Charles A. Jones
Ohio & Louisiana
William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry
of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices 203-204
(Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860):
ONE of the least known of Western writers,
to the present generation of readers, is a poet, who, in 1835,
gave promise of much activity and distinction in metrical literature.
He had then written his name high in the newspapers; published
his volume [The Outlaw and Other Poems], and taken his
first literary degree. Between the years 1836 and 1839 he wrote
frequently for the Cincinnati Mirror, and in 1840 contributed
several of the poems hereafter quoted for the Cincinnati Message,
but about that time the inexorable law of bread-and-butter necessity
drew him from the flowery slopes of Parnassus to the dry regions
of Blackstone and the bar. After he began the practice of law
he touched the harp but seldom, and then in secret.
Charles A. Jones is to be honored above the generality of Western
writers, because he explored extensively, and made himself well
acquainted with Western character, and in the West found the theme
of his essay, the incident of his story, and the inspiration of
his song. His principal poem is a stirring narrative of the exploits
of the bold outlaws, who, in the infancy of the settlement of
the West, had their common rendezvous in the celebrated Cave-in-Rock
on the Ohio. The subjects of many of his lesser productions are
the rivers, the mounds, the Indian heroes, and the pioneers of
the Mississippi Valley.
For five or six years previous to his admission to the bar, Mr.
Jones wrote a great deal for the newspapers and periodicals of
the West. His habits of composition were extremely rapid and careless,
however, and he would never undergo the labor of revision. The
hasty production of an hour was sent to the press with all its
sins upon its head. The consequence of this rapid work, and quick
printing, has shown itself, in the almost total oblivion into
which nearly all Mr. Jones's productions have sunk, though many
of them contain fine thoughts, beautifully and forcibly expressed.
It would be easy to gather many flowers in the broad fields of
what he wrote, by very hastily running over them. In the Western
Literary Journal of 1836, is a poem of several hundred lines,
probably dashed off in an evening, which affords several worth
culling. I content myself with one. The poem is called "Marriage
a la Mode," and recounts the forced union of a lovely poor girl
to a rich rake, who wastes her bloom, breaks her heart and becomes
estranged from her. She hopes to regain his affection; but the
"Bear back the lightning to its cloud,
Recall the rose-leaf's vanished hue,
And give the dead man in his shroud
The breath of life he lately drew;
Then to the bosom seek to bring
The love that once has taken wing!"
This, from another source, though less striking and original,
is worth fathering:
The beautiful grape must be crush'd before
Can be gathered its glorious wine;
So the poet's heart must be wrung to its core,
Ere his song can be divine.
There are flowers which perfume yield not
Till their leaves have been rudely press'd;
So the poet's worth is revealed not
Till sorrow hath entered his breast.
In the year 1839, a series of satirical lyrics, entitled "Aristophanaea,"
appeared in the Cincinnati Gazette, which attracted a great
deal of attention. The edge of some of them was very sharp, and
in several respects many of them were well done. They were from
the pen of Mr. Jones, a fact long and well kept concealed, even
from the editor. He wrote another series of poems for the Gazette,
as "Dick Tinto," many of which had merit.
Mr. Jones was a native of Philadelphia. He was born about the
year 1815. His parents removed to Cincinnati when he was a child.
For several years previous to 1850 he practiced his profession
in New Orleans, but returned to Cincinnati in 1851, on account
of declining health. He died in Mill Creek township, Hamilton
county, July fourth, 1851, upon the old Ludlow Station, of pioneer
renown. In the year 1843, Mr. Jones was united in marriage to
Charlotte, daughter of James C. Ludlow, of the vicinity of Cincinnati,
who survives him with two children, the issue of their marriage.
Cincinnati and its environs had always a peculiar charm for Mr.
Jones. In a poem addressed to "The Queen City," he gave expression
to sentiments which had an abiding influence on his mind—which
led him to return from the South to the home of his youth, when
warned that engrossing business cares were wearing away his life:
How blest is he whose doom it is
A wanderer to roam,
Who even in memory can return
To such a lovely home.
Oh, were I in the fairest clime
That smiles beneath the sky,
Here would my spirit long to come
If not to live, to die.
As yearns the weary child at night
To gain its mother's breast;
So, weary with my wanderings,
Here would I long to rest.
Mr. Jones devoted much thought and labor, in the later years
of his life, to a dramatic poem called "Ishmael." It has never
been published. When given to the world it will establish his
reputation as a poet of high merit. It is quite different, not
only in conception and execution, but also in mental scope, from
any of his other productions.
Where rolls the dark and turbid Thames 
His consecrated wave along,
Sleeps one, than whose, few are the names
More worthy of the lyre and song;
Yet o'er whose spot of lone repose
No pilgrim eyes are seen to weep;
And no memorial marble throws
Its shadow where his ashes sleep.
Stop, stranger! there Tecumseh lies;
Behold the lowly resting-place
Of all that of the hero dies;
The Caesar Tully, of his race,
Whose arm of strength, and fiery tongue,
Have won him an immortal name,
And from the mouths of millions wrung
Reluctant tribute to his fame.
Stop for tis glory claims thy tear!
True worth belongs to all mankind;
And he whose ashes slumber here,
Though man in form was god in mind.
What matter he was not like thee,
In race and color; tis the soul
That marks man's true divinity;
Then let not shame thy tears control.
Art thou a patriot? so was he!
His breast was Freedom's holiest shrine;
And as thou bendest there thy knee,
His spirit will unite with thine.
All that a man can give, he gave;
His life: the country of his sires
From the oppressor's grasp to save:
In vain quench'd are his nations' fires.
Art thou as soldier? dost thou not
O'er deeds chivalric love to muse?
Here stay thy steps what better spot
Couldst thou for contemplation choose?
The earth beneath is holy ground;
It holds a thousand valiant braves;
Tread lightly o'er little mound,
For they are no ignoble graves.
Thermopylæ and Marathon
Though classic earth, can boast no more
Of deeds heroic than yon sun
Once saw upon this lonely shore,
When in a gallant nation's last
And deadliest struggle, for its own,
Tecumseh's fiery spirit passed
In blood, and sought its Father's throne.
Oh, softly fall the summer dew,
The tears of heaven, upon his sod,
For he in life and death was true,
Both to his country and his God;
For oh, if God to man has given,
From his bright home beyond the skies,
One feeling that's akin to heaven,
Tis his who for his country dies.
Rest, warrior, rest! Though not a dirge
Is thine, beside the wailing blast,
Time cannot in oblivion merge
The light thy star of glory cast;
While heave yon high hills to the sky,
While rolls yon dark and turbid river,
Thy name and fame can never die
Whom Freedom loves, will love forever.
 Thames. A river in Ontario, Canada. Near its banks,
October 5, 1813, the Americans under William Henry Harrison, hero
of Tippecanoe (1811), defeated the allied forces of the British,
under Proctor, and the Indians, under Tecumseh, who was killed in
["Tecumshe," in Emerson Venable (ed.),
Poets of Ohio 59-61 (Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company,
[See also, C.L. Martzoloff
(ed.), Poems on Ohio 39-40, 98-100 (Columbus, Ohio: F.J.
Heer Printing Co., 1911)(including the poems, "The Old Mound"
and "The Pioneers")]
[In Thomas William Herringshaw, Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century 537 (Chicago: American Publishers' Assoc., 1898), Jones's date of both is said to be "about 1805." "After studying law he removed to Louisiana and practiced in New Orleans. . . . He died July 4, 1851, in Mill Creek, Ohio."]
Charles A. Jones, The Outlaw, and Other Poems
(Cincinnati: J. Drake, 1835)