Former Homestead of Burrel Jones, McCracken County, KY
By 1853, county tax records show Burrel having increased his land holdings to 160 acres which is supported by a deed dated March 19, 1853. The land, which was located on the waters of Massac and Mayfield Creeks, was purchased from William T. Smith and his wife Nancy for the sum of $640. It appears that Burrel's original 80 acres is part of the 160 being purchased here based on the deed stating that it is "the same tract of land on which the said Jones now resides and cultivates." Considering documents have yet to surface explaining how Burrel came to own the original 80 acres and William T. Smith and his wife Nancy were living in Christian County, Kentucky at the time of this deed, it seems likely that Burrel had struck an earlier deal to contract and work the land with the future option or agreement to purchase, giving him time to come up with the rather large sum of $640.
This would end up being a wise investment for Burrel considering he was able to double his money by selling 80 acres of it four years later on February 20, 1857 to a man named William Spence for $700. The deed for this transaction is significant because it marks the first time that Burrel's wife Elizabeth is included in any of Burrel's land activities and the fact that she signs with "her mark" at the bottom would indicate she wasn't educated. Apparently the couple's reason for selling the land was due to them having set their gaze further west across the Mississippi River, focusing on Independence County, Arkansas where cheap federal land was still to be had. Records indicate that Burrel and Elizabeth's daughter Nancy Clarentine and her husband Henry Z. Hawkins had moved to nearby Izard County, Arkansas as early as March of 1855. This move to Arkansas gives Burrel the distinction of being the only child of Issac Jones to have left the state of Kentucky.
By the time of Burrel's arrival in Arkansas, Independence County was quite established having been formed in the year 1820. Settlers had come to the area from Kentucky as early as 1810 searching for good pasturage for their cattle and building a settlement at the mouth of Polk Bayou which was connected to the White River. The settlement which they called Polk Bayou, eventually was renamed to Batesville in 1824 after having served as the county seat since 1821. Having also served as an important shipping point on the White River for a number of years, goods were easy to come by, and the federal land office that oversaw the sale of all land in northern Arkansas was eventually located here. Even by 1830 the town possessed a number of brick buildings and stores and by 1860 the county boasted a total population of 14,000 people.
Although Burrel had arrived in Independence County by 1857, his earliest land purchase doesn't occur until July 1, 1859 when he purchases two land patents at the federal land office in Batesville totaling 160 acres. The land was all located in the northeast and northwest quarters of Section 9, Township 15 north, Range 6 west, which lay to the northwest of the present day town of Cave City, Arkansas which at the time was known as Barren Township. Today this land can be found north of the section of Center Road that lays between Hamlett Springs Road and Conyers Road. Later court records indicate that Burrel bought an additional 320 acres located to the north of his 1859 purchase in Section 4 and to the south in Sections 17 and 18.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the state of Arkansas quickly opted for secession and left the Union on May 6, 1861. Although they were not slave owners, seven months later, Burrel's son John Logan would enlist with the Confederacy on November 19, 1861 serving as fifth sergeant of Company B with the 1st Arkansas Regiment of 30 Day Volunteers. This regiment was part of the Independence County Home Guard and was made up primarily of land owners in the area. John Logan was also accompanied in enlisting by his brother-in-law Nathaniel P. Jones. Now at the age of 66, Burrel most certainly would have been too old to serve in the war and there is no existing record of any sort of service.
During the war, the county was primarily plagued by guerrilla warfare and bands of lawless men known as bushwackers terrorizing the local population. By May of 1862 the town of Batesville was already under Federal occupation, a status that would change several times throughout the war. With the constant presence of troops from one side or the other in the area, there was a steady pressure on the local farmers for supplies in exchange for payment vouchers that often proved worthless. Eventually local food supplies would dwindle to the point of forcing the Union troops occupying the town of Batesville in 1864 to relocate nearly 20 miles away to the town of Jacksonport. As far as actual fighting, Independence County was the scene of several battles primarily involving skirmishes between small bands of Confederate guerrilla fighters and the Union troops stationed in the area to combat them and the bushwackers. One such skirmish occurred on February 19, 1864 at a location known as Waugh Farm when 180 Union troops with forty wagons had been sent out from Batesville to forage the countryside for supplies. They were attacked by Confederates under the command of General George Rutherford who overran them quickly, capturing and burning all the wagons.
Regardless of the near-constant presence of Union troops in the county, the citizens greater fear was directed towards the groups of bushwackers roaming the county. An excellent account of what the residents of Independence County faced during the Civil War can be found in a letter by Emeline McGuire to her son, dated August 1864:
My Dear Son,
How to commence this letter to you I do not know. I have so much melancholy things to tell you about. In the first place, I know you will think it strange, when you look at the heading of my letter, that your Ma is in Kentucky. Well, I will tell you how it was that we came here. We have had first the Confederate soldiers and then the Federals changing first one and then the other ever since the war commenced, and last winter a band of Jayhawking thieves came into Independence and all the adjoining counties, going to the people's houses of nights and demanding all their money and threatening to kill them if they did not and they did kill some. One night three men rode up to our gate and hallowed and your Pa went out thinking it was some of our neighbors wanted something, when to his surprise they took hold of him and said he was their prisoner. They were all armed and he had only an old pocket knife. They took him nearly a mile into the woods and asked him for a large sum of money. I do not recollect how much and they said they would kill him if he did not give it to them. Your Pa told them they would have to kill him then for he had not near much money. They told him he had to give all he had. They then searched his pockets and then brought him back to the house and told me to bring out all the money or they would burn the house. I took the money out and they released your Pa. About three weeks after that a gang of those thieves came to our house about eleven o'clock at night. We had our doors locked and Pa had his guns and pistols loaded. They did not say a word but commenced trying to burst the doors open. Finding the doors too strong, one of them came to the window and burst the shutter off. Just as he did so your Pa shot and killed him. He loaded his gun again and went into the cellar with the intention of trying to get out. Knowing that they had got all the money before, your Pa believed they had come with the intention of killing him, and he said he was determined to sell his life as dear as he could. As soon as this man was killed, they made the negroes carry him to Lamburtons and they set the house on fire. They put the fire at the end of the old store room and the house was all in flames before I knew it. Your Pa managed to get out of the cellar but not until he was wounded in the left arm above the elbow and he killed another one of those thieves. He then had to run through the open lot and them following him and shooting at him all the time. Just as he jumped the lot fence by the negro cabin, they shot him the second time in the same arm which I fear will make him a cripple for life. But he succeeded in getting away with life for which I am thankful to my blessed Savior, for I know it was nothing but his interposition that saved him. Our dwelling houses, kitchen, smokehouse with everything that was in them burned up with the exception of a few things Auntie and myself carried out. A few days afterward our mill and gin was burned and all our negroes left us and went to the Federals except Jo. . . Our house was burned the fifth night of December (1863). We left Arkansas in March.
Your mother, Emeline McGuire
Eventually the war would come to an end in 1865, and it would seem that despite going through the Reconstruction Era, things had returned to some level of normalcy with Burrel's youngest son James Knox Polk Jones getting married on July 27, 1867 to a young woman named Rachel M. Huddleston. The couple would eventually own and operate a hotel in Batesville. Unfortunately, Burrel would not live to see the state of Arkansas readmitted to the Union having died sometime prior to March of 1868 at the age of 73. It is doubtful that Burrel left any sort of will based on the fact that the bulk of the documents involving his estate find their origin within the county probate court system. Probate court records indicate that Burrel's son John Logan Jones acted as the administrator of the estate after having posted a $2000 bond backed by Nathaniel P. Jones, Richard J. Montgomery, and Oty Story as securities. Later court documents show that an estate inventory was filed with the court but unfortunately has ceased to exist or has yet to surface. Reference to it is made by John Logan Jones in a document dated July 13, 1868 involving an affidavit of cash note due to Burrel stemming from a $74 loan with an annual interest rate of ten percent made to Henry Z. Hawkins and J. W. Peter back on September 22, 1860. Both of these men if you remember were son-in-laws of Burrel's. This loan is once again addressed in a sworn statement of it's validity made by Hawkins on March 10, 1868.
In regards to Burrel's land there was probably no need for a will because at some point in 1869 or early 1870, Burrel's wife Elizabeth would petition the probate court to "appoint commissioners to lay off and set aside her dower." The fact that she had a dower would imply that Burrel had verbally made an agreement with her at an earlier time to leave her the land. This agreement could quite possibly go as far back as the couple having sold the land in Surry County that was left to Elizabeth by her father. Her petition was granted and the courts assigned Richard J. Montgomery, William F. Dalton, and Thomas J. Martin to act as commissioners and determine which of Burrel's land holdings would be set aside for Elizabeth. Upon examination, the commissioners determined that at his death, Burrel owned the following parcels of land: the southwest quarter of Section 4, Township 15 north, Range 6 west and the western half of the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 15 north, Range 6 west totaling 240 acres, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 18, Township 15 north, Range 6 west containing 40 acres, the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 15 north, Range 6 west containing 40 acres, and his original 1859 purchase consisting of the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 9, Township 15 north, range 6 west, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 9, Township 15 north, Range 6 west, and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 9, Township 15 north, Range 6 west containing a total of 160 acres. On March 19, 1870 the commissioners entered their decision with the court, awarding Elizabeth the land originally purchased by Burrel in 1859 consisting of the 160 acres located in Section 9 and including "the dwelling and farm."
Map Showing Burrel's Main Land Holdings At Time Of Death
(any box with 1870 in it was still owned at that time)
It is unknown to me at this time what became of the remainder of Burrel's land or what Elizabeth ultimately did with her share of his estate. It would appear that Elizabeth may have rented or sold her share of the land not long after it having been awarded. By August of 1870, the federal census shows her living in the home of her son-in-law Nathaniel P. Jones and daughter Polly, and being under the care of her recently divorced granddaughter Lucy Gist. From this point forward, the remainder of Elizabeth's life becomes a mystery. Federal census records would seem to indicate that she died sometime prior to 1880. Grave locations for both her and Burrel have yet to be located, with the generally accepted location thought to be the Palestine Methodist Church Cemetery located a few miles to the west of Cave City. With Burrel and Elizabeth's son John Logan calling this cemetery his final resting place, as well as their daughter Polly and her husband Nathaniel, this would seem to be the logical location. It may also be that Burrel and Elizabeth are actually buried in a local family cemetery that is somewhat of a mystery known as the Hamlett Cemetery. There is a family lineage document supplied by the Genealogical Society Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints involving the family of Burrel's son John Logan Jones. The document makes mention of the burial location of John Logan's first wife Margaret Jane Bizzell, who died in 1870, as being in this Hamlett Cemetery. The document further states that her death date was sourced from her tombstone. With Burrel having died two years prior and John Logan living right next door to Burrel at this time, one would think Burrel, Elizabeth, and Margaret would all be buried in the same cemetery. With Hamlett actually being a local surname and the road running today along the northeast boundary of Burrel's land being called Hamlett Springs Road, I'd say it's pretty likely there is a lost family cemetery in the area that may contain these graves.
1850 McCracken County, KY Tax List ~ Burrel Jones
1851 McCracken County, KY Tax List ~ Burrel Jones
1852 McCracken County, KY Tax List ~ Burrel Jones
1853 McCracken County, KY Tax List ~ Burrel Jones
1853 McCracken County, KY Deed ~ William T. and Nancy Smith to Burrel Jones
1857 McCracken County, KY Deed ~ Burrel and Elizabeth Jones to William Spence
1857 McCracken County, KY Deed ~ Burrel and Elizabeth Jones to John Englert
Link to BLM website where Burrel Jones' 1859 Arkansas Land Patents can be viewed
1868 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Burrel Jones Estate Bond
1868 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Burrel Jones Estate (affidavit of cash received)
1868 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Burrel Jones Estate
1870 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Petition of Elizabeth Jones to Lay Off Dower
1870 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Commissioner's Report for Elizabeth Jones dower
1870 Independence County, AR Court Document ~ Burrel Jones Estate (lands owned)