Jones, Ralph

The earliest mention of Ralph Jones appears to be a June 1670 Colony of New Plymouth court order referencing his property and dwelling as being adjacent to the eastern bounds of the Town Of Sandwich.  Although little is known of Ralph Jones’ early life, he rose to prominence within the Pompesspisset community at Herring Pond in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.   As one of the magistrates of the community, he assisted in the 1693 enumeration of Thomas Tupper's  “Praying Indian” congregants at Herring Pond in which Jones was listed as being the head of a family of four.

Ralph Jones ran afoul of the law several years later in January of 1696. He, along with two others, was sentenced for “feloniously deteining” a chest of goods that had washed up on the shore of Sandwich Beach.  He was ordered to serve, for two years, Edmond Freeman and Ebenezer Hinge, the two men who paid his fine.  By 1698 he had completed his service.  He had retained his position as one of the headmen of the community, noted in the record as being an Indian preacher “ well reputed of for sobriety”.  Together with fellow Herring Pond Indian, Jacob Hedge, Jones shared the small meeting house at Pompesspisset with previously mentioned Congregational minister Captain Thomas Tupper.  In 1703 Ralph Jones is mentioned in the Plymouth land records as having sold a parcel of land at a place called Pethtopognet, or Little Herring Pond, in Sandwich and touching upon a place called Mushapasesett.

Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Vol. 5, 1668-1678 (Boston: The Press of William White, 1856), 41; An Account of Mr. Tupper’s Congregation of Indians 1693, Pilgrim Hall Museum, http://www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/in_their_own_write.htm; Sentencing of Ralph Jones, Robin Sepit, and John Sepit by the Barnstable County Court, http://nativenortheastportal.com/digital-heritage/sentencing-ralph-jones-robin-sepit-and-john-sepit-barnstable-county-court-0; Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Vol.38, Transactions 1947-1951, Boston Published by the Society, 1959, pp. 154-155; “Account of an Indian Visitation, A.D. 1698. Copied for Dr. Stiles, By Rev. Mr. Hawley, Missionary at Mashpee, From the Printed Account Published in 1698,” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, First Series, Vol. X., pp.132-133; Kinnicut, Indian Names of Places, 31.

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