General regret will be felt in the district at the death of Mr. Benjamin Rees, J.P., Granant, which took place at Granant Villas, St. Dogmells, on Tuesday morning of last week, at the age of 85 years.
The late Mr. Rees had been in failing health for a long period, and had unfortunately been lately blind for about three years. He had been a notable figure in the public life of North Pembrokeshire for many years, and had rendered faithful and ungrudging service to the cause of his fellow-men.
Mr. Rees was born at Granant Farm, St. Dogmells on July 16, 1829, where his family had resided for upwards of 200 years. He continued to live there until 1896, when he removed to the village.
His activity in public life extended over half a century. His connection with the Cardigan Board of Guardians will long be remembered, and his activity on behalf of the poor will be a lasting tribute to his kindness of heart. For nearly 50 years he was a member, and when failing health compelled him to seek retirement the members of the Board were so loathe to part with him that they, much against his wishes, paid him the compliment of co-opting him as vice-chairman. He was chairman of the Board for over a decade.
The fishermen of St. Dogmells mourn the loss of a great and true friend, whose services to them are difficult to sum up. For over 40 years he was connected with the Teifi Board of Conservators and was chairman of that body for some time. On behalf of the St. Dogmells fishermen, he, on two occasions, went to London and presented their grievances before the Board of Trade and thereby secured them numerous advantages.
For a long time the late Mr. Rees was an active member of the Cardigan Assess- --------(unreadable one line)--------- School Managers. His service in the cause of education in the village have been great. In 1868-9 he was the means of erecting a British School in the village. He, with the late Mr. Asa J. Evans, solicitor, Cardigan, bought the land on which the school was built, and Mr. Rees, who acted as secretary of the movement, succeeded in obtaining a grant of 478 pounds sterling from the Government, and with the co-operation of the inhabitants the school, as well as houses for the schoolmaster and mistress, was built at the cost of 1,400 pounds sterling, which was cleared in a short time. When the school was eventually transferred to the School Board, the late Mr. Rees acted as clerk for many years. He was known throughout the county as an ardent educationist, and was a useful member of the County Education Committee for many years. When the County Council was first elected he was made an alderman, and he held this position for nine years.
He was a staunch Liberal in politics and a strong Baptist. He was the first layman to occupy the chair of the Pembrokeshire Baptist Association. In 1885 he was put on the Commission of the Peace for Pembrokeshire.
In his active and varied life, Mr. Rees found time to write, and he was a regular contributor to the Press for some years, and some time ago he wrote a book in Welsh giving the history of the Baptist Church of Blaenywaun, which is still considered a valuable reference book. His life was a full one in many ways, and it is men such as he that the world mourns when they are gone. The late Mr.Rees was twice married.
The funeral took place at Blaenywaun burial ground on Saturday afternoon, when there was a representative attendance. A service was held at Granant Villas by the Rev. J.D. Hughes, and on arriving at the cemetery Mr. Hughes again conducted the service at the grave side. The Revs. G.Williams, Pontardulais (late of Garazim and Tabernacle Moylgrove), J. Myfenydd Morgan (vicar of St.Dogmells), J. Williams (Cardigan) and Mr. W.F. Roch,M.P., delivered addresses, all bearing tribute to the sterling character of the deceased, and alluding to his public services and deep religious convictions. The Rev. W.H. Jones (Gerazim) closed the service with prayer.
Among the mourners present were Mr. and Mrs. William Nicholas (niece), Granant Villas; Capt. W. Lloyd, Post Office, St. Dogmells (nephew); Messrs. Willie, Joseph and Benj. Rees, Aberystwyth College (nephews); Mrs. Harris, Dinas; Mrs. Rees, Tenby; Mr. Williams, Manianfach; and Mr. Joseph Williams. The bearers were the deacons of Blaenywaun and Gerazim , and Mr. T. Nugent assisted with the arrangements.
[Submitted in January 2002 by Janice Mills of Ontario, Canada ; Benjamin Rees was the brother of her 2nd great grandfather, Daniel Rees.]