7.27.2009

Daniel Webster Jones

Howdy!

Nothing very interesting has happened since our trip to Arizona, hence the lack of bloggage. But I thought I would write a little in honor of my pioneer relative for Pioneer Day (a little late). I wouldn't have learned any of this for who knows how long if it weren't for being asked to speak in church. For those of you who are wardies, you've already heard most of this. :)


My 5th great-grandfather's sister's son (that's on the Cloyd side, for you family readers, and that makes him a cousin) was born in Missouri in 1830. His name was Daniel Webster Jones, and he was orphaned at just 11 years old. I'm not sure of the story of his parents' deaths, but from that point on Daniel decided to live life on his own, and left his friends and relatives to wander alone.

At 17, in 1847, he volunteered for the Mexican-American War, and remained in Mexico after it ended for about 3 years, not leaving until 1850. While there, Daniel learned to speak, read, and write Spanish fluently.

When he left , it was with a group of men going on a sheep herding expedition that would land them in northern California, where they hoped to get rich in the Gold Rush. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) when they were camped at Green River, Wyoming, Daniel accidentally shot himself in the leg. Not wanting to be burdened by a lame companion, the company decided they would leave Daniel at a (dun dun dun!) Mormon settlement in Utah.

Daniel was afraid of the Mormons. He had heard that they were thieves and murderers and he was not too keen on the aspect of being left with them. But when he got there, he learned that they were good people, and he respected them for their beliefs. Eventually, after living there for about a year, Daniel was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January of 1851 (in a river that was covered with a foot of ice).

He lived in peace in Provo/Salt Lake for about five years, and then in 1856 Brigham Young asked the saints to go help save the pioneer immigrants who were trekking thousands of miles across the plains. Winter was coming, and if they didn't get to Utah soon, many would die.

Daniel was one of the rescuers who went out to give aid and relief to the immigrants that were trying to reach the Mormon settlement. Because of him and the hundreds of others who put their own lives on the line, many immigrants were able to make it safely to Utah. (This part of Daniel's story is much more interesting and detailed, but also very long. If interested, let me know and you can read my talk, which goes into more detail.)

After living in the wilderness for a while and having many interactions with the Indians, Daniel came back to live in Utah. in 1876 he was asked by Brigham Young to translate the Book of Mormon into Spanish and go be one of the first missionaries to Mexico. He was nervous because he knew how strong the Catholic church was out there, but he knew that his previous experience there made him the right man for the job, and he did it happily.

Daniel was a really great man, and I'm glad I got to learn about him. I challenge everyone who reads this to find the name of any ancestor, and learn his or her story. It is a very rewarding experience.

4 comments:

The Clingo Family said...

Wow, Beth that is So awesome!! How did you ever learn all that?? How did you find out you had an ancestor like that?? I'm jealous ;) this is so cool!

I have been wanting to do some family history stuff for a while now and this just makes me want to do it even more!

Francesca said...

Really neat family history. Thanks for sharing his story!

Chase & Cait said...

sweetness. love the pic

Anonymous said...

Hi Beth - Daniel was my great grandfather on my father's side (the "Wrays"). He really was a fascinating man. You may have heard this but his autobiography, "Forty Years Among The Indians", was used in the Utah school system. Another interesting fact...My aunt, the late actress Fay Wray-Moss (of King Kong fame) was his last surviving grandchild. I wish you much success in your future searches!