Jones of Old Lincoln (Chapter 2, page 1 of 24)


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Chapter 2

His smile fading, Jones looked at me intensely for a long moment, then said, "My nativity, my birth, occurred on the fifteenth of March, eighteen-aught-six. My birthplace was along the Mattaponi River, King and Queen County in the Old Dominion. One of the earliest settled places in the southern Chesapeake Bay of Virginia, it is on one of the several fingers of land that occupy the west side of the bay, just about thirty miles north of Jamestown over the York River. Yorktown stands on the York River, into which the Mattaponi empties. The shrines of our nation's heritage Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, were but a short distance from my birthplace and ancestral home."

Thus Jones began our expedition into times past, his story, and the American story. The provocative story of a frontier book-knife fight in a court of law fifty yards from where we sat would have to await discussion. So be it.

"Father and mother were second generation in the country. Our heritage is English. My father, James Jones, was born in 1750 and my mother, Jane Slaughter, in 1776. They married in 1797. Our family would total six children: William Dandridge Claiborne, to me "Will", born 1799; Henry Taylor, 1801; Martin Slaughter, 1802; me, 1806; Richard Morgan "Dick", 1807; and our baby sister, Mary Jane, 1810." At each name and date of birth Mr. Jones paused just for a split second to "see" them again. The face of my out-of-time visitor communicated pain when he ended his listing. He paused this beginning of his autobiography's first chapter and I did not invade the silence.

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