Notes Concerning the Author
The letters in this book, compiled by Robert Mason Myers and covering from 1845 to 1868, are from and between the family of Rev. Dr. Charles Colcock Jones, Sr. (1804-1863), a Presbyterian clergyman, educator, missionary, and planter of Liberty County, Georgia. The son of a merchant and planter with deep roots in coastal Georgia, he became a Presbyterian minister of exemplary education (Andover Theological Seminary, 1827–29; Princeton Theological Seminary, 1829–30 and a doctor of divinity degree from Jefferson College, 1846).
Jones served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia (1831–32), professor of church history and polity at Columbia Theological Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina, (1835–38), returned to missionary work in 1839, and was again professor at Columbia Seminary (1847–50). He then moved to Philadelphia and served as corresponding secretary of the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church until 1853, when his health failed and he returned again to Liberty County. Jones spent the remainder of his life (1853-1863) supervising his three plantations, Arcadia, Montevideo, and Maybank, while continuing his evangelization of slaves. Besides many tracts and papers, Jones published The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States (1842) and a History of the Church of God (1867). His Catechism of Scripture Doctrine and Practice (1837) was translated into Armenian and Chinese.
Two of Jones’s children became notable in their own right. Charles Colcock Jones, Jr., (1831–1893), was a Georgia lawyer, historian, and amateur archaeologist. His History of Georgia is also a Society Recommended Reading book. See the review at 03.05.01. Another son, Joseph Jones (1833–1896), was a Louisiana physician and medical school professor.
This is a wonderful compendium of letters exchanged by the Charles Colcock Jones family of Georgia, concerning family, education, children, religion, war, political reconstruction, etc. Every Southerner ought to know this story.
The text follows the life of Rev. Dr. Charles Colcock Jones’s family through letters, from 1854 and “the lovely days” before The War, to 1868, covering The War and the Political Reconstruction that followed. The letters are absolutely fascinating, as good as any novel and even better since they are true. There is 1,445 pages of text, then the Who’s Who and after that, the index, making 1,845 pages in all. The first edition by Yale University Press is an unabridged hardback book measuring three inches thick and weighing five pounds.
There is an abridged version, sold as a paperback book that consists of 706 pages. Apparently the early years, 1854 to 1859 have been removed, and others here and there as well, for perhaps half of the content has been left out. Even then 706 pages is a substantial book. This, also published by Yale University Press, was released in 1987.
Availability of this Book (unabridged and abridged)
The more recent abridged version can be obtained at Amazon at a modest price. The original unabridged book is rather rare and may be a more difficult acquisition. On the other hand, one would suspect that the abridged book is missing segments that would, in today’s politically correct environment, be viewed as “inappropriate.”
An Amazon reviewer tells it this way:
“After reading the 1972 unabridged book I found the 1987 abridged version a sham and a waste of good paper. The editor seems to have figured: ’Let’s get political correct and cut out the parts that show the cruelty of the Federal troops and just show how mean, nasty and bad the Southern People supposedly were. Let’s cut out the letters that showed the love and respect that was shown to the slaves and cut out the parts of the Federal Troops raiding and pillaging people homes or setting the houses on fire with both whites and blacks in them just because the blacks did not want to leave their masters. Let’s cut out the letters of Mother and Children crying because they have no food due to the Federal Troops taking it right off their tables. Let’s cut out the letters showing drunken Federal Troops raping and murdering Southern Women.’ Folks, just leave the abridged book alone, get the unabridged book and let the full scope of the letters tell the truth of what happen during those terrible days.”