History: Shirley Donnelly – Jones Death Recalls Finding Of Diamond

Shirley Donnelly was a local (Fayette County, WV) historian.  He wrote a column for the Beckley Post-Herald covering a wide range of topics (not just local).  I thought it would be fun to find original newspaper clippings and share them.  I will also try to find whatever links are available regarding the topic of his discussion.  If you have a favorite Shirley Donnelly piece you remember and would like me to find it, let me know and I will keep an eye out for it.

I had read of the Jones Diamond in an article I came across while doing genealogy.  Shirley Donnelly wrote an article about it which was included in a keepsake book of his articles.  This is the article as it appeared within the book:

There is a sign marker at the location where the diamond was found:

See the source image

According to e-WV:

Happenstance and a game of horseshoes led to the finding of the Jones Diamond. The diamond, also called the Horseshoe Diamond, was found on Rich Creek, near Peterstown, on Annie and Grover Jones’s property. 

In 1928, while pitching horseshoes, Grover and his oldest son, William ‘‘Punch’’ Jones, found a shiny stone. Punch carried it home, placed it in a box in the tool shed, and forgot about it. During World War II, Punch worked at an ammunition plant, using carbons to make gunpowder. Knowing that diamonds are a crystalline form of carbon, he wondered about the shiny stone he had picked up years earlier. His hunch was confirmed when a geologist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute pronounced the stone an alluvial diamond.

The blue-white gem weighed 34.46 carats and measured 5/8 inch in diameter. One of a few diamonds found in America, it is uncertain how the stone came to Rich Creek. From 1944 to 1968, the Jones Diamond was on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Upon return to West Virginia, it was exhibited at the State Fair. The Joneses owned the diamond until the early 1980s, when it was sold by Sotheby’s for an undisclosed amount.

And you would think that that one AMAZING fact would be all this family would have as their claim to fame. But…you would be wrong.

Grover (left) and Annie (rigt) Jones' family in 1940. Courtesy Robert D. Jones/collection West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Grover Cleveland Jones and his family were celebrities in 1940. They were invited guests to the New York World’s Fair and they got to meet Mayor LaGuardia and have dinner with President Roosevelt. That’s because Grover and his wife, Annie, had produced 15 consecutive sons, and all were alive and well. The family’s endorsement was sought by a number of companies, but Grover refused and the Jones’s went home to Peterstown. That must have been a difficult decision, as Grover struggled as a county school teacher to support his vast family.

I am tired just looking at that picture.  Think of how many years that poor mother was pregnant.

If you are interested in learning more about the Jones family, here are a couple links:




2 replies »

  1. Shirley Donnelly wrote a column on
    the Argabright family. Samuel Valentines son Daniel Valentine and his son Golden Argabright ( my Dad). It was about Daniels walking to Church from Hill Top to Glen Gene through the path in the woods and carried a lantern in the evenings. This light in,later years
    was what brought a black man to love Christ as he remembered this light going to Church.
    My address is Jean Van Hook
    13631 Eagle Ridge Dr 218
    Ft Myers, FL. 33912

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow Thoughts and Ponderances on WordPress.com


Blogs I Follow

Chelle’s Twitter



BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

Adventures of Toby

The exciting adventures of Toby the Wonderdog

monica byrne

novelist . playwright . traveler . futurist . feminist

Wish I Were Here

Journeys Through Place and Time

Commonplace Book Blog

Creative Nonfiction, Writing, and the Pleasures of Reading


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Scribblings from the Bluegrass

The other me: writing, cooking, sometimes snarky...

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

HistorianRuby: An Historian's Miscellany

Early modern historian. Loves gender, women's, social & royal histories. Ventures elswhere when interest is piqued. Blog may cover above themes or something a little more random. Find me on Twitter @ruthrblair

My Genealogy Life

Family stories are my buried treasure. -- Patricia Greber, treesrch1800 at gmail.com

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Daily Online Genealogy Newsletter

Taken the Series

The Adventures Of Chelle

Pieces of History

A blog of the U.S. National Archives

Streaming thru America

Finding and reporting what's special across America

Cabell County World War I Memorial Boulevard

Honoring the men from Cabell County, WV, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Needull in a haystack

Selected. Sorted. Shared.

charles french words reading and writing

An exploration of writing and reading

Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes

Everything's Mary

Finding happiness and trying new things on a budget.


Frank book reviews

The Elliptical Saloon

Weblog for WhiteHouseMuseum.org

Stories by Jake Fuentes on Medium

The Adventures Of Chelle

Stories by Yonatan Zunger on Medium

The Adventures Of Chelle

Books – Nerdist

The Adventures Of Chelle

Appalachian Magazine

The Adventures Of Chelle

Beyond the Edge

National Geographic Adventure Blog

The Plate

| Serving Daily Discussions on Food | National Geographic


A science salon

A Change of Tune

The Adventures Of Chelle

Barnes & Noble Reads

The Adventures Of Chelle


The Adventures Of Chelle

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Books blog | The Guardian

The Adventures Of Chelle

Love and Lemons

The Adventures Of Chelle

Outdoor Photographer

The Adventures Of Chelle

Speed 51

The Adventures Of Chelle

Beyond the Campsite

Clean Camp; New Journeys

Tinycamper's Blog

diy mini camper van, Casita & Aliner trailer mods, camping, outdoors, all things nature


The Adventures Of Chelle

Lazy Girl Running

The Adventures Of Chelle


The Adventures Of Chelle

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

The Adventures Of Chelle

%d bloggers like this: