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Milam County, Texas

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J. R. Jones

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 658-659.

J. R. Jones - The subject of this notice has lived on Texas soil sixty-nine years and is therefore probably the oldest Texan in Milam county and among the oldest in the State. He is a native of Vincennes, Indiana, but comes of Southern ancestors, his father, Allen C. Jones, having been born on the Yadkin river in North Carolina, in 1785, where Jesse Jones, father of Allen C. Jones and grandfather of James R. Jones, settled towards the latter part of the last century.

Jesse Jones was a Revolutionary soldier, a patriot in the times that, as the historian wrote, "tried mens' (sic) souls." After taking an honorable part in the colonial struggle for independence, he settled on a farm in North Carolina where he passed his remaining days, dying there, well advanced in years. Allen C. Jones was reared in North Carolina where he learned farming and mastered the trades of carpentering, cabinet-making and blacksmithing. He followed these trades in his native State and in the States of South Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana, before his removal to Texas, in 1824. He was a man of great industry and originality and like "Tubal Cain" of old was known as "an artificer" among men.

On coming to Texas, in 1824, he resided in Nacogdoches county, then the first stopping place of most of the early settlers. Later he moved to Montgomery county where he engaged in farming and stock-raising, moving thence in 1845, when he settled in Goliad county, where he died in 1854. He had considerable experience, civil and military, having served under General Jackson in the war (sic) of 1812, in the Seminole war and in the war by which Texas won its independence, and having held, in Montgomery county, the offices of Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner and Commissioner of the Land Board.

He was three times married and was the father of fourteen children. He first married Margaret Ann Hynes, who resided near Terre Haute, Indiana, by whom he had five children: Delathia Jones, Keetion M. Jones, Andrew J. Jones, James R. Jones and Charles C. Jones.

His wife died, in 1824, and he married Jane Cranford, by whom he had six children: Martha Jones, Teretha Jones, Clarissa Jones, Allen C. Jones, Rhoda Jones and Sam H. Jones.

This wife died, about 1829, and for his third companion he married Mrs. Marisa Stone, by whom he had three children: David C. Jones, George W. Jones and Fannie Jones.

Of these fourteen sons and daughters but four are now living, the subject of this sketch being the eldest of this number; James R. Jones was born January 6, 1822. He was an infant when his parents moved to Texas. His childhood and youth were passed mainly in Nacogdoches and Montgomery counties and did not differ materially from that of other boys of his day. He was old enough to know something of the scenes which he saw enacted around him during the days of the Texas revolution (1835-1836) in which he took an incidental part as a member of the Home Guards organized to keep down Indian depredations and to quell incipient revolts on the part of Mexicans domiciled on Texas soil. Having been almost reared in the saddle and familiar from early youth with stock, young Jones naturally turned his attention in this direction when he began the duties of life for himself. For several years he was engaged in the harness business in southwest Texas - principally in Goliad county.

After this, about the year 1854, he settled in Leon county, some six miles north of Centerville, where he married and engaged in the settled pursuits of agriculture. In 1856 he moved to Milam county and located on Pond creek, where he purchased land and has since resided. He thus became of the first settlers of this vicinity and has witnessed the gradual settlement and development of the county in which he has done his full share.

Mr. Jones' peaceful ways give no suggestion of the exciting scenes of a military nature through which he has passed. As he sits and quietly discusses the problems of peace and gives his views on matters of practical concern, it is hard to realize that here is a man who has fought the Indians all over the frontier of Texas, who bore arms in the Mexican-Indian uprising of 1838-1839, who was in the expedition on the southwestern frontier under Wilson Somerville in 1842-1843 and who served throughout the entire period of the four years' struggle during the late war, taking part in the defense of Galveston, the capture of Sabine Pass and the series of sanguinary engagements following Banks' campaign up Red river. Yet such is a fact and such are the men who wrested this splendid domain from the hands of the savages and maruading (sic) bands of Mexicans and have done so much to convert it into an empire where have flourished all the arts and industries of peace.

In November 1848, Mr. Jones married Miss Mary B. White, daughter of Robert White, mention of whom will be found in the sketch of Colvin C. White elsewhere in this volume. This lady died in 1868 having borne her husband the following children: Charles C. Jones, who now resides in Callahan county; Margaret Ann Jones, the deceased wife of Joseph Hancock; Nancy Ann Jones, the deceased wife of Pat Lester; Juliet Jones, the deceased wife of S. M. Blaine; Richard H. Jones, of Milam county; Mary Lodema Jones, the deceased wife of B. L. Bozeman; and a daughter, Alice Jones, and three sons all of whom died young.

Mr. Jones married Ann Moor, April 8, 1869, and this lady died December 3, 1882. He married Mrs. S. J. Giddings, March 23, 1884. He has no children by either of his last marriages.

The religious connection of the family is with the Baptist Church, Mr. Jones having held a membership in the Little River Church for about thirty years.

We must say a special thank you to Earline Long-Zlotkowski of San Antonio, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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