Old Great Creek Jones family land

Jones is one of the most common names in the world. Yet, all the Jones I’ve researched in the Great Creek area of Mecklenburg appear related. There are many cousin marriages between William Jones’ descendants. The family tree criss-crosses more than it branches out! William Jones had 1 daughter and 6 sons named in his will. A few of William’s grandchildren moved away. But the majority of William Jones’s descendants remained. Some of William Jones’s descendants still live in the same area, 200 years later!

William was illiterate. He signed “his mark”. Interestingly the will states, “Pronounced and dictated by the said William Jones”. I have not yet found a record which gives a birth date for William Jones. If he was born about 1737- his approximate year of birth according to some estimates, then he would have been about age 25 at his first marriage (name of first wife unknown) and age 55 when he married Agnes Bolling Clask. He would also have lived to be about age 81, outliving his wife Agnes and his sons Frederick and Richard. Carrol, Charles and Milbury were unmarried and without children. William B. Jones(son of William Jones) sons, James and Zachariah, were teenagers when their grandfather William Jones died.

I don’t know where William Jones was born or when he first called Mecklenburg home. The mother of William’s children is unknown. Because of that, I wonder if William was married further north and moved to Mecklenburg as a young widow? Or if the old church record marriage was just lost over time? Or if we just aren’t sure because William Jones is such a common name? William’s children are estimated to be born in the mid 1760’s, which was still in Colonial days, and about the time Mecklenburg was being established. Were the children born on the frontier of Mecklenburg? Or further north in more established areas? William married Agnes Clask in Brunswick County VA in 1792. He may have been living in Mecklenburg at that time. I do know the Great Creek Jones family was in Mecklenburg before the War of 1812 because a few of them were witnesses on the War of 1812 pension depositions. By 1820, Jones children and grandchildren lived along currently named Nellie Jones Rd (Nellie was William’s daughter-in-law) and Blackridge Rd.

I’ve made changes to traditional versions of Jones family charts, by reducing the number of children William had: William’s will (Written Jan 1818) was somewhat confusing, especially regarding his son John. Many people’s trees and charts say that Mary was William’s 3rd wife (with some charts reporting her as a daughter) because the will says “I lend to Mary 100 acres of land.” But the will never says the word “wife”; Mary is actually William’s granddaughter. The will also doesn’t say “grandchild”. John’s information gets confusing because his children’s names aren’t consistent throughout the will. In Carrol Jones’ estate papers, he calls his brother John by the name of James, listing the same children. So in my chart, he is named “John James Jones.” John’s children are the only grandchildren specifically named in the will. There is a reference to “the children” of Frederick and “the children” of Richard. William B. Jones’ 2 children are not mentioned or referenced at all. I don’t understand the value of things in Virginia in this time period, but the division of William’s estate does not appear to be equally divided between his children. John’s children are mentioned twice with land, so I theorize he is the oldest child, and was probably considered the main heir.

There were 13 slaves listed by name as part of William’s estate. I will post more about these individuals in the future, when I am able to look at more records. William’s will also includes: 3 beds, furniture, and 580 acres. The land was divided into 5 pieces. I have not yet seen any indication that Frederick or Richard inherited any land. I do know where Frederick lived and was buried. I assume that Frederick purchased his land, but am still trying to find earlier land records. The land descriptions in William’s will sound to me like his sons were already living on these parcels of land, with the will officially transferring the title to his sons.

  1. Charles Jones was given 190 acres with “Blue Spring Branch”, a creek, James Burton, Winfield Wynn, Joshua Winfield & Black’s Rd as neighboring properties. This property later went to Lieu Jones and James B. Jones.
  2. John Jones was given 90 acres bordering his brother Carrol Jones land, a creek at Douglas Plantation patch, and Joshua Winfield as neighboring properties.
  3. Carrol Jones was given 100 acres bordering his brother John, the creek at Douglas Plantation Patch down to Mrs. Wynn’s line, Jesse Taylor, & Joshua Winfield as neighboring properties.
  4. Mary is loaned 100 acres, later to be divided with brothers James and Samuel. (siblings John & Morning were excluded) Jesse Taylor, Jesse’s spring branch to where the road crosses the branch, the creek, Muston’s line, Mrs. Wynne, Carrol Jones were neighboring properties. (John’s family gets 2 parcels of land. #2 & #4)
  5. William is given 100 acres. Jesse Taylor, to where the road crosses James Jones spring branch, to the creek, Muston, on the creek to Hinton’s line, and Love as neighboring properties. “8 or 10 acres to be included at the fork of the creek to his tract.” This property might have gone to the elder son, James B. Jones, who owned 100 acres. Zachariah Jones paid off his father William’s debt, and got 210 acres at age 23! I believe that William B. Jones lived on Zachariah’s land, and that he lived by his 2 sons the rest of his life

I’ve not yet found where Carrol Jones, Richard Jones or John Jones’s 2 properties were, but I expect them to be along Great Creek. Probably in between Charles and William’s land. Richard Jones died pre-1800, 26 years before his father William died. He might not have ever owned land. Milbury was not left any land, and is not known to have married. In this time period, that likely means she was dependent on a brother. If that was the case, I wonder which brother she lived with? I also wonder if the 100 acres loaned to Mary was where William (Senior) lived?

I’ve been researching the Jones family and their land in the Great Creek area for almost 20 years. There is still much more to understand, learn and find! So far, the few possible Jones burial plots I’ve found contain only graves without tombstones. (Except for Frederick). I’ve only found a few possible Jones graves for a whole lot of people though, so I keep searching. It would be helpful to know exactly where Joshua Winfield, James Burton, Mrs. Wynn, (Mr?) Muston, and Jesse Taylor lived about 1815 to 1820. I’m also looking fo the location of “Douglas Plantation Patch near a creek”. I’m thinking the creek mentioned is Great Creek. There’s also a “Blue Spring Branch” I’ve not heard of before. Have you heard of these places? Or heard rumors of where their cemeteries are?

Roy Jones-WWI Veteran


Roy Jones with his wife Bertha and children Evelyn and baby Leroy.

Julie’s note: Robert Leroy Jones, known as Roy Jones was a soldier in WWI. It was not an experience he wanted to talk about, which I think is an important story too. Don Bell told me, “When I was in the Army he’d always ask me ‘how many boys are in the camp?’ I told him we had women in the camp too. Uncle Ashly Thompson was also in war and lost an arm in combat. Like most veterans of extreme combat, they did not talk about it. I served 20 years and know this to be true.” Don Bell told me had a long history of veterans in his family. I asked him to tell me so I could put these stories with Roy Jones’s military spotlight. Pictures and stories of this post are shared by Don Bell. I made this chart to go along with the people from Richard Jones family that Don wrote about below. Thank you Don!

I’ll try to put this in the perspective of my ancestors on my mother’s side of the family, the Joneses. Also will include spouses who served in WWI or II.


Edward Jones was injured and in hospital a few times during the war. He was in the 14th VA, Co F. He was released from Point Lookout Prison in Maryland 14 Jun 1865. His muster roll  said he was 5 foot, 7 inches tall. He had light complexion, dark eyes and dark hair.


Edward’s son Richard was my great grandfather and with his second wife, Martha Alice Malone, they had seven children. I will list them below and provide a short description of military service as I understand it.


1. Charles Edward Jones born July 6, 1884. I have no record of service in WWI. He did have a son, John Barner Jones who was drafted into WWII at the age of 36. He served in Italy and Africa and apparently saw some combat but due to injuries was given an admin job behind the lines. He became the driver for wartime correspondent, Ernie Pyle, and drove for him for a while. Pyle later returned to the US to cover the Pacific Theater and was killed at Okinawa.


2. Grace Ellen Jones. Of course she didn’t serve nor did her husband. She had a son, Richard Davies Walker. During WWII he served with the 1329th Service Command at Camp Patrick Henry. He was an MP (military police). Camp Patrick Henry served as a Prisoner of War Camp and Davies Walker guarded German prisoners.


3. Boyd Beasley Jones was born July 1889. I remember him well. He served in WWI with the 28th Infantry Division, L Company, 110th Infantry regiment. I have read somewhere that my Uncle Boyd and my grandfather, Roy, trained at Camp Lee Virginia near the beginning of the war. During that time the Spanish Flu was a pandemic. One of my relatives went to Camp Lee, now Fort Lee, to visit them but could not because they were in quarantine. Don’t we know?


4. Frank Vernon Jones, October 1891, was not drafted and did not serve in WWI. His son, Weldon Edward Jones served in WWII with the Ninth Air Force 1944-46, Germany and France.


5. Robert LeRoy Jones, June 1894, my grandfather served in WWI with the 30th Infantry Division. I do know that he served in combat but would not talk about it. His son and my uncle Vernon Leroy Jones, deceased, served in the Korean War at the battle of Chosin Reservoir. It was one of the most gruesome fights of that war. It occurred in the dead of winter and in addition to battling 120,000 Chinese, they fought freezing cold. My uncle came back from Korea missing a finger. I think it was frostbite.


6. Rosa Jones, May 1887 married Ashley Thompson who served in WWI. He was wounded and lost an arm. Due to this he received a medical disability pension. That actually made him appear wealthy especially during the great depression. I remember fondly my Uncle Ashley. When I was a teenager he would take me hunting and fishing with him. He adapted to one arm being able to shoot a double barrel shot gun and he rigged his fishing gear for use with one hand. When I was old enough to drive, he brought he along more because it was hard to drive with one arm.


7. Henry Richard Jones, March 1900 was the youngest of my great uncles. He was not drafted nor did he have children.
That is the story as I know it. My father Floyd Bell Jr. and my uncle Arthur Bell, both deceased, served in the Navy during WWII. My dad was on a destroyer escort and my uncle was assigned to a hospital ship. My dad didn’t see combat not did my uncle. But, being a small world, they “bumped” into each other in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during war. My Dad’s CO allowed him to visit with his brother on the hospital ship for a one day liberty.


I guess that it is not surprising that I followed all that with a 20 year career in the Army. When I signed up for ROTC at the University of Richmond in 1965, I knew very little of the family history. I guess the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree.

Floyd Bell Jr, WWII veteran
Leroy Jones, Korean War veteran

What is a chancery? Kidd land example

I love the genealogical treasures you can find in chancery cases! In this post, I’ll try to explain what a chancery case is, and how they help me with family history; using the chancery of Jimmy Kidd’s estate as an example. Chancery records are not “beginner genealogy”, but it’s so worth it to learn more about these records because they tell us: women’s maiden names, when people died, relationships stated under oath, depositions about how people are related or how they know the plaintiff or defendant, copies of wills, copies of plats, etc. It depends on the type of complaint in the chancery case how much of that is included. In Virginia, all chancery cases before 1930 were sent to LVA (Library of Virginia), also before 1930, divorce cases (which were part of the circuit court) were sent to LVA, and are part of the chancery collection. LVA has an amazing searchable index which is available online. You can search by county for plaintiff, defendant, or just surname(which includes “other”, like a witness). I always search “surname” which includes searches for all 3 categories (see image below). When I first started researching my Virginia ancestors, I was disappointed that my family didn’t have any wills. But then I discovered that because they didn’t have wills, their estates were divided in chancery, with much more information in the chancery case than a will would have contained. Chancery records are some of the best proof I know for family links, especially if you are researching Taylors & Jones.

The LVA site says “There are over 272,000 cases indexed in the database and nearly 11 million images of chancery causes available online.” Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties have not yet been digitized, so I go to the actual LVA to see the originals. Orange county has them microfilmed, so I view those microfilms at LVA. Madison County has them digitized. You can scan through the folder and view the whole case on the LVA website. The search results will tell you about the case, the surnames in the case, and the format so you will know how you can view it.

There are several parts to a chancery case. The genealogical information is usually in the bill of complaint and answer. There’s also the judge’s answer (decision). If the complaint is that a will is not being fulfilled, the will is usually included. If the complaint is that a person died without a will and has land to be divided between heirs, a plat may be ordered and land divided. If someone promised to free their slaves at death and the slaves aren’t freed, there may be written proof and probably depositions of people saying they were told by their friend (or brother etc) that the slaves were to be freed. Other reasons for cases I have seen include: debts or bonds signed, secured with land, but the debt has not been paid by the promised date. The judge would then order the land to be sold to pay the debt. I also have seen debts involving slaves, owners loaning their slaves to build houses, harvest crops etc and charging fees with interest, that the other person could not pay by the due date. Large chancery cases are often full of receipts of people paying debts in payments or receiving payments. After the civil war, many people went to chancery court, because they had no money to pay their debts, or executors could not fulfill the will anymore. This is a link to an LVA document which explains chancery cases in detail. Page 3 gives more detail about the parts of a case. https://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn22_chancery.pdf

There are over 272,000 cases indexed in the database and nearly 11 million images of chancery causes available online.

Library of Virginia

The legal language of chancery cases can get confusing. I bought a Barron’s dictionary of legal terms (written for non-lawyers) to help me better understand what some of the more complex cases I copied mean. One thing that confused me when I first started, was why a sibling was suing all his other siblings, yet asking for equal inheritance for himself and all his siblings?! He wasn’t actually suing as we might think of today, but rather this was the legal language used to get the case into court so they could equally receive their inheritance.

What is the difference between a chancery court and other courts? One big difference is that in chancery, a judge decides the result, not a jury. One observation I have is that cases usually involve money, property or land. LVA has a great write up about that as well, here is their explanation: https://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/faq

Example of Jimmy Kidd chancery case:

I did not know this land was in chancery until a friend found this newspaper article for me. This includes 2 pieces of land owned by Jimmy Kidd and his wife Nannie Gray. I knew that one of these farms was John Gray’s old farm. The other was the farm where Nannie & Jimmy lived. I did not see this chancery case in the LVA chancery index. I took this newspaper article to the LVA archivists and they told me they did not have this case. This is right about the time courthouses were sending older cases to LVA but keeping current cases. I went to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and they did have it! And it was all typed!

This was a rather large case which included lots of documenting receipts. I copied the complaint, answer and depositions, which are in this file that you can download here. Everything in the chancery was typed, but there was one handwritten page by Ewing Kidd (TE Kidd, Thomas Ewing Kidd), so I copied that as well. The case was still folded & held together in legal folders with clips, so they aren’t all copied straight and even. Here are the pages I copied, if you’d like to view the case:

Chart to go with chancery case. Formatted to legal size 8.5×14

Scanned copy of Jimmy’s will at the courthouse

This chancery case gives a typed copy of Jimmy Kidd’s will, which says he leaves everything to his wife Nannie, then after she dies, the estate is to be equally divided between his children. This chancery case was filed because the heirs didn’t feel the two properties could be divided equally between 8 children. Depositions were taken of neighbors, asking if they felt the land could be divided equally, or if the land should be sold and the money divided equally between the 8 heirs. One important note is that Benjamin Bart Kidd died in 1925, before this case began. So his share was to be divided between his 3 children. Bart’s widow had remarried and she now went by the name of Bettie Johnson. This map shows the two pieces of land in the chancery case, letter A & letter B. The men who gave depositions are also noted with their names on their property locations. Note: Edwin Lambert would have lived above his store at old Bracey, just a little to the west of where this map cuts off.

The judge decided to sell the 2 parcels and divide the receipts of the sale between the heirs. Edwin Lambert bought parcel A, the farm his wife grew up on. Adolphus Kidd bought parcel B, which used to be the Gray farm.

map to go with depositions

Here are some highlights from the 1930 depositions, about land and relationships.

signatures of Bart Kidd & Alma’s children
1935 signature of Bettie, the widow of Benjamin Bart Kidd
Ewing Kidd’s handwriting

DT Ridout picture & family

Dave Ridout sent me this picture to share. A cousin gave him a copy, but they aren’t sure which of the two DT Ridouts this could be. One DT Ridout is David Thomas Ridout who lived from 1820-1876. He was first married to Mary E. Thomas, a daughter of Robin Thomas and Rebecca Jones. His second wife was Rebecca Wells.

The second David T. Ridout I know about, lived from 1838-1908. He was the son of William Ridout and Calissa Barker. His uncle (his father William’s brother) was the other David T. Ridout, which I assume he was named after. This younger David was married to Mary Elizabeth Taylor, a daughter of Isaac Taylor. David Ridout and his next door neighbor John C. Jones married sisters the same day, 14 Dec 1865. They lived on adjoining land that was the women’s father, Isaac Taylor’s land. (Pre-1815 that land was part of Peter Thomas’ estate). This younger David T. Ridout is buried with his wife, daughter Lorena Ridout Kidd, and some grandchildren; on this land described, which is near the corner of Tolbert & Blackridge Rd.

  1. Place #1: An old Ridout Store in Old Bracey. Store no longer standing. Belonged to John Henry Ridout, son of Jesse James Ridout & Anna Caroline Ridout.
  2. Place #2: Ridout Cemetery. Children and grandchildren of the older David Thomas Ridout and Mary E. Thomas are buried here. Including Jesse James & Anna Caroline Ridout.
  3. Place #3: Old home of Jesse James & Caroline Ridout. Allen Tudor lived here as a young child.
  4. Place #4: David T. Ridout, the younger, was buried at this cemetery, (Tolbert & Blackridge Rd) and their old home place was near the cemetery, no longer standing.
  5. The straight road running north to south, just to the east of DK’s home and the cemetery, is Ridout Road.
  6. Note: Barker’s land
  7. (not marked) DK Ridout’s home was on 619-Nellie Jone Rd near the Rufus Kidd’s store.
  8. (not on map here, just additional info) James D. Ridout, son of William Ridout & Calissa Barker is buried at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg. Ward: Civil War Soldiers, Sec: Virginia, Sq. Soldier, Loc: Memorial Hill, grave #97

Lorena Ridout (pictured above) was the daughter of David T. Ridout (younger) and Mary Taylor. So is Lorena the daughter of the man in the picture? Or is Lorena the great-niece of the man pictured beside her? (Her grandfather William Ridout’s brother.) (See chart above)

I discovered something else about this same family I’m very curious about. In the Richmond Enquirer Newspaper I found that William Ridout was murdered on 26 Sep 1843. Was the man murdered the brother or father of the man DT Ridout in this picture? These two articles are all I know about this story. This second article ran for two months, saying that Allison C Dugger, (male) was still at large. In deed records, my friend and I found there was an Allison C. Dugger junior and senior. One of the Allison’s was made a constable about a week before the murder. I don’t know which man was constable and which murdered William. The newspaper article does not reference the constable part at all.

Ridout Murder in 1843!

Richmond Enquirer Newspaper

William Ridout and Calissa had 3 children: David T. (possibly the man pictured), Polly and James. After William died, Calissa and her children moved in with her parents Ben Barker and Judith Jones. (source: 1850 & 1860 Census)

Have you seen this picture before, of DT Ridout? Or do you know enough about clothing and style to better estimate the time period of this picture? Do you have other Ridout pictures we can compare to Lorena and DT Ridout? I’m curious about what David is holding in his hand, and why was that important to be in the picture? Have you heard about this murder before? Or have you seen info about the conclusion of this story? If you have any further info or comments, please comment on this post. Note: Ridout is spelled both with and without an “E”, Rideout or Ridout. But Ridout Road, this picture and the cemetery don’t use the “E” so I omitted the “E” in this post.

Thank you Dave Ridout for sharing this picture and for adding to my map!

Jones African American DNA mystery

I was asked by a descendant of Missouri Jones to help her identify which Jones line in Mecklenburg, VA was her family’s line.  I thought Jane Thomas who married Edward Carroll Jones died young, but I found out this was not true after all. My search to discover Missouri’s parents led to totally unexpected results. I uncovered a divorce and several children born out of wedlock, including an African American baby. My intention is to explain what I’ve learned about Jane and her children, showing records that give various pieces of evidence. Not to judge, but rather to try to account for some children, give my interpretation of the records, and explain some possible DNA matches. Although Jane and Edward divorced 156 years ago, DNA matches might be able to give us more answers.

(Download) This chart about Jane’s relatives will help while reading this post about the various relationships. It includes Jane’s siblings and parents. The chart is formatted to 11×17 inches.

Missouri’s descendants were stuck at a huge brick wall. The brick wall they were hitting was finding more information about both George Harper and Missouri Jones’s parents.  (Both families are white.) Missouri’s mother was known as Jane B. Jones. Missouri’s father was unknown, as well as Jane’s parents.  The more I looked at various records, the more Missouri looked like she should be part of my Jones family! On each record, Missouri and Jane lived near my family. The more I looked at Jane, the more she looked to me like the Jane Thomas who married to Edward C Jones.   But I (and other family history researchers) thought this Jane died about 1862-1864, while Edward was in a Confederate hospital or Point Lookout during the Civil War. We thought their children lived with relatives until Edward returned from the war and married Caroline(“Pink”) who raised Jane’s 3 children.

 I found Jane’s death record, from the year 1915. She lived about 50 years longer than I had previously thought! Jane’s name was corrected on her death record and the mother listed looked to me like Tinsy Thomas. Which suggested to me that Jane was alive the same time Edward was married to Caroline Thomas, (Jane’s cousin). This hinted to me a divorce, rather than Jane dying young.

Virginia divorce records from this time period were kept in the circuit court records, now part of chancery records. I found this (below) on the Library of Virginia’s (LVA) website:

I could tell by the above index, that this was probably the divorce, so I went to LVA to get the case. (Hayes was only mentioned as witnessing that he served the court summons to Jane.) Edward Jones’ father, (James B. Jones), and his uncle Zachariah Jones gave the depositions. The court proceeding stated that Jane “had an affair with a Negro man”, and had a child born in Aug 1864 “born with dark skin”, to prove adultery. Jane stated she loved this baby as much as her white babies and was going to keep her baby. The man she had the affair with was not named. Neither the baby’s name nor gender was given. Only that the baby was born in August 1864. James said he had known Jane all her life and that he had seen the baby several times.

The baby would have been conceived about Nov 1863. I’m not sure legally how well the Emancipation Proclamation would have been in effect at this time and place. I have no idea if the man Jane had the affair with was a slave or free. But because the mother was white, this should mean that the baby was born free, regardless of the father’s legal status. Because the case refers to the man as “a Negro man”, rather than stating an owner’s name, my assumption is that the father of this baby was not a slave.

I cannot find any of these people involved on the 1870 Census. I don’t see Jane, or any of her children. I don’t see Edward, Caroline or their children. Caroline had previously been married to Robert Joyce who died in 1863. The children of Robert Joyce and Caroline “Pink” Thomas were wards of Robin Thomas, their grandfather. (Robin was father of Caroline Thomas). Nicholas and Flora Joyce, two of Caroline’s children were living with Robin Thomas on the 1870 Census. I have not yet found Caroline’s other two children Robert Joyce and Cornelia Joyce on the 1870 Census. I manually looked through the whole enumeration district where Jane and Edwards’s siblings lived, but could not find any of these people.

Missouri Jones was born about 1874, and she was white. Jane continued to use the surname Jones for the rest of her life. I have not yet found Missouri’s birth record, but I don’t expect to see the father listed.

1880 Census: Jane & Missouri

This is the 1880 Census above. Jane is in Mecklenburg, next door to her sister Sarah Ellis.  Missouri is the only child in the household, and Jane is listed as divorced. Jane’s baby born in Aug 1864 should be age 16. I do believe this baby lived, because I have seen a photograph with Jane, her daughter Missouri, Missouri’s husband and children, and a nicely dressed African American male teenager. The picture was not labeled, but he was in Jane’s family picture and is most likely Jane’s grandson. Does this mean Jane raised her child? Or did her grandson just visit and was in that family picture? Was Jane’s unknown child working for someone else in 1880? Or raised by someone else nearby? Was the child raised with the surname Jones? Or was the child given the surname of the family who raised him or her?

Missouri’s marriage is the second line on this marriage register for Mecklenburg. I thought this record was interesting because only mothers were listed in the parents’ space for both George Harper & Missouri Jones. Neither George nor Missouri’s father’s names were written on their marriage or death records. Below is the marriage license for Missouri. They were married at the home of Massenburg Thomas, Jane’s brother.

The 1900 Census listed Jane as widowed, instead of divorced. (Edward Jones had actually died by 1900.) Jane was living with her daughter Missouri’s family on the 1900 and 1910 Census. I believe that Jane always lived with Missouri. The 1900 Census says that Jane is the mother of 7 children, 5 living. That’s 2 more children than I can account for. Could she and Edward have had 2 babies that died young so they weren’t listed on a Census? Or were these children born after the divorce, with fathers unknown? It is possible the number was wrong on the Census, but I would have expected Jane to report less children, like only Missouri, rather than more children on the Census.

1900 Census: Jane with daughter Missouri Harper

I thought Jane and Edward had two sons, James, and Richard L. But when I looked through birth records, there was no Richard. Only James R. Jones. Probably James Richard Jones. I’m not sure where the middle initial L came from, or when the first name James was dropped.

Jane had the following children:

1) James Richard L Jones b. 1856, (still alive in 1900), father was Edward C Jones, race: white

2) Martha W. Jones b. 1858 (still alive in 1900), father was Edward C. Jones, race: white

3) Sarah E Jones b. 1860 (still alive in 1900), father was Edward C Jones, race: white

4) Baby with unknown name born Aug 1864, assumed to be alive in 1900, father unknown. Father’s race: African American, Mothers race: white

5) Missouri Jones (alive in 1900), father unknown, race: white

6) ???? Unknown name, unknown gender, unknown father, race: unknown

7) ???? Unknown name, unknown gender, unknown father, race: unknown

I have searched FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com for their available birth records. Births were recorded in the 1860’s and 1870’s. I searched for any Jones born in Mecklenburg or Brunswick in the year 1864 and found nothing. I’ve searched Virginia and North Carolina state indexes, as well as manually looking through microfilms in Mecklenburg for birth records, looking for any Jones baby with a mother named Jane. There are a lot of missing pages, several years are not yet available online. I will keep checking as more records are being digitized and indexed.

1860 Census: Edward & Jane

Edward and Jane’s oldest child is listed as James on the 1860 Census, no Richard listed. They are listed in the dwelling located next to Jane’s sister Rhoda Pearson. Tinsy Thomas, Jane’s mother is the previous house (previous pg.), dwelling #183. Edward’s parents were also on the previous census page, dwelling #177.

I’m curious about who actually paid the court costs and I think this is a big deal. Jane was summoned to court, with a listed penalty of $100 for not showing up.  Another page in the case notates that she did not show up to court, with a witness saying he did give Jane the summons. The divorce decree was issued, with the marriage dissolved 4 Apr 1866, and Jane was responsible for court costs. A hundred dollars plus court costs was an enormous amount of money then! Especially after the Confederate dollar collapsed, so many men who used to work the farms were maimed or had died, and post war economic hardships lasted for decades.  I have Virginia chancery cases involving people who moved to Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas writing letters to the court asking to be excused from needing to appear in court, so they didn’t have to pay those huge fines. I have chancery cases of people losing their homes, unable to pay debts. Edward’s father, James B. Jones borrowed $255.26 in Jan 1854. He could not pay that debt back to AG Boyd & Thornton.  The debt brought to chancery court was not paid until Nov 1876, 2 months after James died, when his son Charles bought the 2 properties which were 100 acres each.  This debt is about what I expect Jane would have been asked to pay, about the cost of 100 acres and a house. If James could not pay this debt for 22 years, how could a newly divorced woman with a baby be expected to pay the court fine and divorce court costs?!  I can totally understand Jane not wanting to appear in court. But I can’t imagine Jane would have been excused from paying these court costs when everyone was out of money and calling in their debts. So, who paid it? Janes father had already died, and her mother only lived a few years after the divorce. Nothing about payments is noted. The divorce decree is the thing written in the case. Jane didn’t own any land. She appears to be poor, living with or next door to family the rest of her life. The Census shows her as the next household to her sisters, but maybe she was actually living on her sisters’ property?

Edward Jones married Caroline in Brunswick County about 4 months after the divorce was finalized. Did he move to Brunswick to “start over” and go somewhere he wouldn’t see Jane anymore? Or did he just have a good job and place to live that happened to be in Brunswick? Edward was described on his muster roll as 5’ 7”, light complexion, dark hair, dark eyes. Edward’s muster Roll:

So, what could all this mean for DNA matches? I drafted a number of pages trying to draw out various ways to show connections, with so many arrows it became too difficult to follow. There are several cousin marriages; Several Jones and Thomas marriages; Several Thomas and Lambert marriages. Julia Kidd married Robert Massenburg Thomas, who was the brother of Jane. There are many people closely related to Jane who can show African American DNA matches. People I’ve seen with African American matches to white Kidd and Jones families are often estimated at 4-6th cousin matches.  The chance that the connections are to Jane’s baby referenced in the divorce case are very high. I’m hoping this chart attached about Jane’s family (at beginning of this post) will explain some possibilities for the African American DNA matches and where the connections could be, through this child born in Aug 1864, or the other 2 unknown children for Jane. 

When African Americans are looking for their white ancestor, the slave owner or the overseer might seem the assumed logical place to scrutinize first. Leonard M. Thomas and Tinsy Thomas (Jane’s parents) did have slaves. John J Drury Pearson was an overseer.  But in this case, I believe the connection would be to Jane’s baby. Not because Leonard was a slave owner, but because Leonard would be the common ancestor of the match. Not through John Pearson as an overseer, but rather the connection of his wife being Jane’s sister, making the DNA match occur at Jane’s parents. Multiple cousin marriages (like Jane’s parents) can make DNA matches look closer than they actually are, because there’s more shared DNA. Here’s an example for a Pearson DNA match.

I’ve been wondering about the possibility of a family raising Jane’s baby. My impression of the boy in the family picture was that he was better off financially than Jane and Missouri.  The Marks family was a free African American family who appear to have done well financially since at least the 1840’s. Elizabeth Ann Marks was a neighbor of these Jones. She was the daughter of Abel and Quintina Marks. Elizabeth married Henry Mayo who was a carpenter. Elizabeth and their children farmed the land. In 1870 Henry and Elizabeth were living on James B. Jones’s farm that was next to John Gray’s farm off Hall Rd. (James B. Jones lived on a different parcel of 100 acres off Blackridge Rd. ) Henry and Elizabeth bought the 100 acres near Hall Rd in Oct 1889 from Charles Jones (Edward’s brother), who had purchased the land to pay off his father’s debts in chancery. Tom Mayo (son of Henry and Elizabeth) inherited the land. I’m told this area is known as Mayo’s hill. Could Elizabeth and Henry have taken in Jane’s child to give the child a good name, a better life and be raised with their own children? Elizabeth would have lived near Jane and her family. Could James B.  Jones have offered his farm as a place for the baby to be raised, as an offer of peace and support?  If not Elizabeth, someone else with a similar situation?

The chancery case states the baby was born August 1864, but it is very possible the child was raised with a different birth date. If you are from this Marks or Mayo family and might know, please let me know. If you know anything that might help identify any of Janes’ children after her divorce, or have DNA matches to this group of people, please let me know. Jane may have used the surname Bennett for more than just the 1910 Census, even though this was actually her middle name. I assume that Jane was named after her uncle Bennett Thomas. If you have the surname Bennett and it looks like you could be part of Jane’s family please let me know.  I personally have Jones DNA lines, but no Thomas DNA lines, which may help in sifting through DNA matches.

Gray Family Picture-Can you help?

Mattie Floyd with an older couple

I was given a copy of some Gray family pictures so I could help ID and date them. All the other pictures in this picture group are children of John Gray and Sarah Jones. I didn’t want to share my theory before, because I didn’t want to bias anyone’s opinion. I realized I’ve now had this picture for 17 years, and not been able to find anyone who could identify this couple. So, today I’m sharing my theory with a picture comparison, in the hopes this might lead to finding a labeled copy.

My theory is: this picture is Mattie Floyd, standing behind her in-laws John Gray and Sarah Jones, about Jan 1881 in Mecklenburg, Virginia. It is possibly taken the day of Mattie and Charles’ wedding 15 Jan 1881. I’m looking for people who can confirm or dispute this theory.

The woman standing behind the couple has been identified as Mattie Floyd, daughter of Sarah Tudor and Wyatt Floyd. Mattie Floyd married Charles Gray 15 Jan 1881, at age 20. So Mattie would technically not be “Gray Family” in a Gray picture before 1881. I am curious about the book Mattie is holding. I wondered if it could be the James B. Jones family Bible, because John Gray’s children’s names were written in that Bible. But I’m told no, the Jones Bible is much larger than this book. Was Mattie a teacher? Or why else was this book important?

I do not think the couple in the picture could be Mattie’s family. I’ve seen a picture of Mattie’s father. He died in the Spotsylvania, Virginia Courthouse battle when Mattie was only 3 years old. Her mother, Sarah Tudor actually died the day Mattie and Charles Gray married. I also don’t think either Mattie or Lelia look like the older couple. My theory is this picture is to celebrate Mattie’s engagement or recent marriage. Maybe to show that she’s now a part of the family? Or could this be a wedding day picture? I assume this picture was taken in Mecklenburg, VA. Possibly at John Gray and Sarah Jones farm. In the year 1881 when Charles and Mattie married, John Gray was age 71 and blind. Sarah was age 56. People who farmed outdoors a lot, looked much older than compared to people the same age today. See example below for Fannie Gray:

Here are some pictures of the children of John Gray and Sarah Jones compared with the picture of the older couple who I theorize could be John Gray and Sarah Jones, in about 1881.








If you have a picture of any of John Gray and Sarah Jones children, or any of Sarah’s siblings you can compare it to, please let me know. Sarah was the daughter of James B. Jones and Martha Newman.