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GRIFFITHS, EDWIN STEPHEN (1868-1930), gŵr busnes a philanthropydd | Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig

GRIFFITHS, EDWIN STEPHEN (1868-1930), gŵr busnes a philanthropydd

Enw: Edwin Stephen Griffiths
Dyddiad geni: 1868
Dyddiad marw: 1930
Rhiant: Rachel Griffiths née Davies
Rhiant: Gwilym Griffiths
Rhyw: Gwryw
Galwedigaeth: gŵr busnes a philanthropydd
Maes gweithgaredd: Diwydiant a Busnes; Dyngarwch
Awdur: D. Hugh Matthews

Ganwyd Edwin Stephen Griffiths ym Mhengam, plwyf Bedwellte, Sir Fynwy ar 26 Awst 1869, yn fab i Gwilym a Rachel Griffiths (gynt Rachel Davies). Fe'i haddysgwyd yn yr ysgol leol a mynychodd gapel y Bedyddwyr yn y pentref. Dywedir fod ei fryd ar fynd i'r weinidogaeth ymhlith y Bedyddwyr gan geisio mynediad i'r Athrofa ym Mhont-y-pŵl (rhagflaenydd Coleg y Bedyddwyr, Caerdydd), ond bu'n rhaid iddo fodloni ar ddechrau ennill ei fywoliaeth drwy weithio mewn pwll glo lleol. O fewn ychydig amser torrodd ei iechyd a darganfuwyd ei fod yn dioddef o glefyd y llwch. Gydag arian a fenthycwyd iddo aeth allan yn 1886 at ewythr yn Scranton, Pensylfania, U.D.A., gyda'r bwriad o symud ymlaen i Denver, Colorado, pan ganiatâi ei iechyd. Treuliodd y blynyddoedd nesaf yno yn adennill ei iechyd ac yn gorffen ei addysg. Yn 1892 symudodd o Scranton i Cleveland, Ohio, lle daliodd teiffoid. Arhosodd yn Cleveland a chofrestrodd mewn coleg busnes lleol i ddysgu teipio, llaw-fer a chadw cyfrifon. Fe ddaeth yn weithgar yn y gymuned Gymraeg ym maesdref Newburg lle cymerai ran yn yr eisteddfodau lleol ac ymaelododd yn Trinity, eglwys y Bedyddwyr.

A'i iechyd wedi'i adfer, dangosodd fod ganddo ddoniau amlwg i lwyddo ym myd busnes. Yn y blynyddoedd nesaf gosodwyd y seiliau i'w gyfoeth gyda'i ymwneud â sawl busnes llwyddiannus, cyn iddo ffurfio ei fusnes ei hun, Cleveland Machine and Manufacturing. Fel gŵr busnes llwyddiannus ymunodd â'r Seiri Rhyddion yn Cleveland yn 1899 a thyfodd ei bwysigrwydd yn y mudiad yn gyflym ac etholwyd ef yn Uchel Feistr y Seiri Rhyddion yn nhalaeth Ohio yn 1912. Gwerthodd Cleveland Machine and Manufacturing yn 1915 am swm sylweddol ac yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd cyntaf gwasanaethodd ar fwrdd rheoli nifer o gwmnïoedd yn canolbwyntio ar ddiwydiant gwneuthur nwyddau a pheiriannau.

Yn Cleveland cyfarfu â Margaret Rusk, ac fe'u priodwyd ar 31 Rhagfyr 1902. Merch a anwyd yn Cleveland oedd hi ond hanai o dras Gymreig. Dywedir fod rhai o'i hynafiaid hi wedi ymfudo o Gymru cyn Rhyfel Annibyniaeth America. Athrawes cerdd a chanddi ddiddordeb arbennig mewn cerddoriaeth Gymreig ydoedd. Cafodd hithau beth o'i haddysg yn Ysgol Gerddoriaeth Lloegr Newydd a dywedir ei bod yn bianydd ac yn organydd medrus. Pan briododd y ddau, ymddengys fod ganddi hithau gyfoeth a hefyd ddawn i'w fuddsoddi'n llwyddiannus; ei dawn hi oedd yn bennaf gyfrifol am ddiogelu cyfoeth y teulu yn ystod y dirwasgiad yn America yn 1929.

Yn 1920 dechreuodd iechyd y gŵr ddirywio unwaith eto a phenderfynodd Edwin a Margaret Griffiths sefydlu ymddiriedolaeth er lles a chysur aelodau'r teulu yng Nghymru yn ystod eu bywyd, gyda sefydliadau gwahanol i elwa wedi hynny. Ymhlith y sefydliadau hyn byddai Coleg y Bedyddwyr, Caerdydd, a'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol.

Dim ond unwaith yr ymwelodd Edwin Stephen Griffiths â Chymru wedi ymfudo, a hynny yn 1921, ond ni phallodd ei serch tuag at ei famwlad a pharhaodd ei ddiddordeb yn ei gapel ac yng Nghymru a'i diwylliant. Ei hoffter o ganu a phethau Cymreig a barodd iddo ariannu ymweliad côr Meibion Orpheus Cleveland â'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn Abertawe yn 1926. Fe gostiodd y fenter tua ugain mil o ddoleri iddo a chôr Orpheus Cleveland enillodd y wobr gyntaf o £100 yn y brif gystadleuaeth i gorau meibion heb fod dan 60 mewn rhif. Roedd dau ar bymtheg o gorau yn y gystadleuaeth.

Bu farw Edwin Stephen Griffiths yn sydyn ar 25 Ionawr 1930, a gosodwyd ei lwch i orwedd ym mynwent Lake View yn Cleveland. Roedd ei dad yn dal yn fyw pan fu ef farw. Parhaodd diddordeb Margaret Griffiths yn yr Ymddiriedolaeth tan iddi hithau farw yn 1968. Mynnodd weld mân newidiadau yn amcanion yr Ymddiriedolaeth ac wrth i'r rhai a dderbyniai gymorth farw, cynhwysywd elusennau Americaaidd eraill, ond Coleg y Bedyddwyr, Caerdydd, a'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yw'r prif dderbynyddion sy'n dal i elwa'n sylweddol o haelioni'r ddau.

Mae darlun mewn olew o Edwin Stephen Griffiths yng Ngholeg y Bedyddwyr, Caerdydd.

Awdur

Dyddiad cyhoeddi: 2010

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