Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 26: John Puleston Jones (1862-1925)

The Welsh celebrate St. David's Day this weekend, so it seems timely to note the birthdate of a Welshman.

John Puleston Jones
was born on this date in 1862, at Llanbedr. He was 18 months old when he became blind from an accidental injury. His mother (who wrote poetry as "Mair Clwyd") is credited with insisting that he learn independence skills in childhood. Puleston Jones was an excellent student through school, and after a year at the College for the Blind in Worcester he went on to Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated with first-class honors in modern history.

Puleston Jones was always interested in Welsh culture and history, and helped to found the Dafydd ab Gwilym Society at Oxford in 1886. In 1888 he was ordained as a pastor. He served in various churches, published his sermons and theological essays, and wrote articles for a Welsh pacifist periodical (Y Deyrnas) during World War I. He is best remembered today for devising adaptations of Braille to fit the Welsh language--adaptations that apparently remain in use today.

Today, a plaque marks the house where the Rev. Dr. Puleston Jones was raised, in Bala.

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