Although scarcely ‘Latest News’ the following results of some recent research do have relevance to the situation in Saron Graveyard today as will be seen by reading to the end of this item.
This is a tale of quite a long time ago about two ministers. One was an esteemed servant of Saron Chapel, Troedyrhiw and the other became a successful churchman, physician, inventor and entrepreneur in the USA.
The ‘Cause of Saron’, Troedyrhiw was established in 1820 but the members were not able to appoint their first full-time minister until 1840, five years after the erection of the first chapel building. Rev David Thomas was invited to come to Saron from Hermon near Llandeilo and he quickly became a popular and hard-working pastor. Sadly, his time in Troedyrhiw was short as he passed away on October 6th 1843 and was interred under his pulpit by his grateful congregation.
Rev D. Thomas left a wife, Hannah, and at least one child that we know of, John Gethin Thomas who had been born in Troedyrhiw on Apr 24th 1842 . John grew up to become a Congregational minister, graduating from a theological college somewhere in Wales, and was, for a time, a chaplain in the British Army. In 1865 he was married, probably in Wales, to Elizabeth Waters and at some point in the next few years they emigrated to the USA. Here he held the pastorate of four different congregational churches in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The couple are said to have had six children, four of whom were living in 1914. It seems that, at one period in his busy life, John G. Thomas was also able to find the time to gain a medical qualification. In his early 50’s, having already lived a very full life, Rev John G. Thomas is credited with having, for hygiene reasons, invented and patented an individual communion cup dispenser for use in churches.
Seeing a commercial opportunity Rev Thomas founded the Thomas Communion Service Company of Lima, Ohio which continued beyond his death in 1913 as a family business until the 1970’s. Interestingly, Rev J. W. Price, Saron’s minister in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made two preaching tours to the USA and, during one of these, was presented by Rev Thomas with an individual communion service for use at Saron Chapel.
Readers will not be surprised by the fitting memorial to John G. Thomas which can be found over the family grave plot in the well kept Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, Ohio. The contrast with the situation which the mortal remains of his father David Thomas now occupy could not be greater.
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To learn more about this interesting family find further details in the Documents section of this blog by clicking the link at the bottom of the home page.