Mary Ann Grimes Jones

1839 – 1930

Author: Wiley Jordan – Virginia Crilley

Wiley Jordan

Contributed 05 Nov 2007 by Virginia Crilley

My great-grandmother, Mary Ann Grimes Jones, was a pillar of strength who had a long, difficult and productive life.  Mary Ann was the eldest child of a Texas pioneer (Austin’s Second Colony) who was with Sam Houston at San Jacinto (1836).

She was born in Austin County, but by 1851, F.M. and Elmira moved their family — Mary Ann, Martha Jane, Thomas, Samuel, Henry and baby F.M. to become the early settlers around Fort Gates in Coryell County.  Jan 1852, F.M. signed a petition to the Governor about protection from the Comanche Indians, and two companies with barracks came to protect these early settlers on the Leon River.

In 1858 Mary Ann and her parents were Charter Members of the Onion Creek (later called Eagle Spring) Baptist Church.  The Grimes had arrived in Coryell County as it was being settled were by then well-off landowners.  Another charter member was Daniel Jones, a handsome ‘older man’ who was the local blacksmith and possibly wheelwright.  Working at the forge is a very dirty job and the prosperous Grimes probably thought him uncouth and quite beneath them.

By 1859, when she was 19, Mary Ann was living with no less than seven younger siblings:  Martha Jane (17), Tom Farley (16), Samuel W. (15), Henry Archer (10), Frederick Miller II (9), Nancy Ellen (7), Sarah Catherine “Sallie” (4) and Elizabeth Virginia “Bettie” (2).

According to family lore, Mary Ann was walking across the meadow one day when she ran into Dan Jones, riding a bay horse and leading a mare.  Dan said, “You’re a fine-lookin’ girl.  Why don’t you get on this horse and come along with me?  To put it briefly, she did — and her parents, who probably believed that Mary Ann was marrying beneath herself, never spoke to her again. They married July 14, 1859.  Her sister, Martha Jane, had married William J. Jahn a month earlier, June 1, 1859.

The angered parents took swift action — both of them drawing up wills Aug 5, 1859 that all their property would be divided equally among their children or heirs but excluding Mary Ann or her heirs.

When the Civil War started, Daniel Jones was called to the Confederate Army.  Mary Ann – who was about 25 years old — was left to manage the farm and their first two children (Daniel Calvin Jones born May 26, 1860 and Mary Elizabeth Jones, born March 2, 1862) all by herself.

On January 3, 1864 Daniel wrote Mary Ann from Galveston Island, “You wanted me to advise you about selling corn if you need anything that you can’t buy with money, I would sell corn, if not I would not. Corn is better than money but I want you to exercise your own judgement in these matters. I would pay someone a good price if they would get my wheat and have it ground. I am sorry you have to live on cornbread and beef have you no cows up if not try to get someone to pen you some and about the boy I want you to do just as you please you have a better idea whether you need him and whether he would make your burdens lighter than I have. I hope my Dear you will manage as you think best and not wait to consult me. You know that I always relied on your judgement and why ask me what to do if I was there, I could consult with you.”

A few years after the war, during the Northern occupation, two of Mary Ann’s brothers — Tom and Henry — went on a cattle drive to Kansas.  Back in Waco on Oct 18, 1869 they were celebrating their successful return, as well as Tom’s approaching marriage. Tom had the wedding ring, and his new clothes, on his horse.  It was common then, in Waco, to have a few drinks in the saloon then ride around the Courthouse and shoot up.   The Sheriff attempted to arrest them, but they rode off.  Union Soldiers pursued, there was a shoot-out and both boys were killed

Mary Ann had three more children after the war:  Martha Idella Jones, born Jan 2, 1865; Melinda Lutetia Jones, born Jan 19, 1867 and Frederic Miller Iredell Jones, born February 17, 1875.  They made their home in Moody and were faithful members of the Baptist Church there.

On January 19, 1888 Mary Ann’s daughter-in-law Melisa Eudotia Burger died, leaving two small children, Freemont (“Mont”) Jordan Jones, four (born November 15, 1883) and Melinda Lutetia, three (born December 26, 1885). The widowed father Daniel and his children moved in with his parents.  The little girl, Melinda Lutetia, who had exactly the same name as her father’s sister, and was living in the same home, was from then on known as “Little Mary.”

One year later Mary Ann lost her parents, her husband and their son.  Her parents died in late 1889, Elmira Susan on August 19 and Frederick Miller only a few months later, on December 9.  Even though they were estranged, and had moved away to Navarro County, their deaths must have been sad — especially since they never reconciled.

Mary Ann’s husband Daniel died on February 17, 1890 and their son Wiley Samuel Martin Jones, 20, followed only days later, on February 23.  As if that weren’t enough, Mary Ann’s youngest grandson, Winston Roswell Jordan, 28, died in 1928 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Mary Ann Jones survived the deaths during the winter of 1889/1890 and that of her grandson.  She died at her home in Moody, Texas, age 91, on November 29, 1930.