Jones, Benjamin (1815) - Biography

Sketch of Grandfather Benjamin Jones and Grandmother Esther Davis Jones

Sketch of Grandfather Benjamin Jones and Grandmother Esther Davis Jones

By Eliza Call Nelson and Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin C. Call

      Benjamin Jones, my grandfather was the son of David and Elenor Morgan Jones. He was born on a farm called Pandry Manfymith at Manfymith at Mandils Llanfyhennel Garnmarthenshire, South Wales on January 1, 1815. My grandmother, Esther Davis Jones was born on a farm called Janycord near Lampeter Garmarthenshire, South Wales on June 5, 1815. She was the daughter of Evan Davis and Mary Jones.

      Esther’s parents were raised close together. The families owned their estates for generations back and were thus freeholders. Mary Jones Harding was born in the same house that her mother was born in. Her father’s and mother’s families were devout Methodists, very liberal in their ideas, and very highly respected, they bring the wealthiest families in the county in the year 1838. When Benjamin Jones and Esther David Jones were married, they commenced life in the unusually good circumstances, and fine prospects, at Lampeter, Carmarthenshire, South Wales. It was here their first two children were born. They were then advised to move to Glanmorganshire because of the great cholera epidemic. Some members of the Jones family had already moved there. The doctors advised Mr. Jones to work at his trade, that of boot and shoe-maker. He was also a shoe merchant. The young couple prospered and were doing fine. Their third child, Elenor, and their son Evan were born here. 

      Again, the Jones were advise to move, but this time it was by the Methodist pastor, who wished the father to lead their choir and take care of the chapel and cemetery. For about three years everything seemed to go their way, prosperity and contentment filled their home.

      Related by Elenor Jones Call:

      “In February, 1848, while living in Cadiston Parish Captain Dan Jones passed through the village on his to Swansea to take the steamer for Liverpool, and then the America. He brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with him, but it brought a spirit of uneasiness to the community. Some of the people ridiculed him and spoke all manner of evil against him. The people began speaking of this new religion and the deplorable creatures who professed to teach it. One day a neighborhood came to the home and asked Father if he had heard these men preach. He said, “ No, and I don’t want to hear them either, for they are men who are trying to make money by deceiving the people. The woman continued to attend their meetings, and again came to gather saying the he was intelligent and wise and he wanted hi to advise her in regard to spiritual affairs, as he read the scriptures and was so well informed. She greatly desired to go to the meetings of the Mormon missionaries but her people very much opposed to her doing so. She begged gather to attend and then tell her what he thought concerning them. He finally promised to go the following Sunday. He went on the back street and stood in the back part of the church as he felt ashamed to be there. On his return home was very quiet. He had some of their literature with him. He read a great deal and we could see that he was greatly disturbed in he thoughts. Shortly after one of the missionaries came to our home and had dinner and spent the afternoon in presenting the principle of the Gospels. This brought ill feelings between the parents. Mother wanted Father to join the Church of England because they had offered him a clerkship with a very good salary. He refused to join the Church of England. The missionaries told Father if he would be baptized wit ha pure motive and a prayerful hear he was would obtain knowledge that the Mormon Church was true. When, after a prayerful study, he felt that he should be baptized, and was on a Sunday midnight in July, 1849. Mother also believed and was baptizes six weeks later. The Methodist pastor came to our home to plead with my parents to renounce this strange and wicked religion, and to think of the disgrace they had brought upon the family. Then persecution and hardship started in earnest. Father lost his position and the family was shunned. The Curate and Vicar of the Church of England pleaded with our parents not to keep the children, Mary and David, from Sunday School and day school. My father tried to get a house in the same village, but failed, so they had to move a few miles away. He was ordained an Elder and called preside over another branch for four years. They endured many persecutions.”

      Grandfather could not get work, all their friends were against them and they sold what they could to get the necessities of life. As the children grew older, they obtained work and in this way assisted their parents; they also gave part of their earnings to the church. Many times they would walk for miles to attend church and sing in the choir.

      In those days the Elders traveled without purse or script and had to depend on the Saints for many things. While in the Parish where the Jones family lived, they made their home with them. Sister Jones did their washing ironing, mending, and assisted them in many ways. It as no small task for the Saints to care for the needs of the Elders but they did it well and were happy in the thought that they had found the truth and wanted to help the servants of God. She was always kind and charitable to the poor, and she shared what she had with those in need, even strangers.

      The Doctrine of Gathering to Zion was strongly urged, and Benjamin Jones and the older children were anxious to go to Zion. He had been made an Elder and presided over a branch of the Church in South Wales. His wife felt that he was doing all he could I that position and should remain there. Disputes arose in the family and it was considerably divided as to the proper course.

      Mary Jones Harding, the eldest daughter had worked for a rich gentleman for some time and had saved money toward paying her way to Zion, and she was tired of the persecution and hardships that her family were passing through. At this time the following incident greatly strengthened the faith of this good family. One of the neighbor women, who had reviled and cursed the elders and the message they bore, and all these who had joined the church, she also cursed the priesthood of the Church. When her baby was born, the little one had but one arm, and the women then became convinced that the punishment and cursings she had asked for others had been heaped upon herself and the daughter she bore. My parents consented that Mary leave for the “valley, ” so on May 28, 1863, when she was 22 years old, she left Swansea for Liverpool in a small sailing vessel called a packet. In Mary’s words, “My parents and sisters and brother, and many of my friends came to the wharf to bid my good-bye. I cried pitifully for I knew that some of them I would never see again. This was true, for there I gazed for the last time on the faces of my dear mother and my baby brother Johnny. To make the parting easier for me, my little brother Joseph was placed on a barrel so I could see him, and across the water came the clear, musical tones of his sweet voice as he sang, “We are coming, Sister Mary, for the time is drawing nigh.” Oh, how sweet the tones of his boyish voice and how assuring were the words of the song. .”

      In 1864, brother David left for Wales for Zion, arriving in Salt Lake City October 6, 1864. He went to Willard to be with his sister Mary. He was taken ill with Mountain Fever and lived but one month, passing way on November 6, 1864, at the age of 22 years old. Previous to leaving Wales, he had presided over a conference as well as doing regular missionary work. He, like other boys and girls of the family, had great faith and a strong testimony of the Gospel.

      When the news of David’s death reached the family in Wales, they were greatly disturbed, and Mother Jones, not being in sympathy with emigrating to Utahm trued to persuade her husband to stay in Wales. The will of Benjamin could not be changed, and his wife was equally as determined. He and some of the children left for America, and a little later, Elenor, who had been such a support of her mother and younger children, also left for Zion. The Mother and two children, Eliza, then about nine years of age and John about five years, stayed with their mother. The anguish of Sister Jones was almost more than she could bear—her husband and eight children having left their home, and one of their number already dead; All of the children in the family were fine singers, and many evenings spent in devotional singing and prayer with neighbors coming to enjoy the music, now all was quiet and lonely.

      In 1861there were now ten children in the family. Aunt Mary Harding came to Utah in 1863 ; her brother, David, came to Willard, Utah in 1864., he died there one month later. My mother, Elenor, and hour younger children came in 1866; Evan, Margaret, and Sarah and Joseph. My grandfather came to Utah in 1865. He left England on 14 on November 1865 on the “John Bright”, his son Benjamin came with him. In Willard, on 18 October 1869 grandfather married Mary Jones, who had a son William Jones, by a previous marriage. My grandmother Esther Jones, her son John and daughter Eliza remained in Wales. John died April 9, 1881. Grandmother died September 18, 1899 at Willard City, Utah.

      Aunt Eliza often told mother that their mother did not hold feelings against their father, although it was very hard for her to part with her children. Their mother’s testimony of the Gospel remained firm until her death; she remained in England because of her poor health and fear she would die enroute she was afraid to cross the ocean.

      Esther David Jones is buried by her son, John Jones, near the church door (rock building) in Pincarge Churchyard near Lampeter, Glanmorganshire, South Wales. (70 miles north of Neath). Several brothers and one sister are buried nearby. One died in 1881. – Bradford, Maple Valley, Washington, son of Eliza Jones, brother of Benjamin Jones; Ann Bradford, daughter of Eliza Jones, brother of Benjamin Jones.

      Three children were born to grandfather and Mary Jones. They were: Jane Jones- July 1870; Rose Ann Jones- 1872; and Thomas Jones- 1875.

      Grandfather was father of thirteen children, ten were born in Wales and three in Willard, Utah. My grandparents were very kind to us, and when we took meat of fruit to them, grandma would always give us an egg and then we would buy candy with it. I remember the room my grandfather worked in; he was a shoemaker. In later years he would come early in the mornings to visit his children; we grandchildren were always happy to see him come. My mother would often have a family dinner on January 1 to celebrate his birthday. He was always a thorough Latter-day Saint and lived a good life. He died July 22, 1891 in Willard, Utah.




Jones, Eleanor

Jones, Eliza

Jones, Evan Davies

Jones, Margaret

Jones, Benjamin Franklin

Jones, Benjamin

Jones, Mary

Jones, David

Jones, Joseph

Davis/Davies, Esther Sarah

Jones, Sarah

Jones, John


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