David Clair Jones and Mary Stephens - Biography

David Clair Jones was born October 16, 1841, at Seythlin fach in the parish of Llanfihangel ar-arth, (Pencader) Carmarthen, South Wales to David Jones and Ann Griffiths. 

Mary Stephens was born June 20, 1842, at Ralltfichan in the parish of Llanfihangel, Pencader, South Wales.  Her parents were David Phillips Stephens and Jane Evans.  She was raised on a farm in Wales.  She was talented in singing.  She and her sister-in-law, Margaret Stephens (Dan’s wife), would sing for most every gathering.  She was also a good reader.

On October 16, 1862, David Clair Jones married Mary Stephens.  They were married in the parish church of Llanfihangel ar-arth according to the rites and ceremonies of the Established Church by the vicar, Evan Jones.

Two children were born to David and Mary in Wales.  On January 4, 1864, Ann was born.  David Stephens was born on July 4, 1865.

When David Stephens was six months old, they started to America for the Gospel’s sake.  At first, it was thought it would be best for David to come alone and later send for his family, but they decided to stay together, make money as they went the best they could, and all pioneer together, which they did.  They all came to America on the ship Arkwright. They set sail from England on May 30, 1866, and landed in New York on July 4, 1866.  They crossed the plains from Missouri to Salt Lake in October of the same year.  Mary was sick most of the trip, especially while crossing the plains.  David Clair Jones drove a team of oxen and carried his son, David, most of the way.  Mary’s family, her father, mother, brothers and sisters, came with them, with the exception of Tom and Ann who had preceded them. 

They first lived in the back part of John Edward’s house and David worked at odd jobs, trying to get ahead.  It was quite a handicap though as neither David or Mary could speak a word of English.  That winter he got a job helping to build the Gristmill at Willard, Box Elder, Utah.  He also helped build the harding Store in Willard, Utah.  They lived in Willard for seven years.In the spring of 1869, they went to the north part of Willard, which is now called Perry and leased a farm where they worked hard.  While David C. Jones worked at his trade every chance he got, Mary worked in the field, helping to put in crops, and in the fall, helping to cradle grain.  On December 19, 1868, Tom was born.  They lived in one room, where the fire place was the only stove they had.  Mary’s bed was a pile of straw in one corner of the room.  It was a very cold winter.  Mary’s health was poor, and that winter she developed a chronic ailment that bothered her as long as she lived.

The next spring they moved down to the south part of Willard.  David bought a little home and leased another place, so they had plenty of work to do.  Mary would take all the children out in the field with her.  Ann would take care of the little boys while David and Mary cradled the grain.

That summer Mary took Davis’ peach orchards on shares.  She dried $75 worth of peaches for Mr. Davis while David was helping build the Willard Store for the Harding Boys.  In the evening, Mary picked and carded wool for the neighbors.  She worked very hard.  When fall came, she had made $100.  She felt well paid for her labors. 

John L (December 31, 1869) and Jane (January 30, 1872) were born at this home. 

They sold their Willard home because all the land around Willard was taken up.  In the spring of 1874, they moved to the Malad Valley and settled in St. John, five miles northwest of Malad.  They moved into a one room log house owned by Uncle Tom Stephens.  Later, they took up a 160 acre homestead on Devils Creek.  Mary worked very hard doing the plowing, harrowing and cutting of the grain.  David worked at his trade in town to get money to support his family.  Another son was born here; Evan was born on June 7, 1874.

The children had to walk to school in Malad, as St. John did not have a school at that time.  Dave S., Joe Peterson, Mrs. Emmy Thomas, and Ann would walk to Malad every morning and back at night for three months every year, for that was how long school was held then.  Professor Evans was their teacher.  Later they held school at St. John in a two room house.  Professor Edward Woozley was the first teacher in the St. John school.

The water that supplied the school was from little wells dug like post holes.  There is a lot of difference in sanitation now, but they all seemed to have lived and thrived somehow.

It was too far for the children to walk to school from the ranch, so they bought a lot from Grandfather Stephens, where they built the home they lived in up to the time they both died.  Education was important to the Jones family.  David C. helped organize the St. John School District.  He was one of the first trustees, serving for several years.

David Clair Jones was a carpenter by trade and had a shop in Malad at the corner of Five Points.  When he built his house, he built only two rooms at first but added on to it as they could until they were quite comfortable.  More children were born to David and Mary.  They were Dan (September 19, 1877), Mary Ellen (January 11, 1879), and Sarah (March 9, 1883).  They were all born in the new home.  David and Mary had nine children, and although they had their sorrows and worked hard, they were blessed as they raised every one of their children, not losing any family member to death until the death of Mary’s father.

David would walk to work every day.  He was also the coffin maker for St. John.  He told many stories of boards rattling in the attic the night before someone died.  He knew then that he was to make a casket.  He always had his son, Dan, climb into the coffin when they were finished to see if the fit was right.  David and Mary celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary in 1912, with all their children present.  They were each presented with a gold watch.

David C. Jones died August 19, 1920 at the age of eighty.  Mary Stephens Jones had a cheerful disposition.  All loved her who knew her.  She always gave her grandchildren $5.00 for wedding gifts and as a rule, always put 50 cents in the hand of the new babies born in each family.  For one year before her death, she went to live with her girls.  She died December 22, 1922 at the home of her daughter, Mary Ellen.  She left nine children and fifty-one grandchildren.  She was buried next to her husband in the St. John Cemetery, at St.John, Oneida, Idaho.

            Sources of information: Histories of

David Clair and Mary Stephens Jones,

written by: Ann Jones Lewis, a daughter

History written by: Viola Kent Morgan in the

St. John Centennial Book, page 163.

Family group sheet of Elmer J. Lewis

Submitted by: Klea Scott Lusk





Stephens, Mary

Jones, David Clair


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