The death is announced of the Rev. Robert F. Jones, Sr. one of the great great grandsons of John Porte who came to Liberia as part of the 1865 Immigration from Barbados, the West Indies.
Rev. Jones died at his farm behind Palala, Bong County, on Tuesday, January 17, after a brief illness. He was 85.
He became one of the first employees of the Government Farm, now the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suacoco, Bong County, which opened in 1951. Jones remained there until 1958 when he left the Government Farm to devote his time to the development of his own farm Lloydtown, Camp 2 area in Zowenta, Bong County. His first cousin, Lincoln Porte, had settled there a few years earlier. In 1960 Rev. Porte relocated from the general town and built his own town across the LAMCO train track, which became known as Jones Farm until this day.
It was on the site that he and his wife, Mrs. Pauline Carr Jones, whom he married in 1955, built the first school in that area, to educate the many children there. He also built a church which he named Union Baptist Church, where he served as the first pastor. These two institutions have touched the lives of many from that remote region, who are making meaningful contributions to the progress of the nation.
In his service to the people of the area, Rev. Jones in the early 1970s carried the first rice mill and opened the first provision shop in the area. He also served for 10 years as Justice of the Peace there.
Rev. Jones was a dedicated farmer who believed in the soil, which he used as his path to success in the raising and support of his family of 13 children.
The Rev. Robert Lafyette Jones, Sr. was born on November 30, 1927 in Hartford, Grand Bassa County the first child of Mr. William Francis Jones of that town and his wife Mrs. Mary Victoria Porte Jones.
He obtained his early eduction at the F.A. Faulkner Boys School in Hartford in the mid 1930s.
As a Christian he started out as a Methodist, but later moved to Gbarnga and became a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Gbarnga. In i983 he was ordained a pastor.
His departure from Hartford landed him in Monrovia, with his uncle, Joshua Elisha Jones, the agriculturist to former President C.D.B. King, serving at King Farm in Careysburg.
The deceased was linked to the Portes of Crozierville because he was the son of Mrs. Mary Victoria Porte Jones whose father was Robert Porte. Robert was one of the sons of the Porte ancestor, John Porte, who came to Liberia in 1865. Two of John Porte’s several sons, Robert and Samuel, settled in Kingsville while John Prince Porte, Jr. settled in Edina, Grand Bassa County.
Robert’s first offspring was Mary Victoria Porte Jones, who married the father of the deceased, Mr. William Francis Jones of Hartford. The couple and their children later moved to Gbarnga where they settled, ran businesses and helped build the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in that city.
The wife of the deceased, Robert L. Porte, Sr., Mrs. Pauline Carr Jones; first son, Robert L., Jr., and daughter, Major Dorothy Mellish of the Police Special Task Force; his siblings, William Francis Jones and Mary Louise Jones Howe, predeceased him. Mary Louise, who gave the Portes their first Maryland connection, died late last year and was buried from the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Gbarnga.
Survivors of Robert Lafayette Jones include 11 children of Liberia and the United States; several grand and great grand children; many other relatives of the Jones, Howe and Porte families; and his beloved people of Camp 2, Bong County.