Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RHEES, Morgan John, clergyman, born in Glamorganshire, Wales, 8 December, 1760; died in Somerset, Pennsylvania, 17 September, 1804. He received an excellent education, and devoted himself to teaching, but, after uniting with the Baptist church, he entered the college of that denomination in Bristol, with a view of preparing for the ministry. On the completion of his course he was ordained over the church of Penygarn, but, becoming interested in the cause of the French revolution, he resigned his charge and went to France. He soon returned to Wales, and there established "The Welsh Treasury," in which he attacked the policy of the English ministry; but, being compelled to give this up, he collected several of his friends and came to this country. At first he travelled extensively through the southern and western states, preaching and searching for a suitable location for his colony, but:, finding none, he returned to Philadelphia. Two years later lie purchased a large tract of land in Pennsylvania, which he called Cambria. He located and planned the capital, which he called Beulah, and thither in 1798 he removed his own family, accompanied by a body of Welsh colonists. He was occupied for several years with the charge of his pastorate and his duties as a large landed proprietor, but finally was persuaded to settle in Somerset, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was the author of sacred lyrics and other poetical pieces that he published in Wales, and of several orations and discourses that appeared in Pennsylvania.--His grandson, William Jones, bibliographer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 13 )larch, 1830, was educated in Philadelphia, and graduated at the Central high-school in 1847. From October, 1850, to June, 1852, he had charge of the social statistics and other duties in connection with the 7th census at the department of the interior, and he was secretary of the central executive committee in Washington of the World's fair in London in 1851. In July, 1852, he became chief clerk of the Smithsonian institution, which office he still (1888) holds, and for several months each year, during 1884-'7, he was by appointment acting secretary of the institution, while Professor Spencer F. Baird was absent on duties connected with the United States fish commission. His duties include the general charge of the publications of the Smithsonian institution, and he has been its executive officer, under the secretary, since his appointment. Mr. Rhees has been active in educational interests, and was a trustee of the public schools of Washington in 1862-'8, 1873-'4, and 1878-'9. He has also been an active member and president of the Young men's Christian association. In 1856 he organized a lecture bureau for securing the services of eminent speakers to lecture in different parts of the country, and he had charge of Professor John Tyndall's lectures in this country in 1872. He invented and patented, in 1868, the Rhees ruler and pencil-case slate, which has received the approbation of various school-boards. He has edited many of the Smithsonian publications, and has published "Manual of Public Libraries, Institutions, and Societies in the United States and British Provinces of North America" (Philadelphia, 1859);" Guide to the Smithsonian Institution and National Museum "(Washington, 1859); "List of Publications of the Smithsonian Institution" (1862 ; 11th ed., 1888) ; " Manual of Public Schools of Washington" (1863-'6); "The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to its Origin and History" (1.879) ; " The Scientific Writings of James Smithson," edited (1879) ; "James Smithson and his Bequest" (1880); and "Catalogue of Publications of the Smithsonian Institution " (1882).
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