The following article is a transcription from a photocopied document of unknown origin or date. My copy was obtained from D.L. Bond of Raleigh, NC, great-grandson of the article’s subject, Lewis Evan Jones Jr. of Cedar County, Nebraska. There is no author noted and this is one of several similar documents contained in the unpublished collection of papers associated with Lewis Evan Jones Jr. and his family. I have faithfully transcribed from the original photocopy in my possession. Since no sources are cited, no author is attributed, I would not cite this document as a referencable source. It’s useful to note that there are numerous biographical sketches of Lewis Evan Jones Jr. in this collection, each one differing from the others in various ways. In some instances the different articles offer contradictions to one another on small, but important facts. This article does contain useful information, however care should be taken to verify the details from additional, referencable sources.
“Pioneer Passes Away
“Lewis Evan Jones was born in the town of Carnarvon, Wales on the 21st day of February, 1825, and died at his home near Wynot, Nebraska, October 21st, 1910, he was a member of the Wesleyan church of Wales.
“As a young man he worked in his (long blank space) printing office in Carnarvon until the age of 16 years, when he went to ocean as a sailor for six years. After this he came to America and landed at New Orleans, where he worked as a printer on the Picayune. From there he drifted to St. Louis, where he established the Christian Advocate Methodist paper, which he afterward sold to the Methodist church south.
“In the year 1851 he was married to Louisa Richards, a young lady of St. Louis, of English birth, who resided with her parents there. To this union was born nine children, six of whom remain to mourn his loss. They are Louisa J. Felber of Omaha, William C. Jones of Wynot, Mrs. Margaret M. Lemon of Lincoln, Thomas N. and Albert W. Jones of Wynot and Evan S. Jones, supposed to reside in Alaska. Thirty-eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren also survive him.
“Lewis Evan Jones came to Cedar County, Nebraska, in May, 1859, with his wife and three children, and has resided here ever since. In 1893, Louisa, his first wife, passed to her eternal home. A few years thereafter Mr. Jones returned to his native country and was married to Helen Miles, at Manchester, England, his present wife, who survives him.
“Funeral services for Lewis E. Jones were held from the beautiful home at Bow Valley Mills on Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Owing to the beauty of the day and the balmy weather the service was conducted from the front lawn. There under the giant trees which he had planted with his own hands rested all that remained of the sturdy pioneer, while his neighbors and friends paid the last tribute of respect. The obituary and short funeral service was read by Rev. A. Heathcote, and the choir sang a few of the beautiful time honored hymns, The casket was literally buried with floral offerings. The attendance was large and the funeral cortege was undoubtedly one of the largest ever witnessed in Cedar county. The remains were laid to rest in the family lot in Bow Valley cemetery at Wynot.
“Away back in the early day, beyond the memory and even the time of the most of us who are here today, in the month of May, 1859, there floated up the Missouri river a steamer with the name Florence painted on her Wheelhouse. There were but few passengers on the boat, but among them was numbered Lewis E. Jones, wife and three children. Few people in those days had the courage to venture so far into the wilderness, inhabited as it was by bands of roving Indians and herds of Buffalo. It was almost a foolhardy undertaking, but the brave pioneers had determined to seek a home and fortune in the new country. As the steamer landed near what became St. Helena later on, there was in the party besides the Jones’ family, Henry Felber and Peter Jenal and families.
“When the steamer Florence put ashore these three pilgrim families, there were but two log houses in St. Helena. About a year previous to this Jacob Brauch had arrived with his family, having come by team from Sioux City. He had been sent ahead to prepare houses and erect a sawmill which Mr. Jones had shipped from St. Louis. A few other adventuresome settlers were located at points near St. Helena. The town of St. Helena was surveyed and laid out by the late John H. Charles of Sioux City, and he named it in honor of Helena, daughter of Carl C. P. Myers, the first white child born in Cedar county.
“It is recalled on that memorable day in May, 1858, Lewis E. Jones said to his wife, as the steamer came round the bend of St. Helena Island; ‘Mother, there is St. Helena, your future home.’ Although a brave woman, Mrs. Jones burst into a flood of tears when she first set eyes upon the wilderness which was to be her place of abode and was heartbroken when she realized the privations and hardships that must be endured by her family, after having been raised in a city like St. Louis. No churches, no schools and very few friends and neighbors, except the red men of the forest. It was indeed a gloomy prospect.
“All the hardships and privations attendant upon the early pioneers was passed through by there. A month after their arrival, a terrible storm swept over (extra long blank spot here) roof and two rows of logs from their domicile, Mrs. Jones was determined to return to St. Louis, but all their earthly possessions were in the new country and to do so would have meant ruin and her husband prevailed upon her to remain. It was a total loss, but neighbors rallied to their support and the mill was rebuilt.
“Early in the sixties, settlers began pouring in and traffic on the river increased to such an extent that trading became profitable for the new settlers, and Mr. Jones dealt largely in lumber and wood, and began to prosper. The coming of settlers and the building up of the country gradually improved the conditions and the early settlers became more contented.
“Lewis E. Jones has led a busy life and has seen the good as well as the bad side, but he mastered all the difficulties and succeeded in securing a goodly portion of the world’s good, so that his declining years could be spent in peace and comfort.
“He owned and operated the first newspaper in Cedar county, the St. Helena Gazette, and later owned the Cedar County Nonpareil. He was county commissioner for many years and was a member of the territorial legislature in 1866-67, when the territory was admitted to statehood. He was always a staunch democrat and one of the leaders of his party from the earliest time. He built the Bow Valley mills in 1866, conducted a…” (The remainder of the article is missing.)