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Full text of "John Rice Jones : a brief sketch of the life and public career of the first practising lawyer in Illinois ; Rice Jones : a brief memoir of the last representative of Randolph county in the General Assembly of Indiana Territory, and the victim of an historical tragedy of early Illinois [microform]"

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6 



JOHN RICE JONES. 
RICE JONES. 



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FERGUS- HISTORICAL SERIES, No. 3 2. 



JOHN RICE JONES: 

A HRIFF SKETCH OF THE 
I. IFF. AND PUHLIC CARKER (JF THE FIRST PRAC .SING LAWYER 

IN ILLINOIS. 

RICE JONES: 

A BRIEF MEMOIR OF 

THE LAST REPRESENTATIVE OF RANDOLPH COUNTY IN I HE 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF INDIANA TERRITORY, 

AND THE 

VICTI.M OF AN HLSTORICAL TRAGEDY OF EARLY ILLINOIS. 



HY 



W. A. HURT JONES. 



REI'RI.NIKI) KRO.M 

Vol.. IV., Chicago Historical Socikty'.s Coii.kci'io.ns : 
•• Karlv Chicaco A.M) Im.i.nois." 



CHICAGO: 

FER(;US PKINTIiVG ^(JMPANY. 

18S9. 



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U.I8YS 

MIMaWMI 



JOHN RICE JONES. 

A HRIKK SKF.TCH OK THK I.IKE AM) I'UIM.IC CARKKk 
FIRST I'RACTISINd LAWYKR IN IM.INOIS. 



-K IHK 



By W. A. Burt Jones of St. Paul, Minnesota. 



* * "A friend to truth, of soul sinixTc, 
In action faithful, and in honor clear." 

JOHN RICE JONES was born in Malhvyd, .i beautiful 
village on the "murmuring Dyfi," in that wildest and 
most picturesque of all Welsh counties, M kionothshir . 
February ii, 1759. He was one of fourteen children and 
the eldest son of John Jones, Esq., a gentleman wi good 
circuit 'Stances and of highly respectable social standing, 
belonging as he did to an ancient and honorable family 
celebrated in the history and poetry of his native country, 
''fair Wales, the land of song." 

John Rice Jones received a collegiate education at Ox- 
ford, England, and afterward took a regular course in both 
medicine and law. He then established himself in the 
practice of the latter in London, where, in 1753, in St. 
George's Church, Hanover Square, his parents had been 
married, and where a number of relatives and friends 
resided. In a deed dated in 1783, and conveying to him 
certain property in Brecon, Wales, he, then a resident of 
the British metropolis, is described as "John Rice Jones of 
T lanet Place, in the Strand, in the Parish of St. Clement 
Danes, in the County of Middlesex, gentleman," which 
locates him pretty closely in the great city a hundred 
years ago. 

He came to America in February, 1784, and located in 
Philadelphia, where he engaged in the practice of his pro- 

7 99 



W 



r 



lOO 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 






fession, and made the friendly acquaintance of Dr. Benja- 
min Rush, Benjamin Franklin, Myers Fisher, the eminent 
lawyer, and other distinguished men, to some of whom he 
had letters of introduction. He remained here some two 
years, when, having long heard of the wonderful Far West, 
and evidently having strong confidence in the greatness 
and importance it would assume in the early future, he 
there decided to cast his lines, and accordingly set out on 
the long and tedious journey of over eight hundred miles 
to Louisville, Ky., his objective point, and then the most 
important American settlement west of the Alleghany 
Mountains, the trip to which was fraught with many perils 
and discomforts, yet which, we are told, was in many ways 
extremely interesting and enjoyable in a pleasant season 
of the year. 

It is not known whether he came with his family from 
Philadelphia to Fort Pitt — now the city of Pittsburg, in 
the centre of a vasfrly-extended civilization, but then an 
isolated and lonely military post on the remote frontier — 
and thence down the Ohio River by boat, or came entirely 
overland by the only other route to the West, which 
crossed the Blue- Ridge Mountains above the head-waters 
of the Potomac, then led down between that range and 
the Alleghanies to old Fort Chissel, and thence via the 
Great Wilderness road, which admitted of only horseback 
and foot travel, through Kentucky by way of Cumberland 
Gap. He reached his destination in safety, however, as, 
after his departure from Philadelphia, we next meet him at 
the Falls of the Ohio, or Louisville, where, in Sept., 1786,. 
he joined the army of one thousand men raised and com- 
manded by Gen. George Rogers Clark, under the authority 
of Virginia, for the suppression of the hostile Wabash 
tribes of Indians. Gen. Clark proceeded into their coun- 
try some distance above Vincennes, when it was deemed 
iiiexpedient — owing to the partial loss of supplies, shipped 



9 1^ I 



JOHN RICK JONKS. 



lOI 



. Benja- 
eminent 
'horn he 
)me two 
ir West, 
reatness 
ture, he 
t out on 
ed miles 
he most 
ileghany 
ly perils 
ny ways 
t season 

lily from 
iburg, in 
then an 
ontier — 
entirely 
which 
d-waters 
nge and 

via the 
Drseback 
[iberland 
rever, as, 
t him at 
)t., 1786,. 
nd com- 
uthority 

Wabash 
tir coun- 

deemed. 

shipped 



after them via the Ohio, and to the discontent and deser- 
tion of some of the troops — to proceed further, and the 
little army, abandoning the expedition, fell back to V^in- 
cennes. Owing to the exposed condition of that post at 
the time, it was considered advisable to establish there a 
military garrison, and the project was determined upon 
and carried into execution at once by a council composed 
of the field-officers of the Wabash expedition, the garri- 
son, it was decided, to consist of three hundred men— two 
hundred and fifty infantry, and a company of artillery 
under Capt. Valentine T. Dalton. Gen. Clark assumed 
the supreme direction of the corps, and levied recruits, 
appointed officers, and impressed provisions for their sup- 
port.* Of this garrison, John Rice Jones was appointed 
commissary-general, in place of John Craig, Jr., who was 
first appointed but did not act.f 

At this time, negotiations were pending between the 
United States and the court at Madrid relative to the con- 
cession by Spain of the right to the navigation of the 
Mississippi River by the Americans. This privilege had 
always been vigorously denied the United States by the 
Spanish government, and had become not only a bone of 
diplomatic contention between the two countries, but a 
fruitful cause of ill-feeling between the citizens of the one 
and the subjects of the other living and intermingling on 
the borders of the western possessions of the nations con- 
cerned. The Spaniards there had repeatedly confi.scated 
property of and committed other outrages upon Ameri- 
cans, and when an unfounded but readily-credited rumor 
came that congress had conceded everything to Spain, and 
that in consequence the citizens of the Far West would 
thenceforth have to champion their cherished cause alone 
and take care of themselves and their interests generally, 

* Dillon's "History of Indiana." 

+ Dunn's "Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery." 



1 



^mm 



102 



P:ARLY ILLINOIS. 



i 



intense excitement and resentment followed and prompted 
measures of summary retaliation for the depredations com- 
mitted upon them in the past. 

A systematic and vigorous course was adopted at Vin- 
cennes by Gen. Clark, under whose direction the garrison 
troops seized upon all Spanish property at the post and 
the Illinois, very considerable and valuable altogether, and 
turned it over to John Rice Jones, who as commissary- 
general, by regular appointment of Gen. Clark, retained 
a proper portion of the contraband property for garrison 
uses, and disposed of the remainder at auction* for the 
partial indemnification of citizens whose possessions had 
been as unceremoniously appropriated by Spanish pil- 
lagers. John Rice Jones was at this time only twenty- 
seven years of age, and his abilities and character must 
have been very marked to have secured for him in a brief 
period his considerable local prominence and, above all, 
the confidence and esteem, which he undoubtedly possessed, 
of such a man as Gen. Clark, "the Washington of the 
West, whose genius, abilities, and bravery, that elevated 
him above his fellow-men," rendered his friendship an 
honor to any man upon whom it was bestowed. 

John Rice Jones seems to have become thoroughly im~ 
bued with the martial spirit of the period and country in 
which he lived. First we find him as a member of Gen. 
Clark's army, recruited at the Falls of the Ohio for service 
against the Indians of the Wabash; next as commissary- 
general of the Vincennes garrison; and after an interval of 
four years — a period in Mr. Jones' military history which the 
writer has no data concerning, but one in which the former 
no doubt continued his connection with the garrison until 
its dissolution in the summer of 1787, and from that time 
with local militia organizations — we accidentally discover 
him, so to speak, as one of "the effective men belonging 

* Dillon's "History of Indiana, "and Dunn's "Indiana." 






Mi^ 



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ULiSYS 

■ iiwniiaia 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



103 



rompted 
)ns com- 

at Vin- 
garrison 
30st and 
:her, and 
missary- 
retained 

garrison 
^ for the 
ions had 
nish pil- 

twenty- 
;ter must 
in a brief 
.bove all, 
)ossessed, 
n of the 

elevated 
dship an 

hly im~ 
3untry in 

of Gen. 
|)r service 
missary- 

erval of 
vhich the 
e former 
son until 
lat time 
discover 
elonging 



to Capt. Pierre Gamelin's company at Post Vincennes, 
July 4, 1790."* This company was a militia organization 
designed to serve at home or in the field against the 
Indians, who throughout the spring and summer of 1790 
"continued to wage irregular war against emigrating fami- 
lies and settlers along the borders of the Ohio, from its 
mouth to Pittsburg." 

Their harassing hostilities occasioned Gen. Josiah Har- 
mar's famous but fruitless expedition against them in the 
fall of this year, and called forth, under Maj. John Francis 
Hamtramck, the local militia, including Capt. Gamelin's 
company, at the post, in addition to the regular United- 
States garrison under him, which garrison was established 
in July, 1787, by the then Col. Harmar, to succeed that 
of Gen, Clark's creating. Hamtramck's expedition as 
ordered by Gen. Harmar, who himself operated against 
the Miamis, was directed against the Wabash tribes. Be- 
fore the approach of this command, which is known in 
history .1 the "Wabash regiment," the Indians, not stay- 
ing to do battle, fled precipitately, deserting several vil- 
lages and their contents, which were destroyed by the 
white troops. Mr. Jones probably took part in other cam- 
paigns against the Indians, but the writer has had access 
to but few manuscript records, official or otherwise, which 
are scattered, and has not chanced to find any published 
work giving further information on the point. 

In accordance with the act of congress of March 3, 1791, 
John Rice Jones received from the United States govern- 
ment a grant of one hundred acres of land, located near 
Vincennes. Northwest Territory, for his services as militia- 
man, as also did three of his brothers-in-law, the Barger 
brothers, as will hereafter appear.f He had before this 
probably acquired considerable real possessions, and in a 

'^ Law's "Colonial History of Vincennes." 

t" American State Papers — Public Lands, " Vols. I and VH. 



I04 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



few years became an extensive land-owner, as the early 
territorial records of both Indiana and Illinois, as well as 
the general government archives, abundantly attest. The 
Ordinance of 1787 imposed the ownership of considerable 
real estate conditional to eligibility to the higher civil 
offices, as it did in a smaller measure to the right to hold 
lesser ones, and even to the right of suffrage. It is likely 
that in those days of scarcity of money, John Rice Jones 
frequently had to take real property, or claims thereto, in 
exchange for legal services, and by that means, as well as 
by purchases outright, accumulated his many thousands 
of acres of land. In 1808, he paid taxes on 16,400 acres 
in Monroe County alone; he and Pierre Menard, Gen. 
John Edgar, Robert and William Morrison, James O'Hara, 
Richard Lord, and a few others, being heavy owners. 

Unlike most pioneers, he did not engage in promiscuous 
pursuits, as trading with the Indians, hunting and trap- 
ping, cultivating the soil, merchandising, and so forth, but 
devoted himself entirely to the practice of his profession, 
in which he was very able, and to politics, in which he 
was as accomplished as he was influential, and cut an 
important figure. He very soon acquired and always con- 
tinued to enjoy an extensive and lucrative law -practice, 
and this professional success combined with his reputation 
as a classical scholar, as a man of varied and extensive 
learning, of practical knowledge of men and affairs, and 
of great ambition, coupled with a mental activity and an 
energy of character equally remarkable, soon placed him 
among the most prominent men in a country where those 
of his qualifications and qualities were the exception and 
not the rule. As such a character he was found by John 
Gibson, secretary of the newly-formed Indiana Territory, 
on his arrival at Vincennes, in July, 1800. With Mr. Gib- 
son he early formed a close personal and political friend- 
ship, and similar relations immediately grew up between 



A, 



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ULISYS 

N I Man ■■••■•»«• 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



105 



:he early 
> well as 
:st. The 
siderable 
[her civil 
t to hold 
is likely- 
ice Jones 
liereto, in 
IS well as 
housands 
400 acres 
ard, Gen. 
^ O'Hara, 
lers. 

)miscuous 
ind trap- 
forth, but 
rofession. 
which he 
d cut an 
vays con- 
- practice, 
eputation 
extensive 
fairs, and 
y and an 
iced him 
ere those 
3tion and 
by John 
erritory, 
Mr. Gib- 
1 friend- 
between 



him and Gov. William Henry Harrison, after the arrival 
of the latter, in January, 1801, to assume the administra- 
tion of territorial affairs. 

Gov. Harrison at once recognized his abilities, and in 
the latter part of January or early in February, commis- 
sioned him attorney-general of the Territory, the first civil 
office ever held by Mr. Jones, so far as we are informed. 
We have it on the authority of historians that John Rice 
Jones not only enjoyed the political confidence of Gov. 
Harrison, but that their personal relations were of a very 
intimate nature, and that Mr. Jones exercised a by no 
means inconsiderable influence as an adviser of the gov- 
ernor up to the time of their rupture, in 1807-8. He 
continued attorney-general until the date 'a his appoint- 
ment as a member of the territorial legislative council, in 
February or March, 1805, and therefore filled the former 
otifice for a period of exactly four years. 

In December, 1802, there convened at Vincennes the 
famous slavery convention of that year, which, outside of 
the general assembly, was the first public body of a univer- 
sally representative character to formally discuss the deli- 
cate question in all its bearings, and to lay the sentiments 
and wishes of the majority of the people of the entire 
territory before congress. The delegates, twelve in num- 
ber, were chosen by the people in a regular election, held, 
pursuant to proclamation of the governor, simultaneously 
in the several counties, and, of course, represented the 
predominating sentiment of their respective constituen- 
cies. The members "ranked among the most intelligent 
and public-spirited men of the Territory," and were Gov. 
Harrison, Col. Francis Vigo, Wm. Prince, Luke Decker, 
Pierre Menard, Robert Reynolds, Robert Morrison, Jean 
PVan^ois Perry, Shadrach Bond, Maj. John Moredock, and, 
it is thought, Davis Floyd and 'Villiam Biggs. Theirs are 
;now historic names, and all weic strong pro-slavists except 



g^ 




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1 06 



EARLY ILLINOiS. 



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the last two, or whoever were the two representatives from 
Clark County. 

Gov. Harrison was president and John Rice Jones secre- 
tary of this convention, which continued in session eight 
days, and on the last day, December 28, agreed on a 
memorial and petition, probably the work of the skilful,, 
able, and fluent pen of their secretary, to congress. They 
prayed for the suspension for ten years of the sixth article 
of the Ordinance of 1787, "the Magna Charta of the West," 
which prohibited, but did not prevent, slavery in the ter- 
ritory; and among many things, recommended Gov. Har- 
rison for reappointment and John Rice Jones for chief- 
justice of the territorial court. Only two of the requests 
were granted: that for the payment of a salary to the 
attorney-general — to which office, then held as from the 
first by John Rice Jones, it is presumed fees had been 
attached — and that for the right of preemptir i to actual 
settlers on public lands. 

John Rice Jones strongly favored the advance of the 
territory to the second grade, or representative form, and 
used his influence toward the accomplishment of that end, 
which was achieved by a majority of one hundred and 
thirty-eight of the freeholders of the territory at the elec- 
tion held September 11, 1804, Members of the house of 
representatives were chosen at the election of January 3 
following, and that body convened at Vincennes on Feb- 
ruary I, and, in accordance with law, nominated for coun- 
cillors ten men whose names were forwarded to President 
Jefferson, for him to select from them those of five men 
to compose the legislative council. The president returned 
five commissions with the spaces for names left blank, with 
instructions to Gov. Harrison to choose out of the ten 
nominees the five best fitted, in the governor's opinion, for 
the responsible offices, rejecting "land-jobbers, dishonest 
men, and those who, though honest, might suffer them- 



:^., i 



mk 



ULtSYS 



JOHN RICE JONKS. 



107 



Ltives from 

Dnes secre- 
ision eight 
reed on a 
the skilful^ 
ess. They 
ixth article 
the West," 
in the ter- 
Gov. Har- 
5 for chief- 
le requests 
iary to the 
.s from the 
5 had been 
' i to actual 

ince of the 
e form, and 
)f that end, 
andred and 
at the elec- 
le house of 
January 3 
les on Feb- 
for coun- 
o President 
Df five men 
nt returned 
blank, with 
of the ten 
opinion, for 
dishonest 
uffer them- 



selves to be warped by party prejudices." Those selected, 
one for each county, were John Rice Jones, Benjamin 
Chambers, Samuel Gwathmey, John Hay, and Pierre 
Menard, all assuredly able men, whose superiors intellect- 
ually and morally it would have been difficult to find 
anywhere. 

John Rice Jones was appointed from Knox County, the 
seat of government of which was also the territorial capi- 
tal, Vincennes, and continued its representative in the 
council until October 26, 1808, when the governor, for 
reasons that appeared to him sufficient, permanently dis- 
solved the general assembly — an act that was premature, 
in that it left no authorized body to organize the first 
legislature of the new Indiana Territory, as contemplated 
by law, and rendered special congressional legislation nec- 
essary in the matter. 

During the second and last session of the second general 
assembly, which was the last held under the old organiza- 
tion, ana which second session began on September 26, 
1808, and continued exactly one month, John Rice Jones 
was president of the legislative council, the three preced- 
ing sessions of that body having been presided over by 
Benjamin Chambers. Immediately after the expiration 
of his service as councillor, extending over a period of 
some three years and seven months, John Rice Jones 
removed to Kaskaskia, the seat of government of the 
newly-erected Illinois Territory, whither he had removed 
from Vincennes in 1790 and where he continued to reside 
till about the beginning of 1801, when he returned to 
Vincennes. His son, Rice Jones, had located at Kaskas- 
kia in the practice of law in 1806, and had become very 
prominent politically, having in the election of July, 1808, 
been chosen to represent Randolph County in the lower 
house of the general assembly, which office he continued 
to hold till the dissolution of the legislature in October 



io8 



KAKLV ILLINOIS. 



» 



P! 



following, as before mentioned. John Rice Jones contin- 
ued to make his home in Kaskaskia, after his removal 
thither in the fall of 1808, till his removal to St. Louis 
some two years later. 

In 1805, a memorial to congress in favor of domestic 
slavery in a modified form and against a division of the 
Territory was introduced into the general assembly, but 
defeated; not on the slavery question, for both houses 
were overwhelmingly pro-slavery, but because a majority 
of the representatives in the lower house were friends of 
division. A petition embodying the slavery part of the 
memorial was afterward signed by a large majority of the 
members of both houses, in a non-representative capacity, 
and duly forwarded to Delegate Benjamin Parke in con- 
gress. Among the signers was John Rice Jones, a consist- 
ent pro-slavist, whose name, it appears, was affixed to 
various memorials and petitions presented to congress at 
different times in favor of the temporary abrogation of 
the much-discussed sixth article of the Ordinance of 1787, 
but who, so far as the writer has discovered, was neither 
a fanatic on the subject nor a holder of slaves, though he 
was abundantly able, as a man of wealth, to be an exten- 
sive owner. [See note on page 139.] 

If it was a heinous crime to advocate the legal suspen- 
sion, by act of the supreme legislative body of the Nation, 
of the slavery-debarring provision of the ordinance under 
which the territories came into being, what was it to hold 
and traffic in negro bondsmen, in direct violation of an 
existing law, though that law was questionable as in itself 
a violation of three antedating promises and guarantees 
most solemnly made } Yet a great majority of the fore- 
most men in the territories of Indiana and Illinois were 
slave-holders — men equally conspicuous for their intelli- 
gence, patriotism, and social respectability, as well as for 
their political prominence. 



-I 



ULISYS 

MIIWHMai 



JOHN RICE JONKS. 



109 



les contin- 

s removal 

St. Louis 

r domestic 
ion of the 
jmbly, but 
>th houses 
1 majority 

friends of 
lart of the 
rity of the 
e capacity, 
ke in con- 
, a consist- 
affixed to 
:ongress at 
ogation of 
:e of 1787, 

as neither 
though he 

an exten- 

al suspen- 
le Nation, 
nee under 
it to hold 
ion of an 
as in itself 

uarantees 
the fore- 

nois were 
?ir intelli- 

ell as for 



Among the leading public men besides John Rice Jones 
who were pronounced pro-slavists, were such characters as 
Gov. Wm. Henry Harrison, Secretary John Gibson, Dele- 
gate, afterward Judge, Henjamin Parke, councillors Benja- 
min Chambers. Pierre Menard, Robert Reynolds, Samuel 
Gwathmey, and John Hay; Col. PVancis Vigo, Judge 
Jesse H. Thomas, Hon. Shadrach Bond, Gen. John Kdgar, 
Gen. Washington Johnston, Judge John Johnson, and hun- 
dreds of other eminent public characters, extending down 
to the time of and including such men as Gov. Ninian 
Edwards, Judge Nathaniel Pope, Hon. Sidney Breese, 
Sccretary-of-State Elias Kent Kane, and, in short, almost 
every man of public note throughout the Indiana and 
Illinois territorial periods, and many for long years after 
the admission of Indiana into the Union. 

Such were the exalted public and private virtues of these 
men that they were then good enough company for any- 
body, whatever his pretensions to moral worth, intellectual 
attainments, or patriotism, to be in, and however such 
company might now be esteemed by a more virtuous age. 
All these men went to their graves honest believers in the 
perfect propriety of slavery, and while the institution as a 
political establishment has since been forever abolished by 
constitutional amendment and swallowed up in an ocean 
of precious blood, shed in part by some of those men's 
descendants, arrayed against one another in the deadly 
strife of fratricidal war, it is alone the province of that 
Judge before whom they have been called, as all others 
must be, to pass judgment upon their *'ihiquity" as abso- 
' lutely conscientious upholders of a principle and practice 
':heir opponents could not possibly more honestly condemn. 

Amid the discharge of his duties as councillor, his activ- 
ity in politics, his attention to his profe.ssional business, 
always large, and to priv.ite affairs, and his domestic con- 
cerns as well, John Rice Jones still found the time to 




If 



I 10 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



^f. 



revise and prepare for publication — in conjunction with 
Hon. John Johnson, another able lawyer and a member of 
the house — the statutes of the Territory, under the follow- 
ing title: "Laws of the Indiana Territory, comprising those 
Acts formerly in force and as Revised by John Rice Jones 
and John Johnson, and passed (after Amendments) by the 
Legislature; and the Original Acts passed by the First 
Session of the Second General Assembly of the said Ter- 
ritory, begun and held at the Borough of Vincennes on 
the 1 6th day of August, A.D. 1807." This revision had 
been adopted by the general assembly with but trifling 
amendment, "was a careful and thorough one," says Judge 
Howe,* and was long the main substance of the statute 
laws of both Indiana and Illinois. 

In an act passed by the general legislature in 1807, in- 
corporating the Vincennes University, now represented by 
both the Vincennes University at Vincennes and the Indi- 
ana State University at Bloomington, "for the instruction 
of youth in the Latin, Greek, French, and English lan- 
guages, mathematics, natural philosophy, ancient and 
modern history, moral philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and the 
law of nature and nations," John Rice Jones, who had 
been one of its most zealous promoters, as would be 
naturally expected from one of his broad education, was 
named as one of the first board of trustees, which was 
composed of William Henry Harrison, Thomas T. Davis, 
John Gibson, Henry Vanderburgh, Waller Taylor, Benja- 
jamin Parke, Peter Jones, James Johnson, John BadoUet,. 
John Rice Jones, George Wallace, William Bullitt, Elias. 
McNamee, Henry Hurst, Gen. Washington Johnston, Fran- 
cis Vigo, Jacob Kuykendall, Samuel McKee, Nathaniel 
Ewing, George Leach, Luke Decker, Samuel Gwathmey, 
and John Johnson"!* — "rnen who had large and liberal ideas 

* Howe's "The Laws and Courts of the Northwest and Indiana Territories. " 
t Dillon's "History of Indiana." 



-t 



• !•« MM M») 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



Ill 



iction with 

member of 

the follow- 

rising those 

Rice Jones 

mts) by the 

y the First 

le said Ter- 

ncennes on 

evision had 

but trifling 

says Judge 

the statute 

in 1807, in- 
resented by 
id the Indi- 
i instruction 
nglish lan- 
.ncient and 
ric, and the 
who had 
would be 
ication, was 
which was 
5 T. Davis, 
lor, Benja- 
n BadoUet, 
illitt, Eli as 
ston, Fran- 
Nathaniel 
wathmey, 
beral ideas 

lia Territories. " 



of education, and who reflected the true spirit of the 
framers of the Ordinance of 1787." 

An important piece of business to come before the 
second .session of the second general assembly, begun 
September 26, 1808, was the election of a successor to 
J Ion. Benjamin Parke, who had resigned as delegate in 
congress to accept a seat on the territorial supreme judici- 
ary bench. Prominent among the prospective candidates 
before the legislature was John Rice Jones, who had been 
solicited by a great many friends an»; admirers to enter 
the contest. Local politics had become many sided and 
decidedly mixed; there were both pro-slavists and anti- 
slavists who were opposed to division, and also members 
of each of those factions who were in favor of that meas- 
ure; and in this state of affairs the selection of a delegate 
was sure to be a prolonged fight, though the divisionists' 
success was assured. As an able man and an ardent friend 
of division, John Rice Jones was "the favorite of the peo- 
ple of the Illinois country, but the anti-slavery people 
would not support him because he had long been identi- 
fied with the Harrison party, and was a pronounced pro- 
slavery man."* 

Among other leading candidates was Speaker-of-the- 
house Jesse B. Thomas, who, though no less an out-and- 
out pro-slavist than divisionist, was finally compromised 
on by the antagonistic elements of his party, and elected ; 
but not before John Rice Jones, who as president of the 
council or as a controller of other men's votes, evidently 
held the balance e^ power, had, conditional to his support 
of Speaker Thomas, required and extracted from him the 
most solemn pledges of fidelity to his party.*t* Remaining 
true to these promises, Delegate Thomas worked for and 
speedily secured the division of the Territory, to the hu- 

* Dunn's "Indiana." 

t Dunn's " Indiana," and Ford's "History of Illinois." 




BT 



I 12 



KAKLV ILMXOIS. 



miliiition of the Harrisonians, whose chagrin and rancor 
led at Vincennes to the hanging in effigy of the offending 
delegate. At Kaskaskia the feeling was equally bad, and 
produced among other serious incidents the passing of a 
challenge between Hon. Shadrach liond, afterward gov- 
ernor of Illinois, and Rice Jones, ex-representative in the 
territorial legislature of Indiana, and a son of ex-councillor 
John Rice Jones, and finally ended in the deplorable assas- 
sination of Rice Jones by a dastardly partisan, who by 
instant flight from the country undoubtedly saved himself 
from summary punishment at the hands of an enraged 
community.* 

Reference having been made heretofore to the rupture 
between VVm. Henry Harrison and John Rice Jones, and 
several historians deeming it a subject of sufficient interest 
to the public of today to call for more or less extended 
observations on their part, a few words on the subject will 
not be inappropriate in this sketch. One writer, whose 
strong prejudices, if not malicious motives, are evident, 
predicating a theory upon what later and obviously 'uore 
just and careful historians consider imaginary grounds, for 
they declare that there is no documentary evidence as to 
what the real cause of the falling -out was, refers the 
"important event," as a judicious vvriter*f terms it, to dis- 
appointment on the part of John Rice Jones, growing out 
of his failure to secure the bestowal of greater patronage 
of Gov. Harrison ; and then in the same spirit this amiable 
writer proceeds to say that John Rice Jones made it appear 
that the ostensible reason for his disagreement with and 
consequent opposition to Harrison was a difference of 
opinion as to the expediency of the advance of the Ter- 
ritory to the second grade of government as early as that 
step was consummated. 

* Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois." 
t JJunn, in his "Indiana." 



^.ISYS 



lollN RICK lONES. 



I I ^ 



and rancor 
e offend in<; 
ly bad, and 
assing of a 
rward gov- 
itive in the 
<-councillor 
rable assas- 
an, who by 
ved himself 
an enraged 

the rupture 
; Jones, and 
ient interest 
5S extended 
subject will 
Titer, whose 
are evident, 
iously more 
grounds, for 
dence as to 
refers the 
IS it, to dis- 
rowing out 
r patronage 
his amiable 
Ide it appear 
t with and 
ifference of 
of the Ter- 
,rly as that 



This statement is palpably false, inasmuch as all accounts 
agree that John Rice Jones was conspicuous as an active 
and zealous promoter of the second-grade cause; and if 
further refutation of the infamous charges,-- direct and 
indirect, ot the writer in question were needed, it would be 
only necessary to state the notorious fact that for years 
after the Territory had entered the secondary form of 
government, its executive and the subject of this sketch 
were on terms of close personal and political friendship, as 
reputable historians declare, and as is incontrovertibly 
proven by Gov. Harrison's appointment of John Rice 
Jones to high office in those later years,i- as also by the 
testimony to their cordial relations up to a date so late as 
1807-8, by other writers on Indiana history wko have 
anything to say on the subject. :J: 

To the writer of these pages, the most simple, reason- 
able, and natural explanation of the rupture between Gov. 
Harrison and Councillor Jones was the question of the 

* To asperse and misrepresent a living man on the anonymous charges ami 
msinuations made against him by a partisan foe during the excitement of a 
heated political period, or by a personal enemy at any time, is bad cnovigh ; 
but to assault the character and violate the memory of a man long dead 
through the mediumship of just such irresponsible and infamous attacks, is 
infinitely worse, is the part of neither an honorable man nor a gentleman, but 
rather that of a vile traducer, and should be far beneath the dignity of anyone 
making pretensions to the claim of being an historian. In reference to such 
slanders, a man's friends may pointedly ask, in the words of Hon. Kdward 
Kverett, in a speech once delivered by him in the national house of represen- 
tatives, "can any gentleman tell me how long it is since an anonymous mis- 
creant, in the papers, accused Thomas Jefferson of having pillaged thirteen 
hundred dollars, I think it was, from the public chest? Mas any gentleman 
forgotten that pathetic complaint of George Washington, that he had been 
assailed in language fit only * for a pick-pocket — for a common defaulter ? ' " 
Verily, " Be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, 

Thou shalt not escape calumny. " 

t The second grade of government was entered upon September 1 1, 1S04, 
and four months later Harrison appointed John Rice Jones a member of the 
council — a favor he would hardly have bestowed upon a political and personal 
enemy. * Dunn, in his "Indiana," page 361, for instance. 







f 



114 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



division of the Indiana Territory. This question, as is 
well known, divided the people latterly into violently an- 
tagonistic factions, whose clashing sentiments on this one 
subject caused the severing of personal attachments be- 
tween many individuals whose political opinions on other 
measures were either in perfect harmony or temporarily 
adjustable, but who were uncompromising on this; engen- 
dered wide-spread and all-pervading excitement and par- 
tisan feeling; produced in connection with the indirectly- 
involved slavery question, pro and con, strange combina- 
tions and associations of men and sentiments, and charac- 
terized the campaign preceding an election of two repre- 
sentatives to the general assembly, which chanced to 
become necessary at "the time, as the most animated and 
bitter one that ever occurred in the Territory, before or 
afterward, or in that of Illinois. The successful candidates 
for the legislature in the el-^ction in question were Rice 
Jones in Randolph County and John Messinger in St. Clair 
County, both of whom were zealous divisionists."^ 

As has been intimated, the defeat of the Harrisonians 
or anti-divisionists was a crushing disappointment to them, 
for the results of the election placed the balance of legis- 
lative power, by a slight majority, in the hands of the sep- 
arationists, and the loss of the election drove the rabid 
partisans among those who were opposed to division to 
extravagant expressions, actions, and acts, among the last 
the disgraceful proceeding at Vincennes, indicative of their 
despair and fury. John Rice Jones, who then lived at 
Vincennes, the seat of the territorial government, and in 
the county of Knox, the governor's favorite county and 
the stronghold of the Harrisonians, was as a pronounced 
divisionist and a distinguished character, douoly conspicu- 
ous as an object of dislike and abuse on the part of 

* Edwards' "Illinois," p. 30; Address of Welcome by Citizens of Randolph 
County to Gov, Ninian Edwards, June, 1809. 



t 



I-* 



I ^'W. 



ULISYS 

■ IMIIIIHIMIIMI 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



115 



ion, as IS 
lently an- 
1 this one 
ments be- 
5 on other 
;mporarily 
is; engen- 
t and par- 
indirectly- 
combina- 
nd charac- 
two repre- 
lianced to 
nated and 
, before or 
candidates 
were Rice 
in St. Clair 

•X- 

arrisonians 
it to them, 
:e of legis- 
f the sep- 
the rabid 
ivision to 
cr the last 
e of their 
lived at 
nt, and in 
lunty and 
Ironounced 
conspicu- 
|e part of 

of Randolph 



many of those of opposing sentiments. Under the pecu- 
liar circumstances prevailing, no two men could be friends 
who openly avowed and publicly advocated conflicting 
views on the burning division question, and therefore John 
Rice Jones necessarily experienced a rupture with Gov. 
Harrisc, who was, as is equally a matter of record, a 
radical anti-divisionist, using all his personal and official 
influence to defeat the friends of the Illinois-Territory 
project, as it was to his selfish interest to do. 

From the date of their first acquaintance, early in 
1 80 1, up to the time that the question of the separation 
from Indiana of the Illinois country and its erection into 
an independent territory assumed importance in the public 
mind and began to be seriously agitated among the peo- 
ple, which was probably early in 1807, John Rice Jones 
and Gov. Harrison were personally and politically inti- 
mate, and they continued to be friends until probably 
about the middle of 1808, when their split upon the rock 
of territorial division became complete, and very naturally 
their relations afterward were not amicable; John Rice 
Jones, as he had the inalienable right to do, opposing, and 
that ably, and not alone but with thousands of his fellow- 
citizens, the policy and plans of the Harrison party, whose 
speedy overthrow in the latter part of 1808 may reasona- 
bly be accepted as a proof of the weakness and injustice 
of their cause. 

John Rice Jones had not only been a personal friend of 
Harrison's, but also an able and valued counsellor of the 
administration, as well as a man of very considerable per- 
sonal influence with the people Consequently, as a recent 
careful writer* observes, "he was no small loss t^> the Har- 
rison party. He was at that time a councillor, with more 
than two years to serve; he had a full knowledge of the 
inside workings of past political movements; he had the 

* Dunn, in his " Indiana ; A Redemption from Slavery. " 



ii6 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



li 



ability to use his knowledge to the best advantage; and 
he was absolutely tireless in his political work." We thus 
see that he was qualified to make a powerful opponent of 
the Harrisonians, and indeed it is a matter of record that 
he and other leaders of the opposition "goaded their ene- 
mies almost to madness," and also gathered the people in 
such numbers to their support as to defeat the Harrison 
party in the memorable election of July 25, 1808, which 
gained for the victors their coveted object of territorial 
division, on February 3, 1809, by congressional enactment. 

From an early day to the time of his removal, in 18 10, 
to Louisiana, afterward Missouri, Territory, John Rice 
Jones enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice at law, 
his eminent professional ability being universally recog- 
nized and in frequent demand. His practice extended 
from Cahokia to Louisville, embracing besides those places 
Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Vincennes, Shawneetown, 
and Clarksville, and also trans-Mississippi points, as St. 
Louis and Ste. Genevieve, especially after the cession of 
that country to the United States, in 1803, by France.* 
No writer in speaking of him has failed to pay the highest 
tribute to his jurisprudential learning and ability, all agree- 
ing with one who has declared him "a scientific and pro- 
found jurist, and through life a sound and enlightened 
expounder of the law;" and his contemporary political 
and personal enemies, like his post-mortem defamer, all 
conceded his preeminent talents and legal attainments. 
He was the first English-speaking lawyer in Indiana, and 
the first to practise his profession in Illinois, locating at 
Kaskaskia in 1790, and frequently attending court there 
and at other extreme western points after his return to 
Vincennes, some ten years later, to reside. 

His knowledge of various national laws was remarkably 
extensive, embracing not only a familiarity with American 

* Reynolds, Dillon, Dunn, d al. 






^_ jij** 



ULISYS 

N lINi n NM mm w »» mi m wii <■ 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



117 



ntage; and 
' We thus 
)pponent of 
record that 
i their ene- 
le people in 
le Harrison 
1808, which 
if territorial 
[ enactment, 
val, in 1 8 10, 
John Rice 
ctice at law, 
sally recog- 
;e extended 
those places 
lawneetown, 
oints, as St. 
e cession of 
by France.* 
the highest 
y, all agree- 
|fic and pro- 
enlightened 
,ry political 
defamer, all 
lattainments. 
ndiana, and 
|, locating at 
court there 
lis return to 

remarkably 
Ih American 



principles and procedure, but also a thorough acquaintance 
with Spanish and French laws, particularly concerning the 
intricate subjects of land-grants and titles in the West; 
while as a consequence of his legal education and practice 
in England and Wales, he had a clear and full understand- 
ing of the principles and rules of law and courts of those 
countries, as references in some of his opinions as a justice 
of the supreme court of Missouri in a measure bear witness.* 
In addition to his legal erudition, he was deeply versed 
in mathematics, "which he preferred to any other science," 
and was also an accomplished linguist, thoroughly grounded 
in Greek and Latin, and perfectly conversant with French 
and Spanish, as well as Welsh — his mother-tongue — and 
English, learned early in life. His knowledge of French 
and Spanish enabled him to transact business with great 
facility with the large portion of the inhabitants of the 
far-western country who understood only those tongues, 
and who did not often find a competent interpreter in their 
dealings with the English-speaking authorities and Ameri- 
cans in general. His intimate and correct knowledge of 
the latter two languages was not only of very great advan- 
tage to him in his law practice and private business affairs, 
but caused his services to be often sought as an expert 
translator of old documents and interpreter in courts for 
non-English speaking people. He was for some time 
official interpreter and translator of the PVench, by regular 
appointment, to the board of commissioners at Kaskaskia, 
appointed under act of congress of March 26, 1804, for 
the adjustment of land titles and claims in that district.-f- 
All historians also agree that he was a brilliant speaker, | 
and in oral debate and controversy, as also with the pen, 

* See "Missouri Reports," 1820-24. 

t "Annals of Congress," 15th cony., 2d sess. , Vols. I and II; also "United 
.States Statutes at Large — Private Laws, 1789 1845." 

i Reynolds, Williams, McOonoiigh, Dunn, e( a/. 



Hi 



w 

il 



ii8 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



"a perfect master of satire and invective." One who knew 
him personally declares that while ''his friendships were 
ardent and sincere, his hatred and anger were excessively 
scathing for the moment," and that "when his feelings of 
ire were excited, his words burnt his victims like drops of 
molten lead on the naked skin." " 

In December, 1808, occurred that melancholy event here- 
tofore alluded to, the assassination of Rice Jones, the 
talented son of John Rice Jones, at Kaskaskia. This 
lamentable tragedy, abput which we shall have more to 
say in a sketch of its victim, was a terrible blow to his 
father, as may be easily understood, and its associations in 
Illinois were of such a sickening nature as to render a 
continued residence there objectionable. At this time, the 
upper Louisiana Territory, rapidly developing under the 
quickening influence of the United States government, 
but a few years previously extended over it, was attracting 
very considerable attention and emigration from the older 
settled sections eastward; and in the summer of 18 10, in 
response to the earnest recommendation and urgent invi- 
tation of personal friends, Mr. Jones removed thither with 
his family, first locating at Ste. Genevieve, thence in a 
short time going to St. Louis, and after a brief residence 
there, removing to and settling at Mine a Breton, subse- 
quently incorporated as Potosi, and which became the seat 
of Washington County on its organization in 18 13. 

Here he at once became largely interested and system- 
atically engaged in the mining and smelting of lead ore. 
first in company with the celebrated Moses Austin and 
subsequently in connection with his sons. With Mr. Aus- 
tin he erected the first cupola or rcverberatory furnace 
ever constructed in the United States,* which was grcatl\ 
superior to the primitive furnace that had been in use in 
the mines since the time they were first opened, about 

* Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois." 



rfMlk 



flt-^ 



■ I mi II Mi i 



I ir: IN Mill* 



JOHN RICE TONES. 



119 



2 who knew 
iships were 
excessively 
i feelings of 
ike drops of 

r event here- 
Jones, the 
askia. This 
ave more to 
blow to his 
isociations in 
to render a 
this time, the 
ig under the 
government, 
/as attracting 
rom the older 
;r of 1 8 10, in 
urgent invi- 
thither with 
thence in a 
lief residence 
keton, subse- 
came the seat 

1813. 

and system - 
g of lead ore, 
s Austin antl 
V\t\\ Mr. Aus- 
atory furnace 

1 was greatl)" 
been in use in 
Dpened, about 



1765, by Francis Breton, as well as throughout all the 
lead-mining districts in the country. He probably brought 
with him from Wales, in a large part of which mining of 
different kinds was then as now an important industry, 
some practical ideas on the subject. 

The learned Henry R. Schoolcraft visited the Potosi 
mines in 18 19, and in an interesting work* published 
shortly afterward, in describing the more important mines 
operated by "persons of intelligence and capital," says: 
"John Rice Jones, Esq., is engaged in penetrating the rock 
in search of ore, with the most flattering prospects, and is 
determined, as he informs me, to sink through the upper 
stratum of limestone and to ascertain the character of the 
succeeding formations. It is highly probable, reasoning 
from geognostic relations, that the lower formations will 
prove metalliferous, yielding both lead and copper, and 
such a discovery would form a new era in the history of 
these mines. The present mode of promiscuous digging 
on the surface would then be abandoned, and people made 
to see and to realize the advantages of the only system 
of mining which can be permanently, uniformly, and suc- 
cessfully pursued, vh.: by penetrating the bowels of the 
earth," The success of the experiments of Mr. Jones and 
Mr. Austin, each then operating independently and being 
the first to so experiment, had the effect of making deep 
mining popular, as predicted by Mr. Schoolcraft, and more- 
over rendered the entire mineral region a profitable field 
for operations for many succeeding years. 

John Rice Jones' intimate and critical knowledge of the 
lead-mines of the district, including their output, state, 
value, characteristics, and the subject of the industry in 
all its aspects and stages, from the crude ore in the mines 
to the commercial article of pig-lead, with the items of 
cost of manufacture, transportation to foreign markets, 

* "A View of the Lead-Mines of Missouri," etc. ; New York, 1819. 




r. 



Mm 



120 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



it 



etc., of the Ir'ter, etc., etc., is shown by a lengthy and 
exhaustive report made by him under date of "Mine a 
Burton, 6th Nov., 1816," to Hon. Frederick Bates, St. Louis, 
recorder of land-titles in Missouri, at the latter's request, 
and which Mr. Bates forwarded bodily to the commissioner 
of the general land-office, Washington, as his own report 
on the subject, which had been called for by the commis- 
sioner; Mr. Bates' report proper being a brief communica- 
tion opening thus: "Sir: — While I was preparing to trans- 
mit to you my own opinions in answer to your inquiries 
of the 3d of July last [18 16], I received a letter from John 
Rice Jones, Esq., who is a man of extensive and accurate 
observation, joint claimant with Mr. Austin in the Mine a 
Burton tract, and conversant, as I am told, with all the 
economy of mineral operations. After so minute and 
comprehensive a statement as he has given, nothing re- 
mains for me except a more special reply to your third 
inquiry." This third inquiry related to the "state of the 
land-titles generally," which Mr. Jones forebore to answer, 
"as it would be indecorous for an individual, even were he 
both competent to the task and possessed of the necessary 
information, to attempt to enter into a particular investi- 
gation of any land-titles," as he states in his letter to 
Mr. Bates.* 

John Rice Jones became largely interested in mineral 
lands and other landed property while residing at Mine a 
Burton. By a legal instrument dated at "Mine a Burton, 
District of Ste. Genevieve, Territory of Louisiana, Nov. 8, 
1 8 10," it appears that he and Moses Austin were then 
joint owners of "the Mine a Breton tract" of land, "three 
miles square" (nine square miles, or five thousand seven 
hundred and sixty acres of rich mineral lands), for an 
interest in which and certain lots in the town of Hercula- 
neum they had been offered $150,000, a large sum of 

* "American State Papers— Public Lands," Vol. Ill, pp. 700-3. 






ULIJJys 

■ IWIIIMll 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



121 



engthy and 
of "Mine a 
;s, St. Louis, 
er's request, 
ommissioner 
own report 
the commis- 
communica- 
ing to trans- 
Dur inquiries 
2r from John 
ind accurate 
1 the Mine a 
with all the 
minute and 
, nothing re- 
o your third 
'state of the 
re to answer, 
even were he 
le necessarj- 
ular investi- 
lis letter to 

d in mineral 

ig at Mine a 

ne a Burton, 

iana, Nov. 8, 

n were then 

land, "three 
)usand seven 
inds), for an 

of Hercula- 
arge sum of 

700-3. 



money in those days, and for the purpose of engaging in 
the extensive mining and smelting business on which they 
at that time were about to consummate the formation of 
a powerful chartered corporation — the legal document 
named constituting an important preliminary step to that 
end. Mr, Jones died leaving a claim before congress for 
a tract of several thousand acres of valuable land in Illi- 
nois, on an appeal from the arbitrary ruling of the Kas- 
kaskia commissioners, which claim was allowed his legal 
representatives so late as 1854. 

John Rice Jones, who soon became distinguished in 
Missouri for his legal acquirements, his intelligence, his 
sound judgment, and his force of character, was, as one of 
the three representatives from Washington County and 
one of the forty-one that composed the body, "a wise and 
<jfficient member" of the convention that framed the first 
constitution of the State of Missouri. The convention met 
in St. Louis on June 12, 1820, and completed its labors 
July 19 following. After its temporary organization, he 
was one of a committee of five appointed "to draft and 
report rules and regulations for the order and government 
of the convention." He was one of four candidates before 
the convention for its permanent president, and, though 
defeated, he received a complimentary vote for the posi- 
tion. "The constitution was a model of perspicuity and 
statesmanship, and withstood all efforts to supplant or 
materially amend it until the celebrated 'Drake conven- 
tion' of 186$"^ and as Gov. McNair declared in his first 
message to the first general assembly under the new form 
of government, was "a statesmanlike instrument that did 
honor to its framers and to the infant State for which it 
had been framed." 

This first general assembly met in St. Louis in Septem- 
ber, 1820, and among its first and most important duties 

* Switzlei's "History of Missouri." 




_Jr».- 



mi a sui i .!! 



SBSSraSiWMpMB 



mmmm 



I 



I 22 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



was the election of two United- States senators. Hon. 
David Barton, a great and good man, was chosen on the 
first ballot, but the filling of the remaining senatorship 
was not so easily nor in the end unanimously accomplished. 
For that honor there were five aspirants, namely: John 
Rice Jones, Col. Thomas H. Benton, Judge John B. C. 
Lucas, and Messrs. Henry Elliot and Nathaniel Cook, 
John Rice Jones received a handsome vote, as also did 
Messrs. Cook and Elliot; but it becoming evident that the 
contest would inevitably narrow down to a struggle be- 
tween Judge Lucas and Col. Benton, who were mortal 
enemies, the latter having a few years previously slain in 
a duel a gifted son of the former, the other three candi- 
dates withdrew, and according to their sentiments joined 
the Lucas or the Benton party. Though Col. Benton was 
finally chosen over his able and noble adversary, by very 
considerable manoeuvring and by a slim majority of one 
vote, the contest for the prize was prolonged, spirited, 
bitter, and in some of its phases intensely dramatic, and 
forms one of the most remarkable and interesting episodes 
of the kind in the political history of the West. "The 
balloting continued through several days without success, 
and the excitement that prevailed has not been excelled 
by any senatorial election which has since occurred in this 
or any other state," says one historian.* 

Of the two votes that elected Col. Benton, one was that 
of a Frenchman, Hon. Marie P. LeDuc, who had repeatedly 
declared that he would suffer the loss of his right arm 
rather than vote for Col. Benton, and who only changed 
his mind after subjection for a prolonged period to inces- 
sant argument, persuasion, and entreaty by a powerful 
combination of personal and political friends; the other 
vote, that gave the bare majority of one, was cast by Hon- 
Daniel Ralls, who, unable from illness to attend the joint 

* Switzler, in his "History of Missouri." 






w.- I 



ULISYS 

■ IMHWIMIMIK 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



123 



rs. Hon. 
en on the 
^natorship 
)mplished. 
ely: John 
ohn B. C. 
liel Cook. 
3 also did 
It that the 
ruggle be- 
ire mortal 
;ly slain in 
iree candi- 
:nts joined 
5enton was 
ry, by very 
rity of one 
d, spirited, 
matic, and 
ig episodes 
elt. "The 
ut success, 
m excelled 
rred in this 

le was that 
repeatedly 
right arm 
y changed 
d to inces- 
powerful 
the other 
st by Hon- 
the joint 



session of the legislature, was finally carried on his death- 
bed, by four large negroes, from his room to the legislative 
hall, both in the same building, and was just able to vote, 
dying a short time after being returned to his chamber.* 

At the same session of the general assembly, John Rice 
Jones was appointed one of the three justices of the 
supreme court of the new State, Mathias McGirk and 
John D. Cook being the other two; and after four years 
of service, alike creditable to himself, the bench, and Mis- 
souri, in this exalted position, he died while in office, 
February i, 1824, at St. Louis, within ten days of the 
completion of his sixty-fifth year, at which age the consti- 
tution excluded persons from the supreme bench, and 
deeply lamented not only by the bench, bar, and general 
public of Missouri, but by a wide circle of personal friends 
throughout the country, among them many prominent 
men of the day. Conspicuous among those whose distin- 
guished friendship he had enjoyed, were Hon. Henry Clay, 
Col. Richard M. Johnson, Hon. Pierre Menard, Hon. David 
Barton, Judge Alex. Buckner, Judges Mathias McGirk and 
John D. Cook — his associates on the supreme bench, Col. 
Henry Dodge, Hon. Edward Bates, Col. Thos. H. Benton, 
Hon.Wm. T. Barry, Judges Jas. Haggins and Jesse Bledsoe, 
Judge James H. Peck, Hon. Henry S. Geyer, Hon. John 
F. Darby, Hon. George F. Strother, Gen. Wm. H. Ashley, 
Hon. John Scott, Judge Nathaniel Pope, Judge Samuel 
McRoberts, Gov. John Reynolds, Hon. Ninian Edwards, 
the distinguished Morrison and Parker families of Kaskas- 
kia and Lexington, respectively, and a great many more, 
whose friendship and esteem would have honored any 
man on earth.-f- 

Having sketched Judge Jones' public career, as well as 

" Darby's "Personal Recollections." 

t Letter from ex-U.-S. Senator George Wallace Jones, who personally 
knew all the gentlemen named, and to whom they often spoke of his father^ 
Judge John Rice Jones, in terms of respect and admiration. 



1 



V-?. 




? 



124 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



!• 



our imperfect data would admit, it now remains to briefly 
consider his character and more personal traits, from the 
stand-point of those who knew him well in life, and who, 
therefore, may be considered competent authorities on the 
subject. Perhaps no fuller and more reliable description 
of him is available than that given by ex-Gov. John Reyn- 
olds of Illinois, in his valuable "Pioneer History." The 
author of that work knew Judge Jones personally and also 
was well acquainted with many men who knew him inti- 
mately — Hon. Robert Reynolds, the governor's father, and 
an old pioneer, among them — and as an unquestionably 
honest, truthful man, a close observer of excellent judg- 
ment, an industrious gleaner of facts, and a conscientious, 
careful historian, his statements are entitled to the fullest 
credit. This work of Gov. Reynolds has been largely 
drawn on by all subsequent western historians for bio- 
graphical and other data preserved nowhere else, and his 
descriptions of many prominent men of early days if not 
all that is knowable about them are, at least, the founda- 
tion of all biographies of them. 

This authority states that Judge Jones "possessed a 
strong and active mind, was rather restless, and excessively 
energetic. * * He always employed his time in some 
honorable business, and never permitted himself to be idle 
or engaged in light or frivolous amusements. Like most 
of his countrymen, he possessed strong passions, and at 
times, although he possessed a strong mind, his passions 
swept over his reason like a tornado. When his feelings 
of ire were excited, his words burnt his victims like drops 
of molten lead on the naked skin. He was mild and 
amiable until some injury or insult, as he supposed, was 
offered him, when he burst asunder all restraints and stood 
out the fearless champion of his rights, bidding defiance 
to all opposition. He possessed a great degree of personal 

The death of Judge Jones was regretted 



courage. 



* * 



i 

am 



ULISYS 

■ IMNWIMHMII 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



125 



; to briefly 
s, from the 
s, and who, 
ities on the 
description 
ohn Reyn- 
ory." The 
ly and also 
w him inti- 
father, and 
uestionably 
illent judg- 
nscientious, 
) the fullest 
een largely 
ns for bio- 
Ise, and his 
days if not 
the founda- 

ossessed a 
excessively 
hie in some 
to be idle 
Like most 
Dns, and at 
is passions 
lis feelings 
like drops 
mild and 
)posed, was 
3 and stood 
ig defiance 
of personal 
regretted 



by a wide circle of friends and the public generally. His 
integrity, honor, and honesty were always above doubt or 
suspicion. He was exemplary in his moral habits, and 
lived a temperate and orderly man in all things. * * He 
was perfectly resigned to his fate, and died with that calm 
composure that always attends the exit of the noblest 
work of God, an honest man. * * The person of Judge 
Jones was small, but erect and active. His complexion 
was dark, and his hair and eyes very black. His eye when 
excited was severe and piercing." 

We thus have a graphic moral and character portrayal 
and a life-like physical portrait of Judge Jones that must 
be gratifying to everyone interested in the dis'tinguished 
subject of this sketch. The just eulogistic utterances of 
Gov. Reynolds could not be enhanced by the most ardent 
of friends and admirers, while to the personal description 
nothing is to be added of particular historical interest 
except, perhaps, that Judge Jones was very dignified in 
his manners, refined in his tastes, scrupulously neat in his 
person, and very particular in his dress, a part of which 
was the old-time knee-breeches, so closely associated in the 
modern mind with the antique cue, in which style he 
alwa}-s wore his hair; and that besides being erect and 
active, as age advanced he developed that style of portli- 
ness that adds so much to the dignity of presence and 
manners. 

John Rice Jones was twice married. His first wife was 
Eliza, daughter of Richard and Mary Powell, a native 
of London, born May 24, 1759, and married in St. Mary's 
Chapel — Church of England, to which both families be- 
longed — in Brecon, Wales, January 8, 1781. Of this union 
there was the following issue: 

Rice, born at Brecon, Brecknockshire, Wales, September 
28, 1 78 1. 

John, born at Brecon, Feb. 10, 1783, and died in infancy. 



mm 



uf^ 



?«»>**■ 



126 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



I 
i, 

I 



Maria, born at Brecon, March 21, 1784. 

Myers Fisher, born at Vincennes, Northwest Territory, 
U.S.A., March 1 1, 1787, and died at an early age. 

The mother of these children was an accomplished and 
refined woman of gentle birth, and died at Vincennes, now 
in Indiana, March 1 1, 1787, deeply mourned by her devoted 
husband and children. A biographical sketch of Rice 
Jones, the eldest child by this marriage, follows in this 
volume. 

Maria, the only daughter, who was at the time of the 
removal of the family to America, in 1784, too delicate, as 
declared by a medical adviser, to bear the fatigue of the 
long ocean voyage, was left with friends in Wales. It was 
the father's intention to return for her when older and 
stronger, but the early location of the family in the remote 
West, and the death there of her mother a short time 
afterward, precluded the execution of this cherished pur- 
pose while she remained a child, and when she was old 
enough to make the journey alone, she had become .so 
beloved and loving a member of the most estimable family 
with whom she made her home as to induce her to con- 
tinue a member of that household, though .she subse- 
quently paid several protracted visits to her relatives in 
America, between whom and herself there ever subsisted 
the tenderest attachment. In 1834, her half-brother Wil- 
liam Powell Jones, U. S. N., viiiied her in Wales, subse- 
quently accompanied her on a tour in France, and thence 
conducted her to the United States. Her deep and fer- 
vent piety and genuine Christian spirit, combined with a 
charming sweetness of disposition, great nobility of char- 
acter, and cultivated intellect, secured her many devoted 
and undying friendships wherever she was known. She 
never married, and died among relatives and friends in 
London at an advanced age. 

The second wife of Judge Jones was Mary, eldest 



. 1 'MW ' 



f. 



ULiSYS 

■ I M H M MMB Ml ■« w.i ■•■ • 




JOHN KICK JONKS. 



12; 



Territory, 

e, 

lishcd and 
^nnes, now 
er devoted 
h of Rice 
»\vs in this 

ime of the 
delicate, as 
igue of the 
les. It was 
older and 
the remote 
short time 
:rished pur- 
fhe was old 
become so 
lable family 
her to con- 
she subse- 
relatives in 
r subsisted 
rother Wil- 
ales, subse- 
and thence 
ep and fer- 
ined with a 
ity of char- 
ny devoted 
nown. She 
friends in 



4 



lary, 



eldest 



daughter of George and Margaret liarger, whom he mar- 
ried at V'incennes, Northwest Territory, February 11, 1791, 
four years after the death of his first wife. She was a 
woman of many virtues and of those sterling qualities of 
character that were developed in all women subjected to 
the refining and strengthening ordeal of the peculiar vicis- 
situdes and conditions of life and society in the earl}- 
West, whither her father with his wife and a large family 
of children emigrated from Pennsylvania and settled in 
the country northwest of the Ohio at a very early day. 
The I^argers were of German ancestry, whose language 
they all spoke as well as the English and French. It is 
likely that the German was the first learned and for years 
the household language of the family, as the children of 
Mary (Barger) Jones relate that she always, even in age, 
said her prayers, learned at her pious mother's knee in 
childhood, in that tongue, though she was thoroughly con- 
versant with both English and French, which she com- 
monly spoke. Her father, George Barger, with other 
members of the family, were among those who had their 
claims under French or English grants confirmed by Gov. 
St. Clair of the Northwest Territory, under tue resolves of 
congress of June and August, 1788,* and later by the 
U.-S. commissioners, appointed for the purpose of adjust- 
ing the old colonial claims; and her brothers Frederick, 
i Peter, and George Barger, together with her husband, 
John Rice Jones, were members of Capt. Pierre Game- 
lin's company of militia at Vincennes, in lygo,-^ and as 
such took part in Col. Hamtramck's campaign against the 
Wabash tribes in the fall of that year;:): and for these, 
if not for other services against the Indians, they each 
received from the general government donations of one 

* "American State Papers — rublic Lands," Vol. 1, pp. 509-10. 
+ Law's "The Colonial History of Vincennes." 
: Dillon's " History of Indiana. " 






i 



128 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



hundred acres of land, conformably to the act of congress 
of March 3, 1791, as "militiamen duly enrolled in the 
militia at Vincennes on August i, 1790, and who had done 
militia duty."* 

It is a fact sufficiently curious and interesting to merit 
mention in this connection that no two of the four sisters 
married men of the same nationality or blood — Mary 
marrying a Welshman, John Rice Jones ; Christina a Span- 
iard, Diego Rodrigues; Elizabeth a Frenchman, Baptiste 
La Chapelle, a descendant of that Bazyl La Chapelle who 
settled in Kaskaskia about 17 10; and Susan, the youngest, 
an Irishman, William Shannon, a merchant and banker 
and highly- esteemed citizen of Ste. Genevieve, and the 
early friend and patron of the late U.-S. Senator Lewis 
V. Bogy of Missouri. 

Mary (Barger) Jones was rather small and slight in form, 
and had regular features and very black hair and eyes. 
She was of a very gentle nature, and highly regarded by 
all who knew her. She was born in Pennsylvania, May 
17, 1767, and died at Potosi, Missouri, at her home with 
her son. Gen. Augustus Jones, on Jan. 6, 1839, having lived 
to a good old age and survived her husband some fifteen 
years. Following is a list of the children of John Rice 
and Mary (Barger) Jones, with dates and places of birth: 

John Rice, born Jan. 8, 1792, at Kaskaskia, N.-W. Ty. 

Eliza, borp Jan. 10, 1794, at Kaskaskia, Northwest Ty. 

Augustus, born Feb. 18, 1796, at Kaskaskia, N.-W. Ty. 

Harriet, born Oct. 16, 1798, at Kaskaskia, Northwest Ty. 

Myers Fisher, born Oct. 19, 1800, at Kaskaskia, Indiana 
Territory. 

George Wallace, born April 12, 1804, at Vincennes, In- 
diana Territory. 

Nancy, born June 17, 1806, at Vincennes, Indiana Ter- 
ritory; died young. 

» "American State Papers— Public Lands," Vols. I and VII, 



a* 



m 



in 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



129 



' congress 
2d in the 
had done 

T to merit 
3ur sisters 
3d — Mary 
la a Span- 
1, Baptiste 
apelle who 
; youngest, 
nd banker 
-, and the 
itor Lewis 

^ht in form, 
and eyes, 
jgarded by 
vania, May 
home with 
laving Uved 
ome fifteen 
John Rice 
3 of birth : 
S\-W. Ty. 
hwest Ty. 
, N.-W. Ty 
rthwest Ty. 
da, Indiana 

icennes, In- 

idiana Ter- 

I. 




WilHam Powell, born May 13, 18 10, at Kaskaskia, Illi- 
nois Territory. 

Of the above children, the following are brief biographi- 
cal notices that may not be without interest in this con- 
nection: 

Gen. John Rice Jones, the eldest son, served under 
Capt. Henry Dodge in the war of 18 12, and removing to 
Texas, then a Mexican state, as early as 183 1, became iden- 
tified with its struggles for independence; which gained, he 
became postmaster-general under the three forms of the 
Republic, provisional, ad interim, and constitutional — 
proof enough of his ability and fidelity — in the cabinets 
of as many of its executives, namely, Gov. Henry Smith 
and Presidents David G. Burnet and Mirabeau B. Lamar, 
respectively, and was a personal friend of and fellow- 
patriot with those men and their compeers, Hon. Stephen 
F. Austin, "the father of Texas," and his dearest of friends; 
Gen. Sam. Houston, Col. VVm. B. Travis, Col. James Bowie, 
Col. David Crockett, Col. Benjamin R. Milam, and the 
many others whose memories are justly dear to the people 

>of Texas, and whose names are as "familiar in their 
mouths as household words." Gen. Jones was one of the 
two executors of the will of the heroic Col. Travis, the 
other being ex-Gov. Henry Smith. 

Locating in 183 1 at San P^lipe de Austin, he was one 
of the first settlers of that place, which, as Austin, is now 
the capital of the great Lone-Star State, and for years 
was one of its prosperous merchants. He died in Fayette 
County, Tex., on his plantation, "Fairland Farm," in that 
eventful year in which the Republic he loved so well and 
Ihad so long and faithfully served ceased to exist on be- 
Icoming a state of the American Union — 1845 ; and having 
married a daughter of Maj. James Hawkins in Missouri, 

:^4n 18 18, he left a large and respectable family of children 



fm 



*%■.. 



130 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



to cherish the memory and contemplate with just pride 
the record of a devoted father and a noble man. 

Gen. Augustus Jones, the second son, was a private 
soldier in the second war with Great Britain, entering the 
service at the age of sixteen, and belonging, with his elder 
brother, to Capt, Dodge's company. For many years he 
was largely interested in mining, milling, and mercantile 
operations, and became a wealthy slave-owner and landed 
proprietor in Missouri, and later in Texas. He was a per- 
sonal friend of Gen. Jackson, and during both terms of the 
latter as president served as United -States marshal of 
Missouri, during which period his valuable services, involv- 
ing the performance of many daring deeds, evoked the 
formal acknowledgments of congress. He was for years 
major-general of the Missouri state militia; by a small 
majority was defeated on the Calhoun, or anti- Benton, 
democratic ticket for congress in his district, in Missouri, 
in 1844; commanded a company of volunteer cavalry in 
the Mexican war, during which he was for a time military- 
governor of Santa Fe, and in his younger days partici- 
pated, as principal or second, in a number of duels. One 
of these was the fatal affair between Lionel Brown of Potosi, 
of whom Gen. Jones was second, and the noted Col. John 
Smith T.* Mr. Brown was a lawyer and a nephew of the 
famous Col. Aaron Burr, the slayer of Hon. Alexander 
Hamilton. The duel took place on the Illinois shore of 
the Mississippi River, at a point opposite Herculaneuni, 
Mo., and resulted in the death of Mr. Brown, who at the 
first fire received a bullet in the centre of his forehead. 

Gen. Jones died in February, 1887, at the age of nearly 

* John Smith T was the odd name of Col. Smith. To distinguish himself 
from the many of the name, and also to indicate that he was from Tennessee, 
he had the "T" affixed to his name as a regular part thereof, by legislatixc 
enactment, in accordance with the laws of Missouri, lie is said to have 
killed thirteen men in duels, and never to have missed his mark. 



i 



ULIbVb 

miMiiuui 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



131 



just pride 



a private 
tering the 
ti his elder 
r years he 
mercantile 
nd landed 
was a per- 
rms of the 
narshal of 
:es, involv- 
ivoked the 
5 for years 
)y a small 
iti- Benton, 
n Missouri, 
cavalry in 
e military- 
ys partici- 
uels. One 

1 of Potosi, 
Col. John 

hew of the 
Alexander 
is shore of 
rculaneuni, 
who at the 
rehead. 

2 of nearly 

nguish himself 
)m Tennesset;, 
by legislative 
said to have 



ninety-one, at Columbus, Texas, whither he removed in 
185 1. He was a freemason of high rank for nearly seventy 
years. He was thrice married, and left numerous descend- 
ants of great respectability. Among the sons was Augus- 
tus Dodge Jones, an able editorial writer and the talented 
author of the ingenious pamphlet "The True Method of 
Electing the President and Vice-President of the United 
States," which attracted considerable attention some years 
ago. He removed to California in 1850, where he resided 
some twenty years, and held various positions of trust, and 
edited aad published a number of newspapers there and 
in Nevada and old Mexico, as also later in Arkansas. For 
some time he was deputy-surveyor of the port of San 
Francisco, and for many years was grand worthy patriarch 
of the order of Good Templars of the State of California. 
He died in St. Louis, Mo., in December, 1885. 

Another son, William Ashley Jones, is well remem- 
bered as an early Iowa and Minnesota journalist and poli- 
tician, and as a principal projector and executive officer 
of the first Minnesota railroad, the Winona and St. Peter 
— an enterprise in which he lost a large fortune. He was 
for years — in the '50's — a deputy U.-S. land-surveyor, as 
such subdividing extensive portions of Minnesota and Wis- 
consin; was one of two U.-S. commissioners appointed in 
^855 by President Pierce to adjudicate the claims of the 
mixed-bloods of the Sioux nation of Indians to the great 
Lake- Pepin reservation, in Minnesota Territory; has held 
a number of honorable elective public offices, and at pres- 
ent is president of the Yankton, Okobojo & Fort Buford 
Railroad Company, a late project which has its head- 
quarters at Pierre, South Dakota. A daughter became the 
wife of Dr. Stephen D. Mullowney, an able physician, a 
lieutenant in the Mexican war, and at the time of his 
death, in 1856, U.-S. consul at Monterey, Mexico. An- 
, other daughter married John V. Dunklin, a nephew of Gov. 
Daniel Dunklin of Mi.ssouri. o 




m.. 



mmm 



mmm 



132 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



Hon. Myers Fisher Jones, the third son, named for 
one of his father's distinguished Philadelphia friends, was a 
man of excellent mind and heart, and in the'20's and '30's 
prominently engaged in iron-smelting, milling, stock-deal- 
ing, and farming — with his slaves — in Washington County, 
Mo., which county he for a period represented in the state 
legislature. As an enterprising business man and citizen, 
he was selected as one of the representatives of his county 
in each of the two great internal-improvement conventions 
that met in St. Louis in April, 1835, and June, 1836, re- 
spectively, and which were composed of delegates, many 
in number and conspicuous in character, from every county 
in the State. They were the first important public meet- 
ings to discuss the railroad question in Missouri, and by 
projecting several lines of railway, "foreshadowed the 
system of roads now existing in the State and inaugurated 
the net-work of intercommunication which at this day 
encompasses the whole State." He was a member of the 
important committee appointed by the last convention "to 
raise means for a complete reconnoissance and survey of 
the routes of the two proposed roads, to secure the ser- 
vices of skilful and competent engineers, and to cause the 
work to be done with as little delay as possible" — duties 
which the committee duly performed. 

Mr. Jones removed to Texas in 1839, where he became 
extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising on an 
eight-thousand-acre tract of land he had purchased, and 
also became locally conspicuous in defending frontier set- 
tlements against the frequent pillaging incursions of Ind- 
ians or Mexicans, or both, he with his company at one 
time being absent from home three months in pursuing 
and punishing a desperate band of raiders, many of whom 
were killed and taken prisoners. He died in Texas in 
1846. Twice married, he left numerous descendants of 
worth and most respectable character. One of his sons, 



^jj^OK 



— ^W " -<-< ^ - Sv ■v'- .-t;- 



.v>» •-*■*•*>*/ 




m 



W I MM II Ml NMH in im MH ■•••••■> ■• 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



133 



lamed for 
nds, was a 
5 and '30's 
tock-deal- 
n County, 
1 the state 
ad citizen, 
his county 
Dnventions 
;, 1836, re- 
ates, many 
ery county 
iblic meet- 
iri, and by 
dovved the 
naugurated 
t this day 
iber of the 
mention "to 
i survey of 
re the ser- 
o cause the 
le"— duties 

he became 
sing on an 
lased, and 
rontier set- 
ons of Ind- 
any at one 
n pursuing 
y of whom 
Texas in 
:endants of 
Df his sons, 



Oscar Peery Jones, served three years in the Mexican 
war, and another, Andrew Thompson Jones, was a young 

j officer in the confederate army and twice made a prisoner- 

* of-war. 

W Gen. George Wallace Jones, the fourth son, named 
for another esteemed friend of his father's, George Wallace, 
'i son-in-law of Hon. John Gibson, secretary of the Indiana 
Territory, was educated at Transylvania University, Lex- 
; ington, Ky., whence he graduated on July 13, 1825. He 
was bred to the bar, but ill-health prevented him from 
practising. He was clerk of the U.-S. district court for 
Ste. Genevieve County in 1826; served as aidc-dc-canip to 
Gen. Henry Dodge in the Black- Hawk war, in several 
engagements in which he took a prominent part, in one 
having his horse shot from under him; was chosen colonel 
of militia in 1832, and subsequently major-general; also 
as judge of the county court, by appointment of Gov. 
George B. Porter of Michigan, at the unanimous petition 
of the bar. 

In 1835, he was elected delegate to congress from the 
territory of Michigan, and served two years as such, and 
two years as delegate from Wisconsin Territory. In 1839,. 
was appointed by President VanBuren as surveyor-general 
of the Northwest; was removed in 1841 for his politics, 
' but reappointed by President Polk, and remained in office 
until 1849. I" 1848, was elected United-States senator 
from Iowa for six years, and reelected on Dec. 20, 1852, 
%,, for six years more, officiating as chairman of the comniit- 
, tee on pensions and enrolled bills and on the committee 
on territories. At the conclusion of his last term, he was 
appointed by President Buchanan as minister to New Gra- 
nada, now United States of Colombia, South America. 
"Recalled by President Lincoln in 1861, he was on his 
• arrival in Washington most kindly received by that great 




1^ 



wmmmm 



m 



^ 



134 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



man, and feted and feasted by the powers that were, in- 
cluding Secretary-of-state Seward, who subsequently issued 
an order for ex-Minister Jones' arrest after the latter had 
departed for his home at Dubuque, Iowa, and had him 
imprisoned, for reasons never made known, in Fort Lafay- 
ette, where he remained, for sixty -four days, until the 
accession of Secretary Stanton, who caused him to be 
immediately released. 

Gen. Jones was the second of the lamented Hon. Jona- 
than Cilley, M. C. from Maine, in his fatal duel, in 1838, 
"on the Marlboro road to Baltimore from Washington 
City," with Representative William J. Graves from Ken- 
tucky. In au irticle on "Senate Eras," in T/ie Dubuque 
Times s'»m . .' ago, Gen. M. M. Trumbull, a graphic 
writer, thus reters to the subject of this sketch: 

"Gen. J-: !!€;> ts today the most historic aHd perhaps the 
most remarkable chir?cte; in the West. He sat in the 
senate with Clay and Webster and Calhoun, with Silas 
Wright, Benton, Crittenden, and Jefferson Davis, with Sum- 
ner, Seward, Chase, and Douglass. In the early part of 
the century, when Gen. Jackson was president, he sat in 
the house of representatives with Henry A. Wise and 
John Quincy Adams. His district included all of Michi- 
gan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. It now has over 
thirty representatives in congress. He left the senate, not 
because of personal defeat, but because his party had gone 
out of power in Iowa. The intimate and trusted friend of 
Andrew Jackson, the partner of Daniel Webster, he re- 
members Jefferson. On terms of personal acquaintance 
with nearly all of our celebrated warriors and statesmen, 
he numbered among his friends and enemies the mighty 
red kings, Black Hawk, Keokuk, and Poweshiek. A 
drummer-boy in the war of 18 12, Gen. Jones is a young 
man yet. He walks erect without a cane, with a light and 
springy step, and claims none of the indulgence and im- 



!! 



l 



EOnSTT 

1 1 lilt U I 



I uu Mm tm» •> 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



135 



were, in- 
itly issued 
latter had 

had him 
Drt Lafay- 

until the 
lim to be 

ion. Jona- 
1, in 1838, 
/ashington 
from Ken- 
c Dubuque 
a graphic 

lerhaps the 
sat in the 
with Silas 
with Sum- 
rly part of 
he sat in 
Wise and 
of Michi- 
has over 
senate, not 
y had gone 
d friend of 
ter, he rc- 
quaintance 
statesmen, 
the mighty 
:shiek. A 
s a young 
a Hght and 
:e and im- 



munities of old age." The distinguished gentleman is still 
in the possession of full mental and physical vigor at his 
home in Dubuque, and bids fair to enj'oy life for many 
years to come. 

Of Gen. George Wallace Jones' sons, George Rice Gra- 
tiot Jones was a captain of artillery in the confederate 
army, and as such taken prisoner at the surrender of Fort 
Henry and sent as the latter to the Union prison on John- 
son's Island, in Lake Erie; another, Charles Scott Dodge 
Jones, also served in the Southern army, as an aide-de- 
camp on the staflf of Maj.-Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, until 
the former's capture in battle as a prisoner-of-war by the 
federals, who confined him in Fort Delaware for many 
months; while the other son, William Augustus Bodley 
Jones, being opposed to secession, early entered and served 
in the Union army. The first two were graduates of the 
Western Military Institute at Nashville, Tenn., in which 
Hon. James G. Blaine was at the time a professor, and the 
third named was partially educated there. Prof. Blaine 
was there introduced to Gen. Jones by Hon. Henry Clay, 
in 1 8 50- 1, as Mr. Blaine some years ago in Washington 
reminded Gen. Jones, 

William Powell Jones, the fifth and youngest son, 
at the date of his untimely death, in July, 1834, from 
cholera, which he took when crossing the Mississippi River 
in a canoe at Dubuque, then in Michigan Territory, and 
died of shortly after reaching the western shore, was a 
[passed-midshipman in the United States navy, and very 
[shortly would have been commissioned a lieutenant, in 
[which capacity he had acted in regular service at sea. 
He had just returned from a prolonged tour on the Conti- 
nent and in England and Wales, for which he had obtained 
[leave of absence for a year, ano \*^as visiting his relatives in 
Ithe West before again reporting for auty at his post. Of a 



136 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



f! 



bright mind, high-toned, and very ambitious, as well as of 
most engaging manners, he was a very promising young 
officer, as existing testimonials of his superiors in rank 
declare, and, if spared, in all probability would have in 
time attained an enviable rank and name in the history of 
the naval service of his country. 

Eliza Jones, the eldest daughter of Judge John Rice 
Jones, was married, in Missouri, to Hon. Andrew Scott, 
who was a native of Virgiuia, where he fitted himself for 
the law. He removed to Missouri at an early day, and 
was elected clerk of the house of representatives of the 
first territorial general assembly, and acted in the same 
capacity for that body at several succeeding sessions. In 
1820, he was appointed, by President Monroe, U.-S. judge 
for Arkansas Territory, and as such officer organized that 
territory at "the Post of Arkansas." He was a man of 
much legal and juridical ability, and of the highest char- 
acter, and throughout a long life a universally-respected 
citizen of Arkansas, 

One of the historical incidents in his life in Arkansas 
was his killing of Gen. Hogan* in a personal rencontre at 
Little Rock, in 1827. Gen. Hogan, who was a large and 
powerful man, while Judge Scott was only of medium 
size, attacked the latter, and knocking him down with 
a tremendous blow of the fist, killed him it was thought 
by the by-standers. Recovering in a moment, however, 
he sprang to his feet, and drawing the blade of his sword- 
cane, then commonly carried, quickly advanced upon Gen, 
Ho.;an and drove the long, slender, keen weapon entirely 
through the latter's body. Gen. Hogan received a mortal 
wound, from which he a minute or two later dropped dead 
at his antagonist's feet, but not before he, Hogan, had 
desperately drawn th^. reeking blade from his body and 

* It is believed by the writer tliat this was his name. 




IIIMtllllSIl 



JOHN RICE JONES. 



137 



well as of 
ng young 
s in rank 
i have in 
history of 



[ohn Rice 
ew Scott, 
imself for 
' day, and 
/es of the 
the same 
sions. In 
L-S. judge 
lized that 
a man of 
;hest char- 
-respected 

Arkansas 

mcontrc at 
arge and 
medium 

own with 
thought 
however, 

lis sword - 
pon Gen. 

n entirely 
a mortal 
ped dead 
gan, had 
3ody and 









-with it made a frantic lunge at Judge Scott, which would 
have instantly killed him by piercing him through the 
neck had not the innumerable folds of si u ■. Italian silk 
cravat, worn by Judge Scott, eflfectually tarned aside the 
deadly weapon from its fatal course. Judge Scott imme- 
diately surrendered himself, and on his trial was acquitted 
by the jury without leaving their box in the court-room. 

Among many descendants of Judge Scott are his chil- 
dren: Hon. John R. Homer Scott of Russellville, Ark., an 
ex-state senator and a captain in the confederate army; 
Mrs. J. Russell Jones, wife of the U.-S. minister to Belgium 
under his warm personal friend, President Grant; and the 
late Mrs. Benjamin Campbell, wife of the ex-U.-S. marshal 
for the northern district of Illinois,* both of which latter 
gentlemen reside in Chicago. 

Harriet Jones, the second daughter of Judge Jones, 
Avas twice married. Her first husband was Thomas Brady, 
who for many years was a prominent merchant and busi- 
ness man of St. Louis, as a member of the old and wealthy 
firm of McKnight & Brady."f* He never held any public 
ofiice; was born in Ireland, March 17, 1781; married to 
Miss Jones in Missouri in 18 14; and died near St. Louis, 
October 11, 1821. This union was blessed with five chil- 
dren, one of whom became the wife of Col. George W. 
Campbell, deceased, late of Chicago; one the wife of Dr. 
Jacob Wyeth, a native of Cambridge, Mass.; and another 
the wife of Mr. Ferdinand Rozier of Ste. Genevieve. 

* Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are the parents of Mrs. Cien. O. E. Habcock, 
widow of one of Gen. Grant's staff-officers. 

t The members of this firm were John McKnight and Thomas Urady, and 
are not to be confused with their respective brothers, Thomas McKnifjht and 
James Brady, who under the style of Brady & McKnight were a later-formed 
firm than the preceding, though latterly contemporaneous with it. Says 
Darby: "The early records of deeds still show the imnie.n.se amount of real 
estate owned by these firms in St. Louis city and county, and other counties 
of the State. In their day and lime they also did the largest mercantile 
business in the City of St. Louis. " 



V 



138 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



!|:) 



Some years after the death of Mr. Brady, his widow- 
became the wife of the celebrated Hon. John Scott of Ste. 
Genevieve, an eminent lawyer and a successful politician, 
who figured prominently in the early history of Missouri 
as territorial councillor, delegate in congress for four 
years, a member of the first State constitutional con- 
vention, and representative in congress from 1822 to 1826. 
He was a native, as was also his brother Judge Andrew 
Scott, of Hanover County, Virginia, and a graduate of 
Princeton College. Says a recent historian:* "John 
Scott, a great lawyer, would have been noticeable any- 
where, with his long white cue of hair hanging grace- 
fully down his shoulders, or else clubbed and tucked up 
with a comb. A man whose conversation would interest 
you even in a fit of the toothache — a suave, courteous,, 
peppery gentleman of the old school, who bowed and com- 
plimented and swore, as might be expected from the son 
of a planter of 'the slashes of Hanover,' who always car- 
ried dirk and pistol on his person, and was always ready 
to give and receive a challenge." He died at Ste. Gene- 
vieve in 1861. His descendants are numerous and highly 
respectable, among them the wife of Hon. Samuel Mont- 
ford Wilson, the eminent lawyer of California, who for a 
time was influentially recommended for the position of 
secretary of the interior in President Cleveland's cabinet. 

The daughters of Judge Jones were high-spirited women 
of marked intellectuality and character, and, like their 
brothers, were "a credit to the stock from which they 
sprung." In concluding this imperfect memoir, we repro- 
duce the following observations, made by a well-known 
writer.f last above quoted, who in speaking of Judge Jones' 

* Scharf, in his " History of St. Louis City and County. " 

+ Franc B. Wilkie— "Poliuto**— the talented and versatile author and 
journalist, in a biographical sketch of Gen. George Wallace Jones, in TAe 
Chicago Times of February 20, l886. 



■iiiiitaUiitt. 



widow 
of Ste. 
litician^ 
Missouri 
3r four 
al con- 
to 1826, 
Andrew 
luate of 
" John 
)le any- 
r grace- 
:ked up 
interest 
mrteouSy 
nd com- 
i the son 
;ays car- 
ers ready 
te. Gene- 
d highly 
il Mont- 
ho for a 
sition of 
:abinet. 

d women 
ike their 
lich they 
ive repro- 
U-known 
[ge Jones' 



r, 



JOHN RICE JONE.^. 



139 



children, says: "It is rare in the history of families that 
so many sons have been born who were so even in their 
developments, and of whom each was characterized by a 
high order of ability both from nature and acquirement. 
Each of them rose far above the average level of men, 
and each played a conspicuous part in the drama of life." 

Note to be read after second paragraph on page 108: 
Since writing the above, the author has learned from a reliable source that 
John Rice Jones owned slaves at Vincennes, Kaskaskia, Ste. Genevieve, and 
Potosi, or during the entire period dating from shortly after his coming to the 
Northwest Territory, in 1786, if not before, to the time of his death, in. 
Missouri, in 1824. All of his children were likewise slave-owners. 



author and 
ones, in The 






7^ 



RICE JONES. 



h % 



A BRIEF MEMOIR OF THE LAST REPRESENTATIVE OF RANDOLPH 
COUNTY IN THE INDIANA TERRITORIAL GENERAL ASSEM- 
BLY, AND THE VICTIM OF AN HISTORICAL 
TRAGEDY OF EARLY ILLINOIS. 



By W. A. Burt Jones of St. Paul, Minnesota. 



* * * "Oft and well 
Remembrance shall his story tell, 
Affection of his virtues speak, 
With beaming eye and burning cheek." 

RICE JONES, the gifted son and eldest child of John 
Rice Jones, by his first marriage, was born at Brecon, 
Brecknockshire, Wales, Sept. 28, 1781. In the autumn of 
1784, he accompanied his parents to Philadelphia, whither 
the husband and father had preceded the wife and son in 
the foregoing spring to first satisfy himself as to the advis- 
ability of locating his family in the United States, and a 
few years later removed with the family to Vincennes. 
At an early age he was matriculated at Transylvania 
University, Lexington, Kentucky, the a/j^a mater of so 
many eminent public men, and in due time graduated 
therefrom in letters and with much distinction. He sub- 
sequently took his degree in the medical department of 
the great University of Pennsylvania; but forming a dis- 
like for the medical profession after a brief practice, he 
abandoned it and entered the celebrated law-school at 
Litchfield, Conn., at that time "the first institution of the 
kind in the United States,"* and which he quitted with 
increased honor after a period of intense application to 

* American reprint of " Chambers' Encyclopadia. " 

140 



RICE JONKS. 



141 



^DOLPH 



)f John 
Brecon, 
umn of 
whither 

son in 
e advis- 

and a 
^cennes. 
ylvania 

of so 
iduated 
rie sub- 
nent of 

a dis- 
tice, he 
lool at 

of the 
ed with 
ition to 



study.* Returning to the West, he opened an office at 
Kaskaskia toward the close of 1806, and began the prac- 
tice of law. 

The career that opened before this extraordinary young 
man, intellectually brilliant, broadly educated, thoroughly 
equipped for his chosen profession and a life of usefulness 
and honor, and filled with the noblest aspirations, was 
iideed most promising, and moreover one that would un- 
doubtedly have been realized in all respects but for his 
unfortunate active engagement in local politics, which then 
and for some four or five years later gave rise, in the west- 
ern counties particularly, to party spirit of an intensely 
rancorous nature, and which raged with an unrestrained 
and almost incredible violence. Bitter partisanship on 
both sides characterized all the prominent politicians, con- 
spicuous among whom was Rice Jones, who, though still 
very young, had risen by force of talents, zeal, ar d energy 
to the leadership of his party.* 

It is not absolutely clear just what all the political 
aififerences between the parties were, but it is sure that the 
Indiana- Illinois territorial division question was a leading 
issue, coupled with the long- prominent slavery question, 
and equally certain that in time a great deal of personal 
jealousy and animosity aggravated, if it did not quite 
supercede, the political feeling. The long-continued ex- 
citement reached its greatest height in and immediately 
succeeding the memorable election of July 25, 1808, in 
Randolph and St. Clair counties, which was recognized as 
a life-and-death struggle between the pro-divisionists and 
their opponents throughout the territory of Indiana, and 
in which, as has been stated in the biographical sketch of 
John Rice Jones, victory perched upon the banner of the 
divisionists or anti-Harrisonians in both counties. In 
Randolph County, Rice Jones was triumphantly elected 

* Reynolds' " Pioneer History of Illinois. " 



T^ 



J 



142 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



it 



representative in the lower house of the general assembly, 
and John Messinger, a member of the State constitutional 
convention of 18 18 and otherwise prominent, was chosen 
to represent St. Clair County in the same body. 

It was a self-evident fact, in view of the then composi- 
tion of the legislature, that the triumph of the Illinois 
party would result in the final overthrow of the Harrison- 
ians, hence the bitter fight and feeling; and this was con- 
summated by the election, at the next session of the 
general assembly, as delegate in congress of Hon. Jesse 
B. Thomas, speaker of the house, afterward president of 
the first State constitutional convention, and a judge of 
the first territorial court of Illinois, who speedily secured 
the separation of Illinois from Indiana Territory and its 
erection into independent autonomy. This fidelity to 
principle, and also to his plighted word and written bond 
— for John Rice Jones, then a councillor, to make assur- 
ance doubly sure, is said to have required both from him 
before agreeing to his election* — brought upon his devoted 
head the execration of the anti-division party throughout 
the Territory, who, while they justly recognized him as 
the final agent in their defeat, very unreasonably and irra- 
tionally charged him, a notoriously avowed and foresworn 
divisionist, with perfidy, and in one community, Vincennes, 
carried their malevolence to such an excess as to hang 
him in effigy. 

At Kaskaskia, the Harrisonians' chagrin and keen dis- 
appointment, both personal and political, at defeat in the 
county election and that of Delegate Thomas, assumed 
the character of deep-seated hate in some whose rage 
could scarcely be contained, and personal conflicts between 
gentlemen on either side were constantly imminent. This 
state of afifairs continued to grow from bad to worse, until 
it culminated in the assassination of Rice Jones, a leading 

* Dunn's "Indiana," and Ford's "History of Illinois." 



mmm 



RICE TONES. 



143 



lembly, 
utional 
chosen 

)mposi- 
Illinois 
arrison- 
as con- 
of the 
n. Jesse 
dent of 
Lidge of 
secured 
and its 
ility to 
;n bond 
e assur- 
om him 
devoted 
ughout 
him as 
nd irra- 
Iresworn 
cennes, 
o hang 

:en dis- 
It in the 
Issumed 
\e rage 
>etween 
This 
ie, until 
[leading 



1 



member of one of the parties, which in a measure satisfied 
the mahgnity of the one side, warned the other as to what 
they might reasonably expect from their unscrupulous 
enemies if the antagonistic conditions between them were 
maintained, and "quitted the party feuds for a time," if 
not practically permanently. 

In order to review all the circumstances immediately 
connected with the killing of Rice Jones, we must turn 
back to an hour in the past period of the heated political 
canvass preceding the election named, in which a challenge 
to mortal combat under the rules of the cocfe duello passed 
between Rice Jones and the Hon. Shadrach Bond, an ex- 
representative in the territorial legislature, afterward a 
delegate in congress from Illinois Territory, and the first 
governor of the State of Illinois. Rice Jones accepted 
the challenge, named pistols as the weapons, and at the 
appointed time the principals, with their attendants, Wm. 
Morrison as Jones' second and Dr. James Dunlap as Bond's 
second, and their surgeons, met on an island in the Missis- 
sippi River between Kaskaskia and vSte. Genevieve. 

In those days, pistols and guns were provided with the 
now obsolete hair-trigger, which, as defined by Webster, 
was "so constructed as to discharge a fire-arm by a very 
slight pressure, as by the touch of a hair," and when the 
parties had taken their respective positions and were pre- 
paring to be in readiness for the word "fire," Rice Jones 
inadvertently touched the sensitive trigger of his weapon, 
which instantly exploded. The fact that the bullet from 
the exploded pistol entered the ground a few feet from 
Rice Jones and not in the direction of Mr. Bond, perfectly 
satisfied the latter that the shot was totally accidental, 
and, high-toned gcntlemai' that he was, he so unhesitat- 
ingly declared it when his second, the infamous Dr. James 
Dunlap, exclaimed that the accidental explosion was Jones' 
fire, and that Bond might and should fire at his adversary 



.---rffiPW!' 



144 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



^'l 



;|l 



in return. The contemptible proposition was scorned by 
Mr. Bond, and the difficulty between the principals was 
settled on the spot on terms equally honorable to both. 

The difficulty between them had been entirely of a 
political nature, or at least not resultant from a deep- 
seated personal enmity, and therefore was susceptible of 
comparatively easy adjustment; but such was not true 
with regard to the ill-feeling which had long existed be- 
tween Rice Jones and Dr. Dunlap, and which became more 
intense as a result of the latter's unmanly position on the 
subject of the unfortunate accident on the duelling ground. 
There ensued between them a bitter controversy, which 
was taken up by their respective friends, and that extended 
to an angry newspaper contention, in which the scathing 
and acrimonious pen of Rice Jones, particularly as em- 
ployed in the composition of a certain satirical poem, 
drove his adversaries to a pitch of fury closely bordering 
on mania, and evoked from them dire threats of personal 
violence upon the object of their rancor. 

The ill-feeling of older standing, above referred to, had 
its origin in the arbitrary official conduct of Michael Jones* 
and Elijah Backus, land-commissioners at Kaskaskia, to 
which they were appointed in 1804; conduct which was 
deliberately pursued with the purpose to militate, as it did 
greatly, against the interests of not only Rice Jones and 
his father, but many of the people of the district, large 
numbers of whom, as their personal and political enemies 
the commissioners, especially Jones, taking advantage of 
their official position to wreck vengeance upon the objects 
of their dislike, years subsequently "branded vjxih perjury 
and forgery to an alarming extent — many of the best citi- 
zens in the county being stigmatized with those crimes, 
without cause, and when they had neither means nor man- 
ner of defending themselves "f against the infamous and 

* Xo relation of Rice Jones. 

+ Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," pp. 297-8. 



RICE JONES. 



145 



ed by 

IS was 
.th. 

r of a 
deep- 
ible of 
»t true 
ed be- 
e more 
on the 
rround. 
, which 
:tended 
cathing 
as em- 
poem, 
)rdering 
Dcrsonal 



unfounded charges. Such men as Michael Jones* and 
EHjah Backus were the friends of Dr. Dunlap and other 
mortal enemies of Rice Jones. 

The arbitrary conduct first referred to was justly strongly* 
resented by many, among them John Rice Jones and his 
son Rice, who were not the men to tamely submit to the 
gross impositions of the commissioners or any one else, 
and who in consequence were thereafter made the special 
victims of the official despotism of the commissioners in 
question, so far as it was possible for them to exercise it ; 
and the later political popularity and triumph, in July, 
1808, of Rice Jones tended still more to make him the 
particular object of the dislike of his political and per- 
sonal enemies, prominently among whom were the above- 
named Michael Jones and Elijah Backus, who, as is a 
matter of record, deliberately "urged Dr. Dunlap and 
others to persecute Rice Jones in every way imaginable."i- 
A part of this persecution was a newspaper attack by 
them upon him, who, as has been stated, got the better 
of them in his replies and retorts. Their threats then 
made against his life became, in November, 1808, so 
open and loud, and rumors of the existence of a plot 
to kill him so definite, as to no longer be endured with 
the silence with which they had up to that time been 
treated. John Rice Jones, who had just removed with his 
family from Vincennes to Kaskaskia, accordingly addressed 
the following note to Elijah Backus: 

"Kaskaskia, 25th Nov., 180S. 
"Sir: — I have just heard of your threats of yesterday, 
that if my son did not go out of the country he should in 

* It should be noted that Michael Jones was the Harrisonian candidate for 
delegate to congress, in October, 1808, and that his defeat only tended to 
more greatly incense him against his political opponents and those who were 
so unfortunate as to fall under t4ie ban of his vicious displeasure. 

+ McDonough's "History of Randolph County," p. 105. 



146 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



a few days be put out of existence — *// will be done, it 
shall be done' I now inform you that he will remain here, 
and if he should be murdered, either by you or through 
•your instigation, I shall know where to apply. I must, 
however, confess that the threats of poltroons can be con- 
sidered in no other light than as those of assassins. 

"Yours, John Rice Jones." 

It is not known what immediate effect this communica- 
tion had upon the conspirators, but it did not prevent them 
from carrying into execution to the letter their diabolical 
plot, for on December 7, following, Rice Jones was shot 
down in cold blood in a public thoroughfare of Kaskaskia, 
by James Dunlap, the cat's-paw of his co-conspirators, 
none of whom had the nerve to assume the responsibility 
of the enactment of the bloody deed they, were capable 
of conceiving in the wickedness of their hearts. 

The following particulars of the deplorable event are 
taken from a detailed account of the murder and circum- 
stances attending it, contained in a book found some years 
ago in the old mansion of Judge John Morrison, in Water- 
loo, Monroe County, Illinois, when that structure was being 
demolished to make room for other improvements. Ex- 
tracts from "Judge Morrison's old musty record of the 
killing" were published in The Belleville News-Democrat 
of February 18, 1887, and are here reproduced. This 
singularly-preserved, detailed, and authentic account, evi- 
dently made not a great while after the assassination, and 
in the place of its occurrence, from oral accounts of eye- 
witnesses of the tragedy, and by a man minutely informed 
on the subject, possecses a great historic value and sheds 
new light upon the sad occurrence. It testifies that: 

"Rice Jones was shot down by Dunlap about six yards 
above the old elm tree. Dunlap came out of E. Backus' 
house about ten minutes beforv, he shot Jones. He (Dunlap) 



!. 



"ULISIS 

■ I IN* II Ml I 



RICE JONES. 



147 



was there in company with Backus. John Menard was 
at Dunlap's when he came galloping home from killing 
Jones, and told his wife, m the presence of John Menard, 
that he had 'killed the rascal Jones.' John Clino, living 
with James Gilbreath, and Robert Morrison saw Dunlap 
shoot Jones. McCall was talking at the picket fence of 
James Gilbreath's yard, McCall on the inside and Dunlap 
on the outside of the pickets, when Rice Jones passed out 
of Robert Morrison's yard, going down to J. Edgar's, when, 
after he had passed Dunlap and McCall down the further 
side of the street, Dunlap jumped off his horse and hitched 
his bridle on the pickets where he and McCall were talk- 
ing, and started after Jones, who was walking down the 
street, when he crossed the street up behind him, a dis- 
tance of one yard, and Dunlap told him to stop. Jones 
immediately turned around, and Dunlap said: 'I am going 
to revenge myself,' and instantly fired his pistol, about 
three feet from the body of Jones. The ball entered his 
body on the right side, just below the collar-bone, and 
came out behind, about five inches below the top of his 
shoulder, close by the backbone. William Morrison and 
McCall ran to Jones, and several persons asked him what 
was the matter, and he replied: 'That rascal, Dunlap, has 
shot me.' And Morrison asked him for what reason, and 
Jones answered: 'I don't know;' and said: 'I am gone,' 
and expired in about five minutes. 

"The moment Dunlap shot Jones, he ran back to his 
horse where McCall had stood, jumped on him, and gal- 
loped off as fast as possible to his house, where he told his 
wife, in presence of John Menard, that he had 'shot that 
rascal Jones,' and immediately loaded his pistols and started 
off down the road toward the Point, in company with R. 
Porter, and has never been seen since." 

Here the account goes on to say: 

"It is well known that Backus, Robinson, Gilbreath, 
10 




148 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



Finney, Michael Jones, and Langlois were in Cahises 
holding counsel to kill this man Rice Jones. The day 
Dunlap sent a challenge to William Morrison, Backus, 
Robinson, and Gilbreath were at Dunlap's, with T. Smith 
holding the door fast, while Capt. Bilderback stood at the 
door a long time and could not get in, although his daugh- 
ter was at the point of death. At last Dunlap opened the 
door, and said 'the men were in council for that purpose^ 
intimating the killing of young Jones, and Gilbreath an- 
swered Bilderback and said his daughter would not die 
for one hour. J. Edgar saw these men go down to Dun- 
lap's that day and remain nearly two hours, and from the 
movements of these men back and forward from Dunlap's 
house for some time before that day and on the very day 
Jones was shot, [there was no doubt] that these men were 
accessories to the death of Rice Jones." 

If there were lacking anything to thoroughly convince 
the world that the persons who compassed the death of 
Rice Jones were actuated by the most virulent passions, 
the measure of proof would be filled to overflowing by 
the following blasphemous and altogether unparalleled 
utterances, quoted from the Morrison record, of one of 
them, whose spirit may be presumed to have characterized 
all of the conspirators: "James Finney* said in Folk's 
'that if he met Jesus Christ in the street he would give 
his hand in preference to Dunlap, and if Dunlap went to 
hell he would go to hell also in preference to going to 
heaven ; and if Dunlap was to go to heaven, he would get 
a higher seat in heaven than Jesus Christ, and be set at , 
the right hand of God for killing Rice Jones.' " § 

The friends of Dr. Dunlap farcically pretended to claim | 

* This James Finney is presumed to be the one of that name who from | 

^795 to 1803 was one of the twelve men who constituted the Randolph ? 

County court of common pleas, other prominent members of which were ; 

Justices John Edgar, Pierre Menard, and Robert Reynolds. ;> 



ULISYS 
■IMHMiaHMiNimwMiiM 



RICE JONES. 



149 



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that he did the killing in self-defence, but eye-witnesses 
declared it, as do all historians, a deliberate and cold- 
blooded murder, by the law of both God and man — a fact 
of which Dunlap was perfectly well aware and knew would 
be easily proven, as is evidenced by his immediate aban- 
donment of wife and children and flight to far-off Texas, 
as was subsequently learned, whence he never returned to 
answer for his crime in the temporal courts of Illinois. 
It was no doubt a part of the prearranged plan for Dunlap 
to flee the country, that he could not be brought to trial, 
in which his evidence would have hopelessly implicated 
his companions in crime as immediate accessories to the 
assassination. The case was brought to the attention of 
the grand jury, which, after bringing in an indictment 
against Dunlap for murder, also indicted Michael Jones, 
because "he did, on the 6th day of December, 1808, incite, 
move, aid, and abet, feloneously and with malice afore- 
thought, the said James Dunlap to commit the crime of 
murder." 

When the case of The United States versus Michael 
Jones was reached on the calendar of the territorial circuit 
court, in September, 1809, Judges Alexander Stuart, Oba- 
diah Jones, and Jesse B. Thomas presiding, the prosecut- 
ing-attorney, B. H. Doyle, presenting an affidavit of Archi- 
bald McKnabb, "an important witness," to the effect that 
he was too sick to attend court, asked for a continuance 
of the trial, which being granted, Michael Jones was ad- 
mitted to bail in the sum of $3000, his sureties being John 
McFerron, Shadrach Bond, jr., Thomas Leavens, Henry 
Leavens, Henry Connor, and Samuel Cochran. The post- 
poned case came up for trial on April 10, 18 10, before a 
jury consisting of Wm. Rector, Paul Harralson, Thomas 
Wideman, Wm. McBride, John Anderson, George Frank- 
lin, David Anderson, John McFerron, Henry Connor, Geo. 
Creath, Jacob Funk, and James Fulton, who brought in a 



if 



ISO 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



verdict of acquittal. As "there were probable grounds for 
preferring the indictment," the court "exonerated the prose- 
cutor — John Rice Jones } — from paying the costs!"* 

The fact that among the jurors were two of the accused 
man's bondsmen and sympathetic personal friends, and 
other peculiar circumstances of the conduct of the case 
and trial, may not have any significance ; but it is fair to 
infer that men who would be so far influenced by "hate 
that sins" and rank envy as to coolly plot the deliberate 
murder of a fellowman, would not scruple to avail them- 
selves of any foul means that could be employed toward 
the acquittal of one on trial for complicity in a crime to 
the committing of which they all contributed and in the 
perpetration of which they gloried — the death of one whose 
brilliancy, virtues, personal popularity with the people, 
and promise of great political and professional success, 
filled his enemies with a jealousy which, with the disap- 
pointment of political defeat and the pruriency of personal 
enmity, simply made the matter of his removal impera- 
tively necessary to their peace of mind. These are the 
conclusions that force themselves upon the mind when the 
facts and circumstances preceding and attending the mur- 
der are studied in their true relations. 

While it is a matter of historical record that "the whole 
community mourned the death of this fine young man, 
cut off in his prime by an assassin," it is equally certain 
that the finding of the jury was not in accord with the 
popular verdict ; for familiar as they must have been, from 
the notoriously open threats and malevolent actions of 
the enemies of the murdered man, with the circumstances 
leading up to the killing, the people knew, however a jury 
might decide, that James Dunlap was guilty of murder in 
the first degreo, and that Michael Jones, Elijah Backus, 
James Gilbreath, James Finney, and their worthy confrhes 

* McDonough's " History of Randolph County, 111. " 



I. 




ULISYS 

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RICE JONES. 



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were immediate accessories to the atrocious crime; and as 
such they will go down in history — gloriously to them, in 
their own estimation, be it said, if they died entertaining 
the shocking sentiments heretofore quoted as expressed 
by the blasphemous Finney, one of the immortal band. 

Of the abilities and qualities of Rice Jones, it is here 
and now unnecessary to speak at length, as all writers 
concede his extraordinary capacity, his brilliant talents, 
and his varied mental attainments; while his noble per- 
sonal characteristics were such as to greatly endear him 
to the mass of the people, whose hearts were not of that 
unhappy kind that beat in the breasts of his implacable 
enemies. However preeminent a man may be intellectu- 
ally, if detestable traits and odious conduct distinguish 
him, "the entire community" in which he dwells never 
grieves for him, as did the people of Kaskaskia and the 
county of Randolph for Rice Jones. While they abhorred 
his slayers and their bloody deed, they mourned his death 
and his tragic fate, because 

" His life was noble, and the elements 
So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up 
And say to all the world, This was a man." 

Ex-Gov. Reynolds of Illinois, who knew him personally 
and was intimate with many public men and others who 
knew him well, writing so late as<, 1852, declares that 
"judging from the character he acquired at school and 
from what was known of him at Kaskaskia, it is not 
improbable that his superior was not in the country before 
or after his death. '"* * He possessed a strong intellect 
and was also endowed with an excessive ambition, together 
with an ardent and impetuous disposition that showed the 
Welsh temperament more than his father," and that, alto- 
gether, "he was a young man of exceedingly great prom- 
ise." Another historian, in concluding a notice of him. 



516621 



I 



152 



EARLY ILLINOIS. 



declares that in his untimely death "the bar of Illinois 
was deprived of one of its most promising members and 
politics of a bright particular star;" and all writers who 
have occasion to speak of him, without exception, express 
similar glowing opinions of him. 

One of his classmates at the Transylvania University, 
who afterward became nationally eminent as a U.-S. sena- 
tor from Kentucky and as vice-president of the United 
States, the learned and brilliant Col. Richard Mentor John- 
son, often spoke of him to Gen. Geo. Wallace Jones, who sat 
with Johnson in the national senate and was a half-brother 
of Rice Jones, and declared him, the latter, one of the most 
gifted men he had ever known. Such having been the 
case, who can help but think that had he not fallen a 
victim to the deadly hatred of assassins he would have 
become one of the most distinguished sons of his adopted 
State, and left a name that she would have proudly cher- 
ished forever among those of the illustrious men who have 
made her history so glorious. Yet she will not forget him 
whose able and zealous advocacy of her claims to recogni- 
tion as a territory was largely instrumental in defeating 
the machinations of her enemies and speedily placing her 
on the way to early admission and that proud place among 
the sisterhood of states which she soon achieved, has ever 
maintained, and will continue to grace.* 

* The address of welcome of the citizens of Randolph County to Gov. 
Ninian Edwards on his arrival in Kaskaskia in June, 1809, opens thus: "Pre- 
suming that you may be in some degree unacquainted with the feelings and 
sentiments of the citizens at this important crisis, we can not forbear to 
express our hopes that you will take into consideration that the majority, 
whose incessant exertions eflfectuated a division of the territory, have a claim 
on your excellency for the calumnies, indignities, and other enormities which 
those who opposed that measure never ceased to heap upon the friends and 
advocates of the present system of our government. In announcing these 
truths, while we deplore that the gentleman (Jesse B. Thomas] who was 
elected to congress and ultimately succeeded in obtaining justice for us, was 
hung in effigy at Vincennes, by the opposers of the division, and that one 



RICE JONES. 



153 



Still he died neither unwept nor unsung, and chroniclers 
of early Illinois history will continue to pay that just 
tribute to his talents, his character, and his patriotic ser- 
vices first contained in the writings of that impartial histo- 
rian and nobleman, the late ex-Gov. John Reynolds. Well 
may each one who has honorably figured in the history 
of his country, his state, or his community, 

"Wish no other herald, 
No other speaker of his living actions, 
To keep his honor from corruption, 
Than such an honest chronicler." 

To this day, the spot near "the old elm tree," where 
Rice Jones fell mortally wounded and a moment afterward 
expired, on that memorable December day, full four score 
years ago, is pointed out to visitors by the people of Kas- 
kaskia, where 

" The soft memory of his virtues yet 
Lingers, like twilight hues when the bright sun is set." 

of the warmest friends and ablest advocates of the measure [Rice Jones] was 
assassinated at Kaskaskia, in consequence of their machinations, we derive 
great consolation from a firm belief that your excellency will gratify the virtu- 
ous majority, to whose patriotic exertions the citizens are indebted for the 
government of their choice, and your excellency your high station, with that 
honorable indemnity which is in your gift, and which would be considered by 
them as a remuneration for all those indignities, and a pledge of their future 
support to your administration." — Edwards' " History of Illinois," pp. 29-30. 



FERGUS' HISTORICAL SERIES, No. 32. 

fERQUS PRINTINa COMPANY, OHIOAQO.