The Kemp Sketch
JONES, DAVID J. -- The compiler is responsible for omitting the name of David J. Jones from the plaque in the San Jacinto memorial monument on which are inscribed the names of the Texans who participated in the battle of San Jacinto. The name should be added to the list.
Mr. Jones' name is shown on page 485, Vol. 1, Lamar Papers as David J. Jones, a member of Captain Samuel O. Pettus' company and as having been marched out to be shot on March 27, 1836 at La Bahia but managed to escape. The name David I. Jones appears on a list of men of Captain Samuel O. Pettus' company "whose names are found on register of Foreign Volunteers, but were not placed on original muster rolls on file" in the Adjutant General's Office. A copy of this list is on file in the General Land Office. Following his name is the notation: "Escaped from massacre- was executed for murder March 27, 1838."
Mr. Jones name does not appear on the San Jacinto rolls printed in 1836 or on those on file in the General Land Office. It appears as D. J. Jones on page 42, Land Office rolls as a member of Captain Joseph B. Chance's Company who was detailed to guard the camp opposite Harrisburg on April 21, 1836. Following the name is the notation: "In battle". On page 74, army rolls Mr. Jones is shown as having reenlisted in the army July 3rd for a period of three months and as having been transferred to Captain William W. Elliott's company, August 13, 1836. Bounty Certificate No. 271 for 96o acres of land was issued in his name March 18, 1847, due him for having served in the army from December 21, 1835 to October 3, 1836. No certificate was issued in his name for land due for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto.
Mr. Jones and John C. C. Quick were legally hanged at Houston Wednesday, March 28, 1838 for the murder of M. W. Brigham and Mandred Wood. "A citizen" who witnessed the execution stated in an article written by him and published in the Telegraph and Texas Register, March 31, 1838 that Mr. Jones had participated in the battle of San Jacinto.
Mr. Brigham died January 20, 1838 from the effects of his wound.
The following was printed in the Telegraph and Texas Register March 31, 1838:
"For the Telegraph
I was one of the vast number, (2000 and upwards,) who witnessed on Wednesday last, the execution of the sentence of death, pronounced at the late term of the District Court for the county of Harrisburg, judge ROBERTSON presiding, upon J. C. QUICK and DAVID JONES, for the murder of M. W. BRIGHAM and MANDRED WOODS.
I congratulate the good people of the republic of Texas that Law and Justice have been for one, with an energy and proptitude of judicial sanction hitherto unparalleled, enforced against the boldest and most reckless offenders. It had been for a long time a proverbial opinion, out of Texas, that capital offences, that cold-blooded, malicious murder, might be perpetrated here without, the fear of a condemnation of the law or public feeling. And yet, have two of the heroes of the war* been prosecuted with the most terrible rigors of criminal justice, condemned, and executed in the short space of four days after the pronunciation of the sentence! Let not calumny repeat the foul slander, that this is a lawless community; that here a delinquent may despise or escape the penalties due to crime. He Cannot. The terrors of retributive justice--the vengeance of the public hatred--the scorn of unsympathizing community, are sure here, in all time to come, to prosecute to the tomb, those who shall be bold enough to stalk forth, in defiance of the wise provisions of human, and the denunciations of the Divine law, to perpetrate deeds of Hell.
These victims of the violated law, who have paid the forfeit of their lives, were not convicted without the aid of counsel who were able and untiring," as judge Robertson remarked. In pronouncing sentence upon Quick, he observed, that he had had the benefit of counsel who evinced talents which greatly ornamented the profession--who threw around him the best defense which ingenuity could suggest, and of which the highest legal attainments were capable. This encomium of the judge was richly merited by Mr. J. C. Watrous, who though a stranger in the land, has not left unimproved the opportunity afforded him at this recent session of the District Court, of introducing himself most favorably to the court, the bar, and the public. His exertions for the prisoner who entrusted his life to his hands, though he had reason to suppose he was laboring against a sweeping tide of public indignation, which was strong against both culprits, entitled him to eminent credit, both for his independence as a lawyer. Knowing the cause of his client to be extremely desperate, he rested his defense upon objections founded in rules of law, which highly plausible of themselves and so well maintained, might have availed, of our system of jurisprudence had been long established, or had there appeared in any stage of the trial, "sloop to hand a doubt upon," of the damning guilt of the accused.
The result will doubtless prove of the utmost advantage to the public peace. It will long stand as an impressive admonition to bad men, that they may not expect, with the blackness of guilt upon their hands and consciences, to elude the severities of justice in the courts of law in this republic.
*Both Quick and Jones were engaged in the battles of the republic. The latter was in the affair of San Jacinto, after having escaped the massacre at Goliad. The high merit of such service being utterly unable to shield them."
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
- Company: Lieut. Robert Stevenson
- Alternate Names: D. J.
- Date of Death: 1838 Mar 28
- Comments: Escaped Goliad Massacre; hanged for murder
- Bounty Certificate: 271