Embark on a journey through time with the story of Charles Jones, born in Pennsylvania in 1832 and a key figure in the transformation of Lee County. His family, early pioneers, settled in Wyoming Township, contributing significantly to its agricultural development. This narrative not only traces Charles’ lineage and early life but also celebrates the pioneering spirit that shaped the American Midwest. Join us as we explore how Charles and his family navigated the challenges and opportunities of 19th-century America, laying down roots that would grow into a legacy of resilience and community building.
Charles Jones came to Lee County with his parents more than forty years ago, who were among its pioneers, and since he entered upon his career as a farmer he has had a hand in its development, inasmuch as he has improved a good farm in Wyoming Township. He is a Pennsylvanian by birth, born in Exeter Township, Luzerne County, on May 17, 1832. His father, Lord Jones, was born in the same township on July 5, 1805, a son of Lewis Jones, who was a native of the State of New York. When a young man, the latter had taken up his residence in Luzerne County and was married at Pittston to Sarah Benedict, who, so far as known, was born in Pennsylvania. He bought a partly improved farm in Exeter, and his remaining days were passed upon it.
The father of the subject grew up on the farm which was his birthplace. He worked with an elder brother and became a carpenter under his instruction. He pursued his trade in Exeter until 1818, and then determined to avail himself of the larger opportunities offered by what was at that time considered the “Far West.” In his migration to Illinois, he was accompanied by his wife and seven children, and he founded his new home on a tract of Government land on what is now section 8, Wyoming Township. He was one of its early settlers and did an important work as a pioneer in advancing its growth. He erected a small frame building on his land as a temporary shelter, and some years later he replaced it by a more substantial brick residence. He devoted the most of his time to the improvement of his farm and lived upon it until 1877 when he sold it at a good price, and from that time until his death on September 21, 1887, lived in honorable retirement. He was married in Exeter, his native town, on January 6, 1830, to Phebe Goble, and their wedded life was of unusual duration, extending over a period of more than fifty-seven years. It was a felicitous union, and was blessed with children, of whom they reared eight to useful lives, namely: Theodore S., Charles, Orlando H., Ira D., Ann Elizabeth (wife of William Eddy), Benjamin A., Gilbert W., and Sarah (wife of J. W. McHale). Early in their married life, Mr. and Mrs. Jones united with the Baptist Church, she joining in April 1834, and he in January 1835. She survives her husband, and though in her eighty-third year, is sound of mind and body. She was born in Kingston, Luzerne County, Pa., on July 29, 1809, a daughter of Ezekiel Goble.
The maternal grandfather of our subject was a native of New Jersey and was a son of Ezekiel Goble, who, for aught that is known to the contrary, was also born in that state, and was a descendant of early English ancestry. He removed from New Jersey to Kingston, Penn., with his family in 1795, and there his life was brought to a close in 1811 on the farm that he purchased when he first located in that place. The maiden name of his wife, whose death occurred on the farm in 1809, was Phebe Peck. The grandfather of our subject was nineteen years of age when the family went to Pennsylvania, and he was married in that state to Margaret Thompson, a native of Bucks County, and a daughter of James and Susanna Beck. He bought a farm in Kingston and lived there until 1815, when he sold it and took up his abode in Exeter Township, whence he came in 1847 to Illinois. He made his home thereafter with his sons Ezekiel and Charles and departed this life on May 2, 1849. His wife survived him until September 12, 1859, when she too passed away.
The subject of this biographical record was educated in his native State. He was a youth of sixteen years when the family left the old home to begin life anew on the frontier. That memorable journey across the intervening country was made with teams, and they were four weeks on the way. A tent and sheet iron stove formed part of their equipment, and at night, they camped by the wayside and cooked their food. Upon their arrival at the scene of their new home, they found a wild, sparsely settled country, where deer and other kinds of game flourished, and there were no railways or means of communication with the outside world, except over rough roads, or no roads at all. Chicago, many miles distant, was the nearest market for the sale of produce or where supplies could be obtained. The greater part of the land was still in the hands of the Government and was held for sale at $1.25 an acre.
Mr. Jones resided with his father until he married and established a home of his own on the farm in Wyoming Township, where he still resides. He has not only been a witness of the wonderful transformation that has taken place in this section since he came here, but he has helped to bring it about. His farm is highly productive and compares favorably with the others in its vicinity in all respects.
Our subject was married on February 14, 1854, to Miss Martha E. Harris, who is to him all that the word wife implies. Mrs. Jones was born in the town of Summer Hill, Cayuga County, N. Y., on September 15, 1833, to Daniel and Miriam (Page) Harris. For her parental history, see the sketch of D. M. Harris. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have four children living, of whom the following is the record: Laverne Fountain was born on April 17, 1855, Ada Eveline on June 14, 1858; Loren E. on October 23, 1860; Maud Albertie on May 13, 1862. Laverne married Miss Minnie Berkland, and they have one daughter, whose name is Mattie. Ada married Frank H. Bryant, and they have four children: Tessie, Emma, Carl, and Wilson. Maud married John Adrian, of Viola Township, and they have three children: Ethel, Robert S., and Ada.