Morgan Jones (1680-1686)

Morgan Jones, son of John Jones of Baasaleg in Monmouthshire, England, came to Newtown in the spring of 1680. A relative of Oliver Cromwell through marriage, he refused to come to terms with new efforts of the Church of England to unify religious practices. Jones left his parish in Wales and arrived in Virginia in 1669. He was one of about 2,000 ministers who emigrated to America in the 1660s.

After moving to South Carolina, Jones was captured by Tuscarora Indians. A local sachem took a fancy to him, ransomed him, and took him to the settlement of his own tribe. To the Native Americans, he preached three times a week for over four months. It was written that he was treated with kindness and even was taken into the tribe's advise and counsel!

Although the town of Newtown agreed to pay Jones £50 per year, townspeople objected to being forced to pay a portion of the minister's salary as required under civil law. Partly in response to controversies such as the one involving Jones's salary, New York and other colonies repealed laws requiring communities to pay a part of a minister's salary. Thus, our church helped define the ideas that civil funds should not support a church, and people have a right to become members in a church whose doctrines they agree with.

Jones moved to Staten Island, where he had again trouble collecting his salary. Probably in frustration, he returned to Newtown and agreed to accept a "free will offering, what every man will give." To ensure that they got their money's worth, Newtown's inhabitants in 1683 appointed Jones to be the town schoolmaster. The town also voted that Jones would teach on the Sabbath, starting a Sunday School that continues at FPCN to this day. In August 1686, Jones resigned and moved to relative tranquillity at Eastchester in the Bronx.

Glyn Lloyd, a member of FPCN, was from Baasaleg, England. He knew the Jones family and said that some members of that family have the first name Morgan.