Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Delaware County, Indiana --1831

The news Stephen Jones had written from Delaware County on 2 Dec 1831 was that he had obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he stated was "now in the family." Stephen speaks of his understanding and belief in the "revelation," and encourages his children to obtain a copy, and to ask God to manifest the truth to them.

Confirming Stephen's statement are the writings of Levi W. Hancock from his journal describing his mission to Jackson County, Missouri http://web.mac.com/lionelnebeker/nebgen/Levi_-_Indiana.html. Hancock writes that in the summer of 1831 he and his fellow missionary, Zebedee Coltrin

"then went to Winchester in Randolph County, Indiana and stopped at the county seat, on the head waters of the White River. We saw there a school master and introduced the Gospel to him. He was so well pleased with the message that he spread the news as fast as possible and called a meeting...This was in the fore part of July. We continued to preach here in the region and around about, until we had raised a large branch of the Church. We were sent forth from the Ward township. We went there and in a short time we had in both places about one hundred members. Among them, was a man by the name of Jones and his wife. He told me that he went through the Revolutionary War, that he was a life guard once for General Washington. He told me many things about the war, which was very interesting. I told him my message and we discussed the Gospel for some time. Then he asked for baptism and I baptized him. Afterwards, he said he had something for me. He had saved a watermelon on purpose for me, so he now went and picked it.

He was so grateful to me, it appeared to do him good to see me enjoying the watermelon, as if he were feeding an angel. He was so thankful to be baptized and felt the spirit of the Lord with him. I had no Elder with me at this time.

Soon after this, we thought we should leave here, as we had done all we could in Winchester...It is now the month of August that I made this last account. Mr. Jones showed me his cornfield and cut down one stalk that measured one rod (17 ft). It was the tallest corn I had ever seen. I think there was none in the field any longer. This was on a branch, he says, of the head waters of the Wabash."

Levi Hancock's journal confirms that a man named Jones, who served during the Revolutionary War, lived in the area near Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana in 1831. This man named Jones was baptized into the "Church of the Latter Day Saints" in the summer of that year.

On a side note, if we accept the 1820 Clark County, Indiana census as being Stephen Jones of Essex, NJ, then we know that he earned his living through agriculture. A statement in his letter, however, indicates that he may have raised animals as well. In his letter Stephen writes "perhaps you may be desirous to know hom I make a living - I can with two--- say that I have a plenty - having been blessed and prospered much in everything I have und---en but horses of them I have lost three since I have been here - but not any discouraged at that." What was an acceptable loss of horses for a farmer on the western frontier in 1830? Did Stephen Jones raise or trade in horses that a loss of 3 was acceptable?

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