Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


CAPT. GEORGE MARTIN JONES. Each individual is merged into the great aggregate, and yet the type of character of each is never lost. There is much of profit and a degree of fascination in even a succinct life portrayal of men, when the delineations, if only in a cursory way, are but the tracings of a life memoranda, which has for its object the keynote of a given personality. The accomplishments of a human being are, as a rule, measured by his capacity and strength, and his ingenious tact in using them. If a poets lines lack harmony, we are justified in concluding that there is certain absence of harmony in himself. Hayden failed as an artist; we see the, reason why, when we read his life; and the taste of opium can be detected in the "Ancient Mariner" and "Christabel," with the semi-acuteness in which their author enjoyed the poisonous drug. A man's work or deed takes us back to himself, as the sunbeam back to the sun. It is stern philosophy, but true, that in the collossal spot called the world, failure and success are not accidents, but strict justice. Capt. George Martin Jones, one of the best known and one of the most representative citizens of Greene county has led a successful, useful and honorable life because he understood the basic principles of cause and effect and directed his efforts to worthy ends.

Captain Jones was born in Shelby county, Tennessee, October 19, 1836. He is a son of Henry T. and Mary E. (Waller) Jones, and a grandson of James and Jane (Slaughter) Jones. James Jones, as the name indicates, was of Welsh descent, wag a native of King and Queen county, Virginia, and his wife was a native of King William county, Virginia, but her death occurred in the former county, October 1, 1810. James Jones moved to Giles county, Tennessee, in 1816, where he died May 20, 1820. According to family tradition he was a captain in the Revolutionary war. His family consisted of the following children, all born in Virginia, namely: William D. C., born December 13, 1799, emigrated to Tipton county, Tennessee, and later to Burleston county, Texas, where he died; Henry Tandy, father of the subject of this sketch, was born April 3, 1801; Martin S., born May 5, 1802, died in Marshall county, Tennessee; George Washington, born March 15, 1806, spent most of his life in Lincoln county, Tennessee, where he died; for fourteen years he represented his district in the congress of the United States; he was never married; Richard M., born May 22, 1807, emigrated first to Tennessee and later to Greene county, Missouri, where he died; Mary Jane, born September 16, 1810, married George Small, reared a large family, and died in Shelby county, Tennessee; Martha died when about three years old. The four sons and one daughter who grew to maturity separated in the latter part of 1820 and were never all together again until April 4, 1872, a period of fifty-two years, when they met at the home of Henry T. Jones, our subject's father, in Shelby county, Tennessee. All of them lived to old age and died loved and respected by friends and acquaintances. Henry T. Jones reached an advanced age, passing well into his eighties, surviving his wife many years, her death having occurred in 1856. These parents were consistent Christians and members of the Methodist church, and later the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Henry T. Jones was a local preacher in that church and for a large part of his active life had and kept regular appointments for preaching. He was also an active member of the Masonic fraternity—his advice and counsel being much sought after by members of that order. He was for years a member of the county court of his county. Although he received but a limited education in his native community in the Old Dominion, he became a well informed man, being self-taught. He was young in years when he took up his residence in Giles county, Tennessee, and there he married and spent a number of years there and emigrated to Shelby county, where he passed the remainder of his life. He was known as an honest, industrious and hospitable man, a fine type of the older Southern gentleman. The maiden name of Captain Jones' grandmother was Ann Holmes. She was married to John Waller. They were natives of Virginia, probably King and Queen county, and were of Irish descent. To them were born four daughters: Lucy, the oldest, was born February 25, 1783 married John Hazelwood, and to them ten children were born; Nancy, the second, was born February 2, 1786, married Elisha Clark, but their union was without issue and they reared an adopted daughter, Lucy; Martha was born October 12, 1790, married Thomas Abernathy and to them seven children were born; Mary Edmonds, fourth and youngest was born August 15, 1798, and lived to be fifty-eight years old; she first married John Creath and three sons were born to them, namely: James A., born November 19, 1818, .and he first married Nancy Amonett, who became the mother of one son, Samuel, who died when about three years old, his mother dying a few years later. Martha, the sister of his first wife, became the second wife of James A., and to them were born three children, Nancy Irene, Joseph Henry and Mabel; he died May 21, 1885. John W. Creath was born July 20, 1820, remained unmarried, and died March 15, 1942; Thomas B., born April 4, 1822, married Elizabeth Jones (no relation of the Jones family of this sketch), and to them nine children were born, all of whom died before arriving at the age of maturity. All the four daughters of our subject's grandmother grew to womanhood and were married in Virginia and Mr. Creath died there. Later all of them and their families moved to middle Tennessee, the mother of Captain Jones making her home in Giles county. Later her father came to live with her and continued to make his home with her after her marriage to Henry T. Jones, and he died shortly after the birth of her son, Nicholas Jones. The daughters were all married before the death of the Captain's grandmother, except the mother of the Captain who lived with and kept house for her father until her marriage.

Henry Tandy Jones and Mary E. (Waller) Creath were married December 22, 1825, and to this union seven children were born, namely: Mary Ann, born December 6, 1826; Lucy Jane, born November 19, 1832, who was adopted and reared by her Aunt Nancy; Martha C.; Nicholas F.; Nancy Clark, born August 14, 1834; George M., of this sketch; Richard Waller, born May 6, 1839, died when about eight years of age.

Mary Ann Jones married W. C. Montgomery and to them five children were born, namely: Mary Gertrude, Robert Waller, James Creath, Florence and Mary Ann, who died in infancy. Lucy Jane married Orville M. Alsup, which union resulted in the birth of nine children, as follows: Joseph Clark, Nancy Isadore (Dora), John Henry, James Richard, Nicholas Mortimer, William Waller, Jefferson D., and. Beauregard C., which two were twins, and Martha Caroline, who died quite young.

Nicholas Fain Jones was educated for and became a lawyer, locating in Springfield, Missouri, where he married Mary Ann Shackelford, daughter of Dr. Gabriel Shackelford, and to them four daughters were born, Georgia, Mary, Gabriella, and "Bitsie," pet name, who died very young. Martha Caroline married Roscoe E. Cole, and to them three daughters were born, Mary Frances, Ida Jane and Lucy Alzada.

Nancy Clark Jones never married, but she became the foster mother of Mary Gertrude, oldest daughter of her sister Mary, who being reared and cared for by her to womanhood was married to J. Claude Buster and gave birth to one child, Gertrude, and shortly afterwards died, and her Aunt Nancy became a mother to little Gertrude, who in after years married George D. McDaniel, a well known banker of Springfield, Missouri. Florence, whose mother died when she was about two years old, was also reared and given a mother's care by her Aunt Nancy.

Captain George M. Jones grew to manhood on the home farm in Shelby county, Tennessee, and received a common school education in that vicinity. When seventeen years old he went to Memphis, Tennessee, and sold dry goods for the firm of Cossitt, Hill & Talmadge, remaining with them three years, receiving for his first year's service, seventy-five dollars and board; for the second, one hundred dollars, and the third, one hundred and fifty dollars. Being ambitious to get a start in the world and economical he saved a part of his meager earnings. He came to Springfield, Missouri in 1857 to visit a brother who was practicing law here, but went back to Tennessee after a short time. In the fall of the same year he returned to Springfield and engaged in the general merchandising business, handling dry goods, groceries and hardware, under the firm name of Miller, Jones & Company. After remaining here a year he went to Rolla, Phelps county, Missouri, and embarked in the commission business. At that time Rolla was the end of the railroad running southwest from St. Louis. He continued this business until the Civil war began in 1861. He was out on a collecting trip when the Federal army first reached Rolla. He did not return to that place to resume business, but came to Springfield and enlisted in the Confederate service, becoming a member of Capt. Dick Campbell's company, of Missouri State Guards. He was later transferred to Company A, Foster's Regiment, McBride's division, Confederate army. Shortly afterward he was made quartermaster, with the rank of captain. On account of ill health, he was honorably discharged at Jacksonport, Arkansas, in August, 1863. In 1864 he re-enlisted and was for sonic time acting provost-marshal in southeastern Arkansas. He surrendered and received his parole at Monroe, Louisiana, in the spring of 1865, having fought faithfully and gallantly for the Southland, the long time home of his ancestors and which he has always loved.

Captain Jones went back to Shelby county, Tennessee, in 1865, and there remained until 1868. While there he took a contract to furnish the Memphis & Charleston Railroad Company three thousand cords of wood for fuel. He then returned to Greene county, Missouri, where he has since resided, locating in the eastern part of the city in December, 1868. For two or three years he was engaged in the real estate business here, then took up general farming, owning a valuable place, a part of which was within the corporate limits of the city of Springfield. He devoted his attention successfully to this line of endeavor many years, his home place containing three hundred and fifty acres, and he also owned a fine farm at Campbell Station containing three hundred and sixty acres. He kept his land well improved and under a high state of cultivation, and was rated among the most substantial agriculturists in this part of the state. In later life he went into the banking business and for some time was president of the Greene County National Bank, later was president of the Central National Bank, both at Springfield. He was eminently successful in this field of endeavor, being by nature a business man of keen perception and wise foresight, and possessing the personal characteristics of a progressive man of affairs, enjoying to the utmost the confidence and good will of all with whom he came in contact either in a business or social way. He continued in the banking business until he sold the last named bank to the people who operated it under the name of the Merchants' National Bank, in 1895, since which time Capt. Jones has been living retired, spending his declining years quietly in his attractive home, surrounded by all the comforts of life as a result of his earlier years of judicious activity.

Capt. Jones was married on October 15, 1868, in Lee county, Arkansas, to Mrs. Elizabeth D. (Berry) Campbell, widow of Col. L. C. Campbell, and the oldest daughter of Maj. Daniel Dorsey and Olivia (Polk) Berry, a highly respected old family of Springfield, Missouri. To this union three children were born, namely: Mary Elizabeth, born August 12, 1869, married George McClellan Sebree, November 29, 1893, and to this union three children have been born: George McClellan, Jr., Alice F., and Robert H., all of whom are at home; Clara Russell, second child of our subject, was born June 29, 1872, married Frank P. Clements, December 20, 1898, and died April 18, 1906, her union having been without issue; George Washington, youngest child of the Captain, was born May 7, 1875, was married to Catherine Holbrook, January 10, 1907; they reside in Des Moines, Iowa, and have two children, Nancy and Catherine.

The wife and mother was called to her eternal rest on October 13, 1885, leaving her three children comparatively young, but Capt. Jones gave them every advantage for education and culture. Their mother's training had laid for them a good foundation but for their future care and training they are largely indebted to their aunt, Nannie. Mrs. Jones was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South.

For a time Capt. Jones was one of the board of curators of the Missouri State University, Columbia, Missouri, also a member of the executive board of Drury College, Springfield. He was also for a number of years president of the Confederate Cemetery Association at Springfield. He has always manifested a great deal of interest in the organization known as the United Confederate Veterans, and for some time was commander of the state organization, and was head of the Springfield camp of the same. He has been an active member here since the first organization of the camp. He has attended frequently the national reunions of the Confederate veterans, and was the prime mover in securing the transfer of the Confederate Cemetery at Springfield to the United States Government for its care and keeping. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic Order, including the Blue Lodge. He has long been influential in the affair's of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, of which he has been a devout member since a boy, and he is one of the pillars of St. Paul's, one of the largest churches of this denomination in Missouri. He has been a trustee and steward in the church for a period of forty years or more, and several times he has been a delegate to the general conference of this denomination. Greene county has never had a better citizen than Capt. Jones. His long residence here has been of great benefit to the county and Queen City in material, civic and moral ways, and he is eminently entitled to the high esteem in which he is universally held.

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