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DEATH OF MR DAVID DA VIES,…

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DEATH OF MR DAVID DA VIES, LLANDINAM. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. :we regret to have to annoucce the death, at Llan- 6icaiD, of Mr David Davies. Mr Davies had teen in ft low state of health for some time, and last week it Was found necessary to call in the aid of Sir Andrew Clark and Sir "William Roberts. He, however, gradually grew worse, and died at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon. Mr David Davies, than whom few more typical or Successful Welshman ever lived. was born in the parish of Llandinam. Montgomery shire, he first seeing She light at a small farmhouse called Draintewion, on the 18th of December, 1818. He was the eldest son Of a family of nine, and frcm early life was inured to bard and steady work, assisting his father, who Combined the occupations of tiller of the soil and Wood sawyer. With a large and growing family, Mr David Davies the elder was far-seeing enough to rightly appreciate the benefits of education, and thus kept yeung David until he was eleven years cf age at the only school in the neighbourhood, then held in the old parish church. Business increasing, Mr Davies was enabled, after some years, to remove his family to a larger farm, known as Neuadd-fach. Here the future member of Parliament, contractor, and vice-chairman of the Barry Deck and Railways Company worked at both farming and sawing. The fact of his having followed the last-ramed occupation in after life gave rise to a story which affords a true idea of the character of the man. When Mr David Davies had grown wealthy and sought a seat in the House of Commons, he was accosted by a workman who twitted him that in his prosperity he had forgotten those who worked with him in less raJmy days. In what way r" Mr Davies, asked. Upon this the man said he had himself wo'ked with Mr Davies as a sawyer, Aye," was the retort, but I Was always top sawyer, wasn't I r" On another Occasion a would-be smart one reminded him in a sarcastic manner that he was only an old Sawyer. "Yes," was the reply, "ard I would still he a sawyer if I were like you." "Top sawyer" Mr Davies certainly was in everything- he undertook, though the responsibilities that fell upon him may well have daunted a less resolute soul, When he was but twenty years of age his father died, leaving him in charge of a w idowed mother ard eight younger brothers and sisters. Never s-hirkii g the task for a moment, the young-fellow set to work with redoubled energy, if that vere possible and extended the business yet more. Alter residing feme years at Neuadd-fach, in 1848 Mr Davies entered upon a larger farm, called Tynymaen, now the home farm of Plasdinam and the residence of Mr Edward Davies. his only son. As his Tc&ourcf-s increased he subse- quently, in 1SE0, addrd jw other 1 oldlng, Gwernerir, where he himself went to live. An*>thei- anecdote ni this connection is here told ef Mr Davies. Cn removii.g to Gwcraerin he found it r^eet-sary io increase his stock, and for this purpose he attended an auction at which a good number of cow-) were to be sold. His appearance was not that of a wealthy man, but, having excellent jtv.'jfment in cattle matters, and the stock being ot a hig-h- class, he bid for every cow. Seeing this the auctioneer paused and said he should require ba 1. Drawing a long old-fashioned and well-fiiled puiae from his pocket, and iimrling the contents, he said, Here is my bail." That settled the matter, and all the cows he wanted became his. la addition to extensive farming work Mr Davies stiH continued sawiD" as well as undertaking road-makiug' and other c fKH, at wh:e1, he errp'oyocl an i"Cl"e2bS1r:g lumber of workmen. The first public work executed ⢠by him was the cutting of the road just below the beautiful church of Llandinam and constructing the embankment over which the road passes. This work was so expeditiously and satisfactorily carried out that he soon became the leading contractor for county works, such as the construction of roads, bridges, &c. He then became acquainted with Mr Thomas Savin, one of the original promoters of railways in Wales, ard who, about that time, was developing into a railway contractor. About this period of his existence Mr. Davies took an eventful step, marrying Miss Margaret Jones, the youngest daughter of Mr. Edward Jones, of Wern, Llanfair Caercinion, and sister of the Rev. Evan Jones, for many years known as the Calvinistic Methodist preacher of Trewyth. To the Calvinistic Methodists it should be noted, Mr. Davies belonged, and to the cause" was a liberal contributor. Like that of many great men, Mr. Davies's marriage was, as attributed by himself, one of the greatest factors in his success in life. And his views upon the duties of man and wife were partically philosophic. At the coming of age of his son, Mr. Edward Davies in 1883, he gave expressions to these views in a manner most characteristic of himself. So geod are they that are well worth repeating. A girl," he said, ought to he able to mend a hole in her husband's stocking before she has any right to be married. It is a very unpleasant thing," he went on, "to have a lump in your stocking when you are going to a hard day's work. And there are some women who are present who will mend a hole in a stocking till it has got a Ichjp in it like a dog's nose." He then told his workmenâfor he had gathered such around himâwhat a "dog's nose" was. "Some women," he said, will leave a stocking go as long as there is a thread in a foct, and when the foot has ecne, the leg, which was never meant to be wasted, is thrown away among the rags. But that is not what it ought to be. Yon (his workmen) know how much sooner the foot of a stocking goes than the leg, therefore the foot should be assisted to go- on with the leg. Well, that is not all that a wife should be able to do. She should be able to put a neat piece on her husband's trousers; not to put it on as if it was put on with a pitchfork, but neat and square, so as not to disgrace her husband." Thus Mr. Davies went on, with good and sound, though humble, advice to those about to marry. But to continue a sketch of his life -In con junction with Mr Savin, Mr Davies turned his attention to the great need of railway facilities in iSoith V\ ales, the first undertaking in this direction being the M.atnng cf the Llanidloes and Newtown E&iv&y, thirteen miles in length. The peculiarity of this line was that at neither terminus did it con- nect with any other railway, the engines and carriages fcr it having to he carried on specially constructed wagons over the high read from Oswestry, 36 miles away. Messrs Davies and Savin thtm undertook the construction of the Vale Ciwyd Bailway. This was in 1858. The next year they completed the Llanidloes and Newtown bailway, following this with the Oswestiy and New- town Railway and a combination with the Newtown and Machynlleth Branch, which was completed in 1862. Another line which thcfirID in conjunction with a Mr Wood also constructed was the Brecon and Merthyr. The partnership between Mr Davies and Mr Savin was then dissolved, and the former had no more to do with the Cambrian system as a conbador, though he remained a director for many year?; l-h Davies subsequently engaged with the late Mr Ezra Roberts, of iSt Asaph, in constructing the Pemb-oko and Tenby RLLilway, which was opened in 1863, and afterwards he constructed that part of the Manchester and Milford system from Abar- ystwjth to Poocader-, and a smaH "line from Caersws to the Van Mines. This was the last line that he constructed. In connection with his contracting work one story told of him is too good to let slip. While extending the railway from Moat Lane to Aberystwyth he came, as he felt assured, to the brink of ruin. Eight in his track was a huge rock. To drive through it was impossible, and there was no going around it. "There it stood," and he, speaking of it in after days, to Kilsey Jones, "the rock upon which I was to be wrecked. But ho attacked it with iron will and found it aminated like the leaves of a be ok, and it supplied him with excel- lent stone for all his bridges. "It was the rock," be added, "of my salvation." Thenceforward Mr Davies threw himself into the rapidly developing coal industry of South Wales, associating h mself with the Ocean Collieries. He was always held in the highest e&teem by the work. men of all grades in fact, no master was ever more respected than Mr Davies by his workmen. He would speak to the workmen as a workman, and his kind, unassuming manner won the hearts of all. Nothing tried him more than to see work badly performed. It is said of him that during ene of his visits to' the collieries he was walking by a place where a number of navvies were at work, one of whom, it appears, was not an expert workman, and the way he performed his woik was painful to the eyes of the old gentleman, who immediately asked for the pick and gave the navvy a lesson in the way of using that tool, much to the amusement of his fellow- workmen. The navvy, with a little grumbling, took the pick in hand again, and shouted to one of his mates, Who is that old chap "? He would hardly believe that the man who had just given him a lesson and who was so commonly dressed, with no outward show whatever, was the great "Davies yr Ocean." as the colliers would call him. One more peculiarity of Mr Davies is worth a note. He was a man of fine pbsique, and on occasions when his workmen would be unable to proceed with their work, through unfavourable weather or ether circumstances, he would visit them in their sheds and go through different exercises with them, such as throwing the hammer, lifting weights, and other feats demanding strength. He was a strict total abstainer, and no intoxicants were ever supplied to his servants on the farm, even in harvest time. He, too, was as strict a Sabbatarian. At all times, if any way possible, he would return home for the Sunday, in order not to miss service with his class in the Sunday School. So, strict, indeed, Wt re his views regarding the command- ment to keep holy the Sabbath Day that he would not even open letters on Sunday. When a young man, while contracting in a small way, the road surveyor who superintended the work Mr Davies had in hand one Sunday drove from Welshpool to Llan- dinam, a distance of about twelve miles, to see him on some matters connected with the work. On his arrival Mr Davies was at chapel, and a messenger was despatched to him with the intelligence that the surveyor desired to see him. The reply was that Mr Davies would see the surveyor on the following day. Mr Davies's connection with the successful colliery business now known as the Ocean Coal Company has made his name one of the best known in South Wales. He was the largest shareholder in this concern, which comprises seven very large collieries, emyloying from 6.000 to 7,000 men, who receive, it is stated, something like half a million annually. At onetime he often visited the collieries but during the last few yi ars he seldom went to the valleys, and when he did he would but rarely go underground. His entry into the Ehondda Valley was not one of the smoothest on record. He applied io Mr Crawshay Bailey'for terms, but could not -o ne to an arrangement. Mr Crawshay Bailey did siat care about letting his coal land, and the more persistent Davies was the more stubborn was Bailey. At Ifngth Davies waited upon Mr Bailey, and in the course of conversation that gentleman said, some- what offensively, I don't want to part with my land to speculators and adventurers," "I am no adven- turer. said Davies, "but an honest trader, and for every honest guinea you put down, I'll put another Crawshay Bailey was so pleased with his warmth that advantageous terms were at once arranged, and forthwith Davies began the building of a huge fortune. Mr Davies when he tilied was one of tne principals in the Ocean Collieries, comprising Maindy, Dare, Eastern, and Western in the Oenaore Valley, Blaengarw in the Garw Valley, Lady Windsor at Yysybwl, and the Clydach Valley. His connection with the Ocean Collieries led up to his taking a leading place in the Barry Dock and "Railways Company, of which Mr. Davies from the first was a chief promoter, holding the position of vice-chairman until his death. When the Barry Bill was before committee one of the members questioned him as to the probability of the proposed capital being subscribed, when be replied that there need be no anxiety on that head, for be would pay the cost himself if no one else subscribed a penny. He had, undoubtedly, great faith in the undertaking, and when during the construction of the dock he was called upon to preside at the meeting of sharebelders he constantly urged all to "hold." No more frebuent visitor to Barry existed during the progress of the dock than Mr. David Davies. He was of a generous disposition and largely helped religious work, being said that in one year, 1873, an exceptionally prosperous one, he gave to various "causes in Wales no less than £ 16,000. He was a great supporter of the College in this town, and was its back bone in the days of its greatest adversity. He was elected unopposed to represent the Cardigan District in Parliament in February, 1874, as a Liberal, and was re-elected in 1880. Being a staunch Unionist, however, he was opposed at the last election by Mr. Bowen Rowlands, who wrested the seat from him by nine votes only. In reference to Mr. Davies politically, it may fairly be stated that he was never the same man as he was before his re- jection for the Cardigan Boroughs. There was no more liberal donor. He helped everybody and everything, Church or Chapelâit was all the same, and when he was rejected it left him in a state of bewilderment. Friends of life-Jong standing, men whom he.had aided in every way had turned against him. Mr. Davies leaves only one son, Mr. E. Davies, well known as managing director of the Barry Dock and Railways and a leading shareholder in the Ocean Coal Company. The funeral, which was public, took place on Thursday, and was very largely attended.

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