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Family Notices

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DEATH OF MR. DAVID DAVIS, J.P., MAESYFFYNON. We deeply regret to announce the death of Mr. David Davis, of Maesyffynon, on Wednes- day last, at the residence of his brother, Mr. Lewis Davis, Ferndale. The deceased gentle- man, who had reached the 63rd year of his age, had been suffering from a complication of dis- eases for several months, and but faint hopes were entertained of his recovery. His loss will be universally deplored in this neighbourhood, where he was held in the highest esteem. The deceased was the eldest son of Mr David Davis, of Blaengwawr, the other sons being Lewis, William, Charles, and Frederick. The father, Mr David Davis, was one of the pioneers in the South Wales coal trade, and was among the first of the colliery proprietors in the Aber- dare Valley. He afterwards opened the Aber- cwmboy Colliery, and also later in life the col- lieries at Ferndale. He shipped coal for years at the Cardiff docks, and assisted materially in the development of the trade at Cardiff. The Bute Trustees, however, made some exactions which the colliery proprietors rightly refused, and he then joined Mr Crawshay Bailey and Mr Nixon in promoting a scheme which Mr John Batchelor had formulated for the construction of a dock at Penarth. He, Mr Crawshay Bailey, Mr Nixon, and subsequently Mr Cartwright, were the largest shareholders in that undertaking. He was a man of great ability. He was more. In his early life he was sent by his father to ac- quire a practical knowledge of the workings of a coal mine, and he knew, therefore, every dotail of a collier's operations, and this circum- stance made him an advocate of the collier when any dispute arose between masters and work- men. In the great strike of 1871, when for three months the whole of the collieries in the South Wales district were idle, and in the struggle of 1875, when for five months the workmen opposed the wishes of the masters, and which resulted in the formation of the Masters' Association, Mr David Davis was always amongst the earliest workers in en- deavouring to bring about a settlement of the dispute. When the association was formed he was appointed its first president, and it was by his influence that the joint sliding scale com- mittee was formed, by which the masters and men met together and discussed and arranged the rate of wages. Owing to the action of the I ironmasters, &c., the Messrs Davis seceded I from the association. They were quickly fol- lowed by Mr D. Davies, of the Ocean Collieries, as the men preferred working for and being in direct communication with their employers than being in connection with the Masters' Associa- tion, and at their request a separate sliding scale arrangement was formed at each colliery, and which continues to work with great satis- faction. The firm of Messrs Davis & Sons have under them about 3,000 workmen, and about lfiOOO persons are dependent on them, for their daily bread, yet with the whole of them the deceased and his brother, Mr Lewis Davis, maintained the position of friend and master. No trouble overtakes them but they seek advice and direction from their employers, who sym- pathise with them in their sufferings and never fail to alleviate their distress when it becomes known to them. This was more especially seen at the great calamity at Ferndale Collieries 15 years ago, by which so many bread winners were swept away. In a collier's cottage the deceased gentleman seated himself by the bed- side of the dead, and shed with the relatives tears of sympathy and sorrow for the loss which that calamity had caused, and to repair which they gave abundantly from their riches It was this pity for their suffering that made colliers, colliers' wives, and children, respect and revere him, and it was this which gave him such con- trol over them that his wishes have been almost invariably fulfilled almost before they were uttered. There is not a single religious institution in the neighbourhood but is deeply indebted to the deceased gentleman for support, and his acts of private.charity exceeded his public benefac- tions. He was a true Christian. He gave liberally, but it caused him pain if by any chance his generosity became known to any one except the recipient. Among his public acts may be mentioned the great interest he took in the :spread of education in Wales. He gave £ 1000 towards Aberystwith College, in the pro- motion of which he took an active part, and warmly supported the movement for a Govern- ment grant. When the South Wales College was proposed, he and his brother, Mr Lewis Davis, gave JE2000, and these are only two instances out of hundreds. He was a member of the Aberdare School board, a member of the Aberdare Board of Health, and chairman of the Pontypridd and Rhondda Valley Waterworks Company. He was some years ago solicited to contest the Merthyr buroughs in the liberal interest. He declined, but promised to bring down a greater man than himself, and he sub- sequently introduced Mr Henry Richard, who was then engaged in India in connection with the Peace Society. Mr Davis was an advanced Liberal and a champion of Mr Richard, accom- panied him frequently in his election campaigns, presiding atjjmeetings, and infusing a life into the proceedings which only those intimately connected with the working classes could do. He had large slate quarries in Merionethshire where he built a beautiful residence between Barmouth and Dolgelly, called Arthog Hall. He was recently high sheriff for that county. and was for many years ajustice of the peace there and in Glamorganshire. In early life deceased was a Wesleyan, but during the re- form stir, at the time that the Rev. Rowland Hughes was in the Aberdare district, he seceded from the Wesleyan body, and identified himself as a Welsh Congregationalist, to which denomi- nation he belonged at the time of his death. There is no man whose death will be so much regretted^by all classes as that of Mr David Davis. Among the employers of labour he was respected for his uprightness of purpose in every commercial transaction with whom he was connected. In social life he was a genial friend, whose presence was ever hailed with joy, and no closer bond of union ever united parent to children or one relative with another. He might have had his faults, but they were so buried amid his good qualities that few observed them, and among the rich and poor he died without an enemy. The funeral will be a public one, and will take place at the Aberdare Cemetery, on Satur- day, at 1 o'clock.