The papers of Eli and Sybil Jones, 19th century Quaker missionaries, most notably to the Middle East where they established missions on Mt. Lebanon and in Ramallah, Palestine; the correspondence of Charles and Ellen Jones, also 19th century Quaker missionaries in Ramallah; and the letters of Quaker James Parnell Jones, son of Eli and Sybil Jones, who fought in the Civil War.
Eli Jones (1807-1890) was born in China, Maine, the son of Abel and Susannah Jepson Jones. He m. Sybil Jones in 1833. He was acknowledged a minister and began traveling in the ministry with his wife to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Together they also visited most of the Yearly Meetings in the United States; in Africa they visited Liberia; in Europe, they journeyed to England, Ireland, France, Norway, Germany and Switzerland and Greece. Finally, they went to do religious work in the Middle East. Jones was active in most New England Yearly Meeting committees, working for the causes of temperance, education and peace. He served in the legislature in Augusta, Maine, in 1854, and was responsible for re-opening Oak Grove Seminary in 1856, serving as principal that year.
Sybil Jones (1808-1873) was born in Brunswick, Me., the daughter of Ephraim and Susannah Dudley Jones. She taught in a Friends School in 1824-25, then in public schools for 8 years. Jones was acknowledged a Quaker minister, traveling with her husband in the ministry. In 1850, she felt moved to minister in Africa; she and her husband were guests of President Roberts in Liberia. During the Civil War, she tended the wounded in Washington and Philadelphia. She comforted Mrs. Lincoln after the President's assassination and gave spiritual advice to President Johnson. In 1867, Sybil and Eli Jones began their last missionary journey to Europe, Athens, Syria, Egypt England and Palestine, establishing missions on Mt. Lebanon and Ramallah, Palestine. Sybil Jones was a member of China (Me.) Monthly Meeting.
James Parnell Jones (1835-1864) was born in Dirigo, Me., the son of Eli and Sybil Jones. He was a cousin of Rufus M. Jones and older brother of Richard Mott Jones. He m. Rebecca Runnels in 1857. He attended Haverford College from 1851-1852 (he received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan). He became a teacher and principal of Valley School in Michigan. Still a Quaker, he determined that the outrage of slavery was a stronger principle than his pacifism and became an officer in the Union army, achieving the rank of major. He was disowned by his Meeting in China, Me. He died in battle at Crystal Springs, Va.
Biographical information from Dictionary of Quaker Biography, internal evidence and an article by Peter Curtis, "A Quaker and the Civil War." <emph render="italics">Quaker History</emph>, vol. 67, 1978, no. 1, p. 35..