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

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The Quakers in Ohio – The Promise Fulfilled

Ownership of the Land ... Finally!

When Ohio, the first public-land state, was admitted into the union in 1803, the federal government adopted the policy of retaining title to all land within the state boundaries, excepting one section in each township which was set aside for a state fund for common schools. In addition, 3 per cent of the net proceeds of the sales of public lands were earmarked for building roads. Such allowances were made on condition that the state, county, or township should not levy taxes on the land sold by the United States for five years after the sale.

This Ohio precedent guided policy for every public-land state later admitted to the union. In later years, out of this provision rose the issue of states' rights vs. the federal government's right of eminent domain. Lands exempt from taxes for five years were to prove quite an attraction to foreigners.[1]


The Great Migration

The War of 1812 halted migration for a few years, but after the war, the Great Migration West grew to a flood. The Louisiana Purchase, the Burr Conspiracy, the Yazoo Company speculations, the Lewis and Clark and the Pike expeditions, and the expanding interests of the fur trade and the campaigns of the War of 1812 -- all advertised the West.


Six frontier states were admitted into the union between 1816 and 1821, of which all but Maine were public-land states. Over a million acres of public land were sold in 1814, and by 1818 the figure had climbed to the three-and-a-half-million mark. The population of Ohio increased from 230,000 in 1810 to 400,000 in 1816, and to 581,295 in 1820.[2]


It may well have been the good luck of our own Quaker settlers in the backwoods of Ohio that by 1815 attention was shifted from Ohio and Indiana. The huge migration of land-hungry settlers from the eastern states and from Europe became more attracted to the promise of the wide open prairies, the fertile Mississippi Valley farmlands and the dream of unlimited grazing lands further west. 


Perhaps this is what spared our Quaker farmers in the villages and townships of Ohio from the same difficulties they had experienced in Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Georgia:  from being overrun and outvoted by non-Quaker settlers, from title disputes and land grabs endangering their ownership of the land, and from conflicting civil authorities.


The Democratic Process

The other great difference was that the Ohio Quakers were now true Americans with all the freedoms that that implies, and no longer were “sponsored” in religious settlements by grants from royal rulers, foreign Quaker communities or Colonial governments.  They were beholden to nobody but each other and were free to build their farms into townships and their townships into counties, and to join in the process (and responsibilities) of self-government that the War of Independence had been fought for.

[1] Donaldson, The Public Domain, pp. 225, 238; Ohio Enabling Act of April 30, 1802, Statutes at Large, Vol. II, pp. 173-5.

 [2] Frederick J. Turner, Rise of the New West (New York, 1906), p. 70. By permission of Harper and Brothers Co.


Two Historical Accounts of the Settling of Ohio by Quakers - Miami & Preble Counties

Excerpt from:  "UNION TOWNSHIP," Chapter 5 of 1909 History of Miami County Ohio. http://troydailynews.com/genealogy/township/unio1909.htm

Settling of Union Township, Miami County, Ohio

"In writing the history of Union Township one must go south to discover its fountain head. The tide of emigration that flowed northward from the Carolinas broke upon the shores of the Stillwater and populated Union. When that vast area lying west of the Miami, and which for a time was known as Randolph Township, was cut up into five smaller divisions, Union became one of these about 1807. It is bounded on the north by Newton Township, on the south by Montgomery County, on the east by Concord and Monroe Townships and on the west by Monroe Township in Darke County. It is traversed by the Stillwater in the eastern part, while two branches of Ludlow Creek and other streams water its large area.

There being no finer land "out of doors" it is no wonder that the first white men who penetrated to this region concluded to make it their home. In the year 1801, Henry Fouts and the two Ellers, Leonard and Adam, settled in Union Township in the very heart of the "forest primeval." They had looked at other land, but found the region of the Stillwater to their liking. The next year came Caleb Mendenhall with his family of six, and he was followed by John Mast and Frederick Yount. The last named located a mill site and for a while supplied the settlers with flour and ground meal. In 1804 David Mote, Sr., with five stalwart sons, settled in Union. [Three of David Motes’ daughters were married to three of Francis Jones III's sons, and Francis III's daughter Rachel was married to one of David Motes' sons.]

They (the Motes) chose the western part of the township, while east of the river received Leonard and William Fincher, William Neal, Benjamin Pike, Jacob Byrkett and others. The Motes led the vanguard of Quakers who settled in Union Township, a class of people who have given to this county much of the stability and prosperity it now enjoys. These people, quiet, unobtrusive and strictly honest, are found all over Union Township, forming within themselves a class noted for its integrity. The descendants of the first Quaker residents have filled many positions of trust and are numbered today among the foremost citizens of the county.

The year 1805 found Samuel Jones [The son of Francis III and Mary Mote Jones.] in Union Township. He emigrated from Georgia, as did Abiather Davis, who brought with him to the fine lands on Stillwater four sons and three daughters. In the same year Newberry District in South Carolina sent a little colony of Quakers into the township, among whom were Isaac, James, George and Nathan Hollingsworth. Elislia Jones, a chairmaker, came in 1807, having been preceded a year previous by Joel Hollingsworth, another Quaker. Joel was a man of both ingenuity and business, for he built flatboats upon Stillwater and transported his own produce to New Orleans, making quite a little sum by the operation. It is stated that upon one return trip Mr. Hollingsworth brought home a telescope, a wonderful thing in those days. Neighbors came from far and near to inspect the wonderful instrument and for months it was the newest thing under the sun.

One cannot help noticing the stalwartness of the first settlers of Union Township. They were men of powerful physique and people of more than the average culture and perseverance. For instance Isaac Hasket rode horse back from South Carolina, accompanied by his wife and child, and many others followed his example. He was a blacksmith whose forge was always aglow and his hands and skill turned out all sorts of farming impalements, including sickles in profusion. There were no keener sickles in the Stillwater Valley than those he fashioned and the bearded grain went down before them in a marvelous manner. So rapid was the settlement of Union Township that it is asserted that two large Friends or Quaker settlements in Georgia and South Carolina [Wrightsboro and Cane Creek Meetings to which the Jones Quakers belonged] were almost depopulated to furnish inhabitants in this section . The tide of immigration rolled resistless this way for several years or until Union  Township was almost entirely populated with Quakers."

Excerpt from "The History of Preble County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches; H.Z. Williams & Bro., Publishers, 1881, from the printing house of W. W. Williams, Cleveland, OH.

History of the Society of Friends (Quaker) in Preble County, OH


Among the earliest pioneers of the southern part of the county was a colony of Friends who emigrated from Georgia and South Carolina on account of the evils of slavery in those States. Nathan Stubbs [three of Francis III and Mary Mote Jones' children married into this Stubbs family] is generally credited with the honor of being the first of their number who penetrated the Preble wilderness. He came late in the fall of 1804 from Wrightsborough, Columbia County, Georgia, and settled near what is now the Butler and Preble county line. He was followed, in the spring of 1805 by Francis Jones [Francis the III, age 80], Samuel Maddock, Samuel Stubbs, Joseph Stubbs, and several others with their families from the same place. They were joined by Eli Cook, Benjamin Hawkins, Jesse Kenworthy, Jonathan Roberts, Jonas Randal, with their families, besides many others from Bush River, in Newberry, and from adjoining districts in South Carolina. Others came about the same time from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so that there was a large settlement in the southeast part of the county of these devout and earnest people. They brought their bibles and religious principles with them, and it was not long after their arrival until they established religious worship in their midst. The first meeting for divine worship, or conference, was held at the house of Nathan Stubbs, about two miles southeast of West Elkton, and afterwards at Eli Cook's, about two miles to the west, during the succeeding fall and winter.

In the fall of 1806 a lot of three acres was purchased (which is now within the corporate limits of West Elkton), upon which a meeting-house of round logs was soon built and a graveyard laid out. Divine service was instituted by the Miami monthly meeting, according to the discipline of the church, in April of the same year. Their number kept increasing by the arrival of immigrants, and in a few years a larger house was required. This was built of hewed logs, and a monthly meeting established in 1809, by Miami quarterly meeting. It was then a constituent branch of the Baltimore yearly meeting and known as the "Elk monthly meeting." They probably numbered at that time from two hundred and fifty to three hundred members.

In 1817 a brick building, known as the "old brick meeting house," was erected, at a cost of about five hundred dollars. Public worship was held in this house for more than half a century. About the year 1870 the membership was considerably, augmented, and steps were soon afterward taken toward the erection of a more commodious house. Accordingly, in 1872, subscriptions were reported sufficient, with the available material in the old building, and a new house of brick, sixty-five by thirty-five feet, erected on the site of the old building, costing complete about four thousand dollars, which was opened for worship on the twenty-fourth day of November, of the same year, the monthly meetings having convened the day previous. The house is a plain, substantial building, and will seat about five hundred. The membership at present is about three hundred and fifty.

The old graveyard, containing more than. an acre of ground, was filled up several years ago. For many years after the first settlement of the county, it was the only public burying-ground for miles around, and the remains of many worthy pioneers were interred in it. The first person buried in it was Margaret, wife of Nathan Maddock, who died about 1806. The first marriage in the church, as far as can be ascertained, was that of Francis Maddock and Phebe Cook, which was solemnized on the twentieth of November, 1806.

Thus it will be seen that the Friends have had a church organization and regularly held religious worship in the township for seventy-five years. Their first log meeting-house was the first built in the township, if not in the county.

Excerpt from Ohio History, The Ohio State Archeological & Historical Society Publications, Volume 25, Columbus: Published for the Society by Fred J. Heer.


As early as 1804, Nathan Stubbs of Georgia settled near the southern boundary of Preble County. He was shortly followed by others of like faith from Georgia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1805 a meeting-house of round logs was erected. This gave place in 1809 to one of hewed logs, while this was replaced in 1827 by a brick meeting-house. This later gave place to the one now standing. At this time this congregation numbered about three hundred members and was but one of the numerous Quaker settlements made in the Miami Valley prior to 1815 the membership of which numbered upwards of five thousand. This congregation in common with other churches was sadly disturbed by the Hicksite controversy, and a Hicksite meeting-house was erected near by. For a time the congregation was in a state of decline. Some years ago, however, a paid pastor was secured, public services were conformed to the customary practice, a Bible school was organized, evangelistic preaching was introduced, and today the church is grasping the community problems in a very practical and forceful way and gives promise of long continued service. In this respect she was more fortunate than some of her sister churches which, due to dissension, have been forced to abandon their churches and discontinue their services."