Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Monday, April 16, 2012

Isaac Jones....The Freemason???

The above image was taken from the grave marker belonging to Isaac Jones' youngest son Joshua Douglas Jones who is buried in the Jeffrey Cemetery in Calloway County, Kentucky. I'm sure many of you will be quick to recognize it as the universal symbol of the Freemasons. If Isaac's son Joshua was a Freemason, this naturally begs the question, "was Isaac?"

The first piece of evidence alluding to this possibility can be found in the North Carolina Roster of 18th Century Freemasons. It's here that you find an Isaac Jones listed as an active member of the Old Cone No. 9 lodge located in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina in the year 1797. What's interesting about this is that one year later when we find Isaac Jones buying land in the Cedar Creek area of Rowan County, he's within five miles of the town of Huntsville which was founded by the brother of Isaac's neighbor Andrew Hunt. Andrew's brother Charles had come to the area from Salisbury after purchasing 250 acres in the vicinity of The Shallow Ford in 1792. The Shallow Ford was one of the few places where a wagon could cross the Yadkin River going from Rowan County into Surry County and was very heavily travelled. Upon purchasing the land, Charles Hunt set aside 111 half acre lots and founded the town of Huntsville. The town established it's first post office in 1795, the same year it would establish it's Masonic lodge known as the Shallow Ford Lodge. Unfortunately, records for the Shallow Ford Lodge are not known to exist and thought to have been destroyed. It's unknown to me as to whether Charles Hunt was actually a Freemason, although I do believe that he and Isaac knew each other and had definitely had prior dealings at an earlier time. Something I'll be discussing at a later time.

The Shallow Ford

But back to that list of Freemasons from the Old Cone No. 9 lodge in Salisbury. As I get deeper into explaining my theories concerning Isaac Jones' origin and who I believe his father to be, you'll start to see many of the men that are also listed come into play in the story. Other Freemasons like: William Alexander, Michael Troy, John Steele, and Montfort Stokes.

Records show that even in later years Isaac was acquainted with other Freemasons, some of which were high-ranking leaders in the organization. Take for example James Reid, a fellow Methodist minister who would eventually serve as the grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina Freemasons. In 1825 when Isaac Jones was serving as a "local deacon" in Surry County on what was then known as the Iredell Circuit, quarterly conference meeting minutes indicate that James Reid was the "A.P.", or assisting preacher, on the circuit that year. Although positive identity has yet to be determined that they are one and the same, when Isaac makes his first land purchase in Williamson County, Tennessee in 1828, it is from a man named James Reid.

James Reid also gives us pretty good evidence to the fact that membership with the Freemasons had a tendency to be handed down from father to son. Not only did he serve as the grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge Of North Carolina Freemasons, but so did his son Numa Reid, as well as his grandson the Reverend Frank Reid. Although you probably wouldn't be able to get a Freemason to admit this, let's be honest here, one of the greatest benefits of membership in the Freemasons is the ability to network amongst the pillars of the community. The movers and shakers if you will, and as you'll soon see, Isaac Jones was definitely one of those.

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