Monday, April 6, 2015


The previous post on this subject made a tentative case for this post's title's claim. I now have conclusive proof that, taken with other evidence, supports the assertion that Elizabeth Treharn, and not Elizabeth Thomas, was John Jones’ wife and the mother of his children.

I found in the LDS temple ordinance data for Elizabeth Treharn that she had temple work performed on her behalf in the Logan Utah LDS temple in 1887. Checking the microfilmed temple records, I learned that a proxy baptism was performed on her behalf by her daughter, Mary Jones Evans.

Mary Jones joined the Mormon Church in Wales and immigrated to the United States in 1850. She met onboard the ship a Mormon Elder, Abel Evans, a Welsh convert who had joined the Church in 1844. They married and traveled by river boat from the port of New Orleans to St. Louis, then on to the Mormon staging post at Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri from today’s Omaha, Nebraska, where their first child was born, died, and was buried.

After arriving in Utah in 1852, they settled in Lehi, 30 miles from Salt Lake City. Mary bore eight children, six of whom lived to adulthood. In 1866, Abel died while serving the Church as a missionary in his native land. She was left in charge of the farm with her children and with the companionship of her two sister wife’s and their children. In 1878 she married Isaac Chilton, twice a widower.

Mary’s voice is not usually found in the records of her life and family. I have not seen any written record that she may have produced with her own hand. Her native language was Welsh and she probably spent most of her life in the company of Welsh speakers. Her husbands, both Abel and Isaac, spoke Welch, as did Abel’s two other wives. She may have been illiterate, as were her father and mother.

Yet her voice is heard clearly as taken down by the temple recorder when she went to the temple to do the work for her deceased relatives and friends. On November 8, 1887, she then spoke the names of eleven deceased women, each from Carmarthenshire, Wales, as she performed the sacred act of baptism for them. They were her mother, grandmother, a sister-in-law, two sisters, two aunts, a niece, and three friends. She knew her mother’s birth year and the death date of one other women. She knew her mother’s name, Elizabeth Treharn, likely pronouncing it with a Welsh accent, dropping the “h” and so recorded as Trearn. She gave her own name as Mary Jones Evans, although by then was married to Isaac Chilton.

The first temple completed in Utah was in far away St. George, 300 miles from Lehi, virtually inaccessible to a 59-year old woman at that time. The Logan Temple was dedicated in 1884 and was by 1887 the temple nearest to Mary Evans' home in Lehi, Utah (110 miles). A rail line was completed to Logan by 1879. She travelled with her husband’s married daughter, 29-year old Martha Chilton, who also performed work for her ancestors in the Logan Temple. The two likely made the trip on the Utah Central to Ogden and from there on to Logan in one day. They may have performed temple work the day they arrived, or perhaps stayed overnight and went the temple the next day. They returned to the temple on November 9, when Mary was proxy for her mother’s temple endowment.

Based on this and other evidence, I have now removed Elizabeth Thomas as the wife of this John Jones and the parents of each of the children.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


"Elizabeth Treharn [is] a better fit for wife of John Jones than Elizabeth Thomas." This claim was made by our cousin Marilyn Evans Taylor, in a discussion on the John Jones Family Tree details page (M828-ZRC). There she gives her reasons:

The name Elizabeth "Thomas" comes from a 1815 Llangynog marriage record between John Jones and Elizabeth Thomas that now doesn't work very well. The 1815 Llangynog Elizabeth Thomas/John Jones marriage is illogical because: Our John Jones and Elizabeth are both too old to be married with "consent of parents" which is, by law, under 21 (they would have been in their 30s.); John Jones could sign his name on the marriage record, although, he is illiterate on at least four other signed records; and John and Elizabeth already had at least two children (David, b. 1811 and Margaret, b. 1813.) The 1815 marriage better fits the birth years, literacy and circumstances of the other John/Elizabeth Jones family listed on Llangynog's 1841 and 1851 censuses.

I accept Marilyn's arguments. Finding several women named "Elizabeth" married to men named John Jones in Carmarthenshire between 1808 and 1815, we are left with the task of determining who is the correct one. But while most of the marriage records include no occupation for the groom (including the record with Elizabeth Thomas). the marriage record for Elizabeth Treharn and John Jones, dated 10 November 1808, gives John's occupation as a mason. He is also listed as a mason in the christening records for most of their children.
John Jones & Elizabeth Treharn Marriage record, 1808
While this may not be conclusive, taken in conjunction with the other evidence, it seems pretty convincing. That's why I've added Elizabeth Trehern to the Family Tree as John Jones' wife, and the mother of their children. I will leave Elizabeth Thomas as an extra wife and mother for a few months. Unless I uncover evidence that Elizabeth Trehern is not the wife or that proves that Elizabeth Thomas is the wife, I intend to delete the relationship. 

My Ancestry tree (HistoryMax Family Tree) has Elizabeth Trehern as John's wife; Elizabeth Thomas is not listed as an alternative choice.