Thursday, February 17, 2011


   I continued to search online records and old historical books through the wonders of Google Books
I was trying to find out more about Charles Jones, the father of Theodore Jones.  Charles was my 4Xgreat grandfather.  I have found various anecdotes and information about him in The History of Livingston County, Illinois, 1878 edition.  There is a hard copy of this book int he Dominy Public Library in Fairbury, but for my purposes the Google Books version has become like an old friend. 
   I knew that every time his daughter Turesa Jones Thomas appeared in the census she listed her father as being born in New Jersey.  When I looked at her father's census records Theodore stated that HIS father was from New Jersey as well.  When I discovered the historical account of the early settlers of Livingston County, imagine my delight in reading, "The first actual settlement made in the territory now embraced in Forrest Township was by Charles Jones. He came from Bordentown, N.J. and entered the land where the village of Forrest now stands in 1836, and remained there about seven years..."
   Aha!  The book went on to relate that his wife died in 1841, but alas she is not called by name.  However it goes on to state (p. 522) that she was "noted among the early deaths of the township. She was buried in the northwest corner of what is now Judge Burton's deer park, and where she still sleeps."  We tried to find a plat map to discover the location of the grave of this unnamed Mrs. Jones, my 4Xgreat grandmother, but we were not successful. 
  The book tells many other interesting stories about Charles Jones.  He relayed a story about going to Chicago to sell a load of produce and glutting the egg market there with a few barrels of eggs.  Apparently my 4Xgreat grandfather had to throw out many of the eggs because he simply had more eggs than the whole city of Chicago could manage to buy.  The book laughs that both Chicago and Forrest Township had grown somewhat since that day.  Forrest Township didn't quite keep up with Chicago's growth rate, but I love that the writer of the history thinks that the two are worthy of such a comparison! 
   The book also mentions that a son of Charles Jones, entered into a marriage that was opposed "rather strongly" by "his people."  The son was St. Clair Jones, and he married the "daughter of Charles Brooks" (also unnamed; the histories of the day were not big on the use of women's names).  The author states, "But that 'young love that laughs and bolts and bars' seemed to care little for parental frowns, and they were married in spite of all opposition."  I don't know why my 4Xgrandfather opposed his son marrying "the daughter of Charles Brooks" but I'm glad that love prevailed. 
   I wanted to look up more about St. Clair because was the brother of Theodore, my 3X great grandfather.  While on that page I happened to notice the paragraph above mentions one of the first deaths in the township and that the deceased was buried "in the Popejoy graveyard at Avoca."  Ding! Ding! Ding! Red Alert!  Why hadn't I seen that before?  In looking for the Joneses, maybe I found the answer to finding some of the Popejoys! 
   Theodore's wife Elizabeth Rachel was a Popejoy.  I have been trying to unravel the secrets of her family.  She was the daughter of a William C. Popejoy, but I am still a little foggy on which one.  Apparently the Popejoy family is rife with Williams and it's rather hard to keep them apart.  And of even more interest at the moment, I would like to find the grave of Elizabeth Rachel's mother, Rebecca Hannaman Popejoy Jones.  Rebecca is listed as dying in 1947 on many public trees.  But she shows up in the 1850 census living with her Popejoy children and a new husband, a younger Charles Jones.  I'd like to find proof of her later death and I'd like to find out if her husband Charles Jones is related to my 4Xgreat grandfather Charles Jones. 
   I emailed Annette Liptak, County Coordinator, Livingston & LaSalle ILGenWeb.  She told me that there is possibly only one Popejoy headstone remaining in the "Popejoy graveyard" that is now called the Avoca Cemetery.  Nevertheless I feel that I will want to visit this site when the weather improves.  But even better she told me that in the Cooper Cemetery there is a listing for a Charles Jones, 1797-1885.  Eureka!  That's him!  His census record and the account of his age in the History all pointed to a birthdate of around 1798.  And more information in the History says he was "four score" and nearly blind and living with his children "quietly waiting his call home" in 1878.  So it is very reasonable that he lived until 1885.  
  The best part of this new lead is that I believe the town newspaper was begun in 1883.  So ...MAYBE... I can find an obituary for Charles Jones.  If so maybe it will list his survivors and I can finally know if all these Jones are related!  Crossing my fingers.  Hoping for and dreading another session with the microfilm reader.  
   The funny thing is that I think we went to the Cooper Cemetery on our last visit to Livingston County.  We were racing the sunset, got lost, and came upon cows in the road on our way there.  We were in search of the grave of a daughter of Charles Jones, Elizabeth Jones Phelps. I had reason to believe her grave was there.  But by the time we arrived it was nearly dark and we were trying to read headstones by the light of weak flashlights.  Needless to say, it didn't work very well.  But the good news is we were on the right track.  If his daughter was buried there, then that's all the more likely that this new information is really about Charles.  I can hardly wait for Spring and another outing to Livingston County!

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