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John Owen Jones (pen name ap Ffarmwr), was born in 1861 at Trefdraeth and later lived at Cae’r Llechau near Dwyran. He went to the local board school at Dwyran. He was apprenticed at 14 as a draper to Lewis Lewis, Caernarfon, and during this period he read widely in the works of authors like Darwin, Huxley, Ruskin, and Carlyle, and attended a school kept by a Mr. Kirk in the town. From there, he went to University College of Wales, Aberystwyth for three years, following this with a year at Owens College, Manchester. He began his career working in London for the Welsh National Press (Cwmni Newyddiaduron Cenedlaethol Cymru), which published several newspapers including Y Werin, but returned to Anglesey in 1885 where he set up a school in Dwyran and wrote numerous articles (published for instance in Y Cymro and The North Wales Observer and Express) drawing attention to rural issues, and where he espoused the cause of farm labourers in particular. His campaigns on their behalf led to significant improvements in working hours, for example, though attempts to found a union of agricultural workers in Anglesey were ultimately unsuccessful. The farm workers determined to express their appreciation of Ap Ffarmwr's efforts on their behalf, and at a further public meeting at Llangefni, 11 May 1893, he was presented with a gold watch by them. At this meeting, too, a resolution was passed to form a union, calling on Ap Ffarmwr to take the lead in this effort. No union was formed, however, owing to the opposition of the farmers, the unwillingness of the workers to pay subscriptions and, possibly, because Ap Ffarmwr moved to Merthyr before completing the work. He died in 1899 and is buried in the chapel cemetery in Dwyran. Source: Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Photo by Ed Rowe, taken 2021.

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