by Stanley Conkey
From Bring On The Pioneers - Scott Heidepriem © 1978
Richard Jones was born in Wales on July 30, 1845. He was raised a very strict Methodist and went to church three times on Sunday and twice through the week. They were also very strict in school. He was well educated. He worked in a tannery, later having his own.
He married Catherine Evans in 1867. They had six children before leaving Wales.
On the 26th of April, 1883, the family, with brother Evan M. Jones, sailed for America.
One son didn't want to come. While he was saying good-bye the ship pulled out, forcing him to come along. They landed on May 12, coming directly to siding 2, now Wessington, South Dakota. They stayed with relative Evan Newell's family, who had come in 1882, living on section 3, 113-66. They walked to the St. Lawrence land office. Evan got a farm south of the Newell place. Richard walked across section 8. He liked the grass to his waist, and so he got the west half of 8. He and the boys started building two houses and buildings for stock. They stayed with the Newell family the first winter.
Richard taught the children until they built a school the following year. He walked to town with a little sled after groceries. The road was across the prairie. They had church in their homes in the community until they built the Beulah Church. The organizer, named Guy P. Squires, built the church, later building both Sunbeam and Wheaton churches. Later he preached in the little stone church in Sioux Falls, spending time with the prisoners.
The Beulah Church was built in 1886 on the NW 1/4 of 17-113-66. They built a manse for the preacher the same time. Dave Conkey and Richard Jones were the main local organizers. Conkey was quite a carpenter, and Jones taught Sunday school and preached when the minister was absent.
Richard Jones served on the township board and the school board for many years. In 1900 he purchased a large house in St. Lawrence and moved it out to the farm. They put it about 40 rods south of the claim shanty. They lad it on wagons, with 16 horses on the front and 16 behind pushing.
In 1902 Catherine got sick and died two days later. Afterwards the officials decided it was an appendicitis. Some winters Richard and his boys would work in Sioux Falls, but always some stayed home and worked the place. They milked cows, churned butter, and shipped the finished products. They lost many of their cows in the 1888 blizzard.
The family of Richard Jones gradually went their own ways. Dave Jones, the oldest, married Lillian Elliot: They built upon a farm two miles east. To this union were born three children, Harold, Albert and Ronald.
Allen Jones married Emma Carl and settled two miles south of St. Lawrence. They were blessed with ten children, Raymond, Lloyd, Myrtle, Stella, Eben, Chester, Joe, Wilbur, Genevieve, and Esther.
Milton married Paulina Pietz who crawled out the upstairs window and got away before her father caught her. They had ten children, Floyd, Percy, Clarence, Ralph, Florence, Lee, Beulah, Victor, Wayne and Maxine.
John Jones married Mable King. Their family included Levi, Kenneth, Katie, Ted, Richard, Leonard, Edna, Mable, Dan, Vernon and Shirley.
Jane Jones married Robert Conkey. They settled on section 23, 113-67. They had no children.
Eldon married Blanch Wade. They settled on the home place. They had Leslie, Maurice, Clement and Melvina.
Richard had a sale in 1908, and later made his home with his two daughters. Edith married Gordon Conkey and lived across the road from the Jones place. Richard taught young Stanley Conkey spelling and arithmetic after going to bed.
Richard never drove a car. He would drive the horse or a buggy to town to get groceries or to check cattle. He liked to work in the garden, and was always even-tempered. He was a Democrat, and died in 1931 at the age of 88.
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RICHARD & EVAN M. JONES
Richard Jones, left - Stanley Conkey's grandfather. Evan M. Jones, right - Jennie Jones' father. Evan lived on Section 10, 113-66 until 1910 when he moved to Huron, South Dakota.
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Hand County, South Dakota Genealogy & Family Research
~ Bios ~
Richard Jones & Catherine Evans Jones
Webmaster's note: See BEULAH CEMETERY now for many of this family's tombstones! Others at Miller GAR (not online)..and elsewhere.