I’ve been meaning to start these series of posts on my ancestors for quite awhile now. In fact, it was one of the reasons for starting a blog in the first place…as an avenue for putting down, in narrative form, what I know about each of these folks I’ve been tracking down now for the past 30 years or so. This way I can have my friends and relatives check my work, so to speak, revise and extend my remarks and limber up the writing muscles that have almost atrophied beyond repair.
A good place to start is with the oldest Jones I know for sure and that would be old Ben here, my great-great-great grandfather. Benjamin R. Jones was born in South Carolina June 5, 1797. I don’t know what the ‘R’ stands for but he was pretty consistent with it as an integral part of his name in most documents. It has helped me distinguish him from a few other Ben Joneses floating around SC at about the same time.
I’m not completely sure where in South Carolina Ben was born. I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Abbeville area which you can see from this map. This is actually a cool map to keep around. Folks from both my mom’s family and more of my dad’s than just Ben seem to have come from the upper left hand corner of the state, right next to the Cherokee lands. The site is run by Philip Norfleet and you might want to look around at some of the other things there, especially the maps and the SC jury lists. I digress. My assumption is that Ben fits here for a couple of reasons…the only Benjamin in the 1830 census that matches for age and children is Benjamin R in Abbeville…he lived in SC from at least 1824 through 1833 because six of his children were born in that time in SC…and I have a bible record that is unverifiable yet matches other aspects of his family that has him marrying Mary Graham on May 11, 1824. The only Grahams where this would match are those that live in Abbeville. So until I find other evidence I’m assuming Abbeville.
Those six kids were Joel Wesley (1825), Mary Ann (1826), James Willison (1828), Marshall (1829), Thomas Oliver (1831) and Christopher Columbus. Chris, or CC as he was known, was my great-great grandfather and he was born January 19, 1833 in South Carolina (again assuming Abbeville area).
Sometime in 1834/35, for whatever reason, Ben and Mary and the six kids (all under 10) decided to move to Mississippi. They ended in Monroe County and eventually bought land just outside Smithville right on the Itwamba County line. On this 1895 railroad map you can see Smithville at the very top of the county.
Ben stayed on that farm just northeast of Smithville until he died December 4, 1858. Mary passed away August 8, 1891. Ben and Mary had five more kids in Mississippi: Stephan (1836), Benjamin (1838), Elender Elizabeth (1841), Robert Calvin (1844) and Ira T. (1846). In one of the trips I’ve made to the county seat of Aberdeen I found the probate packet for Ben which has a load of info that I’ll share later. There’s also a decent little genealogy library in Aberdeen, the Evans Memorial Genalogical Collection at the Evans Memorial Library. And there’s a good blog about the area by Terry Thorton who lives in Fulton (county seat of Itawamba County).