Life and Journals of Kah-ke-wa-quo-nā-by/Chapter XIV

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MR. JONES immediately returned to Canada, and we find him soon saying, “Left the Credit this morning by stage to attend Missionary Meetings.” These occupied the first month or two of 1830, and Centenary Meetings the latter months of the year; and for all these meetings he was well prepared by his usual Missionary spirit and facts, and the various fresh intelligence brought with him from England. In April, however, he had a perilous and protracted sickness, from which he recovers, grateful to God, and feeling indebted to the assiduous kindness of Mrs. Jones, and the prayers of the Indians and others.

Early in 1840, he was too unwell to be at Missionary Meetings in Lower Canada, and he, at the request of the Rev. Joseph Stinson, applied himself to translations, preaching as he was able, and directing the affairs of the Credit people. In the fall he attended a Camp meeting at Munceytown — 800 Indians present, and he says, “It was a glorious meeting.” Attended the Special Conference in Toronto. Visited the Lake Simcoe, and Rice Lake Missions, at the request of the Missionary Committee, and very profitably. Finished the year with Missionary Meetings.

In 1841, stationed at the important Muncey Mission. To be separated from the Credit was, as he writes, “a cross;” but believing “that it will be for the glory of God.”

1842 — At the same Mission, but attending many Missionary Meetings, cheered by the zeal and liberality of the people. Was very attentive to pastoral duties, and the spiritual and temporal affairs of Muncey — suffering, however, from another severe attack of disease. When Conference came he rejoiced in an increase of 97 members, and 66 baptisms. May 27th, his entry is, “Rode on to the Camp meeting held near Ancaster Camp ground, where the Lord first spoke peace to my poor troubled spirit.” From August to December his Journal unkept.

1843 — No record, but according to the Minutes he is still the Superintendent of the Muncey Mission, till Conference, though with declining health — making three years — all successful, and much esteemed by the Indians.

At the Conference of 1844, he was made a Supernumerary — a trial to himself, his Indian people, and many more, — for whom he had spent his best years, with unblemished reputation, and unremitting and most useful labour, in all places and circumstances shewing a judgment and fidelity befitting the the first Wesleyan Native Missionary of Canada, and authorized Visitor of the Indian Tribes of the wilderness, and the established Stations of the Missionary Society. In October of this year be bids farewell publicly to his beloved Credit people, and departs a third time for England, where he was again very sick. When better, he delivered Lectures at a small charge in England and Scotland for the benefit of the Indian Schools in Canada, and succeeded well for the cause nearest his heart. When in Scotland public meetings were held to honour him. At one place, he states, “Mrs. Jones and myself breakfasted with the great Dr. Chalmers, possessing, as great men do, a child-like simplicity. Held my public meeting at Leith this evening, and addressed a crowded audience — Provost Reach in the chair.” At Bath the Rev. Wm. Jay invites him to preach for him on Sabbath evening. At Birmingham, heard the Rev. J. Angell James; and his record is, “The Lord warmed my poor heart.” He gave five days to a visit to Paris, and returned in haste, saying, “Was glad to get out of France. England forever!” In April, 1846, he and Mrs. Jones left England for Canada; so that the whole of 1845 and a portion of two years were spent in Great Britain. Besides lecturing, he attended Missionary and other Meetings, and without any diminution of his popularity, — rather with it increased, especially in Scotland. The remainder of 1846, spent in various services for the Credit Indians, preaching when in sufficient health, and in tours to Munceytown, Owen's Sound, and the Lake Simcoe Missions.

1847 commences with a renewal of his covenant with God, and the prayer, that his disease might be cured for his more extended usefulness; and two days afterwards he was “too ill” to officiate in the public congregation; yet in six days he endeavoured to preach on the sudden death of the Rev. James Evans. Attends some Missionary Meetings, and did all he could in the pulpit and pastorally. Resigned his Chieftanship, but the Indians would not accept the resignation. Nov. 4th, again removes from — he says — “our old interesting abode the Credit,” to the Muncey Mission, were we “were most warmly received by our Indian brethren, some of whom shouted aloud from the top of the hill.”

In 1848, at Muncey, but only one entry in the year.

1849 — Still at Muncey, as zealous for his Master as discouraging health would allow, and ceaselessly aiming at the temporal and religious improvement of the Indians. Went on several more Missionary deputations. Busy with the preliminaries of the Muncey Industrial School. Returning from a journey he writes, “I am such a home-body that I never feel really happy, but when surrounded by my own precious family.” Then, he is translating the Wesleyan Catechism into the Chippeway, at the request of the General Superintendent of Missions His mind is cast down by — as he expresses it — his “oft illnesses.” May 18th, took a house for three months in London, his bad health making it no longer possible to remain at Munceytown. Noting a Lovefeast, he says, June 3rd, “The Rev. Mr. Clement, one of our young preachers, stated that in his younger days he was very wicked, and continued so, until he heard Peter Jones, the Indian Missionary preacher in England some years ago, when he was brought to see the necessity of seeking the salvation of his soul.” Started for the Conference, and was so ill he had to return, and his accounts were forwarded. The Conference placed him under the direction of the General Superintendent of Missions. Rejoices over the birth of his fifth son. Removes from London to Brantford.

1850 — For two months attending Missionary Meetings, with much weakness and palpitation of the heart, — every where receiving kind attention. Too unwell to attend Conference, his complaints perplexing, and medical gentlemen were consulted on his case. The Credit and other Indians made prayer for him, and he thankfully attributes under God the preservation of his life to the attentions of Mrs. Jones and their prayers.

1851 — Deplores his “inability to help in the great work of saving souls, especially to work for the good of my own people.” Removes into his own new house at Brantford, and thus writes, “In settling down the feeling of my heart is that, if the Lord should restore me to health, I would willingly again enter upon the active duties of a Missionary amongst my Indian brethren.”

1852 — Left home for a Missionary tour to Lakes Huron and Superior, and made many interesting entries during the journey, particularly relating to an Indian Camp meeting at White Fish Point, on Lake Superior.

1853- '54-'55 — Variously engaged at home in preaching, visiting, and advancing Indian interests, and taking journeys to distant Missions as his health permitted. His last entry is August 8th, 1855, and commences characteristically, as many entries of his do — “Left home for Lake Huron.”

The following are some particulars of his last Illness and Death, and his Character, kindly furnished by Mrs. Jones: we regret that the importance of inserting as much as possible of the Journal should exclude much of what she has so well and affectionately written of the closing career of one, whose character from her graceful pen will be universally approved by the numerous friends of the departed popular Indian Missionary: —

Tuesday, May 20th, 1860. — My dear husband, accompanied by myself and Dr. Griffin, left home for Toronto, not without much previous prayer and consultation whether it was advisable to venture such a journey with one whose strength was so greatly prostrated. We reached the hospitable dwelling of our old and tried friend, Dr. Ryerson, about 5, p. m., where we had been invited, and as usual received a kind welcome with subdued feelings of mingled pain and pleasure.

Wednesday 21st, — Dr. Bovell came early with Dr. G. and after careful examination, confirmed all Drs. M. &. G. of St. Catherine's had said; but also discovered a disease of long standing, in the region of the heart. The Doctor informed me after we left the room, that disease had made great progress, and that his continuance here any length of time, was very uncertain; he said my dear husband was falling a sacrifice to his former exertions for others.

Friday, 23rd. — My dear husband evidently worse and not able to rise at all to-day. The Revs. E. Wood and Gemley, and Sister Taylor called, prayed most fervently, and conversed sweetly about the things of God, and His wise and loving dealings with his own children. He responded to all, saying, “All is well, I feel resigned to the will of my heavenly Father, who will do all that is right and best.”

Thursday 29th. — The Rev. James Richardson kindly called.

Monday, June 1st. — Little better; sickness somewhat abated. Dr. Hannah, Revs. Jobson and Gemley came to dinner; after which at my dear husband's request, Dr. Hannah administered the Lord's Supper: it was a very solemn time, when feelings such as words cannot express filled our hearts: we knew that he would never again drink of the fruit of the vine, till he drank it in his father's house above.

Wednesday 3rd. — This morning Dr. Bovell brought Dr. Hodder with him. Sister Taylor came and sweetly prayed and talked with him. He told her he found it difficult to collect his thoughts, or keep his mind for any length of time on one subject. “Oh yes, brother Jones,” she replied, “but a look of faith, a desire is enough; Jesus knows all your wants, and will supply them, without words to tell Him. When you wish water or anything else, without speaking, Sister Jones knows by your look or sign what is needed, and is ready to supply your wants; how much more the Saviour who is touched with pity, and sympathizes in all your sufferings!”

Tuesday 10th. — Very, very low, apparently worse than any day before. My soul so cast down, groans and tears were my only relief.

Wednesday 11th. — What alternations of hope and fear; this morning favourable symptoms appeared.

Thursday 12th. — Dr. Ryerson returned from Conference. He prayed with him, and told him the Conference news, to which he listened with deep interest, making special inquiries about the Indian Missions, and appointments to them.

Saturday 15th. — He was quite cheered at the thought of seeing his dear children and happy home again.

Monday 17th. — Dr. Ryerson kindly aided me in preparations for our homeward journey. The Dr. then went to the railroad office and made arrangements for his comfort, as far as possible, to Paris.

Tuesday 17th. — In the evening Dr. Ryerson prayed for the last time by the dying bed of his dear friend and brother. Seeing me much affected, he took my hand, and with a heavenly smile on his countenance said, “We have lived most happily together for many years, and it is hard to part; do not weep, dear; Christ will take care of you and the dear children; he will give you grace, supporting, strengthening grace; in a little time we shall meet again, and spend eternity together with Jesus.”

Wednesday 18th. — In extreme weakness he awoke this morning. After a day of travel and of great fatigue and excitement he felt almost overwhelmed with gratitude, as he laid down again on his own couch alive, and he said several times, “Bless the Lord! bless the Lord! What shall we render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards us?”

Thursday 19th. — My dear husband very low this morning, but pleased to see his dear kind friend, Rev. A. Nelles; also his old friend, Rev. A. Townley.

Friday 20th. — The dear invalid very low this morning. Many called to see him. To his friend Rev. H. Biggar, he said, “I am resting on the Atonement.”

Saturday 21st. — My husband passed a very restless night. The Rev. J. Ryerson and wife came, and during prayer he felt very happy. He presented Sister Lincoln, who, with her excellent husband, came to see him, with a book, as a dying gift, saying, “The religion of Jesus is enough for a dying hour.”

Sunday 22nd. — Through mercy, my dear husband passed a quiet night, but in the morning threw up a quantity of clotted blood. Our kind friend, Mrs. Nelles, spent the day with us. He gave our servant a book this day, telling her to serve God faithfully to the end of her life. Being too ill to hear much reading or talking, a little from the best Book, and some from “Thoughts in Affliction,” was all he could endure. It was excessively hot, and he slept much.

Monday 23rd — Spent a very restless night. A great many friends called to see him, who will remember how kindly and thankfully he enquired after the welfare of their families, and often said, “Has so and so been to see me? tell them I wish to shake hands with them before I go home.” He gave books to several as dying gifts, and when able signed his name, dictating a few words to be written. A number of Indians from the New Credit came to day. It was affecting to witness their deep sorrow as they gazed on the emaciated form of their long tried, faithful friend. He said to Brother Carey, “Tell the Indians at Muncey, if I had my life to live over again, I would wish to live as I have in the service of God.”

Tuesday 24th. — The dear afflicted Indians met several times during the day for singing and prayer. He exhorted them all to meet him in a better world. They “all wept sore, fell on his neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.”

Wednesday 25th. — The Rev. C. Byrne and wife came; neither saw any hope of his recovery. Brother Byrne prayed most fervently. As our dear Charles had not arrived after two telegraphic messages, Mr. Strobridge kindly sent his son to Simcoe to fetch him. Our good friend Mr. Nelles was in daily attendance, and administered much consolation.

Thursday 26th. — Many called to take a farewell to-day. To one taking both hands in his, he said, “I am going home, going to my Father's house above; all is well.” After taking a little ice jelly, it was too evident that the silken cords which had bound him to earth, were soon to be loosened; and as his family were now all together, they were summoned around his dying bed, that they might for the last time receive his blessing and listen to the faint, yet touching exhortations to prepare to meet their God. His beaming look, his expressive smile as he commended each separately with patriarchal dignity to the care of his covenant-keeping God, can never be forgotten. Placing his hand on the head of dear Charles, giving him one of his Bibles and his dressing case, he said, “Be a good, obedient, loving son to your mother, and as much as possible fill my place.” He then exhorted him to give his heart to God. He then put his hand on dear Frederick's head, giving him another of his Bibles, telling him he hoped that blessed book would be his guide to heaven; that he would read it, and meet him in a better world; he also gave him his gun, saying, “God bless you, son; be a good son to your mother, and loving to your brothers." Then to Peter Edmund he said, also placing his hand on his head, “God bless the lad; take this watch which I have used so many years, and keep it for your dying father's sake; give your heart to God, and we shall meet again. Take this Testament, read it, and may it guide you through life to glory.” Then to dear George Dunlop, who sobbed aloud and clung to him, he said, “Be a good boy, love God, obey your mother, love your brothers; here is my hymn book; I have used it a long time time; keep it and use it for my sake; here are two volumes for you so keep in remembrance of me.” He put his hand on his head and said, “God bless you my sweet child.” He then took my hand, and kissing me, said, “I commend these dear boys to the care of their Heavenly Father and you. Train them up for heaven. God bless you, dear. I pray we may be an unbroken family above.” Shortly after this, turning to his kind and constant friend, Rev. A. Nelles, he put in his hands three vols, of Chalmers' works, saving, “I give you these as a parting memorial of your dying friend. I thank you for all your kindness; I hope we shall meet above.” After this he slept for a long time. The Rev. Mr. Alexander came in the evening; he responded during his prayer, saying, “Amen, Amen.” When Mr. Burwell asked him how he felt, he replied, “Sinking, sinking;” I said “Yes, dear, into the arms of Jesus.” He replied, “O yes.” He gave his sister, Mrs. Brant, three books, saying, “I give you these as tokens of remembrance of the brother who was converted at the same time that you were. May God bless you and your family, and may we all meet again in a better world!” From this time his eyesight failed, so that he could scarcely see at all, but he heard distinctly, and always seemed conscious if I was out of the room for a few moments. Friends would come and say, Mr. Jones is asking for you. Dear creature, he seemed to want me by his side all the time.

Friday 27th. — My dear husband slept most of the night. In the morning he asked to see Abraham, our hired man, and taking his hand he said, “I shall soon be gone, I want you to be faithful in taking care of every thing just as if I were here; try and love and serve God: there is nothing like a preparation for death; God bless you and your partner. Look well after the interests of my family. God bless Abraham.” Rev. W. Sutton and many other friends called; to all he addressed a few parting words. To the Doctor who had attended him faithfully and skillfully, he said, taking his hand, “I thank you for all your kind attention; you have done all you could, but it is the will of God to take me home. I hope you will give God all your heart, and meet me in a better world.” Hearing him say, “Blessed Redeemer,” I said you can say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” He said, “I can say that all the time.” This afternoon the Rev. I. B. Howard and wife came; they only returned home to-day from a long visit, or would have been often by his side; they sang sweetly (which he seemed fully to enjoy,) the beautiful hymn:

“We speak of the realms of the blest.”

Sunday 28th. — My precious one too low to speak or see, but he shewed consciousness by just saying “Yes,” when spoken to, and evidently knew his friends by their voices. It was on the morning of this day he took hold of my hand with a most affectionate and indescribable look, and said, “I have something, dear. I wish to say to you, and I may as well mention it now; you must try not to be alarmed, or too much grieved when you see me die; perhaps I may have to struggle with the last enemy.” Dear creature! what an example of kind consideration, even in death. I said to him, “How can I do without you, love?” he replied, “Jesus will take care of you.” As this never-to-be-forgotten night drew on, the actual approach of death was too evident. The friends who watched with me around his dying couch till midnight, were Mrs. Brett, Mrs Johns, daughter of old Capt, Brant; Mr. and Mrs. Beamer, Mr. C. Welles, and Mr. G. Johnson, Mohawk. About 10 p. m., he said, and these were his last words, “God bless you, dear.” After this, I said “If you have given the last token of love, and spoken the last word, do, dear, shew you are conscious by pressing my hand, and assuring me you die in the full prospect of a blessed immortality.” He did so, feebly, but with all the remaining strength he had, twice.[1] From this time he laid perfectly quiet; whether conscious or not we could not discover. About half-past one there was a decided change; I saw the long dreaded event was near. I desired the dear boys and his mother and sister might be called; we were all soon around his dying bed. Every breath was watched as nearer and yet nearer the last enemy approached; and an union was to be dissolved, from which had been derived so much happiness. It seemed to me that the flesh and the spirit had a long and hard struggle. Oh, the agony of that hour! Oh! such a scene; bleeding hearts that have witnessed can understand, but no words can describe; fainter and yet fainter still, the last quiver of the lips told all was over; “the warfare was accomplished,” and the spirit had taken its everlasting flight. As I tried to trace its progress, methought I heard shouts of victory resound through the vaults of the New Jerusalem, as the redeemed Indian bands hailed with a fresh song of triumph the Benefactor of their race, the friend of suffering humanity; and the adorable Saviour who had prepared for him a seat in glory, purchased with his own precious blood, bid him welcome with the plaudit, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

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As A Husband, he literally obeyed the command of the great apostle contained in Eph. v. from the 25th verse. In him I found combined everything that was amiable, tender, confiding, faithful, and judicious. I think it is Newton says, “A friend is worth all hazards we can run.” I knew this when I united my destiny with his, notwithstanding the fearful forebodings, and the cruel things that were written and said. I knew that he was a man of God, a man of faith and prayer, a friend in whom I could trust, and I looked with pity on those who from ignorance and prejudice viewed the alliance with contempt; deeming them not worthy to tread in the shadow of my honoured husband. Never from the day of our happy espousals had I cause to lament that our destinies were united. Would that all who marry white men possessed in them the same lovely Christian graces that rendered my home with my noble Indian such an abode of peace and love. But he is gone! gone to his reward; and he who “turned many to righteousness, now shines as the stars for ever and ever.”

Daily I need the present promise, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness.’

As A Father, he ruled by love, perhaps too much like Eli; a little firmer rein might have been occasionally for the advantage of his sons; but in him his boys found a friend ever ready to give them advice, a father who joined in their amusements, instructing and helping them in every way that would promote their happiness or improvement. His children both loved and feared him, for lenient as he was, I never knew him pass over sin without severely punishing the guilty one. With filial confidence his boys trusted to his judgment, and reposed in his tender love. For hours have I seen them listen with delighted attention to the fund of anecdotes he had treasured up in his memory, particularly Indian stories. The loss of such a father is irreparable. May his mantle fall on each of them, and may “God bless the lads!”

As a Master, he was mild and persuasive. Often have I marvelled at the patient forbearance he has displayed when greatly provoked to anger; but religion had wrought that change in his heart that enabled him to “endure all things.” He was “slow to anger,” he knew how “to rule his spirit,” and many times has his “soft answer turned away wrath.” Those who served him faithfully always found in him a friend and kind adviser; but when he met with imposition or ingratitude he faithfully warned, and if that failed to produce the desired effect they parted. As the Priest of his Family, he always made it a rule to be short in reading and prayer, so as never to weary the children or servants. His prayers were very simple and devotional, offered up in strong faith. He often mentioned individuals by name as their circumstances required particular notice. The poor and the needy, the sick and the dying, the widow and the fatherless, were seldom omitted in his supplications at the throne of the heavenly grace; and I have often thought since his departure from our midst how much of our present comfort we owe through Jesus Christ to his intercessions at the mercy seat. I believe no sincere prayer is ever unanswered, although it may not be in accordance with our shortsighted desires; consequently how many needful blessings may his widow and fatherless boys expect to descend on them!

As a Friend, he was firm in his attachments. He was a man whose friendship and society needed to be sought; he never courted the favour of any, and I often told him I believed he lost the intimacy of many who would have proved valuable friends, by his backwardness to intrude unsolicited into any society. His amiable and gentle manners rendered him a favourite with all who knew how to appreciate real worth. He was faithful in giving advice and reproof but it was always done in so mild a manner it was impossible to take offence. His Indian brethren can bear testimony that “faithful were the wounds” of their friend, Peter Jones. He never saw sin in them without pointing out the evils resulting from it, and ever encouraged industry and virtuous deeds. They all looked up to him with respect, and consulted him as their best friend. May the Lord raise up another to fill his place!

His Course of Reading and Study was desultory. His was a mind that gained more from the study of men and things than from looks, although whenever he got interested in a work it was difficult to divert his attention from it. As his early education had not encouraged application or deep study, neither had formed a taste for mental culture, it could not be expected that in his later years, with the cares of a family, very poor health, and a vast amount of business to transact for his tribe, that he should be able to devote much time to reading. I think I might mention history as his favourite subject of reading. He never took much interest in biography; and when I expressed my surprise, he would say, “Persons are extolled too much. Bible biography is honest.” And I am certain nothing would have grieved him more than that his character should be set forth to the world as blameless. He was well informed on all the great events of the day.

As a Correspondent, he was punctual and explicit, his style varying according to the subject and parties he addressed, he could be solemn, touching, and comforting, or humorous and loving. He never wrote (excepting purely on business matters,) without saying something of the Saviour. I believe those friends who have his letters will keep them for his sake.

In Preparing his Sermons, the Bible and prayer, with the teaching of the Holy Spirit, were his principal aids. Having several commmentaries, he made use of them when he needed light thrown on any difficult passage. His notes were rather concise, depending more on the teaching of the Holy Spirit than any preparations for the pulpit. He often said he could never preach, however much time he took to prepare a sermon, unless the Lord helped him.

In summing ap my dear husband's character, I should say his actions, words, and looks, were governed by a principle of uniform consistency, humility, and moderation. Amidst popular applause, to which in the Old Country he was no stranger, he kept on his steady course, and never seemed the least inflated, even by the notice of monarchs, and the great and noble of the earth.

He was remarkable for integrity in all his dealings with his fellow creatures, never taking advantage of ignorance. This was one excellence that raised him so in the estimation of the Indians; they placed implicit confidence in all he said, and trusted the management of their temporal affairs in his hands. Not only was he Chief over the tribe to which he belonged, but the Munceytown and Moravian Indians made him Chief in their tribes, and urged him to do their business for them. In one instance he paid, I think, £200, which no law could have obliged him to do, but a sense of honour made him spurn the temptation to take advantage on that account.

I think the circumstance of his rising so superior to the generality of his countrymen should be noticed. Although he was evidently chosen by God to do a great work, and prepared by His Spirit for the accomplishment of the same; still the remarkable way by which he was guided through the wilderness, his preservation from the temptations so fatal to youth, and especially Indians; his never having the least desire for the accursed fire-water; the marked blessing that rested on all his lawful temporal undertakings, so that he rose by industry, honesty, and piety to a respectable and honourable station in society, — these and many other circumstances demand remark, not only to his own credit, but for the glory of that God who made him by His grace what he was.


Brantford. C. W.

  1. Though prompted by the purest affection and the deepest solicitude, this practice is not to be commended: at this solemn moment the soul should be left undisturbed in its approaches to those heavenly realities which unfold their glories to its powers, while it struggles to free itself from

    “This cumbrous clay,
    “Springing into liberty, and light, and life”

    E. W.