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

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Samuel & Mary Mote Jones - the 4th Generation
Quaker Pioneers and the Great Trek to Ohio

A map of migration routes of the Quakers
From  Quakers on the American Frontier (1969), by Errol T. Elliott, Friends United Press

In the spring of 1805, led by Francis III and Sarah Jane’s son, Samuel, many of the descendants of the original Pennsylvania Quaker community made the trek northwest to Ohio. Sarah Jane had died in 1801 at Wrightsborough GA so she did not live to make the journey, but Francis III, at age 80, made the trip sitting in a rocking chair in one of the Conestoga wagons. According to family lore, the group were allowed safe passage through usually hostile Indian territory only because of the great respect the tribal leaders had for the old "Penn's Man".

By 1800, some branches of the Jones family had prospered and remained in the Philadelphia area, while others had moved south to the less settled territories of North Carolina and not long after - barely a decade - to Wrightsboro (the name was later changed to Wrightsborough) in northeastern Georgia, always seeking new lands and a more peaceful and undisturbed way of life.

Caught by their pacifist Quaker beliefs between the local governing bodies representing the Crown of England, the colonists seeking - and ultimately gaining - independence from England, and the ever-shifting loyalties of combatants during the French and Indian Wars, the members of the Society of Friends could never quite feel settled and permanent.

Their refusal to take oaths, pay tithes (taxes) or take part in any military or civil defense actions, and their anathema to slavery brought the Quaker community increasingly into conflict with prevailing events in North Carolina and Georgia.  Unwilling to fight, even in their own defense, they choose instead to move on, seeking peaceful lands to settle, far away from controversy where they could farm their own lands, ply their trades amongst their own kind, and raise their children apart from the increasing polyglot of immigrant populations of all religions and national origins that were intermingling in the creation of the newly independent United States of America.

The Decision to Go West

In the spring of 1805, about two years after Ohio was admitted into the union as a “Free State” (on March 1st 1803), a group of about forty families, mostly Quakers, set out from the Ogeechee River, where they had been living since before the Revolutionary War, for a new start in Ohio.  They traveled in Conestoga wagons, on horseback and on foot, passing through Indian country and wilderness, following trails only recently cut through virgin territory. 

Their most likely route from Wrightsboro GA (1/2 hour west of what is now Augusta GA) was via the existing National Road, traveling due North to Bush River (SC) into Tennessee, crossing the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, perhaps taking Boone's Trail for a short while (see map) before entering the Great Immigrant Road and heading due North again to Wilmington/Cincinnati. From that point on, they would be taking secondary trails or Indian paths North until they reached the wilderness Quaker settlement in southwestern Ohio (later Union Township, Miami County OH) where family members were awaiting their arrival.

From Wrightsboro Quaker records we have the names of some of the extended Jones/Mote/Maddock/Stubbs family members that were part of the group that made the trek West to Ohio: 

Samuel Jones (1755-1836) and wife Mary Mote Jones (1760-1847) plus their 12 children

Francis Jones III (1725-1810), age 80 (the Jones family patriarch)

Rachel (1752-1808) Jones and husband Samuel Maddock (settled sec.32 Gratis Co) and their children -Nathan, Francis, Eleanor Maddock

Widow of Francis Jones IV, Rachel Mote Jones (1756-1829), plus some of her 10 children

Henry Jones (1756-1838) blind, never married

Jane Jones (1764-1842) and husband John Stubbs (1762-1854) plus their 11 children

Sarah Jones (1767- blind, never married)

This family group was led by Samuel Jones and his wife Mary Mote Jones, then aged 50 and 45, respectively. They were accompanied by their seven sons and five daughters, ranging in age from about 25 to 5 years.  Also in the group was Samuel’s 80-year old father, Francis III, as well as several of Samuel’s brothers and sisters and their children.

Mary Mote came from a large prominent Quaker family, being the third daughter of David and Dorcas Mote, who had eleven children (seven sons and four daughters) who all reached maturity and were married and several had large families.  Two of her sisters were already married to brothers of Samuel Jones, and her parents and several of her siblings had already migrated to Ohio a few years before. 

This Quaker migration was only the vanguard of the "Great Migration" to America's western frontier which quickly followed. Historical accounts of the migration to Ohio and the settling of the early townships and counties are fascinating, not only for the charming style of writing, but also for their mention of our extended family names, Mote, Jones, Mendenhall, Stubbs, et.al. See The Quakers in Ohio.


The First Year

The group, which would have begun with two hundred people or more, would have dwindled over the weeks of travel as groups broke off towards their individual destinations in Tennessee or Indiana. The Samuel Jones family group of Quakers was recorded as crossing the Ohio River at Cincinnati on June 12th 1805 (a city which at that time consisted of one brick store, one frame building and a few log cabins), and shortly thereafter they arrived at their final destination -  a piece of uncleared forest land “about a half-mile west of the Stillwater River and nearly two miles north of the present city of Milton, in Section 9, on the north bank of a most romantic glen, full forty feet in depth” [1].  They had stayed the night before with “Samuel’s brother-in-law” (probably Mary Mote’s brother John). They had with them a wagon draw by four horses and another drawn by two horses containing family and household goods. By nightfall they had felled a large white oak tree and set up two tents, one for sleeping and one for cooking.

According to a lengthy account given many years later by Jesse Jones, Samuel and Mary’s eighth child who was 11 years old at the time of the trek, this new wilderness home offered an abundance of deer, wild turkey and pheasant, and the virgin streams held such an abundance of fish that any number could be caught simply using a drag net made of wild grape vines.  The family included seasoned farmers, excellent hunters, a blacksmith (John, the eldest son), builders and carpenters, and all were hard working and dedicated to the welfare of the extended family.

Although meat and fish were plentiful, bread was scarce so during the first year hominy was used daily (corn could be bought for 25 cents a bushel and wheat for 50 cents a bushel).  They soon cleared an acre of land and planted turnips and wheat.  By December they had a good crop of turnips, and by the following summer a good crop of wheat.  In October they built a substantial log house and continued through the winter clearing land and planting corn and more wheat.  Jesse made special mention of the deer hunting and the enduring strength of the tanned deerskin for breeches, aprons and other articles in general.  So enduring was this material that, according to him, “clearing and log-rolling, which told fearfully on common clothes, hardly affected it. A ball-cover of it would hardly wear out”.

From Settlement to Village, to Township to County

In the following years, Samuel Jones’ seven sons (with the exception of his second son, Jonathan, who settled not too far away in Indiana) and four daughters married and settled not far from him and he “had the singular satisfaction of beholding quite a community of descendants springing up around him, subduing the wilderness, and making it the abode of civilized life”[2].

Samuel Jones’ name is frequently seen in all the early Quaker monthly meeting transactions books.  He was one of the first Elders in the West Branch and Union Monthly Meetings and had traveled a good deal in its service in his younger days. His wife Mary’s father David Mote (and wife Dorcas Nichols Mote) was one of the first settlers from Columbia County, Georgia (previously having lived in Chester County PA), to arrive in Miami County, Ohio, having accompanied  several of Mary’s siblings when they arrived in 1802. 

Other family names connected to the Jones-Mote families in that early period in Ohio were: Mendenhall, Davis, Hollingsworth, Richardson, Compton, Maddock/Maddox, Stubbs, Taylor, Gest/Gess, Hickson/Hixon, Coppock, Coate, Cothran, Penny, Pearson, Elleman, and Iddings.

The area of Ohio the Samuel Jones Family settled in was geographically located in what later became Union, Concord and Monroe Townships in the future counties of Miami, Darke, Preble and Montgomery in the middle-western section of the state.

The first white settlement had been made at Staunton, a little east of Troy, in 1798, and the availability of cheap land, plenty of water, forests and wildlife had attracted a steady stream of settlers from the east, many of them Quakers.

They arrived to a wilderness of virgin forests, but the land was fertile and game plentiful, and the streams were teaming with fish. Just as important was the support of their closest kinsmen, the Mote Family, who had arrived and three years earlier and were flourishing in this new land.

An account of the family’s arrival is given in a “History of Miami County”, with much of the information about his own family related many years later by Jesse Jones, age 86 and “the only man living who remembers those early scenes”.  He was 11 at the time of the great trek and already an experienced horseman and hunter.


The following letter was written by Jesse’s brother Francis Jones (IV), then 17, to Newton Jones (1778-1814), his father’s youngest brother, and his wife Ann Mote Jones (1785-1880), his mother’s younger sister, who had remained behind in Wrightsboro GA.


The letter gives a wonderful snapshot of the journey, and both this letter and the reminiscences of Jesse Jones illustrate the reading and writing skills of young Quakers of that period and also their familiarity with firearms and their skills in riding and hunting as well as farming. Although their religious beliefs prohibited them from taking up arms, even in self-defense, they did not lack skill or bravery. 


“Respected Uncle and Aunt:

I embrace this opportunity to inform you we are well -- in reasonable state of health.  We had a tiresome journey (to Ohio).  We found the roads difficult in many places so that we barely could pass but we got along without having the second pull and if you undertook to come here let your team be well proved and your loading as light as possible.  Little wheels can be bought as cheap here as there.  Crockery ware and glassware can be had as cheap.  I swapped my bay on the banks of the Nohchuncky (Nolichucky) and got a mare never doubled.  I have killed 3 deer and 15 hogs and 3 coons and 1 fox.  Father has killed one bear.  Uncle William one. Jesse one bear. Game is middling plentiful. I have bought me a cow for 12 dollars. Cotton is one shilling and 9 pence a pound. Plenty of that.  I have nothing further to write so I conclude, we remain, your cousin, 

Francis Jones to Newton Jones”

This text was taken from "Jones and Related Families" by Carroll Brewster Jones, Marcellus, Michigan, 1951, p. 36.  The original was (in 1951) in the possession of Mary Boner of Camden OH.

Francis addresses the recipients as “aunt and uncle” but signs off as “your cousin”.  Because of the large number of children and wide age spread from the eldest to the youngest, many Quaker children grew up with the younger siblings of their parents.  There was also much mingling of families through marriage, with two or more brothers in one family marrying sisters in another (as with the Joneses and Motes).  Often step sisters and brothers married.  First cousins marrying was grounds to be censored or even disbarred by the Monthly Meeting, but second cousins often married. (The letter writer’s grandfather had married his first cousin and had been disbarred but later reinstated.)

Other people referred to in the letter:

“Father” - Samuel Jones (1755-1836) who led the family of Quakers from Wrightsboro GA to Ohio

“Uncle William”- his mother’s brother, William Mote ((1763-1830)

Jesse Jones (1794-1888) - his younger brother, who was 11 at the time…and killed a bear!

The Nohchuncky (Nolichucky) river he refers to gives an indication of the trail they followed from GA to OH.

This letter could mean that the trek west by 40 families of Quakers, led by Samuel Jones, occurred in the summer or fall of 1804 and not in 1805, as recalled by Jesse Jones many years later, although the date 1805 is given in several other historical accounts.  Groups of the Quaker communities from Wrightsboro had made the same journey to Ohio in 1801, 1804 and 1805, with 1805 given in several history accounts as being the last date in the dispersal of Quakers from the Wrightsboro Quaker Settlement, so a discrepancy in the year is understandable and not significant.


By 1807 a county government was formed, and the court of County Commissioners at Staunton appointed three men prominent in their respective settlements to give names to three new townships to become part of Miami County (ultimately there were 12 townships).  Samuel Jones was one of the men appointed and he named his township Union.  The second man (name unknown) named his township Concord, and the third man (named North and probably not a Quaker, who had served in the Revolutionary Army under Col. Monroe, afterward President of the United States), named his township Monroe. [3]

Peace at Last

Save for a decade of relative peace spent at The Gap in Pennsylvania, the migration to Ohio was the beginning of an extended period of peace and plenty for the extended Quaker Jones family.  They were not troubled by Indians and the War of 1812 did not affect them unduly in their backwoods settlements.  There was enough land for all, and the families multiplied, with monthly meeting notes recording 8-15 children per family, and Quaker meeting houses and Quaker schools being built to accommodate them.

Francis Jones III, who died in 1817 at the age of 92 surrounded by his clan of devout Quakers, must have looked around with great satisfaction, realizing that this was at last the fulfillment of the dream of his father and grandfather.

See also The Quakers in Ohio.

The offspring of Samuel and Mary Mote Jones:

Mary Polly                         1760-1847

John                                  1781-1835 (m. Sarah McKee)

Johnathan                         1783-1870 (m. Deborah Lindley)

Dorcas                              1784-1841 (m. Samuel Davis)

Samuel                             1786-1857 (m. Prudence Mooney, m. Annie M. Harmer ?)

Francis                             1788-1851 (m. Polly/Mary ?)

Thomas                            1790-1840 (m. Sarah ?)

Sarah                                1792-1819 (m. John Abbott)

*Jesse                               1794-1888 (m. Jane Cothren, m. Naomi Tucker, m. Betsy Haworth Davis

Mary                                  1796-1815 died in childbirth at 19

Asa                                   1798-1857 (m. Suzanna Penny)

Rachel                              1802-1874 (m. Ezekial Mote)

                                                                                                              (*direct ancestor)