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Life of Charles Colcock Jones Sr.
Liberty history
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Charles Colcock Jones Sr. was born on Dec. 20, 1804. He was a Presbyterian clergyman, educator, missionary messenger and planter in Liberty County.
The son of a merchant and planter with deep roots in coastal Georgia, Jones was born at Liberty Hall, his father’s plantation in Liberty County.
He made a profession of faith when he was 17 and was then prepared for the Presbyterian ministry at Phillips Academy from 1825 to 1827, Andover Theological Seminary 1827 to 1829, and Princeton Theological Seminary 1829 to 1830.
In 1846, Jones received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.
While in the northern parts of the United States, Jones was grief-stricken over the ethics and morality of owning slaves, but he returned to Liberty County to become a planter, a missionary to slaves and reluctant defender of the institution of slavery.
In 1830, he married his first cousin, Mary Jones, and they had four children, three of whom survived to maturity.
Jones served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Savannah from 1831 to 1832. He was also a professor of church history and politics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Columbia, S.C., from 1835 to 1838 until his return to missionary work in 1839, and was again professor at Columbia Seminary from 1847-1850.
Jones then moved to Philadelphia and served as analogous escritoire of the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church until 1853 when his health failed and he returned again to Liberty County.
He spent the remnants of his life supervising his three plantations, Arcadia, Montevideo and Maybank while continuing his evangelization of slaves.
Besides many tracts and papers, Jones published ‘The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States’ in 1842 and a ‘History of the Church of God’ in 1867. His ‘Catechism of Scripture Doctrine and Practice’ was published in 1837 and later translated into Armenian and Chinese.
Two of Jones’s children became notable in their own right: Charles Colcock Jones Jr. (1831-1893), a Georgia lawyer, historian and amateur archaeologist; and Joseph Jones (1833-1896), a Louisiana physician and medical school professor.
In 1972, literary critic Robert Manson Myers published a huge collection of Jones family letters in ‘The Children of Pride’, a work of more than 1,800 pages, and the book won a 1973 National Book Award.
In 2005, historian Erskine Clarke published Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic based on an even larger collection of Jones family correspondence.
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