Lewis Evan Jones Jr. (1825 – 1910) — Family History and Biography Sketches

The following is a faithful transcription of a photocopied document that I received from Douglas Bond of Raleigh, North Carolina, (great-grandson of Lewis Evan Jones Jr., of Nebraska). The original document appears to have been printed on a dot matrix printer, and is dated June 30, 1991. The original author is Lewis Evan Jones Jr. of Cedar County, Nebraska. The editor is presumed to be Mr. E.W. Jones, mentioned below. My notes follow the transcribed text, related to asterisks(*) placed in the body of the transcription.

Regarding the transcription: mis-spellings, mistakes, etc. that appear in the original transcription appear here italicized. Punctuation errors and ALL CAPS are retained from the original. Where I have introduced corrections to either clarify a misspelled or missing word, I have included them in parenthesis, (in italics). It cannot be determined what errors were introduced by the original transcriber or are original to the hand-written original text, however every effort has been made on my part to copy the text in my possession verbatim.

C.H. Jones
Raleigh, NC
December 14, 2014

“The following is a typed version of a document (the original is presently in the possession of Mr. E. W. Jones, grandson of the author, 2891 Laurel Street, Napa, California 94558-5728). The document is written in the hand of Mr. Lewis Evan Jones (1825 – 1910). The date of the document is unknown, however several entries are dated March 1st, 1898.


 

“OUR FAMILY – SKETCH OF HIS GREAT GRAND FATHERS

“My ancestors were all thorough Welsh, and inhabitants of Merionethshire, North Wales, on my father’s side.

“My great-grand-father was named RICHARD JONES, Tzddyn-du (Black Farm) half way between the town of Barmouth, (a prosperous sea port on Cardigan Bay, at that time, and until the Railroads took all that business from ships who applied to and from all ports of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales,) and Dolgelley, a prosperous town, ten miles from tide water. This place was noted for its woolen manufacture, and good market for wood, which was a flourishing business raising sheep those days, and in a mountainous country. It is yet a good manufacturing town, making the famous Welsh flannels, known all over the world for its sterling qualities.

“My great grand father owned two pieces of land contiguous to Tzddyn-du, called Bont-ddu (Black Bridge) and Tynybuarth. These farms contained some good farming land and large mountains, very lofty, extensive gold mines are now worked on these mountains, said to pay well, all owned by farmers of this neighborhood. At Bont-ddu, same neighborhood, my great grand father had built a woolen mill, which is still operating, but greatly improved since those days. There is also quite a village formed around it, with a large, excellently built Wesleyan chapel. The name of Tyddyn-du was changed by my grand father to Bryntirion (Pleasant Mount.) On this spot is one of the most exquisite palaces in North Wales built by a Mr. Myan, a member of Parliament from that county. (My great grand Mother’s name was Ann. They lived about the year 1700.)

“SKETCH OF HIS GRAND FATHERS

“William Jones, of Bryntirion (Pleasant Mount), my grand father was the eldest of two sons of Richard Jones, Tyddyn-du. After the death of his brother he inherited Tyddyn-du and changed the name to Bryntirion. This large estate was situated halfway between Barmouth, and Dolgelley, five miles from each, close to the public highway. My grandfather at an early age, together with his brother Ellis, were sent to a town in the adjoining county (Carnarvonshire) called Pwllheli, where was located one of the best colleges at that time in the whole country. There they remained many years, where they learned all the classics, and became very well versed in English, Greek, and Latin. They were considered excellent scholars and linguists. My grand father settled down at Bryntirion, and his brother Ellis inherited Bont-ddu, and carried on the business of the woolen mill that was already established, there being a fine waterfall nearby.

“My grand father had two sons and three daughters. The eldest son Richard, he set up in the printing business at Dolgelley, one of the first, if not the first printing offices in North Wales. The second son, my father Lewis, learned the printing business with his brother, Richard at Dolgelley. After serving his apprenticeship my grand father started my father in that business at Carnarvon, in the adjoining county, the largest town at that time, and is yet, in North Wales. There my father in that business, raised a large family of children, both my father and mother lived to a good age, and there they were both buried, honored and respected.

“My grandfather was an early follower of John Wesley and all the family are Wesleyans ever since. I much remember that on a visit to to his old house, my father took me with him, then very young, nothing struck me more than a neat circular chapel, on a level spot half way up a tall mountain that my grandfather had built for his family and neighbors to worship God on his estate….*

“Note: With respect to the college (school) referred above, which school William and Ellis were to have attended in Pwllheli, this compiler, has had correspondence with Professor Geraint H. Jenkins, Coleg Prifysgol Crmu, Aberystwyth, Department of History, Aberystwyth, North Wales and in this correspondence the professor has tentatively identified this school and the head master. However the correspondence has been forwarded to Mr. W. Glyn Thomas to enable him to check out the school. No response has yet been received.**

“SKETCH OF HIS FATHER

“My father, Lewis Evan Jones, was the son of William Jones, of Bryntirion (Pleasant Mount), Merionethshire, North Wales. He was established in the printing business at Caernarvon, in the early part of this century. He was married on the 13th day of January 1819, to Jane Pritchard, at Llanbeblig Parish, at the age of 23. He was a practiced printer, having served his apprenticeship with his brother Richard at Dolgelley. He raised a large family of children and died at the age of 57. He was buried at Llanbeblig Parish yard in the same grave with my mother and three children, died young.***

“SKETCH OF HIS MOTHER

“My mother was the daughter of Mordeceh (Mordecai) Pritchard and Jane Pritchard of Carnarvon. She was born in London – her parents living there at the time. She was married to my father at Llanbeblig Church on the 13th day of January 1819, and died February 1852 at the age of 54.

“Seafaring life is exciting and healthy
Men aboard ship are cheerful and lively;
Cut loose from shore with good bottoms under
They care not for storm, cyclone or thunder.

“Christmas carols – sweet their tune,
Babe of Bethlehem they enthrone;
Pious anthems cheer the weak,
Balmy zephyrs bathe the cheek.

“Note: This document has not been fully extracted, only that portion that related to Mr. Jones’ Welsh ancestors. What follows is a type written version of Mr. Jones hand written comments that pretained to his own life as a young man in Wales and later about his life as a new immigrant, and subsequently as a naturalized citizen of the United States.

“Mr. Lewis Evan Jones was born at Carnarvon, North Wales, on the twenty first day of February 1825. (Died Oct. 21, 1910)

“My father kept his printing office up stairs in his dwelling house, and therefore I had a good chance to learn that trade. At the age of 16 I was a pretty good workman, having had little education in the common schools, but learned more at my father’s office than I did at school. Carnarvon being quite a sea-port at the time, I came across many seafaring men, Welsh, English and foreign. I made up my mind to go and see (a) little of the world. Proceeding to Liverpool I found and English brig going to Stettin in Russia and Constantinople (former name of Istanbul, then part of the Byzantine empire.) Returning in the fall to Hull, England. From there I returned home and worked in the office with my father. When spring came I was in Liverpool again. This time I got a vessel going to Constantinople and the Black Sea going the whole length of the Mediterranean Sea. Went on a voyage to the Baltic Sea. After this I got aboard American ships with different ports in Europe and the United States. After following sea life (for) years, I had seen all I wanted. I then returned home and worked for my father and the “Carnarvon and Denbeigh Herald”. In the course of two years a large ship the ROYAL WILLIAM came there to load slate for New Orleans.

“(see page 54 ‘The Port of Caernarfon 1793 – 1900’ by Mr. Lewis Lloyd ‘ ‘ The ship Royal William (311 tons), built at Montreal in 1831, was transferred to the Baumaris Register in 1836. The sole owner was William Turner, junior, and the first local commander was Captain Griffith Hugh Rogers. Humphrey Owen bought the vessel from William Turner in 1850 and the Royal William was ‘sold foreigh’ in 1867. So this vessel’s association with Caernarfon, as a timber and emigrant carrier, was a lengthy one (1836 – 1867)…… page 55 ….. Like the Brig Belle Isle and the barque Hindoo, the ship Royal William was a timber carrier which sometimes loaded cotton for Liverpool at New Orleans.)

“I had been there before, and I took passage one her, and left father, mother, and sisters and brothers for the new world, as then called. I have seen (?) brother and one sisters – all dead. We left Carnarvon on the 23 December. Found work at New Orleans, but Cholera was bad. Left for St. Louis. Found work on Missouri Republic, now Republic. I then bought a small office and printed the St. Louis Chriisian (Christian) Advocate for six years. At this time the government purchased Kansas and Nebraska from the Indians. I married Louisa Richards. Then I went to Nebraska on a voyage of discovery. The territory was then just organized containing all the land between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. This vast territory contained but four thousand white population when I first came here. I found passage on the steamer TWILIGHT, engaged by the government to take provisions to the soldiers at Fort Union and found half-dozen pioneers located here. (Now St. Helena, Nebraska) I looked the country over a few days, and then went back to my family at St. Louis to make preparations and sell out what property we had there. We found the steamer FLORENCE getting ready to go up for the government the latter part of 1859. I then purchased a steam sawmill and had a small printing office. The two most important things to civilize a new country. We landed here in 12 days from St. Louis. We had many ups and downs for the country settled up very slowly. Grasshoppers came upon us like the locust of Egypt and drove many settlers away. Then the Civil War between North and South took all the young able-bodied men for soldiers. Through all these draw backs we increased in population gradually from 4000 in 1856 to 1,500,000 in 1898. As soon as justified I built a flour mill at the mouth of Petit Arc river, (Little Bow) near a never failing stream emptying into the Missouri river at this place, in 1868; and remodeled it to Roller Mill, 557 bbs capacity in 1890. I laid out the town of St. Helena where I first landed in 1858. The Bow Valley Mills where I now reside is six miles from St. Helena, two from St. James and one to the Niberia River, 12 from Hardington railroad and telegraph.”


 


CH Jones Notes:

* The Wesleyan Chapel built by William Ellis Jones of Brytirion was called Pen Nebo. See: The Origin and History of Methodism in Wales and the Borders, by David Young – Morrison & Gibb, Printers, Edinburgh, 1893. See: Pages 589 – 590.

** The free Grammar School at Pwllheli was in operation prior to 1744 when the famed Welsh bard Goronwy Owen became an assistant schoolmaster there. This is the same school attended by brothers William Ellis and David Ellis Jones, although they attended at a later date than when Owen was in residence. The school was respected as providing a high-quality education to the children of Wales best gentry and rising middle class families. It taught the Anglican religion, English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Artithmatic, along with a heavy emphasis on the classics.

*** Lewis Evan Jones Jr.’s account of his father is curiously silent on the elder’s politics. Lewis Evan Jones Sr. was famous in North Wales for his radical politics, his rabid opposition to the Anglican church, and his critical (arguably libelous) writing against political opponents published from his printing office in Carnarvon. See Ifano Jones, History of Printers and Printing in Wales, for starters.

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