Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1839-1842 Quincy, Illinois

Stephen Jones was among 6,000 Latter Day Saints who found refuge in Quincy, Illinois after their expulsion from Missouri. The Saints arrived homeless and without means of support. Quincy residents expressed indignation at the treatment of the Mormons, welcoming them and offering protection. At one point refugees outnumbered residents 3 to 1; still, many Quincy residents took refugees into their homes, while other refugees camped in makeshift tents in Quincy's Washington Park. [Quincy: City of Refuge; Susan Easton Black, Mormon Historical Studies]

Below is an ad that appeared in a February 1839 edition of the Quincy Daily Whig.

Stephen Jones was fortunate in that his son, Moses, was already living in Quincy. It is likely that Stephen went into his son's household on his arrival. The timeline for Moses joining the Latter-Day Saints church is probably within the year after his father's arrival in Quincy.

From jail Joseph Smith instructed the Saints to compile affidavits concerning their losses, which were assembled into petitions seeking to recover damages incurred during the Missouri Mormon War. On 8 May 1839 at Quincy Stephen Jones filed an affidavit claiming his losses, which was included in the first petition. It reads as follows:

"Jones, Stephen
Quincy, Ill. May 8th 1839
A Charge of damages sustained by Stephen Jones in Consequence of being driven at different times by mobs in the state of Missouri the whole amount sumed [sic] together two hundred and fifteen Dollars $215.00
I certify the above account to Be Just and true according to the Best of my Knole(dge)
Quincy, Ill May 8th 1839 Stephen Jones
{sworn to before C.M. Woods, C.C.C., Adams Co., IL, 15 May 1839}"
[FHL US/CAN 6003720 Mormon Redress Petitions]

The petition seems to corroborate that Stephen Jones was driven from his residences in Missouri on more than one occasion.


In October 1840 Stephen Jones was appointed to the Presidency of the newly organized Quincy stake. "Sunday, 25.--The committee organized a Stake at Quincy. The presidency were Daniel Stanton, Stephen Jones and Ezra T. Benson." [History of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, Part 1, Volume 4 pg. 233; Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, Brigham Henry Roberts; Deseret News, 1908]

I feel obligated here to report two conflicting reports regarding the identity of the individual who was appointed to the presidency with Daniel Stanton and Ezra Benson:

In his autobiography Ezra Benson wrote "The next day Bro. Hyrum [Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph]...organized the stake by appointing Daniel Stanton, president, and Father Moses Jones, who was about seventy years old, his first counsellor; he also ordained me a High Priest and appointed me his second counselor, and remarked to the Saints, 'You may think a little strange of my appointment, but Bro. Jones is an old man and experienced in the Church, and Bro. Benson, is young and wants to learn.'" [Autobiography of Ezra T. Benson (1811-1869); Book of Abraham Project, Early Saints]

Jeffrey O'Driscoll, author of Hyrum Smith: A Life of Integrity, in his devotional address at Brigham Young University--Hawaii on 26 January 2010 entitled "Hyrum Smith: An Example of Faithfulness" states "When [Hyrum] reorganized a stake presidency in 1840, he called Daniel Stanton as stake president, with an elderly Moses Jones as first counselor and twenty-nine-year-old Ezra T. Benson as second counselor. 'You may think a little strange of my appointment,' he explained, 'but Bro. Jones is an old man and experienced in the Church, and Bro. Benson, is young and wants to learn.'" ["Hyrum Smith: An Example of Faithfulness"; Jeffrey O'Driscoll, 2010]

Moses Jones, whose name is recorded along with that of his spouse, Eliza, in the Quincy Stake records, would have been about 40 years old, and so the age and description of "Bro. Jones" does not match the son, but does match the father, Stephen, whose name also appears in those records. It is my opinion that Mr. Benson and Mr. O'Driscoll have confused Moses Jones (who would also have been known to church leaders) with his father, Stephen Jones.

The following spring of 1840 all Stakes outside Hancock County, Illinois and Lee County, Iowa were discontinued; Moses and his family would likely have had to travel to Nauvoo for church functions. According to L.S. Eliason, on 8 Apr 1841 Stephen Jones was ordained High Priest at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. [notes to L.S. Eliason gedcom]

"The first public affirmation of the ordinance of baptism for the dead in the Church was in a funeral sermon given by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in August 1840. The first baptisms for the dead were performed in the Mississippi River near Nauvoo." [Light Planet: Baptisms for the Dead; LightPlanet.com; 2010]

Included among the earliest records for Baptisms for the Dead are Stephen Jones for Jefferson, Thos & P.U.S. [President, United States], friend; Lafayette, Genl Marquis De, friend, and Washington, Geo & P.U.S., friend. In the same volume, Moses Jones was baptized for Kissiah Jones, mother. [FHL US/CAN 183376 Baptisms for the Dead 1840-1845 Vol. A, pgs 81, 82, 100, 176] In April of 1844 Moses performed baptisms for additional deceased family members Hiram Jones (brother), Lydia Clark (aunt), Haldah Grant (aunt), and Hannah Harris (aunt).


The 1841 Census of Pensioners (Second Ward of Quincy City, Adams County, Illinois) records a pensioner named Stephen Jones, age 77, residing with Moses Jones, the head of the household as of 1 Jun 1840. [1841 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services; Washington, USA; Blair and Rives, 1841]

Moses' household was enumerated on 1 Jun 1840 in the 2nd Ward of Quincy. His household included 1 male under 5, 1 male between 40 and 50, 1 male between 70 and 80, 2 females under 5, 1 female between 5 and 10, 1 female between 10 and 15, 1 female between 30 and 40, and 1 female between 70 and 80. [1840 U.S. Federal Census, Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, pg. 7] The male between 70 and 80 is clearly Moses' father, Stephen Jones. It is unclear whether the female between 70 and 80 was related to Moses or Eliza.


On 26(27) Jan 1842 Stephen Jones died in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. His death was acknowledged by the Quincy Stake, and he was buried in the "Potters Field" in Woodlawn Cemetery in Quincy. (Second Quincy Cemetery, now Madison Park, Pottersfield section, corner Maine and 24th Streets, Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, USA). The cemetery records show that there were three distinct sections in the burial ground. The first is identified simply by lot number and north or south. The second area is called "Pottersfield," probably used for indigent burials. The third section is called "Strangers Ground." [Mormon Historical Studies, Volume 2: The Early Quincy Cemetery and Mormon Burials; Ward, Maurine, 2001; p. 149, 150, 152, 159; http://www.googlebooks.com/]

A digital image and my transcription of Stephen Jones' obituary from the Quincy Whig are shown below:

Died in this city, on the 27th of Jan. 1842, Stephen JONES, aged 79 years. The deceased was a soldier of the Revolution, and served his country with credit and honor in those dark days of trouble. He was buried with military honors by the volunteer companies of the city-the 'Grays' and 'Guards'. Thus has another of those tried patriots faded from earth - death is fast thinning their ranks - but a little time, and there will not be one left of that patriot band. Their glorious deeds, however, will live forever in the minds of their countrymen."
[Quincy Whig; 5 Feb 1842 p.3 c.2]


  1. EJP note: Orson Hyde spoke at April Conference at Nauvoo in 1840. Moses was baptized April 7, 1840, by Apostle Hyde--a year after some of his children and nearly a decade after his father Stephen had been baptized. Later in April, Orson Hyde stopped at Quincy, Illinois, on his way to his mission to the Holy Land with his companion John Page. Moses Joses had resided in Quincy since at least 1835 and before the founding of Nauvoo. After being expelled from Missouri in 1838, 75 year old Stephen Jones had sought refuge with his son in Quincy. Stephen had been a member of the Church since 1831. Orson Hyde and John Page spent some time at Quincy and 23 persons were baptized. Orson Hyde and John Page then traveled to the vicinity of Cincinati, Ohio where some of Moses' Jones siblings lived. Moses'. Stephen and Moses had lived in ther areas of Middletown, Springfield and Hamilton themselves and likely would have referred the two traveling Elders to their family members living there. The trip had been calculated to cost $1000 each for the two to travel to the Holy Land and back and the plan was to raise as much of this amount as possible before leaving for England. Whether addition members of the Jones family joined the Church in Ohio I am yet to discover. Moses' wife Eliza Case was also from Hamilton Ohio. She had at least one brother who joined the Church. Stephen had married Mary Davis Palin April 15, 1813, but I do not know that she was the 70 to80 year old woman who lived in the Moses Jones household in 1840 when the census was taken.
    thank you for your blog.
    Jay Peck

  2. Jay, thank you for posting this information. It is very helpful. The only one of Stephen's children known to have been baptized into the Mormon church was Moses, who later moved to Utah with the community. Benjamin and Harriet are known NOT to have been members; others are unknown, but believed to have not been members.