History: Shirley Donnelly – Jones Death Recalls Finding Of Diamond

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. It notes: An alluvial diamond weighing 34.48 carats, largest to date found in North America, was discovered here in April 1928, by William P. “Punch” Jones and his father, Grover C. Jones, Sr., while pitching horseshoes in the home yard of Mr. and Mrs. Grover C. Jones. “Punch” was later killed in combat during World War II. Mr. and Mrs. Grover C. Jones still retain ownership of the diamond. Location: Peterstown, US 219, Sycamore & Market streets

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:




Newspaper clippings on the Jones Family:

The Bristol News Bulletin
Bristol, Tennessee
10 Jul 1940, Wed  •  Page 3
Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania)
03 Oct 1940, Thu
Page 1
The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia)
04 Oct 1940, Fri
Page 14
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati, Ohio
02 Oct 1940, Wed  •  Page 10
Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
28 Aug 1952, Thu  •  Page 4
Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
17 Feb 1974, Sun  •  Page 1
Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
17 Feb 1974, Sun  •  Page 2
Image result for jones diamond peterstown wv"


  1. The Jones Diamond may have been refound a simlar stone was found by Bernard Hale a rock and arrow head collector at the St. Clair Fault Where the Virginian Rail Road made a cut along the New River just east of Rich creek, Va. .Bernard was walking along there and found a stone that looked like that stone Bernard had a huge collection of rocks and Arrow heads and other things. When he was renting a place in Peterstown his collection disappeared and never was found this rock more than likely could have been part of his collection.

  2. 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 )

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.