Estates of John & James Jones 1817-1835

William Jones wrote a confusing will in January 1818. I’ve read the will many times and found it difficult to understand because he didn’t clarify several relationships regarding people he named in his will. William said “my son John”, and that when John died, “my four grandchildren” received John’s portion of the estate. The grandchildren were listed as Mary, Thomas, Mourning and John. This would seem to indicate that those four children were the children of John who is the son of William Jones. Also in the will, “Mary” was loaned 100 acres for life, but this same 100 acres was also to be divided equally between James P. and Samuel L. Jones. This statement has caused many to think that this “Mary” was the third wife of William because she was loaned land. I didn’t think Mary was a wife of William Jones, because Mary was listed as his granddaughter later in the will, but I wondered why Mary inherited as much as William Jones’ sons. Many people think Mary, James P. and Samuel were the children of William Jones, and not his grandchildren, because of this section of the will about the 100 acres. No relationship explanations were given in the will about Mary, James, or Samuel. In the will, John was mentioned as being William’s son, but “James” was not mentioned as a son. A James Jones was mentioned with five children in the Carrol Jones chancery case of 1859 where all of Carrol’s siblings, nieces and nephews were listed as heirs (see image below). At that point I thought that John was a first name and James was a middle name. I found a record in the court order books that clears up the confusion and shows me there was actually both a James and John Jones that were brothers. I did some more research and I found more records that helped me understand these two brothers better. 

James Jones died without a will. When someone died intestate (without a will), a family member sued the rest of the family, so that the estate could be divided up in Chancery Court. In this case, the mother wasn’t suing her children in the sense we think of lawsuits, but rather the purpose was to divide the estate so that they could each have their inheritance. These Chancery case notes were written in what was called the court order book. This record showed that Mary “Polly”(Polly was a common nickname for Mary) and James Jones had six children, all of which were mentioned in William Jones’ will. I believe that James died just before his father wrote his will. James’s brother Frederick Jones also died in the year 1817. I realized when I saw this order book entry that Mary and her two sons were receiving land as James’ portion of his inheritance. 

John P. Robinson was appointed the guardian of Mary and James Jones’s five children. The oldest child, John, was age 21 so he did not need a guardian. Williamson Rainey, William Thomas, Julius Lambert, Smith Rainey, and William Evans were appointed commissioners for the estate of James Jones. The estate was to be divided, with  ⅓ part for the complainant (the widow Polly), the other ⅔ part was for the defendants (Polly’s children). It was common for a widow to receive ⅓ of her husband’s estate. 

This chart shows the children of Mary and James Jones listed on three records:

1818 William Jones will1819 order book: Children of
John & Polly
1859-Carol Jones chancery 
Mary          -part ownership of enslaved individual SamboPollyMary Lambert
James P     -land, 50 acresPinkJames P
Samuel L    -land, 50 acresSamuelSamuel
Thomas     -part ownership of enslaved individual SamboThomasThomas (not listed, so he died)
Morning     -part ownership of enslaved individual SamboMorning/MornieMorning
John          -part ownership of enslaved individual SamboJohn Jones over age 21John

Samuel and his mother Mary Jones sold 50 acres to John B. Kidd in 1827, which later became Archer and Rebecca Cannon’s land as the heirs of John B. Kidd. The deed written in 1827 said Mary and Samuel were residents of Rutherford County, Tennessee. Mary and Samuel both needed to sell the land because it was willed to them both. I have not yet found records of Mary and James P., (known as “Pink”) selling the other half of land they inherited from William Jones. I also don’t know yet if James Jones owned land at the time of his death. I like this deed because it clarifies that Mary is the mother of James.

This deed of 1827, in which Mary and Samuel Jones sold 50 acres to John B. Kidd, gave me my first clue as to where the Jones family moved to in Tennessee. Previous to finding this deed, I only knew that they had moved to the state of Tennessee, sometime before 1859.

John Jones filed for a Revolutionary War pension in 1835. He gave his age as “77 years, this past February”, which means he was born Feb 1758. John didn’t marry or have children. He was “dependent on the charity of his brother” at the time of filing for his pension. The pension payments stopped in 1852, so John Jones probably died that year. This deposition from Carrol Jones indicates that they were brothers and that John Jones was a Revolutionary War veteran. 

1835 Carrol Jones deposition for John Jones pension

In conclusion, James and John Jones were brothers, not the same person. Mary Jones, who was the widow of James Jones, was loaned 100 acres in William Jones’s will of 1818. Mary and James Jones also had a daughter named Mary Jones, who married James Lambert.  All six children of Mary and James Jones were listed in William Jones’s will. No other grandchildren of William Jones were mentioned in his will. William Jones owned some land on Blackridge Rd about a mile and a half north of Rehoboth church. William and his sons also had land and lived on both sides of Nellie Jones Road around Great Creek. James Jones’s widow Mary, and children all moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee by 1830. John Jones stayed in Mecklenburg the rest of his life without marrying or having children. This chart shows my updates to the early Great Creek Jones family. 

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