A Jones Family History
the first three hundred years (1700-2000)

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Francis & Rachel Newton Jones, Immigration Ancestors

Our original immigrant ancestors’ departure from Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and their arrival in Philadelphia at the end of 1711 is fully documented in Quaker records. Historical records list Francis Jones as a soapmaker and farmer, a man of means, and a devout Quaker with good standing in the Society of Friends.

In 1708 Francis Jones moved his family to Jamestown, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, South Wales.  We know this as the family is mentioned in the Pembrokeshire (also known as Redstone) Quaker Monthly Meeting notes of the 15th day 8th month 1708.  Also, “the family came over about three years ago from Ireland” according to a Certificate of Removal[1]* from the Redstone Monthly Meeting, Pembrokeshire, Wales, dated the 6th mo 19th day 1711.

There had been for some years already a well-established Quaker community in Pembrokeshire, and George Fox had visited South Wales in the late 1650s advocating for immigration.  Earlier Haverfordwest Monthly Meeting notes mention a member of their congregation, James Jones, prior to 1700, and a previous group of Quakers that had immigrated together to the colonies in 1699/1700 from Pembrokeshire. It may well be that this community had become a sort of landing stage for immigration to the colonies, and that perhaps Francis had a brother or uncle who had taken that path previously.

Shortly after receiving their Certificate of Removal, Francis and Rachel, their four sons and a daughter-in-law, embarked on a ship to the American Colonies. Their port of departure and port of arrival in the American colonies have still not been determined, but research continues. See photo in left column and The Sea Voyage.

Arrival in Philadelphia 1711

The Francis Jones Family shows up next presenting their Certificate of Removal seven months later to the Quaker Philadelphia Monthly Meeting on the 29th day 12th month 1711, according to the old dating system[2].  (See image of the original ledger in left column.)

It was the custom for Friends to request such a “letter of recommendation” when moving to a new meeting area,  presenting the letter to the closest Quaker monthly meeting (MM) upon arriving in a new place in order to identify themselves and vouch for their character and good standing . 

The Redstone Meeting granted to Francis Jones Sr. and family the following certificate on the 20th day of the 5th month 171l:

"Whereas we understand that our Friend Francis Jones and his family intends to transport themselves to Pennsilvania in america and Desires a certificate from Friends on that account:

    These are therefore to Certifie all whom it may concern --that about three years ago they came over here to Pembrock Sheire from Ireland and Ever since did belong to our Monthly Meeting at Redstone and have all along lived in Love and peace with Friends and Neighbors and behaved themselves orderly and Cyvil in all Respects, to the utmost of our Knowledge and also do depart out of ur Countrey in Love and with Consent of ffriends; who truely wisheth and Desireth that the Lord may Bless and prosper them in all their good intentions Especially in their inward and Spiritual undertaing and Concerns of Soul Salvation, etc.

    Signed by us

Tho: Cornock, Senr

Tho: Cornock, Junr

James Lewis, Senr

D. Musgrave, Jr.

James S. Kone

James Lewis Junr"

This certificate applied to Francis Sr., Rachel, his wife, and his unmarried sons Francis Jr., Henry and  Jonas. Francis’ eldest son, Samuel, who had married Hannah Lloyd in Wales on the 11th month 17th day 1710 (as recorded in the Haverfordwest MM, Pembrokeshire, Wales)[3], presented his own Certificate of Removal to the same meeting as his parents. 

At the time of their immigration, Francis and Rachel were 51 and 49, respectively, and their sons ranged in age from Samuel 23, Francis II 21, Henry 18, to Jonas 16.

A sea voyage during this time was a perilous undertaking, and, depending on the size and condition of the vessel, storms, the captain’s expertise, and the very real possibility of being hijacked by pirates, could take several months.

A record of the Francis Jones family’s sea voyage has not yet been found.  We only know that they left Wales after the 20th day 5th month 1711 and were present in a Quaker meeting in Philadelphia on the 29th day 12th month 1711, seven months later.

Settling in Pennsylvania

Their primary goal on arrival in Philadelphia would have been to secure land for farming and to build homes for themselves and their sons.  If Francis and his eldest son Samuel had acquired contracts for land prior to coming to Pennsylvania it is likely that these may have consisted of several plots at various locations in Chester County PA.  It was also common to lease farming land for some years in areas separate from where the family home was located and travel between properties for sowing and harvesting of crops. Their removal in 1714 to Duck Creek MM in the Lower Counties (now near Smryna, Delaware) may have been a short-lived attempt to secure additional land in that area.  


From historical records of Old Chester County and the region called The Gap, it appears that by 1719 Francis and two of his sons and their families had settled in The Gap where they established an inn and tavern to accommodate travelers on the main highroad between Philadelphia and Lancaster.  They continued there until they lost the property around 1724 after which they removed to what became Lancaster County in 1729, attending Quaker meetings called Sadsbury MM or Leacock MM. The Gap property and inn was later regained by a granddaughter who married into a wealthy local family (the Slaymakers), and the property stayed in the family for almost two hundred year. The site exists today as White Chimneys, an event venue. It is said that the original stone cottage that Francis Jones built is still on the property.


Francis Jones, the father, died on May 13th, 1742 in Lancaster County, according to Leacock Monthly Meeting notes, although there are conflicting records of the death of a "Francis Jones" in nearby MM notes (1729, 1741), but as Leacock MM became part of the Sadsbury MM in Lancaster County PA, and it is fairly clear that he and Rachel resided in the same vicinity as their son Samuel (as indicated by notes in the Sadsbury MM in Lancaster County PA), the 1742 date is the most likely.


It is not known when and where Rachel Jones died. A significant fact is that, although there are many references to a Rachel Jones in Quaker meeting notes from various locations where Francis and his other three sons lived, I have not found any definite identification of her presence after 1719 nor a record of her death in Pennsylvania. Because her husband, their sons, wives and children are clearly identified in Quaker MM notes after that date, we can only assume that she died some time during the period the family lived at The Gap. 


In keeping with Quaker beliefs of that time, graves were usually unmarked or marked with impermanent markers, and when Quaker communities moved on burial grounds were abandoned.

The offspring of Francis and Rachel Newton Jones (all born in Ireland):

Samuel Jones (1688-1767), m1: Hannah Lloyd 1690-1743, m2: Amy Liberty Lawrence 1695-1883.

*Francis Jones II (1690-1739), m: Jane Wallis Medcalf Jones Taylor (1690-1764)

*Henry Jones (1693-1750), m1: Loveday Archer (1697-1717), m2: Eleanor Parke Lindley (1684-1748)

Jonas Jones (1695- ? )

                                                                                          (*direct ancestor)

On the next page, we'll learn about Francis & Rachel's eldest son, Samuel