Loami Township in the Late 1800’s
Henry Clay Jones,
As told to Lucy Miller Dodd

Clay Jones' Map

Benjamin George Whitefield Jones (named Whitefield after a Methodist preacher in Tennessee) was born on a farm in Monroe County Tennessee. Possibly near a town called Sweet Water in the S.E. part of said State in 1823. He moved to Missouri in 1849 with the rest of his brothers and sisters. Was married to Ketouri Cossey in 1851. She lived in Laclede County, Missouri. Her home was formerly in Maryland. Benjamin Jones died July 24, 1896. Ketouri, (or Kitty, as everyone called her) died March 1874. Both were buried in John’s Chapel Cemetery in Green County Missouri, 5 miles N.W. of Ash Grove.

To this union 12 children were born. The oldest was Henry Clay Jones, born August 6, 1852 in Missouri. He was the only one I knew and it was about he and his family - father Benjamin George Whitefield and wife Ketouri - that I asked and received the following:

(As told by Clay Jones)

“I was born in a log cabin at the ‘end of the hedge.’ No use to try to describe it otherwise, because that is the term used to describe the home where my parents lived when I was born.

My first school teacher was Oliver Weir, brother of Bryce Weir, whom you all know married Nancy Dodd. She was a relative of all the Dodd’s in Illinois. She and her husband Bryce moved to and from Missouri and Illinois so many times it was said, “They could borrow salt, sugar or flour, going one way and pay it back as they moved back.”

I started school when I was 6 years of age in 1858.

My father built a new house down the road and we lived there until after the battle of Wilson’s Creek in September of 1861, which was a short time after it was finished and our folks decided to move to Illinois to save the grown men from the rebels.

We came to Illinois in the fall of 1861. We brought our stock and came in covered wagons.

We went to Uncle Charlie and Aunt Polly Dodd’s. Aunt Polly Jones Dodd was from Tennessee - the only daughter of Joshua B. Jones of Tennessee. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Polly together with his brothers and families had moved to Illinois in 1852 and settled (some say 1851) south of Loami. My father, mother, Delila Edna, William, Jay and, I think, Mary Belle was a baby in my mothers arms, not sure, and myself. Together with an uncle Isaac M. Jones, wife and all of his family that was born then. He had 7 children altogether but I’m not certain how many came. Isaac M. Jones was my father’s youngest brother.

We moved in a short time from Aunt Polly’s to a house just north of the Daunt Jarrett new house which stands today (ed. The Daunt Jarrett house is known as Sarah Workman Place in 2000) as then except the South porch was torn away by a cyclone and a new one built.

We wintered there and went to school at what was known as the Workman school. It was North and West of this Jarrett home across the road from the Cy Baker residence (now John Adams home). We attended school when the snow wasn’t too deep. Mr. Jarrett took we kids and his own youngsters (to school). Arminda, I remember best; I liked her very much, Joe and Emma went too and we had some awfully good times together. I also remember Maggie Jarrett who was Melvin Dodd’s mother.

Early spring we moved to a house East of William and Betsy Campbell’s across the creek up on the high bank. Aunt Polly and Uncle Charlie lived straight South of us and we could easily get to their place, also to Mr. Campbell’s. I remember Jerry Campbell best because he had a pet hoot owl, and was always pulling a mouse or something out of his pocket, to feed it and scared the girls and boys with them.

The Campbell house was practically new then and how well I remember the big kitchen with the old fireplace in the back. They always took the baby lambs there to warm them up. Mr. Campbell had around 1,000 sheep then and often had around 25 or 30 little lambs in at once to get them warmed.

Part of the time I lived in Illinois, I stayed in a log cabin just South of Aunt Polly’s and Billy Dodd and family. (Billy Dodd hunted and trapped in season and had skins stretched and drying all over the outside of the house. Wheeler Hall gave this information).

Then in May 1862, the folks thought the war was practically over, so the two brothers, my father and uncle Isaac Jones, rounded up their families and stock, and after selling some things, we started back to Missouri.

After a few days journey in wagons and on foot, we picked up two other families going to Missouri also their names were Patterson and McElvains. They stopped at Marshfield, Missouri these extras only meant more fun for us boys. Gentleman me, we had a good time. (Mr. Jones told me that he had kept track of these families all these 80 years)

On the road back, we boys, 5 in all, walked most of the way. We never had so much fun before or since, if I remember rightly. We tumbled ands scuffled reconnoitered and rambled around. One day we got 3 miles behind, in the play and look around excursions and before we came to camp we began to think we were off the road, and the folks had about decided we were lost. We, or I at least, was fearful of what my father would do or say.

You see, my father was a stern, hard-working man. My mother was rather kind and loveable, so we children took to her best. However, we didn’t ever get scolded.

But when we got to our home, a rebel had moved in and wouldn’t get out, so we moved in too and all lived together. He was a friend of ours except in politics and we got along. I expect there were some arguments.

Pap and Cling Jones had to sleep in the fields in the weeds and with the snakes to keep away from the rebels so they would not kill them.

It was then we saw hard times for 4 or 5 years. You see, they thought the war was about over in 1862 and it didn’t close until 1865. Pap sold the horses and next year we worked the mules that were only 1˝ years old. We raised a garden and potatoes. There were plenty of fruit in Missouri and I expect corn meal and mush was a lot of our eats in those days.

My father always had some gold and silver hid around, so we lived and were as happy as other folks.

Finally, I grew up and got to visit the Evans family, which consisted of father, mother and 15 children - 11 girls and 4 boys. I married Martha Evans on November 15, 1875. We were married by Alec Lawson, a cousin by marriage. His wife Catherine was Aunt Polly’s daughter. We went back with one covered wagon and all have lived there (Missouri) mostly, since some lived in California part of the time.

We lived in the old frame house 1˝ years where I had lived with my father and mother. They lived in a new house near by. My father was a hard working man and always found work for me to do and we hardly knew what was ours and what was his. Finally, one day I told my wife, “we are moving out and starting on our own” and out we went.

I bought a house 10 miles from Father’s 80A, paid $700 for it. Built a 6 room house with a basement and lived there 20 years. Sold it. We then moved into Republic and stayed 9 years. I worked in a meat market and produce company. In 1902 we went to Carthage, Missouri and bought a farm north of town and farmed 4 years.

I had Sciatic Rheumatism while there and we moved into town and lived until 1917.

We decided to go to California in 1971. Went to Monte Belle, 4 miles East of Los Angeles. Lots of nice times in California. Lot of fruit and lots of friends and relatives not far away or maybe in said town (I didn’t get his exact words). But my lovely wife died there and I brought her body back to Ash Grove and buried it in the family burial place, 5 miles South of town in John’s Chapel Cemetery.

I bought the home I now live in with my nephew and niece Homer and Delzie Jones. It will be theirs when I’m gone.

I seemingly couldn’t stay in this home without my wife so I went down on a farm with (brother) Sherman awhile then went to Republic, rented a room and batched a while. Then, lived in another room for 2 months in Republic. Went to Nicholas Junction to visit, got sick there and was in bed 45 days.

Finally, I got better and went back to Ash Grove to my sister-in-laws and was sick there for 35 days. I went to Harrison, Arkansas and stayed there 11 months. Then back to Ash Grove and I’ll be there most of the time with Homer and Delzie Jones living in the house I bought and gave to them to care for me. July 9th I decided to come to Illinois. July 9, 1940.

Expected to stay a month but stayed at Melvin and Lucy Dodds 8 days and Bess and Fred Browns for 7 days and they took me to see Jesse Rathburn and Maggie Mitchell and Letta and Phronia Dodd and the cousin Wheeler Hall that lives with them, and Marjie and husband, Glenn. Fred Brown had taken me to New Salem Park, Lincoln’s monument and home. Fred also took me to see their children and the town of Jacksonville. I decided to not wait for my birthday anniversary August 6th when I would be 88 years young but go home by bus and stop off at Mexico, Missouri and see Cousin Will Dodd and family, cousin Mary Dodd and their brother Jim Dodd and family, and then on home. While in Illinois, I visited the old home of Aunt Polly Dodd, the William and Betsy Campbell home and the Daunt Jarrett home, which are all standing, yet a monument to their former owners, where I visited in 1861-62. The Campbell and Jarrett homes have been kept in repair and look like they might be landmarks in years to come. Aunt Polly’s house needs everything. All the timber (nearly) is gone aroung all around the place. (Polly Dodd’s house had the 4 front rooms of 2 stores and the lower East part built on after the Jones visited in 1862. However, the Dodd family were living in practically a new frame house built on to the old log house in 1861-62. Part of it was torn away and the log house moved back when the 4 two story rooms were built. The two East rooms were built when Uncle Jess was married to Flora Weinteer.)”

One interesting thing Mr. Jones told was about the little house on the east side of the road that ran through the big sugar grove where they made maple sugar and molasses. This grove was all around and in the spot where the Campbell, Workman cemeteries is. Three Workman’s lived in this little house, two men and a woman none were married.

They kept a boy named Gabriel Steinz to do their chores and every evening one of the men would go cut, put their hands on each side of their mouth and call – ‘Gabriel, Gabriel.’ Mr. Jones said “I can hear that echo and re-echo through the forest,” then added “You see they wanted him to come from hunting (a sport he followed every day) to feed the stock so the stock could see how to eat, before it got dark. I have never found any one here that knew Gabriel and only one man that ever heard of him. That was George Dodd. (I have since found out Gabriel Steinz joined the Army, going from Loami to the Civil War).

Since Mr. Jones talked so much about the Workman school, I’ve talked with every body about it and until recently never found any one that absolutely knew anything.

I (Lucy) started to school at High Water Mark and have found out that it was the second school house built in the district, I knew that the desks and benches were old and they replaced these with ones that the seat raised up and desk let down and locked. I had played in the old school house and it had been shedded on 3 sides and made into a barn. Alice Nipper, Lena Baker and I used to cross the road from the Baker house and play school in the old Workman school house and use the boards that were painted black for our black boards and sit on the hay or straw for seats. I really think that is the reason I remembered it was the old school house.

August 1940 I ran across John Workman (3 fingered John) and asked him if he knew where it had been moved from and he said “It wasn’t moved; that was where it set across the road from Cy Bakers, I went to school there and I knew, one day, one of the big boys did something that didn’t set with the rest and the other boys got Cy to come over and help and they caught him, tied him to a tree and gave him one good lickin.” The same day Aunt Ella Jarrett, wife of Melvin’s uncle Madison told me she knew it was set or built there and that she knew folks that went there to school.

In reminiscencing, Clay Jones told about Catherine Dodd Lawson, an aunt of Melvin Dodds saying, “Catherine Lawson was the only woman I ever saw die and being brought back to life. Someone rode on horseback to town for the doctor, he blew his breath into her mouth, worked her sides and finally she breathed again then messaged her and walked her until she finally came to and lived for a long time”.

The above is only a trace of the things he told while here those 8 days but they were interesting to me and I wrote down all I could remember.

Mr. Jones has worked in the evangelistic work all his life and told us it was Catherine Dodd Lawson, husband of Alex Lawson, that influenced and helped that spurred him to do this work. He taught me to pray and to expect folks to give their lives to God. But, he never got his boys to follow him as closely as he held me, to him and his work. I took him to church at Loami and we were having communion and he was disgusted. Wanted to hear some one preach not go through a form set in a book. He said “I’ve always been a Methodist but that form didn’t suit me.”

He said I never failed Mr. Lawson, when he asked me to pray I went at it, did my best. He said “you can” and so I carried on.


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