Monday, February 12, 2007

Grandma Jones was a Helms

One of my favorite ancestors (we can have favorites can't we?) is Grandma Jones. While her brother George and his sons were causing all kinds of commotion in Hell's Half Acre, she and her children were well-respected, upstanding citizens of Columbia City. One daughter married a banker, the husband of another daughter (my ancestors) was sheriff of the county from 1854-1858.

Elizabeth Helms was born in Somerset or Bedford County, Pennsylvania on April 3, 1804 to Conrad Helms and Mary Swigart. The family was in Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1810 and in Armstrong County in 1820 but by 1830 had moved on to Muskingum County, Ohio.

Elizabeth married William B. Jones, date and place unknown, but their first child, Maxamillia Francis (later known as "Aunt Maxie") was born March 12, 1827 near Dresden in Muskingum County. Conrad Helms and William B. Jones were both found in the 1830 and 1840 census in Jefferson Township. There was another William Jones in Muskingum County in 1830 as well as James Jones, John Jones and Phillip Jones. In 1840, in addition to William B. Jones there was David Jones and Joseph Jones. I've not pursued the Jones family beyond Muskingum County. I've also not done any further research into the Swigart family. The only record I have of that surname is from Elizabeth's death record.

Elizabeth's obituary said her husband, Wm. B. Jones died in 1843 and "Aunt Maxie's" obit stated "Through a bad business deal the family competency was lost and the father died in 1843." I did some research in Muskingum County in 1992 and found several land records where William sold land in August 1842 and again in May 1843. At that time I just made note of the entry rather than making copies but it appears that the same tract of land was being sold in three different transactions. Administration Docket "B" page 189 had the following entry: "William B. Jones, Dec'd, Case No 2173. March 6th 1844, Chauncy Pardy was appointed Administrator of the estate of William B. Jones, decd. Bond $1,000.00 Charles Gilbert and Charles Wilson, sureties. Inventory filed June 11, 1844. Sept 7, 1845 (R. 41) one year allowed." Naturally, that particular case file was missing.

Sophia Elizabeth Dunfee, Elizabeth's granddaughter, clipped obituaries and other interesting items from the newspaper and pasted them into a scrapbook, unidentified, of course. There were several clippings that told of the family's arrival in Whitley County:

Landed Fifty-seven Years Ago.
On the 31st day of October, 1845, Curtis W. Jones, with his mother, three sisters and a brother, landed in Columbia City. At that time there were perhaps 75 or 100 people in the place, but the only survivor who was over 21 years of age then is Mr. John Rhodes. The mother died in November, 1883, and the brother. D.C., died in February, 1882. Mrs. F.H. Foust, Mrs. W.H. Dunfee, Mrs. James E. Sherwood and C.W. Jones still survive. The family came here from Muskingum county, Ohio, leaving there on the 23rd day of October, 1845.
Curtis Jones Recalls One Halloween Day.
Attorney Curtis W. Jones of this city, the dean of the Whitley county bar, recalled his arrival in this county Monday and stated that it occurred just sixty-five years ago on Hallowe'en Day, when his mother and five children, reached their journey's end, after traveling through the forests of Ohio and Indiana.

They arrived just as the sun was sinking in the west and took up their habitation in a deserted log cabin with punchen floor, and as their Hallowe'en diversion, heard the howls of wolves, screams of catamounts, hoots of the owls and other inhabitants of the wild wood. As a further pleasure to them, within three and four hundred yards, were located two Indian villages. Their first night under such circumstances is one that will never be forgotten by Mr. Jones.

He was 77 years old on October 9th, and his only sister, Mrs. Mary E. Sherwood, just east of the city, is 75 years of age. His mother has long since passed to her reward, and Mrs. F.H. Foust, Mrs. William H. Dunfee and D.C. Jones, have also passed away, but his recollections of the Hallowe'en night will always remain.
Elizabeth's obituary was published on December 26, 1883 in the Columbia City Post.
Died. Jones - At the residence of her son-in-law, F.H. Foust, on Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock, Nov. 17, 1883, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, after an illness of several weeks, with heart disease and dropsey, aged 79 years, 7 months and 14 days.

"Grandma Jones," as she was familiarly called by everybody, was one of the old pioneers of Whitley county, having moved to Columbia City in 1845. Her maiden name was Helms and she was born in Pennsylvania, April 3d, 1804. At an early age she removed with her parents to Ohio, where in 1825 she was married to Wm. B. Jones who died in 1843. She was thus left a widow with five children to care for, the eldest of the number, Mrs. F.H. Foust, being only about sixteen years of age.

Having made up her mind to remove to Indiana, she hired a team to haul her household goods and she and her children walked the entire distance. She was of heroic disposition and bravely combatted the trials and hardships incident to a pioneer life, and labored night and day, to add to the comfort of her children and rear them in a way that should cause them to grow up to be useful men and women. In this she succeeded admirably and was surrounded by the unbroken five until the death of D.C. Jones a couple of years ago. Her other four children, Mrs. F.H. Foust, Mrs. J.M. Sherwood, Mrs. William Dunfee, and C.W. Jones, still survive.

Too much cannot be said in praise of this aged lady, who is now enjoying the reward of a faithful, consistent christian. Everybody loved her for the many noble traits she possessed. She was always ready to respond to the demands of the sick and to aid in comforting those in distress. She thought it no hardship to get up at any hour during the night to administer to the sick. She ever had a kind word for all and as long as memory lasts those who received her kind benedictions will ever cherish the memory of "Grandma Jones."

She knew for several weeks before her death that it was only a question of very short time when she should be called hence and therefore carefully and calmly arranged all the details for her burial, selecting Rev. H. Wells, of North Manchester, who was so many years her pastor, to preach her funeral. She selected as one of the hymns for her funeral, "Sweet Bye and Bye" which was one of her favorite songs while in life. She gave away her personal effects to her children and grandchildren, designating which particular one should have each particular item.

The funeral took place from Grace Lutheran church, of which she was a member, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and her remains were deposited in the Masonic cemetery. Rev. A.J. Douglas assisted Father Wells at the funeral. The following named old settlers acted as pall-bearers: Jacob Wunderlich, C.D. Waidlich, James Worden, I.B. McDonald, Wm. Carter and John Brant.

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