William Jones, a Welsh convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, acquired an old Model T Ford touring car that he had made into a truck by cutting off the back of it. He used it for chores around their farm in Almo, Idaho where they had emigrated and settled. The brakes and the transmission bands were so worn out that you couldn’t really take the car out of gear. Whenever you would start the old bucket of bolts you had to ‘crank’ it and then jump in quickly before it got too far away.
William and his grandson, Douglas, were taking supplies out to Cottonwood Ranch near the City of Rocks, Idaho. The old Model T stalled near a wash and William got out to crank it. The old truck started with a jerk. Suddenly the front wheels flipped on a rock sending it in the wrong direction with Douglas looking at his grandfather not knowing what to do! William ran after the truck and tried to stop it but it was no use. The old jalopy hit a large sagebrush and sent it careening off in yet another direction further away from William. It was headed straight toward the wash. William yelled to his grandson in his clear Welsh accent and said, “Jump, Douglas boy, jump!” Douglas jumped from the car just before it dropped into the wash.
Miraculously grandson Douglas was spared that day and though the truck and all its supplies were lost, and never recovered, the thing that mattered most, the life of his little one, was spared. William helped Douglas get up, brushed him off and then the two of them headed back home on foot.
William offered up a sincere prayer of gratitude that day thanking God that he had once again intervened in his life and shown him a tender mercy. It was not the first time that William had offered such a prayer.
William never amassed a great fortune nor became notable or famous. He lost $1,000 in savings, all the money he had, when the Oakely Bank failed during the financial disasters of the 1930s. His wife lost two children in childbirth. Joey, their 19 year-old-son accidentally shot himself while cleaning a gun and died. William lost his eye in an accident and lived the rest of his life with a glass eye. He was also gored by a bull that made him lame in one leg. As a cattleman that was an occupational catastrophe. It prevented him from riding horses ever again. He watched his adult son Jesse, suffer and die from appendicitis and his adult daughter, Mary Ann, die in childbirth. All together six of their eleven children preceded him in death.
Married to his eternal companion in the Endowment House, on January 8, 1880, the two lived a rugged pioneer life together in Idaho for 55 years where they suffered much, grew old, and always loved one another.
William’s grandson, Douglas, the same who years earlier had jumped from the front seat of the old Model T, remembered seeing his grandmother Mary Ann with her leg propped up many times because of her problems with gout. He was there when his grandmother, Mary Ann, died in 1935. The family had all gathered at the house because they knew that Mary Ann didn’t have much time left. As they sat visiting with her quietly, Mary Ann exclaimed, “There you are, June. I’ve been waiting for you!” Then she slipped away quietly in death. June Jones was a granddaughter who in her teens had died in a car accident. After watching his wife pass away and hearing what she had said, William turned to the other members of the family surrounding her and said, “Young angels are messengers”. Grandson Doug said he never forgot that. William followed Mary Ann in death four years later.
In spite of his trials and tests William always remained faithful to the Church. He loved the Lord and the Gospel with all his heart. Willam knew that earthly possessions hold little value when compared to the worth of family. His sealing to his wife and children was what he held most dear.
Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36) William and Mary Ann Nicholas Jones lived exemplary lives for their posterity to remember and for all who knew them.