Jenkin Howell's funeral report

Death of Mr. Jenkin Howell. Aberdare Leader June 21 1902
THE CLOSE OF A BUSY CAREER. Jenkin Howell dead
Although the news was not unexpected it cast a pall of gloom over the whole neighbourhood on Saturday evening. He had long lingered on Jordan's banks awaiting the Heavenly messenger to take him over to Canaan's shore. He had been a sufferer for many years. He was a martyr to asthma during the latter part of his life. Still he bore his affliction with fortitude, even with cheer. The great Leveller must have been to him a great Deliverer from pain and trouble. Mr. Howell was born 65 years ago at a place called Torfoel Penderyn, a romantic spot that has cradled many an intellectual stalwart who has enriched Welsh literature and song. It seems as if the illustrious sons of Penderyn were invested with some secret inspiration by the fairies that were said to be occupying the solitary mountain caverns.
Mr. Howell, however, was a genius in the philosophical sense of the word. He had the capacity of taking pains, he was an indefatigable worker. Some people resemble the impotent folk on the banks of Bethesda. They lie in indolence waiting patiently for some celestial visitor to move the water for them. But our late friend never waited for inspiration. He cultivated genius by means of sheer toil and strenuous labour. He was essentially a self-taught scholar and a self- made man. His early education, like that of many men of eminence, was of a scanty character. But his dogged perseverance served him in good stead. He soon became an expert in figures.
He qualified himself as auditor under the Friendly and Industrial Societies' Act, and was appointed to audit the accounts of a great many Societies and Clubs. He held the important position of auditor to the South Wales and Monmouthshire Miners' and Permanent Fund. Carlyle says Blessed is the man that has found his work." Like the late President Garfield young Howell sampled a good many occupations before he discovered the right one, the one that was congenial to his taste and afforded the best sphere for the development of his talent. Like the famous Squire of Llandinam - whose career from sawpit to senate we are all familiar- he at one time wielded the heavy pit saw. But it was in connection with the press that he found his congenial sphere. He went to the late Mr. Thomas to learn the printing trade. He soon acquired a thorough knowledge of the art, and became a proficient man of letters in a dual sense, as compositor and composer.
In a few years we find him commencing a business of his own. From his prolific press many books that have attained a national significance have been issued, especially that text-book of poetical metres that has benefited so many young students of the Welsh metric system, "Yr Ysgol Farddol." by Dafydd Morganwg. “Hanes Morganwg," and “Yr Ysgol Gymreig," by the same author, were also printed by him, as also was the New Testament, by Dr. Edwards, Cardiff, and the biography of Dr. Price by the late Rev. B. Evans. The following magazines were also the offsprings of his famous press: “Seren Gomer," "Yr Hanwr," and "Yr Ymofynydd," the two former being Baptist periodicals, and the latter a Unitarian monthly. In 1885 he initiated:" Y Gweithiwr Cymreig," a Welsh newspaper of no mean repute. He edited and published this Journal for a period of five years, when “Y Gweithiwr" shared the fate of other defunct Welsh journals not only in Aberdare but throughout the Principality, and was gathered to its fathers. The paper was an ideal one from a literary point of view but it is not intrinsic literary merit that courts patronage and success now-a-days.
In a life so engrossed in business it is difficult to understand how he found time to devote to literary pursuits, to antiquarian researches, and to an occasional flight of the muse. Still his versatility in Welsh lore was wonderful and he displayed a unique knowledge of the history of Cymru Fu. In Welsh nomenclature he was an expert, and in the dissection of Cymric place-names he could hold his own with Morien. He threw light on many subjects in Welsh antiquarian lore that were previously enveloped in dark- ness. He also made the peculiar dialect of Glamorgan his special study. He was a bright conversationalist social and witty, and it was a treat to spend an hour in his genial company. He had an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes about the old characters Aberdare and the surrounding districts, the Silurians of half a century ago.
He was frequent contributor to Welsh magazines. His articles on the Cynon Valley in the “Geninen" are brimful of interest, and beam with sparks of genius. It should be remembered that he wrote the recent contributions while his tottering frame ached with pain. There was something extremely pathetic in the wish that he expressed to his son a little ere he shuffled off Mortal coil, that he should live to conclude these articles. The ruling passion of his life was strong even in death. He was a worker to the last, and no one more deserves the "sweet sleep of the labouring man”.
It would be superfluous to tell anyone that is familiar with the characteristics of Welsh talent that the late Mr. Howell was a musician. The Cymro who is not a singer is an anomaly and to speak of a talented Welshman "that hath no music in his soul” would be a contradiction in terms. Mr Howell was a musician of culture, which cannot, however, be said of every songster. For many years he was conductor of the singing at Calfaria chapel where he was a highly-honoured deacon. He was a Cymanfa conductor of no little merit. There was in him a happy blend of the theoretical musician and the practical vocalist. The Rev. W. Harris, Trecynon and the Rev. J. Jones, Abercwmboi, and Mr Howells jointly issued a tune book for the use of the Welsh Baptist Churches. The deceasedwas also a member of the famous choir of Caradog, which took the Crystal Palace by storm 30 years ago.
Aberdare will greatly miss her talented son.His life was so closely interwoven with the modern history and development of the district. Our heart goes out in sympathy to the bereaved widow, who was his faithful helpmeet through the trials and troubles of his laborious and afflicted life, and to the sons and daughters deprived of a loving father.
The Funeral.
The funeral took place today (Thursday), gentlemen only. The cortege left the house about 1 p.m. for Penderyn Churchyard. Wreaths were sent by the following: Mr. Howell's employees; Mrs. Davies, Central Hotel; Sir William Thomas Lewis; Mr. Evan Owen, Cardiff; Alderman J. W. Evans, and Miss Oeppen. The mourners included Messrs. John, {Jenkin, Charles and David Howell (sons); Messrs. Jenkin A. Howell and Jenkin H. Lewis (grand-children); Messrs. David Williams (Cardiff), Evans, and William Davies (cashier, Treherbert), Gwilym Thomas (brother-in-law), and Evan Owen (Secretary of the Miners' Permanent Fund), Following the mourners in the procession were Mr. Howells' employees. The Revs. J. Griffiths (Calvaria) and Jones (Treharris) officiated at the house. “Mae nghyfeillion adre'n myned" was sung. Among other ministers present were: the Revs. Thomas Humphries (Cwmaman), W. P. Williams, D.D., (Glandwr), R. J. Jones, M.A., (Hen dy Cwrdd), D. Silyn Evans, and Thomas Jones (Carmel). Following the ministers were the Alfred Society Board of Directors, members of the Orders of Ivorities and other Friendly Societies with which deceased was connected. Mr. John Lewis, District Secretary, represented the Morriston District of the Royal Order of Alfreds, Mr. D. M. Richards represented Mr. D. A. Thomas, M.P. Among the general public we noticed Messrs. Botting (G.W.R.), G. George, J.P., L. N. Williams, David Hughes (Tydraw), Tom Stephens (Rhondda), J. D. Thomas (solicitor), John Morris (Cartef), Mr. Jones (Hirwain), Rees Evans (Commercial-street), Dr. Trevor Jones, John Bucknell. T.J. Parry and W. M. George representing the Leader Office. The arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. J. Morgan & Son. The coffin was of plain oak with brass plates.