Congregational Union is justly considered to be one of the most effective ever delivered from the chair. Last October he was presented, under the auspices of the union, with a testimonial, amounting to several hundred pounds. Mr Edwards was a brilliant controversialist, and his writings were in direct contrast to his oratory, being terse and incisive. The testimonies of the, ministers of all denominations at the funeral pointed out some distinctive traits in Mr Edwards’s character-his firm adherence to principle, his great encouragement to young preachers and students, ever hospitable and fatherly towards them; his forgiving temper after hot and bitter debates; and lastly, his almost bigoted zeal in the cause of temperance. He, in conjunction with Dr. Price and others, founded the British schools of Trecynon, Hirwain; and Aberaman, where Marchant Williams and others of equal note have been scholars his age at the time of his death was 71.
He leaves a widow, a son, and two grown up daughters to mourn him. After singing a hymn, the funeral procession entered the chapel, which was draped in deep mourning, and brief addresses, which were listened to with tearful interest, were delivered by Rev Dr. Rees, Swansea; Revs. J. Morris, Pontypridd; J. Williams (Canaan) Swansea Dr. Price (B), Aberdare and Rev. Mr Davies, Treforest. The procession walked to the cemetery, singing Byddmyrdd o ryfeddodau” all the way. Addresses were delivered at the grave by the Revs. Mr Evans, Penmaen; W. i James, (C. M.) Aberdare; Mr Howells, Festiniog; and J. Morgan, Cwmbach; who conducted the arrangements. A pathetic prayer was then offered by the Rev. Mr Griffiths, Cefn, Merthyr, after which the vast congregation, of which were present over 100 ministers of every denomination (among them being the Vicar of Aberdare) separated. The coffin was covered over with some magnificent wreaths.