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May 7, 2002 BILL YOUNG: Finding the Henry Jones plantation

Thinking back over the years since I became involved in archeology, several discoveries have been significant either to the archeological community such as Mission San Jose de La Nasoni that I was lucky enough to find back in 1983. The Kevin Davis Cloves Blade Cache discovered by Mr. Davis and excavated by Mr. Davis, my wife Bobbie Jean, and myself is another very important site. And then there are two historic period sites that I will be discussing over the next several weeks that fall into this same category.

Back in the middle 1980s, I was in a local real estate office talking with the owner about archeology when he opened his desk drawer and pulled out a small handful of Indian pottery sherds. I asked, "Where did these come from?" to which he replied that the sherds were found on his newly purchased ranch. It turned out that he had recently purchased several hundred acres and had hired a bulldozer operator to do some clearing. He told me to go "take a look any time that I wanted to go." At the time, I could not find the extra time to see the farm so I mentally stored the information for use at a later date. Needless to say, by the time I went to his ranch, the grass was knee deep which meant there wasn't any use walking across the acreage at that point in time. Within a few years, he passed away and the land was inherited by his relatives.

In 1993, I happened to pass by the place only to discover that most of the ranch had been freshly plowed. Remembering the sherds shown to me years ago, I decided to find out who the new owner was and seek permission to take a look. After I contacted the new landowner and acquired his permission, Mack Burkehead and I made a trip to the ranch late one afternoon. Since we did not have a key to the gate, we climbed over the gate and started walking to the back of the property to look for the Indian site. I had studied the U.S. Quad map for this area and knew there was a small creek along the back of the property with several small hills overlooking the stream valley. Knowing that typically most Indian sites are located on the hills along a stream, we proceeded to the southern-most hill on the ranch.

On that first hill, we found a few chips of local chert indicating that at some point in the past, one or two individuals had produced a couple of points but there wasn't a single sherd of pottery to be found. Since it was late in the day and the daylight was waning, I told Mack that we should skip the second hill and take a look at the third hill which was closer to the creek valley which might make it a better candidate for the missing Indian site. By the time we arrived at the hill, most of the available sunlight was gone but within a few minutes, Mr. Burkehead yelled out that he had found some pottery. I started walking towards him but before I arrived, he stated that he had found a few more pieces and some were decorated in color. When he mentioned the word "color," I knew that he was looking at some type of historic ironstone and not Native American pottery sherds. As soon as I saw what he had found, I realized that we were on a very early historic site because one of the sherds was shelledge and another was spatterware. Even in the dark, we were able to pick up several more pieces of white ironstone and I found another piece of spatterware. For those of you who did not see my articles last year pertaining to shelledge and spatterware, both of these types of decorations disappear before 1860.

We walked out of the ranch in the dark vowing to come back the next day earlier in the afternoon so we would have several hours of daylight to check the area. Sure enough on the following day, once more we scaled the gate and walked directly to the same area where the we had found the ceramics. Once we arrived at the area, there were numerous pieces of ceramics and glass fragments scattered about the area. Several of the glass bottle bases discovered had pontil marks on the base which indicated the bottles had been manufactured before 1856. We also found several more sherds of ironstone with some form of early decoration such as transferware, shelledge, handpainted and spatterware. There wasn't any doubt that a structure had stood at this location in the middle 1850s.

For the next few weeks, any afternoon when there was enough daylight to allow us to spend a couple of hours on the site, we made another walk from the gate. With each walk, we would follow a slightly different route into the site. On several occasions, we found other scatters of the same material several hundred yards from the original discovery. As soon as we found the second area, we started keeping the artifacts in separate bags marked with the area for each location. Within a few short weeks, I realized that we had found one main cluster of artifacts along with seven smaller clusters. The artifacts from the smaller sites indicated that at least five of the sites were contemporaneous with the big site. The next step was for me to dig through the deed records on file at the Navarro County Courthouse. After spending most of one day doing the research, I determined that I had found the location of Mr. Henry Jones' plantation comprised of 4,609 acres which is the same acreage for a Spanish league and labor. From that point in time, further research has produced a significant amount of information about this plantation, a second plantation owned by the same family and a lot of personal family history about a family that became very important to both the State of Texas, Navarro County and the City of Corsicana.

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Bill Young is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Tuesdays.


May 14, 2002 BILL YOUNG: Tracking down Colonel Henry Jones and his family

After Mack Burkehead and I discovered the site of the Henry Jones plantation, I started doing research into the background of the Jones family and was quite surprised as to how important a part this family played in both the beginnings of Texas and Navarro County.

In some records sent to me from the records from the General Land Office of the State of Texas, a person by the name of White in 1966 on page 194 gives us one of the first indications of Colonel Jones and his family in Texas. This is not a copy of a Federal census but a compilation of the Republic of Texas tax rolls for the year 1840. Texas did not conduct a federal census until 1850, four years after we were admitted to the United States. On the 1840 tax roll, Colonel Jones is listed in Travis County (Austin) as owning 1,143 acres with another 1,260 being surveyed without a final title from the General Land Office. He is also taxed for owning 24 slaves. In Volume 1-B of "Old Northwest Texas" by Nancy T. Samuels and Barbara R. Knox, pages 477 and 478, states that Colonel Jones was born in Fairfield District, S.C. in 1807, and later married a Nancy Robertson of the same district.

They moved to Travis County, Texas in 1838, and Henry Jones was appointed to command a militia regiment during President Lamar's presidency. While he was in command of the group of militiamen, they were involved in two major fights with marauding Indians at Brushy Creek and Plum Creek. He was in command in 1842 during the "Archives War" when Anson Jones, no relationship, tried to move the capital of Texas from Austin to Washington- on-the-Brazos and Colonel Jones is credited with keeping the capital in Austin.

The Jones family moved to the Rosenberg area (Matagorda County) in 1846. Mrs. Jones passed away in 1848 and is buried in Matagorda County. The 1850 census lists Colonel Henry Jones, a son John B. Jones, age 15, born in South Carolina, and four daughters: Polly, age 16, born in South Carolina, Caroline C., age 13, also born in South Carolina, Francis, age 11, born in Texas and Annie P., age 9, born in Texas. Three other persons were enumerated, living on the same plantation. W.H. Brown and John Brushwood, both originally from North Carolina are listed as overseers. The third individual is an S.H. MacKee, a carpenter. Since the census in 1850 was compiled of free inhabitants, no slaves were listed on the census. However, since he was a major landowner in Matagorda County, he had to have been a slave owner. In the year 1850, John B. Jones, the son, went to see his older sister who was attending college in South Carolina only to discover upon his arrival that she had died. John was faced with the unpleasant task of bringing her home for burial. She was buried beside her mother in Matagorda County.

From the deed records of Robertson County and later Navarro County, we found that Henry Jones started purchasing land in two different areas of western Navarro County: Tract No. 1 located several miles to the west of Corsicana was comprised of 4,609 acres and tract No. 2, near the Hill County line, eventually had another 4,000 acres. In the year 1856, Henry completed the purchase of land and moved onto tract No. 1 with his son and three daughters. He also must have moved a number of slaves to this location because of the other small structure sites we found in the same area as the main house. I did find one document that stated in 1860, he owned 33 slaves. There isn't any doubt that owning anyone is wrong but from the archeological evidence, Mr. Jones must have respected the group of slaves working for him. The five sites that we discovered that I attribute to being the location of slave houses are far apart and widely dispersed. Several archeologists working on other plantations where slaves were held typically found direct evidence that the houses were placed side by side only a few feet apart. This concept is attributed to the fact that the overseer needed to watch for runaways at all times. The Henry Jones plantation is the exact opposite of this concept. Each house site is several hundred yards apart from the next house and they are in a semi-circle. One house that we numbered "C" is nearly 300 yards from the main house. Recent research may indicate that house "G" standing at nearly 500 yards away, may be a slave house and not a house occupied just after the Civil War as I originally thought.

Searching through the various deed records, the original head-right was that of a Mr. Beauchamp and was for the same 4,609 acres. In 1837, Mr. Beauchamp deeded one-third of this land to a John A. Barclay on March 21, 1837, in a contract with Mr. Barclay for clearing the other two-thirds belonging to Mr. Beauchamp. This statement brings forth several questions. Were Mr. Barclay and Mr. Beauchamp already living in this area? The 1837 date is several years before any other person is documented as living in what became Navarro County. Again, using the Samuels and Knox book as a reference in regard to the 1850 census, there isn't a Barclay or Beauchamp noted on the census.

Next week: More about the Jones land and family


May 28 2002 - BILL YOUNG: The significance of the Jones family

Several weeks ago when I first started writing about Henry Jones and his family, I listed the family members who moved to the new plantation located west of Corsicana in 1856. Today, we will discuss the importance of the Henry Jones family and their in-laws and the roles they played in Navarro County, the city of Corsicana and the history of the state of Texas.

After Polly passed away in 1850 while attending college in South Carolina, John B. became the oldest child. I have not been able to find any information pertaining to the children, including John, during the years while each child was growing. The first pertinent information about John occurs in 1861 just prior to the beginning of the Civil War. The father, Henry, sold the plantation to his only son John, who was 26 at the time, and Henry moved to the other 4,000 acre ranch located south of Frost to raise horses.

The second oldest child, Caroline C., got married to Roger Q. Mills in the Jones plantation house in 1858. She was 21 at the time. In one document, one of the people attending the wedding described the plantation home as a beautiful home overlooking the valley but there isn't any description of the house as to the size or whether it was a one story or two story house.

The third daughter, Francis, who was called "Fanny" by everyone, married Josh Halbert after 1860 but I am not exactly sure in what year. It had to be either 1860 or 1861 prior to the beginning of the war. Ann Ruth Johnson is one of the descendants of the Halbert line. One day while talking with her, I incorrectly pronounced Halbert as "Hal-bert" and she quickly corrected me. The proper pronouncement sounds like "Hall-bert." Josh and Fanny Halbert had a son who was also named Josh. He was the mayor of Corsicana and the city lake built in the middle 1920s on U.S. Highway 287 southeast of town is named in his honor.

The remaining Jones daughter, Annie P., married a Mr. Robbins. This marriage occurred during the war several years after the beginning of the war between the states. One descendant, Annie Lee Robbins, who passed away just a few years ago, was the only descendant who still owned part of the second ranch located south of Frost. Annie Lee's home is still standing today on Second Avenue where the Blossom's Floral Shop is located.

Many people are familiar with all or part of the history dealing with Roger Q. Mills. For those who are not, I will cover a brief history. Mr. Mills was a local attorney along with his two brothers-in-law, John Jones and Josh Halbert. However, he was destined to go much farther in politics. He became a U.S. senator and is responsible for writing the Mills Tariff Act. His large home is located at 1200 West Second Avenue and today contains the offices of attorneys Barbara Moe and Robert York.

All three attorneys listed above joined the Confederate Army on the same day. One of the surprising facts is that they went in as privates. I would have thought since these men possessed a certain amount of wealth and were all educated, they would have entered the Army with some type of officer status. Rob Jones, no relationship to the Henry Jones family, pointed out that many people felt sure that the war would not last more than a year. Therefore, it would be politically smart to enlist as a private and then quickly rise up through the ranks, achieving an officers commission in the field. This would make the individual look good in the eyes of the voting public as soon as the war was over. No one thought that the war would last for four years and be so costly in the loss of lives on both sides. By the time the war ended, Roger Q. Mills was a colonel and he was the only member of the family to be wounded. John Jones came out of the war as a major and Josh Halbert was discharged with the rank of captain. I know that Mr. Robbins also enlisted later in the war but I am not aware of his rank when the war ended.

Next time: John Jones, the Texas Ranger


6/11/2002 BILL YOUNG: John Jones, Texas Ranger

Of all of Henry Jones children, John his only son, became a famous person after the Civil War was over. I don't mean by this statement that the three Jones daughters didn't contribute a lot to the growth of this area. One must keep in mind the women in those early years of Texas were expected to stay at home and raise the children. In fact, all of the Jones girls married important men and these ladies helped their husbands in advancing their careers.

The oldest surviving daughter, Caroline, who married Roger Q. Mills, had endured the hardship of moving from South Carolina to Austin in 1838 and the other two girls were born in Austin prior to 1842 while Texas was still a republic. Just after Texas was admitted to the United States, the Jones family pulled up its roots and moved again to Matagorda County, and 10 years later the family made the final move to Navarro County.

Three years ago, my wife Bobbie Jean and I moved about 10 blocks and I swore that was my last move. To try to imagine what those Jones girls went through making each move by wagon had to be far beyond what we think of today as a typical move from house to house. I would think these ladies were able to endure the frontier and its hardships and thus they became very strong. This inner strength aided them later in life after they were married.

Helen Bonner, who I remember as a teacher when I went to high school in Corsicana in the 1950s, wrote her master's thesis on John Jones. It was never published but I was able to acquire a copy for use as a reference. I have used some of the information from this thesis along with other facts found in several books about the Texas Rangers. One mistake made by Ms. Bonner was copied by everyone else writing about the Jones family. It was that John and his sisters lived at Jones Ranch south of Frost. This error was made probably because so many people were aware that Henry Jones had a large ranch in that area and had donated land for both a church and a school known as Jones Ranch School. However, John and his sisters never resided at the ranch south of Frost. Only Henry along with his ranch hands lived in the far western part of the county.

After the end of the Civil War, John came back to the ranch he had bought from his father, Henry, just prior to the beginning of the war. In 1868, he was elected to the House of Representatives of Texas representing Navarro County. However, the Republicans would not let John take office as they considered him a devoted southerner. He even traveled to South America where he hoped to establish a colony for southern sympathizers. He quickly realized this idea was not to be so he returned to Navarro County. In one of the surviving family letters written by one of the sisters during the war, she describes John as a handsome man sitting on a horse who was very good with both a gun and a horse. She also mentions that he was a short, slim man.

In 1873, the governor of Texas appointed John Jones a major in charge of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers. He and his men are credited with capturing the fugitive Sam Bass at Round Rock. The same group also fought in at least two major engagements with hostile Indians as the frontier advanced westward.

In 1878, he became the commanding general of the Texas Rangers and held this position for several years. In 1879 while he was stationed in Austin, he married a widow who had five children. A few years back I was told that their house was still standing in Austin. However, an archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission checked on this fact and informed me that she thought that the house was no longer standing. He is also credited with starting the Texas National Guard.

In 1883, John passed away at the age of 48 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin which is located on the south side of Interstate 35 not far from the capital. This cemetery is not the Capital Cemetery located closer to the river. While attending a stewards meeting at the Texas Historical Commission in 1996, we visited the cemetery and located his grave site.

Today, visitors to the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco can view a large drawing of John B. Jones and several years ago, the museum sold bronze medals depicting many of the famous rangers including John. My son-in-law, Rick Hocker, gave me as a Christmas gift, one of the medals showing John as a Texas Ranger.

Next week: The artifacts from Jones plantation.


6/18/2002 Artifacts from the Jones Plantation

Before I start discussing all of the material recovered from the Jones plantation, I need to mention several messages I received pertaining to the Jones Ranch south of Frost.

Catherine Porter of Pelham called to tell me that her great-great-grandmother purchased 111 acres of land from Henry Jones in 1888. Mrs. Porter also stated the great-great-grandmother's son purchased another 87 acres in the same year. Both tracts of land were part of the original Jones Ranch.

Mr. Arnold Armstrong taught school at the Jones Ranch school for a number of years according to his son Strain. We know from the documents that Henry Jones donated land for both a church and a school. For several years, I have been trying to ascertain if there had been only the one Jones Ranch school site on Highway 55 south of Frost or if there was an earlier location in the middle of the ranch. For now, my opinion is that there were two separate Jones Ranch schools. On a rainy day, I will have to spend more time in the deeds and records located in the Navarro County Courthouse researching this problem.

Robert Keathley gave me a short history of the Keathley clan and their relationship with the Jones Ranch. According to Robert, his great-grandfather, John Wesley Keathley, settled on the Jones Ranch in 1890. He, along with his extended family of seven sons, were tenant farmers from 1890 up to the middle 1930s. Eventually there were 31 cousins living on the ranch of which 23 were males and eight females. Robert said his father used to tell stories about this family and how they helped each other in performing various chores such as barn raising, working animals, etc. He said they all seemed to live on adjoining plots, went to church together and had large family gatherings on special occasions. The only surviving member still living in the Frost area is Josephene Speer, daughter of Hershall and Mable Keathley.

While on the subject of the Keathley clan and its descendants, it is important to mention that just a few weeks ago, Malvin Keathley passed away.   Malvin and his sister, Maxine Worsham, spent a number of years documenting cemeteries in Navarro County. The hours they devoted to driving, walking and writing about each cemetery they could locate and get permission to document is invaluable. They eventually put all of this information together in several books for the Navarro County Genealogical Society. A total of 133 cemeteries were documented by this brother/sister team. Researchers looking for the burial sites of family members owe a tremendous debt to Malvin and Maxine. Malvin's nephew, Bruce McManus, spent the last five years learning about cemeteries from Malvin and he is continuing with this work. He sent me a list recently listing 166 known cemeteries in Navarro County.

I try not to get into genealogy very often because it differs from archeology. However, it seems that the Jones Ranch touched a lot of lives in the western part of Navarro County affecting so many people. No wonder the ranch is marked on a lot of local maps!

If the average person were to observe me walking around in a field picking up broken pieces of pottery and glass, I feel sure he would think I belonged in a certain state facility at Terrell. When I bring home bags of this type of material, sometimes I tend to agree. Picking up the pieces and placing them in a Ziplock bag is one thing but to cart thousands of pieces back to my house to be washed, numbered and analyzed requires something akin to being maybe a little on the stupid side. If you have any doubts, ask my wife Bobbie Jean about the bags and boxes. Most people would say if you have seen one square nail, you have seen all square nails. Ah, not so, says my archeological brain. Save it along with everything else you can find and preserve the artifacts for the future. Occasionally a brief period of rationality settles in whereby I don't have to collect every fragment of brick or piece of rusted metal but when it comes to glass and ceramics, if the piece is large enough to be grasped by two fingers, the bag receives another precious artifact. At the Jones plantation, bags were not even considered early on; I went with six gallon buckets.

Although I have not counted every artifact collected from the Jones plantation site, I have estimated that each cigar box holds approximately 300 pieces. Based on this assumption, we have collected 14,000 objects. Everything is placed in separate boxes marked with the correct site identification. In other words, all objects found in the vicinity of the main house are marked with my field number of NV-200. This was the 200th site I found in Navarro County. Any artifact found in an area where another structure had stood and was separated from the main house site by several hundred yards received a variation of the original number. An example would be artifacts from house site "A" are marked NV-200-A. As each structure site was found, a new letter for the site was given. This meant that each time we walked into the location, a minimum of at least 10 bags had to be taken so that we would be able to keep the artifacts from each location separate. If a bag was completely filled, the appropriate letter was marked on the bag corresponding with the site and the bag was placed into the bucket for transportation back to the pickup.

Bill Young is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Tuesdays.


6/25/2002 BILL YOUNG: A look at the artifacts of the Jones plantation

Last week, I mentioned the fact that I try not to get into genealogy very often. A perfect example of why I prefer not to get into genealogy occurred in the article last week. I wrote that Bruce McManus was the nephew of Malvin Keathley. Wrong! He was Mr. Keathley's grandson. Needless to say, I received a phone call correcting my error.

Of all the artifacts recovered from the Jones plantation, the most intriguing items were small, flat, triangular-shaped pieces of brass. The pieces range from about 1 to 2 inches in length. It is obvious that each piece had been cut from a larger brass piece that had been hammered flat. Most were cut on all three sides of the triangle but a few pieces exhibited evidence of a rim. This indicated to us that the pieces were originally part of a brass pan or pot. All of the brass triangles were found in the area where the kitchen once stood, northeast of the main house.

Even though we don't have any written documentation to confirm or deny it, we think that the kitchen was a separate structure based on the distribution of all of the artifacts in the region where the plantation house stood. There was an area approximately 20 yards long where the artifact concentration was considerably lighter. Also with the aid of metal detectors, we found a lot of various types of metal in what we determined to be the kitchen area. It was very common in the early times for people who had a reasonable amount of wealth to build a separate kitchen structure. This would greatly reduce the chances of a fire spreading into the main house. At what we think was the north end of the separate kitchen, we noted many fragments of handmade brick. Again this was a good indication that the entire north wall of the kitchen was made of brick with a huge central fireplace in the middle.

With the use of metal detectors, we recovered over 20 of the small brass triangular pieces. For several months, I pondered over what those pieces indicated. Finally, when I did the research on the family and discovered all of the information pertaining to John and his two brothers-in-law at the beginning of the Civil War and later, John's involvement with the Texas Rangers, a memory from my childhood told me what the brass pieces represented. In one of my early years in grade school, I recall we used to cut out paper stars. The residue fragments of paper left over are identical to the brass triangles. This meant that prior to going into the Civil War, John and possibly others cut out several brass stars to indicate that they came from the Lone Star State or after the war when John was preparing to take charge of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers, he made a number of badges for his unit. Again, with the aid of the metal detectors, we discovered an area east of the kitchen that had several larger metal objects strung out in a line. One of these metal objects turned out to be approximately one-half of a frying pan that still had a large bone lying in it. This line of metal indicated to me that a large group of men had camped near the kitchen and along the perimeter of the front yard of the main house.

Of the nearly 14,000 artifacts recovered from the Jones plantation, about 9,000 items were fragments of ceramics. Most were pieces of plates, cups and saucers but there were several sherds that indicate that they were serving pieces such as platters and tureens. Keep in mind that this plantation started in 1856 which is the same year we typically use for the last year that most decorated items were produced and imported to America. This 1856 date works well with what we have recovered. We have found less that 275 pieces of ceramics that exhibit some type of colored decoration or some form of a maker's mark.

Only three pieces show some type of poly-color decoration and two of the three are from the same object, a fancy serving bowl. The most common colored decoration is shell edge. I wrote about this form of decoration last year. Typically there is a blue band painted around the rim of a plate or platter. Sometimes shell-edge pottery is found in red or green but the blue is far more common. Under the blue band, there were several different types of indentations placed into the rim by various manufacturers. At the Jones plantation main house site, we recovered at least 14 different shell-edge patterns. One pattern recovered that is a great time marker was found not only at the main house but in all of the slave house locations and is a type of shell edge that exhibits the indentations but does not have any form of color applied. This type of English shell edge was produced only in the year of 1848. This means that the sherds recovered from the site in Navarro County indicate that all of the plates with this form of decoration were brought with the family when they moved to Navarro County in 1856.

Next week: More artifacts from the Jones plantation site


7/2/2002 BILL YOUNG: Picking up the pieces; artifacts from the Jones plantation

Last week I mentioned the various types of shell edge ceramics recovered from the Jones plantation. However, one thing that I didn't mention is the amount of plain, white sherds that will be found on a site if shell-edge ceramics are found.

Since the only decoration on a plate or platter is around the rim, the vast majority of the piece will be plain and undecorated. In one book I read several years ago, someone estimated that a plate might break into as many as fifty fragments. If the rim exhibited the only decoration and these sherds accounts for ten to fifteen pieces, a lot of plain white sherds must have entered the archeological record. This makes it more difficult to determine just how many vessels are represented in a historical site.

In that same book, the author wrote that most pieces of ceramics had a life span of ten years or less. His estimate seems to be fairly correct since we are able to recover a large representative sample from any early historic site with a life span of more than ten years.

We recovered enough sherds of transferware to estimate that there were 17 different patterns represented. Yet none of the patterns are represented twice. This indicates that the Jones family never purchased a large set of dishes with the same pattern.

This personal choice of buying mixed sets of dishes fits well with other early historic house sites reported in this region. I am beginning to wonder if each person within a household had his or her own personal set of dishes. This might explain why there are so many different patterns. But on the other hand, retail stores may not have handled complete sets of dishes. In early catalogs produced by Sears and Roebuck around the turn of the century, complete sets could be ordered but in the 1850s, this choice for the buying consumer may not have been available to most persons unless they were extremely wealthy.

Several years ago, we made a trip to Louisiana to look for the remains of a historic plantation house site where Robert Jones' great-great-grandfather managed part of plantation prior to the Civil War. This plantation contained over 40,000 acres of land. Today, the current owners still own over 30,000 acres and they have in there possession a set of serving pieces that came from the original plantation house. This set of dishes has the original plantation owners initials monogrammed on the pieces.

We also found at the Jones plantation site several sherds of spatter ware pottery. On several of the recovered sherds, portions of the hand painted peafowl could be seen. This peafowl pattern of spatterware must have been fairly common in the 1850s. Another site that I will discuss at a later date also had sherds of the same peafowl pattern. One thing that I must mention is the fact that all of the spatterware sherds from the Jones site are pieces of cups or saucers. We didn't find a single sherd from a plate or serving piece with this type of decoration.

Sherds of spongeware were also recovered and just like the spatterware, the only fragments found were sherds from saucers. The typical spongeware decoration is one or two parallel bands applied near the rim by hand and then flowers were applied between the bands and the center of the saucer. Just like the shell edge, the center of the saucer is undecorated.

Several sherds of mocha were found. However this particular type of mocha only has the undecorated bands of color. The earlier forms of mocha with the hand painted decorations called "worm" or "engine turned" were not found. Again this seems to fit a certain pattern that we have noticed in this part of Texas.

In San Antonio several years ago, archeologists excavated one of the trenches where the Mexican army had placed a cannon for the bombardment of the Alamo in 1836. After the Alamo fell, the Mexican army filled the trench with dirt and artifacts from several structures that once stood outside the mission. Numerous sherds of mocha with the worm pattern were recovered.

Since the Jones plantation was not established until 1856, the English ceramic makers must have phased out adding the extra decorations such as the worm pattern prior to around 1845. However, they continued producing the basic colored bands of mocha on the same shaped vessels. All of the mocha sherds found at the Jones site are sherds from "skirted bowls'.

A "skirted bowl" looks similar in size to our cereal bowls used today. However, instead of rounding evenly and tapering towards the bottom, the "skirted bowl" has a distinct shoulder inset near the bottom. This gives the lower portion of the bowl a beveled appearance.


7/9/2002 BILL YOUNG: Another look at Jones family artifacts

A few sherds were found that indicate that the Jones family had a piece or two of copper luster ware. The fragments indicate that the vessels were small cups or bowls. Luster ware normally has a pure white color inside the piece while the outside typically has a wide blue band from the rim down to about mid-point of the vessel and then a dark brown color from the midsection to the base. A very thin copper solution was applied on top of the blue band and occasionally even applied to the entire piece. Because this copper solution was very thin, it typically has weathered off of the original piece.

A number of sherds of yellow ware were collected from the site. All of the sherds were fragments of either mixing bowls or storage jars with the majority belonging to the mixing bowl category. Many of the yellow ware sherds had blue bands painted horizontally around the vessel. This type of decoration was very popular during the middle to late 19th century.

In the category of coarse earthenware, there were a lot of sherds recovered. The highest percentage were fragments of jugs, mainly one-gallon size. Nearly all of the jugs were decorated with a natural clay slip either black or brown in color. Many sherds exhibited one color on the outside and a different color on the inside. I have not read or discovered why the pottery companies utilized two different colors of glaze on the same vessel. Many of the sherds had small dark brown inclusions visible in the surface of the glaze. These inclusions are great indicators that these particular vessels were produced in the Denton area. Several archeologists have researched the various pottery companies in this part of north Texas and eastern Texas and they have determines that the brown inclusions in sherds is common only to the Denton potteries. At the Jones plantation site, both jugs, churns and storage jars manufactured at Denton were found. Several other sherds found at the site were decorated with an alkaline glaze. By using the reference material in the Richland/Chambers report, we know that only pottery companies in the area around Henderson, Rusk County, and one early pottery company near Groesbeck produced alkaline glazed pieces from the 1840s to the 1860s. For the time being, I feel that all of the sherds of alkaline glaze are fragments of churns.

Without a doubt, Henry Jones or his son John liked to smoke tobacco. We have found fragments of at least 12 different tobacco pipes in the area where the main house once stood. One pipe fragment came from a white kaolin figural pipe. White kaolin pipes were only produced in England and in South Carolina. I am not aware of any non-destructive test to determine in which location this pipe was produced. However, since the Jones family originally migrated to Texas from South Carolina, I would assume the pipe came from their home state.

Several sherds of another type of coarse earthenware recovered at the Jones site were fragments of ale bottles produced in England. In those early times, beer would not last more than a few days since the pasteurizing process had not been invented. However, ale could be bottled in small earthenware bottles and shipped around the world. Without a doubt, someone at the Jones site occasionally enjoyed an ale.

When I place all of the cigar boxes containing glass shards side by side, one thing is immediately obvious. Nearly every fragment of glass is some shade of color. By the 1860s, companies producing glass bottles were forced to cast most of their glass bottles in clear glass where the buying consumer could see the product being sold in the bottle. Not every bottle produced after that time had to be in clear glass. For instance bottles produced for ale wine beer and alcoholic spirits were made of amber or olive green glass. Even though someone lived at the Jones site until the late 1880s, the vast majority of the glass entered into the archeological record at the Jones site is comprised of aqua, amber or olive green colors. This may be a good indicator that the occupation of the Jones site after John Jones became a Texas Ranger in 1873 was only on a limited basis. Numerous shards of glass bottles indicate that wine along with even stronger alcoholic beverages were consumed from time to time. Fragments of at least two historical whiskey flasks were recovered. Several shards are fragments of a "Scroll" flask cast in a typical pale green glass while the other shards are portions of an "Eagle" flask made of an olive green glass. All of the shards from both bottles have many small air bubbles in the glass. Air bubbles are very common in early glass containers and help to determine the age of a bottle.

At least 15 bottle bases exhibit evidence of a pontil mark. Nearly all of the pontil marks are of the type where the pontil rod was snapped away from the glass base leaving a small round and very rough glass circle. However two pontil bases recovered are of the iron pontil type typically referred to incorrectly as a graphite pontil. Both types of pontil marks started disappearing after 1856 when the snap case was invented. Again this fits well with the 1856 date for the beginning of the Jones site. Within a few short years after the Jones family moved to this location, pontil marked bottles were a thing of the past.

Next week: Window glass at the Jones site


7/16/2002 BILL YOUNG: Glass from the Jones plantation

Only 46 shards of window glass were recovered from the main house at the Jones plantation. Even though this is a small amount of window glass for a larger than normal house site that stood for 33 years, the measurements of the average thickness produced a beginning date of 1858 for the house. This is well within the plus or minus five years using the chart that Dr. Randy Moir published in the Richland/Chambers series.

We also recovered 21 shards of flat glass that measured much too thick to be window glass. The shards probably represent fragments of glass table tops or mirrors. There is also a third possibility that these very thick shards are portions of very large decorative windows that were placed on either side of the main entrance. Since we do not have any written description of the Jones house, we are left with several choices.

The category of table glass is well represented at the Jones house. Please understand the term table glass refers to any object made of glass and used for decoration, drinking vessels and serving pieces. The term table glass does not mean a piece of glass utilized as a table top. Any glass object that is placed onto a table, shelf or mantle is categorized as table glass. At the Jones site, several different items fall into this group.

Two different styles of pressed glass shards were found. Several pieces were fragments of goblets very similar to the heavy stemmed goblets in which my grandmother used to served iced tea. Another group of shards were portions of six- or eight-sided tumblers. All of the shards belonging to the tumblers or the goblets are starting to turn various shades of amethyst. This indicates that these glass items were made around 1859 or later. Generally speaking, glassware was cast from glass that we refer to as lead or flint glass because of its clarity.

Another type of pressed glass found at the Jones site were shards of glass based oil/kerosene lamps. Since the Jones site lasted from 1856 to 1889, you should expect to find fragments of oil lamps since electricity was not available. A fairly large sample of oil lamp chimneys was also found. A few shards exhibit an etched design in the glass while other shards are pieces of opaque glass. There also were a number of shards of plain clear lamo chimney glass found.

Besides the special flask bottles that I wrote about last time, we found a number of glass shards that are pieces of bitters bottles. This opens up the subject to a matter of opinion. Was the Jones family buying bitters for medicinal purposes or for the alcohol content contained within the bitters products. A few shards had enough of the lettering intact to identify the particular bottle as being a Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters. In fact I believe that there are at least two of these bottles represented in the sample. Of all of the bitters produced, at least 2,500 different bitters are known; Dr. Hostetter's is the most common one found in Texas. Several years ago, full bottles were recovered from a sunken paddle wheeler in the Missouri River and lab tests determined the Dr. J. Hostetter's Bitters contained 28 percent alcohol, the highest percentage known in any bitters product. It is within reason to assume that someone at the Jones plantation might have been drinking the bitters declaring it to be necessary for medical reasons while in reality, it was a subtle way to consume a drink of alcohol. Several other shards found were probably pieces of at least two other bitters bottles but not enough was recovered to determine the brand.

Several bases and necks of aqua colored beer bottles were found also at the Jones house. These shards are an indicator that one or more persons consumed American made beer after 1878 when the pasteurizing process was introduced into the United States by Charles Conrad after he visited Germany and acquired the rights to the process. This fact opens up more speculation about exactly who was living in the main house after John became the commanding general of the Texas Rangers in 1878. Henry was living near Frost and John was living in Austin. Therefore who was staying in the plantation house after John moved off, and, was the house continuously occupied from 1878 until the house burned in 1889? I wonder if Henry moved back to the old original house for a period of possibly 10 years or so?

With the aid of metal detectors, a variety of metal objects was found at not only the main house but at all of the other house sites located nearby. Most of the metal detectors produced in the last 15 or 20 years have some form of discrimination mode built into the machine to separate out metal made of ferrous (iron) material. This is very helpful so that an individual looking for coins doesn't spend at lot of time digging up iron objects such as fragments of old pipes. However, when we are dealing with an historical archeological site that dates back to the middle 1850s, we need to look at a percentage of the iron objects. On the negative side, once an iron object is exposed to the air, the oxidation process will speed up on the particular item. Therefore if the item or items are significantly important, the metal pieces must be subjected to several different types of preservation methods in a effort to conserve them permanently.

Next week: The metal from Jones plantation.


8/6/2002 BILL YOUNG: More metal artifacts from the Jones plantation

Last week I wrote one paragraph about the various bullets and shell casings discovered at the Jones plantation site. Another neat artifact found with the metal detector was the lid from a small round brass container. We were able to make out part of the lettering which stated that this contained 100 percussion caps. As hard as we tried, we were not able to recover the bottom of the can. It is possible someone at the site recycled the base of the can in the process of making one of the brass stars.

One small broken brass angel that was part of a lady's pendant was recovered, one of the very few personal items found on the site. We did find one-half of a large unglazed marble which turned out to be the one and only artifact associated with children. Since all of Henry Jones children were grown by the time they arrived in Navarro County, the marble represented something belonging to a grandchild or the child of someone visiting the home.

Two nickels both dated 1868 were found in the vicinity of where we think the separate kitchen once stood. Both coins had elongated holes punched near their centers with a narrow blade knife. I am not sure what these two coins represent. Around a few of the slave houses, we found several half- dimes, all with holes punched near the centers.

In fact, on one of the half- dimes, the first hole had worn through to the edge and the wearer had punched a second hole. Another small half-dime had been cut into three small fragments for some unexplained reason. Without question the small silver coins are referred to as slave coins. I have interviewed several black citizens living in East Texas who still wear a few small silver coins around their ankles to ward off arthritis.

However, they typically wear silver coins and not something made of nickel alloy. There still is the possibility that the two nickel coins were originally destined to be worn as ankle coins. The discontinuation of the half-dime and the new production of the nickel occurred just about the time the Jones family moved to this location and someone may have mistakenly assumed that the new nickel was made of silver. This may explain why the two pieces were discarded in the kitchen area and not in the vicinity of one of the small houses.

Before I write about the artifacts recovered where the slave houses were located, I want to mentioned the Native American artifacts found across the ranch. We have never been able to find the one site where the pottery sherds were found by the previous landowner back in the 1980s. On the other hand we did discover several sites that exhibited evidence of occupation by Native Americans at various time periods.

The old saying that "where one person settled also was appealing for someone else" is very true at this site. Several Waco Sinkers were found on the knoll where one of the slave houses designated "house C" used to stand. These oval-shaped notched rocks represent the oldest artifacts recovered from the Jones site dating to around 9,000 years ago.

A few projectile point fragments from several different time periods came from the same knoll. One we would classify as a Morrill point dating to around 5,000 years old while two others are classified as Gary points from 2,500 to 3,500 years ago.

A few points were found in the area where the main plantation house once stood. All of these fall into the time range of 2,500 to 4,500 years in age from present times. A few fragments were recovered in the same area where another small house designated "A" once stood. One is a portion of an early type known as a Wells point which we have determined has approximately the same age and distribution as the Morrill point mentioned above. One small arrow point classified as a Perdiz that dates to around 1350 A.D. was recovered along with a couple more Gary dart point fragments.

Three other knolls produced a few chips and flakes along with a few cobbles that exhibit evidence of fire but there weren't any diagnostic artifacts dating to the Native American time periods. However, two of these knolls yielded enough historic material to indicate the presence of two other houses. At this point in time, we think that both of these structures date to just after the Civil War conflict ended since neither house yielded any of the typical glass shards or ceramic sherds found on sites prior to 1860. But both sites produced ceramic sherds that we call "marbleized ironstone." We did find several sherds of this same ceramic at the main plantation house but not a single sherd was recovered near any of the other structures that we feel comfortable in calling slave houses. This type of ironstone is well dated to around 1848 which opens up the discussion as to why these sherds were found near the two house sites which have to date after the mid 1860s. My theory is that after John went off to be a Texas Ranger, he either gave the occupants of these two structures a few ceramic vessels from the main house, or the occupants "borrowed" the ceramic pieces feeling sure that John might not ever get back to the ranch or even if he did return, surely he wouldn't miss a few things.

Next week: The artifacts from the slave houses at the Jones site


8/13/2002 BILL JONES: Artifacts from the slave houses at the Jones site

Since there are only a very few square nails in the areas where we think each slave house stood, it is our opinion that each of these structures was made of logs rather than sawn lumber. On the other hand, the main plantation house must have been constructed of milled lumber because there are many nails of variable sizes found where the main structure once stood. We did find a few larger square nails at each of the small log cabins but these were used to hold roofing rafters in place. Also several smaller nails of the variety to hold cedar shingles were recovered at the slave houses.

The ceramics along with table glass were almost a mirror image of the bigger house except the quantities were much smaller. However, there was one noted difference in the table glass. At four of the smaller houses, shards of brilliant teal-blue bottles were found. Not a single shard of this colored glass was recovered from the main house. Even though I have an extensive knowledge of bottles from the time period of 1850 to 1920, I am at a loss as to what product came in these bottles but I am aware that several large perfume and hair product bottles were produced in teal blue or emerald green. It is possible that the original bottle was purchased for the main house and after the product was used, shards of the bottle were carried to the smaller houses because the glass was quite beautiful.

Another object that originally came from the kitchen area of the main house to the slave houses was musket balls. Without exception, several unfired balls were recovered from each house. Why did the person take the lead balls home? For children to use for toys or the balls represented something they had made with their own hands and they wanted an example? It leaves us with another unanswered question. Even though lead is not produced in Texas and had to transported great distances to the market here, the amount of wasted lead found at the Jones site is surprising. In the area around the main house and kitchen, several bars of lead complete with the manufacturer's name were found. Every lead ball found at the slave houses was identical in caliber: .36, which is a typical pistol ball from that time period. We did find several more. 36 caliber balls where the kitchen once stood but other larger calibers typical of rifle bores where found in the same area.

House "D," which means it was the fourth house discovered after we found the main house, was located approximately 200 yards due east of the main house. This house site yielded some slight differences from the other slave houses. For instance, the volume of material recovered was almost doubled compared to any of the other structures. So that you can glimpse what I am referring to, the number of pieces of both glass and ceramics recovered from each slave house would number around 100 to 150 items. House "D" yielded nearly 300 items. Also at house "D," we found a frog brick made of an unusual dark material. On one side, almost a third of the brick exhibited a rounded edge indicating this side of the brick was used as a well curbing brick. Each time people drew water from the well, they would stand on top of this curbing brick causing a little more wear on the top. Behind the Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas, SMU uncovered an intact well, complete with curbing bricks worn exactly like this brick from the Jones site. We did not discover any depression indicating a well anywhere near any of the structures, but there still is a brick-lined well located several hundred yards away from any of the sites. This well is lined with machine made bricks typically made after 1883 and not bricks of the handmade, sand-type variety from the 1850s.

Right behind house "D," there is an oval depression measuring more than 20 yards across and several feet deep. This depression is located on a shallow slope. Some 50 yards farther down the slope was a small branch that possibly had a spring. Today a nice pond covers the branch obscuring any evidence of a spring. Having dug in a brick clamp several years ago during the testing and excavation phase on Cooper Lake, it is my opinion that this depression behind house "D" represents where bricks were manufactured for the main house. Not a single fragment of brick was recovered from any of the other sites except for the main house and the frog brick mentioned above.

One thing that we have yet to locate, mentioned in several documents, is a slave cemetery. We think that this cemetery is located in a wooded area on the opposite side of the pond from house "D." Eventually we hope to discover the exact location of this cemetery and file some form of protection status for the grave sites.

 

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