|The first church in North East India 1848 .www.quora.com|
Thomas Jones,(1810 -16 September 1849), son of a carpenter from Montgomeryshire, mid Wales, was a well-known missionary on the Khasi hills of Assam (now Meghalaya), India.
The Foreign Missions enterprise of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church (later known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales) was founded at Liverpool in 1840. Jones became a Calvinistic Methodist minister in 1840 and shortly afterwards left for Calcutta, India, with his wife Anne. His main purpose was evangelical work and conversion of natives on the Khasi hills of Assam to Christianity.
The area, now part of Meghalaya, had been brought under British dominion with a military station at Cherrapunji (receives highest rain fall in the world) and in 1874 the Khasia and Jaintia Hills and the plains of Assam were designated as the Province of Assam. William Carey, a Welsh Missionary in the 1930s sent missionaries to Khasi hills area, a difficult terrain and wettest area in the world, They, initially, did not make much headway in their missionary work.
Missionary work in India a couple of centuries ago was a tough one. The person had to tackle tropical climate, wooded areas infested with wild animals, poisonous snakes, etc. Besides they had to tackle the tribes living in the isolated areas. Going through the rugged terrain cir-crossed by streams, rivers and high cliff was a challenge to one's stamina. Another uphill task was carrying heavy baggage steep uphill. In those days the local people used the mules and donkeys to carry heavy stuff to much higher plains. Having no friendly people in remote areas, for inexperienced evangelists, it was indeed a Herculean task to reach an elevation of 4000 feet plus.
Jones somehow managed to reach the higher plains of Khasi hills on his first trip. He and his wife over a period of time developed close understanding with the natives. Jone's skills in carpentry, agriculture, flair for new language came to his rescue and his skills marked him out as a better preacher and human being. He not only learned their language and lived among the Khasi tribes, but also opened missionary schools to make them literate. He was fluent in Khasi language and introduced Khasi alphabet in Roman script. In 1842, he produced a Khasi Reader, and translated a Welsh-language work, Rhodd Mam, into Khasi; these were the first books written in the Khasi language. He also compiled a Khasi alphabet and dictionary.
In 1846 Anne Jones died in childbirth. She already lost a child during birth at Calcutta upon their arrival. Jones was very much saddened and had to put up with pangs of separation from his departed wife. Despite his personal tragedy, he kept doing his evangelical work without any break. Incidentally Jone's wife Anne became the first Christian to be buried in the Khasi hills and there is a tombstone bearing her name. To take care of his household and to concentrate on his priest work, Jones married one Emma Cattell, it is believed, a local tribe just 15 yeras younger to him. A son, Thomas Cattell Jones, was born posthumously. To cap it all, his mission at Pomreng ran into rough weather with authorities who dumped him in 1847. His marriage with a very young girl and his failed mission became a subject of debate and carping criticism.
He died of Malaria on 16 September 1849 and was buried in the Scottish Cemetery at Calcutta.
|Thomas Jones Welsh missionary Khasi hills,. colonialfamilies.wordpress.com|
|Gravestone of Thomas Jones,the Scottish Cemetery, Calcutta. en.wikipedia.org|