Jonas Jones, the Lost Son
Jonas Jones, the Lost Son
son of Francis and Rachel was only 16 at the time his parents immigrated to the
American Colonies. His name was
mentioned in the Pembrokeshire MM records in Wales at the time the family’s
Certificate of Removal was issued, but he was not specifically named in the
Philadelphia MM notes when the family arrived at the end of 1711 and submitted
their Certificates of Removal. This is not significant in itself as only
Francis and Samuel were mentioned by name, and other family members could
easily have been included under “… and
I speculate that if Jonas had in fact died on the ocean voyage – as many did - this fact would most likely have been mentioned and recorded at the time the family members were received into the Philadelphia and/or Chester Quaker meetings.
No further records
have been found, and Jonas is not mentioned in the various records documenting
the movements of his brothers Samuel, Francis II and Henry. It could mean he died on the ship and his
death was not recorded … or it could mean simply that he never married and was
not active in Quaker affairs so had no reason to be registered in Quaker MM
notes. If he had married a non-Quaker or
taken up arms he would have been disowned and there likely would have been a
record in the MM notes.
The most significant fact for me is that none of his brothers named a son after him; something that would have been very likely if he had died during the Atlantic crossing or of natural causes soon after arrival. He had been named after his maternal grandfather, Jonas Newton, and it was a very common practice to carry given names from generation to generation.
This is a mystery
still to be solved. A search of shipping records of vessels that left Pembrokeshire, South Wales, in 1711 might turn up the name of the ship the Jones Family sailed on and a list of the passengers who departed, as well as their destination port (likely Philadelphia or Newcastle).
The seven-month lapse between the family's departure from Pembrokeshire and arrival in Philadelphia, has not been sufficiently researched, and their ship may even have included a stayover in Barbados where there was a Quaker settlement.
A sea voyage at this time was a perilous undertaking. See The Sea Voyage. Even for a family of means arriving in the colonies, there was a great likelihood that exposure to new diseases and local epidemics could have resulted in the death of the youngest son Jonas. If so, this would have been a tragic beginning to the Jones family saga in the New World.