By Tamica Smith Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist, Mississippi Conference
Photo right: Rosemary Scott Ainsworth and Henry Scott are the donors of the lost manuscripts. A total of 635 pages were created from the raw files.
Photo below right: Bishop James Swanson, Sr. accepts John G. Jones' 'Complete History of Methodism as Connected to the Mississippi Conference' from Rev. Dr. Jerry Williams.
In 2009, one family's generosity provided the Mississippi Conference with the long lost manuscripts of volumes three and four of John G. Jones' Complete History of Methodism as Connected to the Mississippi Conference 1799-1869. The articles were discovered in a garage and later donated to the J.B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
After several years of digitizing the work, on Monday, Feb. 2, 2016, Bishop James Swanson Sr, episcopal leader of the Mississippi Conference, was given the first copy of the complete transcription. The Rev. Dr. Jerry Williams, chair of the Mississippi Conference Commission on Archives and History made the presentation to Swanson and said he was honored to do so. Williams also commented on the significance of Jones' story.
"He (Jones) gives those personal accounts that would never make foot notes in regular history books. Jones wrote it from the perspective of people he knew and what was actually going on and what I always find interesting, the politics of the conference, the connections within that and the great difficulty they had, like finding preachers. It just makes our problems look kind of puny today when we really look at what they had to do and what they had to work with."
According to a summary from Debra McIntosh, college archivist at Millsaps, "The publication of volumes III and IV of A Complete History of Methodism as Connected with the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, brings to a close an undertaking that started in 1872 when delegates at the Mississippi Annual Conference meeting in Brandon requested that Rev. John Griffing Jones "prepare for publication a complete History of Methodism as connected with the Mississippi Conference."
It took Jones four years to complete his writing assignment in 1872, which covered 70 years of conference history. After the publication of volume I, 21 years passed before the publication of volume II. In the more than 100 years since then, Mississippi Methodism has anticipated the publication of the last two volumes.
To read more on the discovery of the manuscripts and the work to restore Jones' work, click here.
The cost to purchase the book is $49.95 if picked up from the Mississippi Conference office in Jackson. To have a copy shipped, the cost is $53.45. Copies can also be purchased at the J.B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism at Millsaps College. Contact Debra McIntosh, college archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-974-1077.