Site Navigation

Welsh Immigrants to the Jennings County Area and Their Families
(surnames Jones, Tobias and Boyd)

In April of 1817 John D. Jones and family of Caerllan, in the parish of Liantysliogogo, Wales left their native land in a small sail boat for America. After a voyage of twelve weeks, they landed at New York. Maria a daughter spent three months with a family by the name of Conthett, in Baltimore. There she learned to read and write English.

   About 1820 the Jones Family came to Indiana and located in Jennings County, where Maria was married to Evan Jones, also a Welshman.

   In a few years Evan Jones died and Maria was married to John T. Tobias, whose family also from Wales, had come to Indiana from Ohio. They located their new home in the northeastern part of Scott Connty on the Muskatatuck River. Eleven children were born to them, eight of whom lived to maturity, viz John J., Minerva, Susan, Elinor, Emily, Alice, Margaret and Florella.

   Emily was born December 24th 1842. Her earliest recollections were of playing with her sisters in their humble home; of witnessing the marriage of her half sister Rachel Ann Jones to Robinson Lowrey and of going to the old log church at Mt. Giliad. She carefully carried her shoes and stockings until near the church and put them on before going into the services.

   School memories began with a subscription school taught by Margaret Toole in the summer of 1847 at Old Jefferson. Elizabeth Dixon also taught a subscription school in this log building, with its high windows of one pane each in horizontal rows across the sides of the building. Under these windows were high desks made of slabs. The desk for the boys was on one side of the room and the one for the girls on the other. Segregation was deemed best. About ten or twelve children could write at the same time at these high desks. The seats were of slabs also.

The curriculum was limited to reading, writing and spelling, later arithmatic and grammer (Kirknam's) were added. James Bovard, Wilson M. Reid, Allen Whitsett and Evan Tobias were some of Emily's earliest teachers. Often the students were permitted to study the spelling lessons aloud, and frequently the reading lesson was read "in concert" or "in chase"  pupils often studied together off the same book and sometimes an older pupil coached the younger children before recitation time.

   Water was carried in a wooden bucket from a spring about 1/4 mile south of the building. Usually two of the larger boys or girls carried the water. It was a real treat to pass the water sometime during the day. This priviledge often fell to one of the children who carried the bucket and tin cup up one aisle and down the other. Those were the days when good penmanship was a test of the teacher's scholarship. It was mark of a poor scholar not to be able to write a "good hand." 

   Emily was not a very strong child and was often kept out of school. She enjoyed life in the hewed log house whose logs were sawed by her father and his brother Elias Tobias, from trees. The house consisted of one large room and loft, with frame partitions for bedrooms. Several beds were placed in the loft, where fat feather beds and wool coverlets kept out the cold but not the snow.

   The floors were of Poplar. As there were no carpets, it was a weekly task to scour the floor with white sand and lye soap. The home made hickory split bottom chairs also received a weekly cleaning with the above mentioned sand and soap, to say nothing of the crock covers, the churn and the various wooden ladles and mush paddles and brass kettles. The lye soap was made each spring by the mothers and daughters from lye and grease when the sign was right. In those days women folks were not considered thrifty unless they constructed an ash hopper and saved the ashes for lye. 

   Another test for housewifery was to be able to spin twelve cuts a day and to weave flanel, jeans and carpets. Mrs. Tobias was proficient in these things and taught her daughters how to weave and color, as well as how to cook over the big fireplace. A second hand stove was purchased by Mr. Tobias about 1850. 

   The Tobias family used candles, made as often as needed by the mother and daughters. The greatest supply was made in the winter when the molds were placed in the snow to harden the candles. A kerosene lamp was presented the family by one of the sons-in-law but it was long  before it lighted without feelings of awe and fear. Lard oil was used in the first lamps, and lamp lighters made from twisted paper. The lamp lighters were usually kept in a glass on the mantle where they could be easily lighted at the big fireplace.

   Mr. Tobias was a farmer, his father having entered fine farms for his sons on the Muscatatuck. He cleared the heavily timbered land and burned many fine poplar and walnut trees at log rollings. Corn was the pricipal grain raised. It was planted and cultivated with horses the children assisting. Emily remembers the first wooden plows used.

   Mr. & Mrs. Tobias were strict Baptists and were members of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church in Jennings County. They often crossed the Muscatatuck in their own boat and then walked to church several miles away. Sometimes they rode horseback and took several of the children along. Rev. Thomas Hill and Rev. William Lewis were early Baptist ministers.

   The younger members of the family also attended services at the Mt. Giliad Methodist Church. Rev. William Maupin, Eldridge Tucker and Rev. LaSourd were on the curcuit at one time. Rev. William Daily, Tevis, Spencer and Hester were well known ministers and exhorters of the early church.

   In the early sixties Baton Smith, of the Campbellite Church of Jefferson County held services at the old Franklin log school house, it was a great revival with many converts who were baptized int the creek near the old Doughty mill after the thick ice was broken.

   Socially the young people enjoyed, corn huskings, apple cuttings, wool pickings, quiltings, dances, singings, spelling matches, fox drives and hunting parties, barn raisings and log rollings. Their elders did not always approve of the play parties and dances and more than once Mrs. Tobias suddenly appeared at a dance and took her protesting daughters home.

   In the pioneer days clothing was principally home made and home colored. Plaid flannel, yarn stocking, quilted petticoats where worn in winter with bombazene and delaine dresses for Sunday. Summer fashions required calico sacques with and dainty dresses of lawn, linen and jackonette made infant waist and full skirt. Sunbonnets were often worn both winter and summer but all the Tobias girls usually wore fancy Florence braid hats or dress bonnets, scoops and leghorns, bustles, tilters, hoops tightly laced waists, silk tassled hair nets, black silk aprons with silk cords and tassles; cloth gaiters (side laced) were also worn.

   In March 1864, Emily Tobias was married to Travanion Boyd of Jefferson County by James Calvin Esq. in the presents of many relatives and friends. The next day the wedding party went to Mr. Boyd's where the infair dinner of roasted pea fowl was served.

   In 1866 they bought a home farm of George Byfield in Scott County, near the Tobias homestead. Here they lived for forty years until the death of Mr. Boyd in 1906.

   Mr. Boyd was a farmer and stockman a breeder of Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. By industry and thrift after many years, they were able to live comfortably; to raise their nine daughters (two sons died in infancy); to share their home with others, to take part in the life of the Community and to help solve its problems.

   Mrs. Boyd now in her 81st year, still lives in the house that has been her home for more than fifty-eight years. She takes an active interest in the community and in the Alpha Baptist Church of which she is a Charter member. Six daughters, thirteen grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren compose her family. She still shares her home with others.

   Though small in statue, scarcely more than five feet and never weighing one hundred pounds in her normal health. Mrs. Boyd was "Tall" in ability and resourcefulness, if she needed a pattern she cut it to fit the growing daughters or she could easily alter a pattern to fit a grown daughter. She had a sense of humor and the sparkle in her blue-gray eyes provoked other laughter or lightened tension in the household. She was firm in discipline and undemonstrative in her affection but had a ready sympathy though not always expressed. The little "cat switch" behind the Seth Thomas clock on the mantle often had a soothing effect on the worst peevish daughter or settled an eminent brawl brewing among playful teasing children.
   One is amazed to consider the meals prepared, for hired men, livestock men, traders, politicians and relatives. Mr. Boyd's hearty "light and come in!"  Was invitation enough to start Mrs. Boyd's
 feet kitchenward to prepare another dinner.

   "Hired girls" were provided until Mrs. Boyd's daughters were able to help with the housework and to care for the little ones. Many relatives shared the Boyd home through the years and had the same care and training as the daughters.

   Full of years and good works Mrs. Boyd died April 21st 1925 at the old homestead in her 83rd year, beloved and sincerely mourned.

Proverbs 31:32   "Give her of the fruit of her hand and let her own works praise her in the Gates"

You may use this material for your own personal research, however it may not be used for commercial publications without express written consent of the contributor, INGenWeb, and