Monday, January 2, 2012

The Jolley Family of Dresden Tennessee

In 1825, Henry Jolley and his wife Frances Manning took their family from their prosperous plantation in North Carolina to Weakley County, Tennessee. They were wealthy enough to own slaves and they brought several with them. There was a big move to settle this part of the Tennessee Valley, in part because the land had been opened following the end of the War of 1812. Henry served in that war in the 2nd Regiment of the North Carolina Militia under Captain George. He served from September 1814 to March 1815. Henry and Frances had eight chilren. As their children married they stayed nearby and worked together growing tobacco and cotton.

In February 1842, Henry and his two sons met two missionries from the LDS Church. From his autobiography we can read about his conversion.

One rather warm February afternoon my sons and I were working in the field when our attention was drawn to two distinguished looking gentlemen who were approaching us. They wore black Prince Albert suits and tall smoke stack hats. We rested on our shovels and waited for them to reach us. They introduced themselves as Elder McIntosh and Elder Wilson, Mormon missionaries. After the usual exchange of greetings, they stated their mission, and told us how the boy prophet, Joseph Smith, had beheld a vision of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ. They told us about the Mormons at Nauvoo and the persecutions that were being heaped upon the Prophet and his people. We were especially interested in the new Book of Mormon which gave a history of the ancient inhabitants of America. We were so impressed with their message that we invited them to return and see us again. They left us a Book of Mormon and promised to see us again in about two weeks. I said to my sons, "No more work today. We must tell your mother and your wives of the glad tidings." I could think of scarcely anything else for days except the strange story about the Nephites and the Lamanites as told in that wonderful book.   As promised, in about two weeks our Mormon friends returned and we sat in awe until the wee hours of the next morning listening to an explanation of the Principles of the Gospel. On the morrow I was ready for baptism...

By February 18th, Henry along with his oldest son and his wife, Reuben and Sarah had been baptized. Most of the rest of the family soon followed.Frances, however, was not convinced. Before the end of April 1842, they sold their land and their slaves and headed to Nauvoo. Three of their daughters stayed in Tennessee with their husbands.

After meeting the prophet, Frances too was baptized. Being farmers, at first they settled on land north east of town, but the only stayed ther long enough to raise one crop. With the growing troubles they moved into the city. Then the Prophet and his brother were killed. It was a trying time for the saints and the Jolley family. A few months later the family matriarch, Frances Jolley, grew ill and died too. In the midst of this, the family did all it could to help finish the temple.

Eventually, the saints had to leave Nauvoo. The Jolleys went too. But the family continued to scatter. The oldest son, Reuben died in Iowa. Their daughter Lina fell in love and married a local boy in Iowa. It was with great sadness that they parted ways, knowing they would not likely see each other again.

Once in Utah they settled at what would become Pleasant Grove in Utah County. There, Henry finally ended his journey. After completing their new home, Henry contracted pneumonia and died in 1850.

1 comment:

Donna Webster said...

Im Donna Jolley Webster, gg daug of Reuben Jolley and gggaau of Henry Jolley and moved to PG 11 years ago - now I'm home. I have books my Grandmother Vera Moore jolley compiled on the Jolley Family along with Reuben Manning Jolley - there area two volums now of the decendents. Sarah, Reuben's wife had her 10th child in Keosauga Iowa three months before he died. He told her to take her family to the saint in Iowa, which she miraculously did a couple years later. When they got to SLC after stopping in Iowa, Henry met them and brought them to Pleasant Grove with him and then he died just 6 months after coming here. What courageous people they were. They knew what they believed and lived it.