The Family of John D. Jones
It was in the year of 1817 that John D. Jones began making the final plans for the ocean voyage that would take himself and his family and the families of friends and neighbors to the wonderous land of America, away from the parish of Llantysiliogogo where he had been born on the 5th of January,1777 at Caerllan all of which lay in the county of Cardigan, South Wales.
Here in the last western retreat of the Britons who had fought and fled before their ever pressing English neighbors, he had grown to manhood feeling often the western winds that blew from Cardigan Bay.
At the age of 20 her married his first wife, Elizabeth Reice, and on November 12th of 1797 he became the father of his first child, a daughter whom they named Onar who was to be his standby for many long years in the old home and in the new.
Their first son came 4 years later on October 1st, 1801. Fifty years would pass before this son was to die in Madison, Indiana, editor of their first daily newspaper, elogized by his fellow citizens. For the little Welsh baby Daniel D. Jones, was to become a lively articulate leader, full of fun and pranks, the intelligent editor of the Madison Daily Banner.
Three years later another son, Theophilus arrived but lived only one month, but the second daughter, Maria D., born in July of 1806, was to cross the Atlantic Ocean eleven years later, and to live long years in Indiana where she was to become the mother of nine and to finally lie beside her husband in a peaceful cemetery west of Paris Crossing. (Maria had eleven children instead of nine.)
In the year 1809 another son also named Theophilus, was born in October. He to came to America and lived for a few years in the new Indiana home on the north bank of the Muckatatuck, a home built of the felled trees of the primitive forsest.
On Christmas day of 1811 a gift arrived in the form of a new daughter Rachel, and three years later in another December little Hannah was added to the ever growing family on the last day of the year.
The home was filled with activities of six children, ranging from nineteen to two, when little Ebenezer was added to the family in October of 1816. How busy the parents must have been and how welcome the help of the older ones. Thinking too was John D. for news came across the ocean of a new country, calling itself the United States of America, that had licked their old enemy, by Golly!
As the family increased news continued to arrive of this new land with its vast forests, wide plains and growing cities. They must have admired the courage and determination it took to dirve the English from their shores, not only once but TWICE! Unyielding independence was something the Welsh understood and a better life for their children was a deep desire.
By 1817 their plans were fully laid and six families known to each other booked passage for New York City, America their household goods sold.
Elizibeth may have had some misgivings about leaving for another land, but she and capable Onar, now almost twenty, had sorted and packed clothing, bedding, dried food, seeds and such small household articles as could be packed in or between them. Stout wooden boxes held tools, a few books and all the assembled piles of items laid out by Elizabeth and Onar. Labels were tacked on firmly by John and Daniel, for the boxes and bundles of six families would be numerous, the handling and voyage rough.
The family then dressed in their traveling clothes, carried their small bags, boxes and bundles, bade their friends and relatives goodby, received their tearful farwells and were off on their long voyage on the seventeenth day of April, 1817.
John D. was now forty, Elizabeth about the same, Onar nineteen, Daniel fifteen, Maria D. ten, Theophilus seven, Rachel five, Hannah going on three, and baby Edenezer almost six months. It took courage, careful planning and determination to set out on the seas which sent such bitter winter weather over Cardigan bay. They departed held up by faith and hope and in the presence of tried and trusted friends. It is thought that there may have been six families, some with the names of Jones, Hughes and Tobias, possibly more than one family with the same surname.
Tragedy struck quickly, baby Edenezer died April 21st and the stricken family was faced with going ashore in order to lay the body of their second wee one in the soil of Wales.
Almost three months later their small ship pulled into New York harbor in the month of July. They had been in a violent storm, were heartily tired of cramped quarters and the lack of fresh food. At long last they gazed on the bustling warves of this entrance to their new country.
The teaming city with its emigrants from many countries must have been bewildering to these families fresh from a more rural countryside, facing the needs of finding housing, and food among people speaking a different language, although Daniel may have learned English at school as it was I believe it was a required subject in Welsh schools. It certainly must have been an exhausting, trying time, and then tragedy struck again. Little Hannah sickened and passed away August 30th.
There is a small note somewhere that Daniel, now a few months from his sixteenth birthday, worked while living in New York, at the immigration office, indicating that he must have received a solid education in the schools of Wales. I believe that at that time schooling for boys was considered more important than for girls.
The family moved on to Baltimore, Maryland. Where Maria D. Lived with a family named Conthett, and there she learned to speak and write English. Daniel soon obtained employment on the Baltimore American, where he learned the printing trade. John D. may have had and used carpenter skills but their hopes for land had not been forgotten and they saved and planned.
Within a few years they had purchased a covered wagon, at least two cows, supplies for the overland journey were packed and they were off again for the states farther west where they could buy government land. They drove their wagon overland by way of Ohio, milking the cows once a day, after they had a nights rest. Slow was the pace and great was the distance over the mountains and through scattered settlements by way of roads taken by former wagon trains. They were free however of marauding indians for even the tribes of Indiana and Illinois had gone farther west by this time. Camping was fun and then became tiresome as, day after day, they drove westward, part of the family walking to save the strength of the cow team. There were friendly encounters on the way and information about roads, crossings new lands and towns ahead. There were also days of rain, mud, swolen rivers and needed repairs. Game was not plentiful along the well traveled trails and supplies limited as they traveled farther and farther west, but they made do and often sang as they went and the children were often excited over some strange scene, the enormous trees, the animals and birds.
Daniel about nineteen, was not with them for he had remained in Baltimore. He would join them later. The family, John D. forty three, Elizabeth, Onar twenty three, Mary D., fourteen , Teophilus, eleven and Rachel nine, arrived at long last in southern Indiana, where there was land available. In the new county of Scott aged one year, in the new state of Indiana aged five. John D. chose land beside the Muscatatuck and entered a claim for eighty acres, on April 5, 1821. And now the wheels stilled. The cows grazed and trees were felled for a cabin well back from the north bank while Elizabeth and Onar washed and spread their clothes and bedding to dry on bushes and cooked over an outside fire until the cabin was up and a chimney built. Time brought cleared and tilled lands and a dug well. Was their help from others? Possibly for in those times, men traveled some distance and news got about when strangers settled anywhere about.
But neither Elizabeth or Theophilis were to live long in the new home, for Elizabeth passed away in August of 1823 and the family cemetery to the east of the homesite was begun. The endless work of the pioneer home for both men and women went on for almost a year when John D. ended some of the loneliness of a motherless home by his marriage to Elinor Tobias on August 1, 1824 the new found happiness was shadowed for Theophilis who had been so much help in clearing and building, died on August 12, two months short of his fifteenth birthday and was laid beside his mother in the family cemetery.
How happy they were to see Daniel arrive the next year and remain awhile before he went to Bardstown, Kentucky, there to work in a publishing business. He was pleased to meet his new brother-in-law as Maria D. had married Evan Jones, another Welshman the previous fall. One may be sure that he heard all the news, visited all their friends and that they listened spellbound to the stories of his doings. A grown man he was but visits to the little cemetery must have been difficult for this the eldest son, so soon to depart again. He must go where he could use his skills, learned in Maryland.
Life moved along rapidly, John D. welcomed his first child by Elinor on the first day of November and they named her Eliza. Two years later saw Thomas Tobias and faithful Onar, now thirty years of age applying for a marriage liscense to wed at Vernon on October 11, 1827. And the tale of births and death went on as it did so frequently in those times. Elinor gave birth to Lavinia on the 27th of December 1828, a little sister for three year old Eliza. Then a letter in the midst of winter arrived from Daniel, telling of his marriage to Margaret Simpson at Louisville, January 22, 1829. This was happy news for John D. who often thought of his eldest son and missed him sorely at times.
Now John D. began to think of another important feature in life. Maria D. had joined the Coffee Creek Baptist Church west of Paris Crossing in December of 1828. A this time the county was still sparsely settled and the Churches were far apart. The roads of course were miserable during much of the winter and spring or at any time when the weather was very rainy. The streams were forded when low enough or at certain lower spots. One walked or road horseback. Corn was taken to the mills in sacks thrown across the back of a horse. The rider waited until the meal was ground and the miller had taken his toll, which was part of the meal.
People rode or walked for miles to attend church. The Coffee Creek Baptist Church, made of hewn logs, was organized in 1822 with twenty five members. John D. joined in December of 1829 and in 1832 John T., John and William Tobias also became members. John T. was by then the husband of Maria whom he had married in 1831, for Maria's husband had drowned while crossing the Ohio river in a small boat and left her a widow with children.
By this time another daughter had been born to John D. and Elinor in October of 1830 named Mary Margaret and they had lost little Lavina, not quite three, eight days before Mary Margaret was one, on October 16, 1831. Then by this time there were grandchildren by Onar, Maria and Daniel, children of his first marriage to Elizabeth Riece.
By the time Mary Margaret was three, John D. rejoiced at the birth of a son Samuel L. born on August 30, 1833, bringing hope for help in his later days for John D. was now fifty six.
A few months later on November 21 Rachel the last of Elizabeth's daughers married Henry Dixon the last marriage in this family for fifteen years. The three little ones kept the home lively and in August of 1835 another boy to be named William arrived and in another two years there came the last daughter Sara followed by Hugh Elias in December of 1839.
Little Hugh however lived only thirteen days and his resting place was still unsettled when his mother Elinor died a week later, leaving Eliza fourteen to care for Mary Margaret nine, Samuel six, William four and Sara two, a difficult task when the heavy chores of cooking over a fireplace and washing great kettles of clothes had to be done so often. Knowing this John D. married for the third time, a Mary Davis with whom he was to live for fifteen years.
At some time during all the growing up years they had moved to the new roomier brick home built a short distance east of the cabin. There were two large front rooms, a large fireplace and separate kitchen in the back. We can well imagine that a grapevine trellis might have been built between the two or a covered walkway where much outside work could be done in warm weather and wood stacked high and dry.
The children grew rapidly but little William, seven going on eight, died in the spring of 1843. Of what, measles, whooping cough, pnumonia, diptheria, all so dreaded, and, all too frequently fatal? We do not know. Now for all John D's seven sons only Daniel and Samuel remained to carry on the family name in the new world. Of which John D. had become a citizen on August 18. His grief at Williams passing may have been somewhat softened by the fact that Daniel had settled in that thriving city of Madison where he had purchased a partnership in a newspaper and was rapidly becoming a well known editor. Then, too, Daniel had two sons.
A few years went by and Mary Margaret married John M. Williams on April 23, 1848 and must have gone to live nearby for her three older children are in the family cemetery on the farm. We were told that many years later Mary Margaret and another sister both widowed and remarried and widowed again, lived on the home farm in their later years.
Daniel sickened and died in September of 1851, aged fifty years of age, and highly elogized by all the editors of Madison. That was a hard blow to the family especially to the aging father and those who remembered Daniel who was always having and making fun for them.
Eliza married William Chasteen in January of 1854 and by 1856 Mary the faithful last wife began to fail. John D. feeling his years, made his will that September, leaving the government land he had purchased so long ago to be evenly divided between his heirs. By January of 1857, Mary had passed away leaving John D. now seventy nine, Samuel twenty three, and Sara eighteen. How thankful the aged father must have been for these two on whom he could lean. Now he often sat in the warm sun, within sight of the family cemetery, and lent his mind to many memories of life in the new land. It was then that he must have decided to write his memorandum, listing the births and deaths of his children and the women he had married.
On January 29, 1857 aged eighty years and nineteen days, John D. emmigrant from Wales, pioneer settler of Indiana and father of fifteen, died and was laid in the long row beside his wives and his children.
He would have been pleased to know that Onar and her family were to buy the beloved and dearly won acres, that his friend Wm. B. Lewis, executor of his will carried out his wishes and that he had many growing grandchildren. He would be spared the knowledge of the Civil War and the worry of having Samuel enlist and remain in the Union Army through out the war he was to serve in Missouri, Arkansas, at Vicksburg, New Orleans and Texas and suffer much exposure but no recorded wounds. In 1864 he was with Sheridan in Virginia and Georgia. Ten years after his death he would have seen Samuel married and the father of a son. However, Samuel was to remember and record his death in the beautiful leather bible he cherished and of which we have remants, kept as they were by Samuel's son, DeSoto, in a safe place.
During the 1870's Miss Permelia Boyd, great grandaughter of John D. and Elizabeth, died. As she was the last of the immediate family, we purchased a Welsh bible which must have come over in 1817 with them; it is in poor condition but we wish we could read it. While we were doing something else a box of family pictures was sold.
This information on the the Welsh Pioneers is from the Lucille and Richard Kinnett papers, loaned by Edwin & Cleo Kinnett--Author Unknown.