Jones, David Picton


David Picton Jones was a London Missionary Society (LMS) missionary to central Africa. Jones was born in New Quay, Cardiganshire, Wales. His training for the Congregational ministry at Carmarthen was followed by a course in tropical medicine and first aid at Bristol General Hospital in preparation for his appointment to the Central Africa Mission of the LMS, in an area now part of Zambia. When Jones arrived in Uguha in March 1883, slave raiding had reduced the region to a state of virtual anarchy, forcing him to move frequently. He eventually settled at Kambole on the Ulungu plain. Between 1887 and 1889 he played a key role in the short-lived experiment of establishing missionary-governed stockaded villages for the protection of the local Mambwe and Lungu populations, long the prey of Bemba and Arab slave raiders. The experiment rapidly degenerated into draconian comprehensive control over political, judicial, and social aspects of African life. Early on, LMS directors expressed strong disapproval of the system, but missionaries continued to exercise temporal authority as late as 1905.

Jones’s flair for languages resulted in the translation of Aesop’s Fables, the New Testament, and various hymn books into Kimambwe. Upon completion of his translation work, Jones was appointed to Matabeleland, settling at Inyati until ill health induced his retirement from missionary service in 1903. Back in Great Britain, Jones pastored churches at Llansamlet (near Swansea), Glamorganshire (1903-1923), and Clydach (1916-1918). He died at Warmley, Bristol.

Jonathan J. Bonk


David Picton Jones, After Livingstone (1968). Jonathan J. Bonk, The Theory and Practice of Missionary Identification, 1860-1920 (1989); Richard Lovett, The History of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895 (1899); Robert I. Rotberg, Christian Missionaries and the Creation of Northern Rhodesia, 1880-1924 (1965); James Sibree, London Missionary Society: A Register of Missionaries, Deputations, Etc., from 1796-1923 (1923).

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.