The Kemp Sketch
JONES, DR. ANSON -- Born January 20, 1798 in the township of Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Solomon Jones, his father served five years in the Revolutionary War; fought at Bunker Hill and was at Saratoga when Burgoyne surrendered. He was later married to Sarah Strong and to them were born fourteen children, four of which died in infancy. The others in order or birth were Sarah, Sophia, Mary, Nancy, Betsy, Clarissa, William, Ira, Anson, and Almira. Soloman Jones was a farmer, rented land, and moved with his family on several occasions to new locations. He was living in Berkshire County at the outbreak of the war in 1812 and promptly enlisted in the United States army. Anson in 1813, while attending Lenox Academy in Lenox, Massachusetts, wanted to enter the army but was persuaded not to do so by his parents.
Mrs. Sarah Jones, Mother of Anson,, died at Lenox in 1816 and in the following year Anson went to Litchfield, Connecticut to live with his three sisters, Sophia, Mary and Betsy, who had previously moved there. At Litchfield he studied medicine for a year in the office of Dr. Daniel Sheldon. Then he went to the neighboring town of Goshen where for a year he taught school, reading medicine during his leisure hours. In 1818 he moved to Utica, New York to clerk in the small store owned by his brother, William. At his spare time he studied medicine in the office of Dr. Amos G. Hull. During the year 1820 he was licensed to practice medicine by the Oneida Medical Society. After following his profession for a year in Bambridge, New York, he purchased a stock of medicines on account and opened up a drug store at Norwich. This venture failing, Dr. Jones moved to Philadelphia and there practiced medicine for a few months but finding that he was not making expenses he again taught school. In 1824 he had an offer to go to Venezuela from a Mr. Lowry, the American Consul for Laguayra. In June, 1826 he returned to Philadelphia and there attended lectures in Jefferson Medical College receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine in March, 1827. There he joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and took active interest in the Lodge. On June 13, 1831 he was elevated to the position of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
In October 1832, Dr. Jones moved to New Orleans and in the spring of 1833 he opened an office on Canal Street and continued the practice of his profession. This for only a short time, however, for in October of that year he set sail for Velasco, Texas on the "Sabine", with Captain Brown, whose acquaintance he had made some time previous. Upon his arrival in Texas he had seventeen dollars in money and a stock of medicine valued at about fifty dollars. He, however, owed more than two thousand dollars to his creditors. Settling in Brazoria he was soon the leading physician in the vicinity. In the winter of 1834 his sister, Mary Jones, came to Texas and kept house for him and in the spring of 1835 Ira Jones, a cousin of Dr. Jones, moved to Brazoria and completed his studies in medicine in Dr. Jones' office and subsequently became associated with him in business.
On December 27, 1835 a dispensation was obtained from the Grand (Masonic) Lodge of Louisiana to establish Holland Lodge No. 36 at Brazoria and Dr. Jones was its first Worshipful master. This lodge was later moved to Houston as Holland Lodge No. 1 of Texas. The Grand Lodge of Texas was established in 1837 with Dr. Jones as Grand Master.
In December, 1835, Dr. Jones aided in calling a mass meeting at Columbia at which, as chairman of the resolution committee he drew up and advocated a resolution in favor of a Declaration of Independence from Mexico and calling a Convention for the people of Texas on the first Monday in March, 1836, to make the Declaration, and frame a constitution. The resolution was advocated by Dr. Jones, James Collinsworth and Benjamine C. Franklin (all of whom later fought at San Jacinto) but fearing opposition it was not put before the meeting for a vote.
Two days before General Houston began his retreat towards the Brazos, Dr. Jones enlisted as a private in Captain Robert J. Calder's Company, but was shortly afterward appointed surgeon of the First Regiment of Texas Volunteers. At the camp opposite Harrisburg he was left with the sick, but after providing for their needs he hastened to rejoin the main army. At San Jacinto he fought in the ranks until summoned to care for the wounded. He is shown on the official San Jacinto roll as Surgeon of the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers. On May 14, 1838 he was issued Donation Certificate No. 4 for 640 acres of land for having fought bravely April 20 and 2l, 1836. He received Bounty Certificate No. 963 for 1280 acres of land for his services in the army from May 10, 1836 to May 10, 1837.
Dr. Jones accompanied President Burnet and General Houston to Galveston after the battle. On May 10, 1836 he was appointed Assistant Surgeon and Medical Purveyor to the Army of Texas, and was sent to New Orleans to procure supplies. He was gone about a month.
Dr. Jones was a member of the House of Representatives, from Brazoria County, in the Second Congress of the Republic, September 25, 1837 to May 25, 1839. He was appointed Minister to the United States by President Houston and was received at the White House by President Van Buren October 9, 1838 and on October 12th he withdrew the application Texas had made to the United States for annexation. During his stay in Washington he was elected to the Senate of Texas to the Fourth Congress, November 11, 1839 to February 5, 1840, from the District of Brazoria to serve out the unexpired term of William H. Wharton, who had accidently killed himself. When Vice-President Burnet began serving as President in the absence of President Lamar, who had been granted a leave of absence by Congress in which to regain his health, Dr. Jones was elected President of the senate. He was re-elected to the Senate of the Fifth Congress, November 2, 1840 to February 5, 1841. He was appointed Secretary of State by President Houston December 23, 1841 and on September 6, 1844 was elected President (the last) of the Republic of Texas, being inaugurated December 9th.
In 1857 he was brought out by his friends as a candidate to succeed Thomas J. Rusk in the United State Senate but was defeated by James Pinckney Henderson.
On March 17, 1840 Dr. Jones was married at Austin to Mrs. Mary Smith McCrory, the young widow of Hugh McCrory, who had died in Houston September 13, 1837. Their home in Austin was on Pecan Street, now Sixth Street. In 1842 they moved to Columbia and in 1842 to Washington where for a time they boarded at the home of J. L. Farquhar. Later in the year they purchased one-fourth of a league of land near the town which was named "Barrington" in honor of the township in Massachusetts in which Dr. Jones was born.
Dr. Jones, while despondent took his own life in a room in the Capitol Hotel, formerly the capitol of the Republic, January 8, 1858 at 3:00 A. M. by shooting himself. He was buried in a cemetery in Houston. Later his remains were removed to Magnolia cemetery, Galveston when the remains of many men prominent in Texas history were being reinterred. When that cemetery was abandoned the remains of Dr. Jones were again removed, this time to Glenwood Cemetery, Houston. Mrs. Jones survived her husband by many years, dying at Houston, July 23, 1897. Her remains were placed besides those of her husband.
At the home of Mrs. Andrew Briscoe in Houston, November 6, 1891, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas was organized with Mrs. Jones as President. The idea of organization originated in a conversation between Miss Betty Ballinger and Miss Hallie B. Bryan of Galveston.
Children of President and Mrs. Jones were Samuel Edward, born February 26, 1841 and died May 19, 1913; Charles Elliott, born September 14, 1848 and fell at Shiloh, April 7, 1862; Sarah Sophia, born January 8, 1845, married R. Gaston Ashe, and died July 4, 1919; and Cromwell Anson Jones, born June 5, 1850 at "Barrington" Washington County and died at Houston January 19, 1888.
"In March came the news of the fall and massacre of the Alamo, and I immediately enlisted as a volunteer private soldier in Captain Calder's company, 2d Regiment infantry, and joined the army at the Beeson crossing on the Colorado, two days before the retreat to the Brazos commenced. My cousin, Ira Jones, I left at Brazoria to look after my interests, and herewith instructions, as requested by him, that if the place should be abandoned, he should join me in the army, which he subsequently did. During the time the troops were encamped in the Brazos bottom, the dysentery and measles broke out (April, 1836) and at the very urgent solicitations of Col. Sherman, and many of my friends and former patients in the army, I consented to take the post of surgeon of the 2d Regiment. It was necessary, in fact, for me to do so, but I made it a condition of accepting, that I should be permitted to resign so soon as the necessity of my acceptance of the place should cease; and that, in the mean time, I should be permitted to hold 'my rank' as a private in the line. In accordance with this agreement, I continued to do duty in both capacities, until the increase of sickness compelled me to give up my 'privateship'....
("April 2d, 1836.- I discharged from this time the duties of Judge Advocate General, until I left for New Orleans, in May. V. 'Army Orders.')
"I saw but little of Gen. Houston, and had not much conversation with him until the evening of the day we crossed the Brazos at Groce's, when we took supper together with some relatives of Mr. Groce, who were occupying his house temporarily. He asked me, after supper, privately, what I thought of the prospects. I told him the men were deserting, and if the retreating policy were continued much longer, he would be pretty much alone. He said there was a 'traitor' in the army among the officers and asked me to guess who it was. I immediately, without a moments hesitation, replied that I 'guessed' it was one of his volunteer aide, Col. Perry. The General said, I have intercepted a letter of his to the Cabinet; he is endeavoring to have the command taken from me, and wants it himself. I told him I had no confidence in Perry, and thought him a reckless fool, but that he (Houston) might depend upon it, there was a deep and growing dissatisfaction in the camp, and that Perry's conduct was but an index of that feeling. He seemed thoughtful and irresolute; said he hoped yet to get a bloodless victory; and the conversation dropped, with an expression of an earnest hope on my part, that the next move he made would be towards the enemy. (April 15, 1836)
"On the morning of the day we left camp at Harrisburg and crossed the bayou, a 'general order' was issued, and a detail was made to stay with the sick; and I and Dr. Phelps (hospital surgeon) were of the number. I resolved as I have done on subsequent occasions, to 'disobey the order'. I, therefore, having attended to my daily routine, handed over my sick to the hospital surgeon, and joining the army at the crossing, about sundown, and proceeded with it to Lynchburg. As a consequence, I participated in the battle of San Jacinto next day and on the 21st, and that night was occupied the entire time, and until sunrise next morning, in assisting to dress the wounds received on the field. I accompanied the Commander-in-chief and the captive Mexican President to Galveston, having resigned my office as surgeon of the 2d Regiment in favor of my cousin, Ira Jones, who had joined the army a short time previous. I was now appointed Assistant Surgeon-General and Medical Purveyor to the army, and sent to New Orleans to procure supplies (May th). I was absent about a month, and returning, made my headquarters at Brazoria....."
Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.
- Died in Battle: No
- Rank: Private/Surgeon
- Company: Capt. Robert J. Calder
- Battle Account: Transcribed in Kemp biography
- Date of Birth: 1798 Jan 20
- Birthplace: Massachusetts, Berkshire County, Great Barrington
- Origin: Louisiana
- Came to Texas: 1833
- Date of Death: 1858 Jan 8? 9?
- Burial Place: Glenwood Cemetyer, Houston, Texas
- Comments: Suicide; last president of Texas
- Bounty Certificate: 963
- Donation Certificate: 4
- Profession: Doctor, politician
- Wife: Mary Smith McCrory
- Children: Samuel Edward Jones; Charles Elliott Jones; Sarah Sophia Jones Ashe; Cromwell Anson Jones