Carreg Pen Boncyn Foel (The Stone)

Pen Boncyn Hill overlooks the Banwy valley, providing panoramic views of the rolling hills of Montgomeryshire, in the vicinity of Dolanog, Llanerfyl and Llanfair Caereinion. On top of the hill stands a large stone, which was dragged to the summit by a team of horses in the middle of the 19th century by members of the Jones Clan. It is said that the stone was raised to mark the emigration to the United States of America of numerous members of the Jones family, although it is difficult to confidently declare to which individual member of the family to whose departure it marked. The story regarding the stone has been passed down orally from generation to generation on both sides of the Atlantic.

There is an element of collective sadness with regards to seeing members of one's family having to leave their homeland to seek a better life and it is indeed probable the stone was laid to commemorate the sense of family loss. Notwithstanding the sense of opportunity provided in the New World, emigration was often forced on people in the 19th century due to economic factors when it became a means of poor relief. However, another descendant in the USA commented that the rock emplacement sounded "like some Saturday night high jinks" by younger departing family members! Up to the early part of the 20th century the 1st and 2nd generation descendants following the emigration phase sent letters to each other; indeed the family in Wales were very proud to hear of the successes of various family members in the New World

The genealogical records relating to the Jones Neuadd Wen and Coedtalog Clan include the following 11 family members who emigrated to the United States of America:

  • Three offspring of Robert Jones (1781 - 1834) of Neuaddwen, Llanerfyl:
    • Eleanor Jones (b.1821 - 1896) who married Thomas Reese Llanerfyl emigrated in the 1850, and settled in St Albans, Licking, Ohio.
    • Joseph Jones (b.1827) emigrated in 1857, whose whereabouts in the USA not yet been established.
    • Thomas Jones (1830 -1910) farmed in Marcy, Oneida, New York

  • Two offspring of Ellis Jones Coedtalog, Llanerfyl (1875 - 1829):
    • Griffith Francis Jones (b. 1922) of Coedtalog who settled in Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts
    • Mary Elizabeth Jones (1822 - 1860) of Coedtalog. She married David Davies of Neuadd Cynhinfa, Dolanog and emigrated in the 1840s.

  • Ellis Wynn Jones (b. 1845) eldest son of David Jones (1812 - 1874) of Coedtalog and Pentre Ucha, Llanerfyl, thought to have immigrated to the USA in the 1860s. In the 1870 census he was living with his uncle Griffith Francis Jones in Chelsea, Suffolk, Massachusetts; however, we haven't been able to ascertain his wherabouts there afterwards.

  • Five offspring of Griffith Jones (1778 - 1844) of Coedtalog, Llanerfyl and Glanrhaiadar, Dolanog:
    • Ellis Oliver Jones (1833 - 1894) emigrated in 1853 and set up Reed Jones & Co a shoe making business in Columbus, Ohio. His son Ellis Oliver Jones (1874 - 1967), Yale educated, was a noted political activist who gained national notoriety in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.
    • Mannaseh Jones (1834) emigrated to Columbus, Ohio with his brother Ellis Oliver Jones in 1853 and was in the shoe selling business
    • Elizabeth Jones (1840 - 1918) emigrated in 1858 with her husband James Mills and settled in Kingstown, Indiana.
    • Joseph Jones (1842 - 1932) emigrated in 1871 and settled as a farmer in Luverne, Rock, Minnesota
    • John Jones (1844 - 1925) emigrated in 1868 and settled as a farmer in Luverne, Rock, Minnesota

American members of the family have visited Carreg Pen Boncyn Foel, which has become something of a shrine reminding them of their Welsh roots. My father recounted the story of an American GI, Joseph Jones and a descendant of the Jones Clan, who visited Montgomeryshire in 1944 prior to the D-Day landings. After making a pilgrimage to 'Pen Boncyn Hill' he said he felt "he was a part of the stone". He shared his sense of excitement before departing, promising to go back to the USA to tell the story and it is gratifying to hear that a descendant of Joseph Jones has subsequently visited "The Stone".