John Lewis Jones

Contributed By Vesta Turner1 · 16 October 2014. This is an article that appeared in an unknown small magazine (6 X 8.5) and is comprised of the history written by his daughter, Lucille Jones and includes history and comments probably from the editors. I wish I had Lucille’s original. Lucile was his daughter by his plural wife, Margret Ann Evans.

John Lewis Jones, Pioneer December 20, 1838 – December 23, 1912 John Lewis Jones was born December 20, 1838 to William Jones and Lucy Lewis Jones. He was the fifth of their six children, all born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. He came to Utah in 1852 with his father and mother and two sisters, Lucy and Hannah, and a younger brother, Reese. They came to America on a ship named the Ellen Maria.

Thomas Harper has written a description of the journey which we will include here: The company of Saints on the ship Ellen Maria were the fifty-seventh company to sail and the first from the British Isles under the P. E. Fund (Perpetual Emigration Fund) which was set up by the LDS Church to help the Saints who were financially unable to pay their own passage. It was first started in 1849 and in 1850 it was increased and was extended to the Saints in Great Britain. The Ellen Maria, which the previous year had brought a company of Saints safely across the Atlantic, was again chartered to bring another company to New Orleans. On the 7th of February 1852 she cleared Liverpool, but owing to adverse winds did not put out to sea until the 10th of February.

Her entire company was made up of Saints numbering 369 souls, one of which was born during the three-day wait for favorable winds. Among those who sailed with the company were a number of prominent American and British Elders who had performed efficient missionary work in the British Isles. They were James D. Ross, Glenn Rodger, Haden W. Church, J. W. Johnson, Henry Evans and Louis Robbins. These brethren had all acted as Conference Presidents. Elder Haight, an American Elder, was appointed President of the Company which included one hundred and eighty two Perpetual Education Fund Emigrants.

After a pleasant voyage, the Ellen Maria arrived in New Orleans on the 7th of April with three births, four marriages, and one death on the voyage. The person who died was a Sister Ralph who was 89 years of age. Captain Whitmore was a very kind and considerate man and treated the emigrants with all due respect. From New Orleans the journey was continued by river steamer to St. Louis, Missouri where the company was met by Abraham O. Smoot who acted as agent for the P. E. Fund. Through his agency all the supplies were purchased for the Saints for their overland journey. After cooperating with Elder Smoot according to the instructions, Elder Isaac C. Haight, who had led the company to the States, returned to England and Elder Smoot conducted the emigrants to Council Bluffs, Iowa and subsequently led the first P. E. Fund emigrants cross the plains. The first group consisted of those who had crossed the Atlantic on two ships, the Kennebec and the Ellen Maria. The emigration of 1852, most of which left the Missouri River in the month of June began to arrive in Great Salt Lake valley in the middle of August. The last company arrived in October.

The following interesting account of the arrival of the first company of P. E. Fund emigrants on Friday September 3, 1852, is taken from the Deseret News of September 18, 1852. Captain A. O. Smoot’s company of 31 wagons was escorted into the city by Church dignitaries. Included in the group were Brigham Young and the First Presidency of the Church, some of the Twelve Apostles, and many citizens on horseback and in carriages Apostle F. D. Richards had joined the convoy and made the journey with it to Salt Lake. Captains Pills band, in President Brigham Young’s spacious carriage, met the company at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Saints of both sexes, some nearly seventy years old, danced and sang, their hearts made glad by their arrival in Zion. Melons and cakes were distributed for their enjoyment. Next in procession, walking, came a band of pilgrims, sisters and children, sunburnt and weather beaten, but not forlorn. Their hearts were glad and buoyant, plainly manifest by their happy, joyful countenances. Next came the wagons. The good condition of the cattle and general appearance of the train did credit to Bishop Smoot. As they passed the Temple Block they were saluted with nine rounds of artillery, which made the everlasting hills sake with joy. Thousands of men, women, and children gathered to welcome them.

Brigham Young addressed them and bade them welcome. He told them that the prayers of the Saints had been with them for their safety and wellbeing. He told them not to watch others and be influenced by their actions, that they had come to a land of plenty, but it had to be worked for. He told them that there were plenty of beets, turnips, cabbages, pears, beans, melons, and wheat, and better grapes than on the London market. He said that he expected the peach crop to be very good and plentiful. All this, he said, had been accomplished in four years. He told them that some would remain here and others would be sent to other settlements where needed. They were not to expect to get rich at once. He said that there were no poor among them and eventually have the comforts of life. He told them that they were not to go to the gold mines, that this was the gathering place. He said that they had been escorted in by some of the most distinguished individuals of our society. He said: “There is a liberal quantity of food and the best water you have ever drunk. You are to live in your wagons until you are settled in your own homes.” He hoped that all the brothers and sisters would send melons, potatoes, and everything needed for their welfare to them.

Ten of the company had died en route. One had drowned, others died of cholera, measles, inflammation, and a few other causes. William Jones and his family were sent up to northern Utah and they settled in the community of Call’s Fort, also called Lakeside, but more commonly referred to as “Harper Ward” (Thomas Harper was the first bishop of the ward.) Call’s Fort was about 6 or 7 miles north of Brigham City against the mountain. Thomas Harper had married one of William’s daughters, Hannah. John Lewis Jones was at this time thirteen years of age. He worked on the land with his father and his brother Reese who was eleven. Reese Morris Jones died in 1859 at the age of eighteen. John continued to work with his father until 1864 when he married Josephine Gilbert who he had known in Wales and who had come to Utah in the same company He, with the help of an architect-stone mason, built a six-room stone house in Harper Ward where he lived with his wife, Josephine.

In 1865 a son was born. They named him John Reese. (“Uncle Johnny” became a favorite in the family for many years.)’ In 1867 John Lewis Jones decided to take a second wife. Josephine would not agree to live in polygamy and she divorced him. She and her child, Johnny, aged 2 years, went to Corinne, Utah, where her parents lived.(When Johnny was ten years old -1875- his father surreptitiously took him to live with him in Lakeside.). John Lewis married Mary Price in 1867. They lived in the stone house in Harper Ward and Mary bore him thirteen children, five boys and eight girls.

When Mary was pregnant with her eighth child (1882) she had become somewhat incapacitated with rheumatism and arthritis. John asked his friend, William Evans if one of his daughters could come and work for him. William’s oldest daughter, Margret Ann, then sixteen years old, became the hired girl. She was hired to do the housework, the cooking and to help Mary with the seven children and one on the way. Margret worked for a year as the hired girl. When she was seventeen, John Jones asked for her hand in marriage. Polygamy was encouraged by the Church and John felt that it was his duty to take another wife.

John and Margret were married August 3, 1883 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah by Apostle Heber Wells. By this time polygamy had been declared illegal by the U. S government and John was arrested, along with several of his neighbors, and put in jail for six months. He had to pay a fine of $300. From then on whenever the sheriff would be seen coming up the road, the word went out and the polygamous wives and their children would go up on the mountainside and hide behind the huge rocks until the sheriff had made his rounds.

In 1887, John and Mary’s oldest son, John William (known as Billy) was 21 years old and he married and went up to St. John, Idaho, near Malad, and homesteaded a farm. He built a house and lived there with his wife and two children until 1896 when he was killed in an accident while plowing his field. The horses became spooked and ran away dragging Billy under the plow.

One of the problems farmers had to deal with in the area was wild grass, called “June grass” because it grew fast in the spring and then turned brown in June. It was hard to get rid of and the easiest way was to burn it. But that had certain risks. John Jones found this out the hard way. While burning the June grass around his Lakeside field, the wind came up and the fire went through the fence onto his neighbor’s property burning the neighbor’s June grass but also some of his grain. The neighbor sued John and in order to pay the damages John had to sell his house and farm in Harper Ward.

Billy Jones had just died in Idaho and John decided to take over Billy’s farm. Billy’s wife had gone to Clarkston, Utah to live with her parents. By this time, 1896, John had suffered other tragedies. Eight of his children by Mary Price had died, all five boys were gone and three girls. Only five daughters (Esther, Hannah, Rachel, Elizabeth, and Victoria) were left. Margret had borne him five children (LaVon, Hyrum, Joseph, Abraham and Evans), two of which (Joseph and Abraham) had died as infants, and she was pregnant with her sixth child, (Jordan).

When John arrived in St. John to take over Billy’s farm he found that the house had been torn down. what was left was a one-room log cabin with a dirt roof. So while he made this livable, Mary and her children went to live with her brother, Dan Price, in Samaria, Idaho, just a few miles south of St. John. Margret and her three children lived in one room in a neighbor’s house. John eventually built a three-room house with a shingle roof on this property, which was crowded at best for his two families.

In 1896 John Lewis Jones was 57 years old. With six daughters between the ages of 2 and 14 and two sons ages 2 and 12, he began the task of starting over building a new house on a new farm in a new community. But, John was a hard worker and as his children grew they were able to help a lot. Margret would have four more children, three boys (Jordan in 1896, Carl in 1901, and Seymour in 1903 and one girl (Lucille in 1898).

By 1906 times were hard in St. John and supporting two families was difficult. LaVon (22) and Hyrum(20), had already left home to work down in Utah. It was at this time, too, that John, now 67 years old, had an opportunity to sell the ranch in St. John. Land for dry farming was available in Arbon Valley, a few miles west of St. John and John decided to take the plunge. The property that he obtained in Arbon Valley had only a small house on it, not room for two families. He took his wife Mary, and her five daughters to Arbon Valley. Margret put her five children in a wagon and left for Brigham City where her parents lived. In 1907 John visited his wife Margret in Brigham City. This visit resulted in Margaret’s pregnancy with her tenth and last child, Raymond, born in 1908. Before returning to Arbon Valley, John managed surreptitiously, to take his young son Carl with him. Carl would remain with his father until 1912 when John Lewis Jones died at the age of 73 years. He is buried in the St. John Cemetery. Mary Price Jones would live five more years and she is buried in St. John Cemetery too.