Children of Christopher Jones – Part II

May 8th, 2018 Posted by History No Comment yet

In the first part, we established the names and baptisms of the known children of Christopher Jones; we will now delve deeper and explore the ultimate fate of these ten children, as far as can be determined.

In nearly ten years of marriage, from 27 December 1593, Christopher Jones and Sara Twitt only had one known child, Thomas, who lived for just a few months. Whether they had more that did not survive, or were not recorded, we do not know, but the fact that Sara died in her mid-20s suggests ill health may have played a part. Thus, Sara was buried 18 May 1603, and Jones was widowed and without a heir.

Jones’ marriage to Josian Gray (née Thompson) on 2 November 1603 is therefore the important one. Their first two children together – Christopher and a second Thomas – died young.

The fate of Josian Jones jr, Christopher’s eldest daughter, has only recently been clarified. It had been believed that she was buried at Rotherhithe two years after her baptism, as Christopher had recently moved there, but the record in question, dated 2 November 1611, is for the burial of a “Joane Jones”, not a Josian (the names were incorrectly treated as one and the same by historians). In fact, Josian was buried at Harwich in May 1633, a “singlewoman”. This does not change anything from a genealogical perspective, as she still died unmarried and without issue, but it is an important distinction from a factual perspective.*

Of their other six children, the fate of four – Roger, Christopher (2), Thomas (3), and John – is uncertain. With such a common surname, it is difficult to trace them. There are no burials at Rotherhithe or Harwich prior to that of Christopher Jones sr which can be attributed to them, and their fate beyond that is largely dependent on where their mother Josian ended up moving to (the implication is that she remarried and lived elsewhere within London, but there is no concrete evidence). Two children – Josian and Grace – are later noted in the Harwich St Nicholas parish registers, but the others are not.

There are two leading theories as to the fate of Joan. In 1916, the historian J.R. Hutchinson attempted to reconcile her with the “Jone Jones” who married Nathaniel Newbury at Rotherhithe on 20 May 1636, and while this is definitely possible as she would have been about 20 at the time, the commonality of her name makes it impossible to say for sure. The other theory, and perhaps the more likely, is that she was the “Jone Jones” who was buried at Rotherhithe on 26 October 1618. The clerk there at the time did not give any further information for burials other than names, but if this particular Joan was a child, then all other Joan Jones’ for the period are accounted for except Christopher’s.

This finally brings us to the literal saving Grace, Christopher’s youngest daughter, who is the only known child of his to have married and had children of their own. On 6 October 1639, “Grace Joanes”, singlewoman, married “Nicolas Dawlinge”, singleman (who was noted as of Woodbridge but was born and raised in Harwich). Unfortunately the registers, which were patchy at the best of times prior to then, were full of gaps for decades from the 1640s (to the point where an apology was later written), so any attempt to trace the Jones lineage through Grace would be tricky, but hope is offered at the very least!

Information researched primarily via Ancestry and the Essex Record Office

* See P68-9 of the “Mayflower Journal”, Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 2016, published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, for more information


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