|Birth: ||Dec. 11, 1803|
|Death: ||May 23, 1859|
Rev Jonas Franklin Dancer - Son of Henry and Sallie Dancer.
Brother of Ashell, Samuel, Henry, Elijah, James and Thomas Dancer. Sisters, if any, unknown.
Jonas married, 29 Nov 1829, Jane Smith, a daughter of William and Tellie Smith.
Father of Mariah Courtney, Clementine Boyd, Jonas Franklin Jr and Tennessee Jane Dancer.
Grandson of Peter Dancer who came to the United States from Germany or Austria.
Jonas moved with his family to Henry Co., TN. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in Sept 1823. After marrying Jane, they moved in 1835 to Obion Co., TN. Jonas was licensed to preach on June 3, 1837 and moved to MO in 1840. He moved to TX in 1848.
In TX, he and his family first settled in Travis county, while his brother, Ashell and family settled in Bastrop county. He was enumerated in the 1850 Travis Co., TX Census living at Bull Creek and was running a mill.
According to a column written by Mike Cox for Texas Tales on July 1, 2005, a flood in 1852 destroyed his mill and Jonas took his family to the northwest of Austin into what was then the far northern corner of Gillespie county, settling on Honey Creek. Honey Creek was a stream that began at the base of the peak that would later be called DANCER PEAK.
Jonas and family now resided in an area exposed to hostile Indian raids, especially by the Comanches. Petitions to the Governor of Texas requesting assistance from the Texas Rangers were signed by 106 other area residents. Although the Rangers periodically went after the Indians, the settlers in this frontier area were essentially on their own.
In 1856, the area of Jonas Dancer's homestead became a part of the newly created Llano county.
In 1859, men of Llano county decided to take it upon themselves to build a road to Austin, as the heart of Llano county lies about 75 miles from the capital city.
Quoting from Mike Cox's column:
Dancer and other members of the community agreed to meet on May 23, 1859, to work on the Austin road. When Dancer arrived at the gathering place, no one else was there. He hobbled his horse and a pack horse, unloaded his tools, rolled up his sleeves and went to work.
"While thus engaged," chronicler Josiah Wilbarger later wrote in his classic "Indian Depredations of Texas," a party of Indians attacked Dancer.
"Being unarmed," Wilbarger continued, "Dancer fled to a deep ravine, closely pursued by the savages, who…attempted to rope him, but failed."
From a bluff overlooking the ravine, the Indians showered the preacher with arrows. "Finally overcome with loss of blood," Wilbarger went on, "he walked around in front of a projecting rock in the bluff, deliberately sat down on a rock bench and there expired."
A search party found Dancer's body the next day.
But not until June 5 did newspaper readers in Austin learn of the preacher's violent demise. In that day's edition of the Texas State Gazette, editor John Marshall published a letter from Thomas Moore in Burnet.
"Dear Sir – I send you a brief statement of the facts in regard to the killing of the Rev. Mr. Dancer, by the Indians about 25 miles S.W. of [Llano]…. (He) frequently preached here, and was quite an acceptable preacher in the Methodist church."
The same day Dancer died, Moore continued, a Mr. Gallagher "was shot and dangerously wounded by the Indians, though I learn he will probably recover. Mr. G lives in the same neighborhood where the Rev. Mr. Dancer was killed. About twenty-five Indians were seen by others the same day driving some 30 or 40 head of horses."
Moore concluded his letter to the newspaper with a familiar refrain: "How much longer must our bleeding frontier suffer these fiendish forays?"
In the case of the Comanches, it would be almost another 20 years.
But it would be even longer before road building would become a function of government, not a task undertaken purely for community good by men like the Rev. Mr. Dancer, a literal Texas trail blazer.
Dancer Family Trees say that Rev Jonas Franklin Dancer was buried on the Tommy Harrison Ranch Cemetery in Llano, Llano Co., TX. I have not been able to confirm or disprove this information.
Henry Dancer (1770 - 1825)
Clementine Boyd Dancer Riley (1832 - 1915)*
Ashell Dancer (1793 - 1849)*
Samuel Dancer (1794 - 1883)*
Jonas Franklin Dancer (1803 - 1859)
Specifically: Llano Co., TX
Created by: Sarah Locklin Taylor
Record added: Aug 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40886045