Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Friday, May 18, 2012

Child #1.....Thomas Jones (1788-1874)

Isaac Jones' first child Thomas was born circa 1788, most likely in Rowan County, North Carolina. Thomas makes his first appearance in state records on December 15, 1811 when he applies for a marriage bond to wed Nancy Brown in Surry County, NC. Nancy is generally believed to be the daughter of John and Molly Brown who owned land bordering that of Isaac Jones. Further evidence that would seem to back this relationship up is the fact that John Brown acted as the bondsman for the marriage and then mentions his daughter "Polly Jones formerly Polly Brown" in his 1830 will. While Polly was a nickname more closely associated with the name Mary, I have seen where it was also a common substitute at the time for Nancy. When you consider that Thomas' younger brother Burrel married a daughter of John and Molly Brown, this would also seem to lend itself to the notion that Thomas' wife Nancy was as well. This notion is further backed up by Thomas Jones acting as a witness for a Surry County land sale between John Brown and John Brown Jr. on February 21, 1818.

Past researchers have commonly believed that Thomas' marriage to Nancy Brown was somewhat short-lived, lasting only 5 years before his eventual marriage to Sarah Matlocks in Surry County on September 21, 1816. THIS IS NOT CORRECT AND IS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY! First let me start with saying that if you look at the actual county marriage bond, the woman's name is actually Sarah Matticks or Mattecks. With that being said, a search of Surry County deeds produces one dated November 29, 1813 showing a woman named Polly Fernandis selling a young black slave named Rachel to Sarah Matticks for $10. The deed further states that the $10 was "paid by Sarah Matticks, alias Fernandis". This is definitely the same Sarah Matticks that married a Thomas Jones in 1816 because a deed dated December 27, 1816 shows the couple selling the same slave to a man named Edward Milstead. If you go back seven years prior to this you'll find a Surry County deed dated April 10, 1809 showing Mary Fernandis (aka Polly Fernandis) selling another female slave to "her nephew Edward Milstead".

A little digging into the names Matticks, Fernandis, and Milstead shows that these families came to the area from Charles County, Maryland, and a little further digging produces a marriage record from Charles County showing Sarah Fernandis marrying John Maddox on June 20, 1779. If Isaac's son Thomas had in fact married this Sarah Matticks in 1816, he would've been marrying a woman who had gotten married for her first time almost 10 years before Thomas was even born! Highly unlikely. It's more likely that the Thomas Jones who married Sarah Matticks in Surry County was the Thomas Jones who had resided and bought land in the county since the 1780's. A deed dated August 9, 1816 and witnessed by a William Milstead further shows that this earlier/older Thomas Jones already had a connection to these families prior to his marriage to Sarah Matticks a month later. It is my firm belief that Isaac Jones' son Thomas actually remained married to Nancy Brown up until his second and only other marriage in 1847.

It is also my firm belief that there are issues with the individuals generally believed to be the children of Thomas Jones and Nancy Brown. Based on the consistency of the information most people present, I assume that most have sourced their information from the book "The Joneses Of Kentucky's Calloway And Marshall Counties, 1820-1910" compiled by Henry Earl Jones, so I'll be using Mr. Jones' book as a base point of reference to explain my thoughts on the matter. When examining the children of Thomas Jones it's probably best to jump slightly ahead on his timeline and first examine his entry on the 1820 Federal Census for Warren County, Tennessee. On his census entry for that year, Thomas is listed as having two male children under the age of 10 and one female child under the age of 10. Although she isn't attributed to Thomas in Mr. Jones' book, I believe this female child to be Nancy Jones who was born in North Carolina circa 1814 and eventually went on to marry Brittain Mathis. Apart from her name, birth year, and birth location making Nancy a likely match, she and her husband Brittain can also be found two homes down from Thomas Jones on the 1850 Marshall County Census.

As for the two boys listed in Thomas' household in 1820, based on Mr. Jones' book most people have generally believed them to be William D. Jones (1814-NC) and James L. Jones (1819-KY). While the author makes a point to mention that their relationship to Thomas Jones is only "deduced", I believe that evidence exists to squarely prove that neither of these men were sons of Thomas and quite possibly not even directly related to anyone in the Isaac Jones clan. Starting with William D. Jones a.k.a. "Button" who is generally thought to be Thomas Jones' firstborn, Mr. Jones bases William's connection to Thomas on "deeds, geographic cluster, name of first male child & James L. Jones will." With the sheer number of Thomas and William Jones pairings that can be found in both Marshall and Calloway County tax records and deeds for that time period, basing lineage on geographic clustering can begin to fall into the realm of subjective. This would also be the same for patterns in naming children. So William D. is a son of Thomas because he named his firstborn son Thomas, yet his supposed father Thomas named his firstborn male William despite his father being an Isaac and his father-in-law being a John? See what I mean? It's when you examine William's connection to James L. Jones, that the pieces really start to not fit.

In Mr. Jones' book he lists Thomas Jones' second son as being James L. Jones, born circa 1819 in Kentucky, died circa February 11, 1893, and left a will written November 28, 1891. During his life he was married three times: first to Sarah Ann Whitlock, second to Anna Lovett, and finally to Charlotte McGrew. Through his marriage to Sarah Ann Whitlock they had four children: Lucy, Mary, Rufus, and Joshua. As with William D. Jones, James L. Jones' connection to Thomas is based on "deeds, geography, & will." Anyone who has viewed the 1850 Census for Marshall County can clearly see that yes there is indeed a James L. Jones married to a Sarah Ann Whitlock living two homes down from Thomas Jones. Once you move beyond this though, records indicate that all the other marriages, the will, and the death date are mistakenly attributed to this James L. Jones, and the person who married Anna Lovett and Charlotte McGrew was an entirely different person. And if it is this person's 1891 will that makes his connection to William D. Jones and thus both of their connections to being sons of Thomas, this is definitely incorrect.

Without question there was a James L. Jones who married Sarah Ann Whitlock in Calloway County, KY on October 31, 1840. Sarah Ann Whitlock was the daughter of Thomas Jones' sister Alvina Jones Whitlock. In his book, Mr. Jones has Sarah Ann dying sometime between "spring of 1850 and June 5, 1851." This is most likely based on her 1850 census appearance and her husband James getting remarried to Anna Lovett on June 5, 1851. THIS IS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY because Sarah Ann was still alive and the couple still married in 1854! This can clearly be seen in a document from the Calloway County court system dated November 1854 involving a lawsuit titled "James L. Jones and others (plaintiffs) Vs. Mary Whitlock and others (defendants)". The case involves a court-appointed commissioner named J. P. Culver selling to John Jeffrey the 153 acres that Alvina Whitlock had bought from her father Isaac Jones back in 1844. The proceeds from the sale were then to be divided among Alvina's living heirs, of which James L. Jones and Sarah Ann are both listed, as well as, having also signed the document. This alone makes it impossible for James L. Jones to have married Anna Lovett in 1851. Another Calloway County court document that I mentioned earlier in regards to Isaac Jones' estate goes even one step further in proving that both James L. Jones and Sarah Ann had both actually died prior to 1858, thus it would be impossible for this James L. Jones to have left a will in 1891.

This second document was the lawsuit involving all the heirs of Isaac Jones and the descendants of William Vance dated "November term 1858." By this point in time with her mother being dead, Sarah Ann Whitlock Jones would have been listed as an heir to Isaac's estate but instead her four children Lucy, Mary, Rufus, and Joshua are. This would certainly indicate that Sarah Ann had died sometime between 1854-1858. What makes this document even more interesting is that the four children "sue by their next friend and statutory guardian James A. Jones." Both of these titles are court-appointed and would indicate that the four children were all minors and both of their parents deceased. This scenario can also be seen in this same document involving the children of William and Lydia Jeffrey who both had passed by this time and their children are being represented by their "next friend and statutory guardian John Jeffrey."

With this being said, we now have two vacancies to fill in regards to the two males under 10 listed in Thomas Jones' household in 1820. For whatever reason these two individuals seem to get lost in the shuffle, but I believe the two most likely candidates for being the eldest sons of Thomas Jones are John U. Jones (1817-NC) and Isaac T. Jones (1820-TN). Both men certainly fit the bill if geographic clustering is to be used as criteria. John U. Jones first appears in the Calloway County tax records in 1839 listed just above Isaac Jones Sr., and as I mentioned in an earlier post, bought land from him in 1848. On the 1842 Calloway County tax list you even find him listed below a Thomas Jones. The same pretty much applies with Isaac T. Jones (1820) who can at one point be found living in the household of Thomas Jones' niece Nancy Jones Hawkins in 1850. Despite Nancy Hawkins being a child of Thomas' brother Burrel which has led some to speculate that this Isaac possibly was also, it's important to remember that Thomas and Burrel had purchased adjoining land back in 1835 from Adams Sutherland. With the land then primarily being occupied by Thomas and Burrel's children, this situation would totally lend itself to mixed households from the two men. John U. Jones and Isaac T. Jones would also be more likely candidates as sons of Thomas if you wanted to put stock in any sort of child-naming pattern. With his father being an Isaac and his father-in-law being a John, I find this much more likely than Thomas naming his first two sons William and James. Especially considering that Thomas did seem to have a penchant for recycling family names as seen in his naming later children Nancy, Wiley, Burrel, Joshua, and Thomas. Unfortunately John U. Jones and Isaac T. Jones seem to both drop from the historic record after 1852, and anything more definitive has yet to surface.

In regards to the marriage between Thomas Jones and Nancy Brown I believe the union produced these children: Nancy (1814-NC), John U. (1817-NC), Isaac T. (1820-TN), Joshua J. (1826-TN), Malvina (1831-TN), Elizabeth A. (1832-TN), Martha J. (1836-KY), and Frances Emeline (1841-KY).

Despite being listed in the Surry County, NC tax records as early as 1815, there is only one known actual land purchase that was made by Thomas Jones while residing in the county. This was a 100 acre purchase from the state most likely sometime in 1817, which was then ordered by the state General Assembly to be surveyed on September 8, 1818 and eventually was on October 29, 1818. This land was later turned over to his brother Wiley when Thomas and his brother Burrel left for Warren County, TN in 1819. Evidence of this can be seen in a Surry County deed dated  March 1, 1819 when Wiley sells this same piece of land to Benjamin Johnson. The deed states that the land was a "tract surveyed for and granted to Thomas Jones." As for Thomas' time spent in Warren County, TN; apart from the 1820 Census no other records exist that definitively point to him. This is unfortunately due to a county courthouse fire in 1852 that destroyed all the early tax lists and court records prior to the 1840's.

By 1830 it is believed that Thomas had relocated further south to Lincoln County, TN where he would remain until showing up in Calloway County, KY by the year 1835. Thomas continues to show up in the Calloway County tax lists up until 1842 and then starting in 1843 is shown as living in Marshall County, KY. If you've happened to have read my earlier post concerning Isaac Jones' Tinsley Survey being much further north than where people have assumed in the past, it would make perfect sense that Thomas would end up in Marshall County by 1843 because the county was formed from northern Calloway County in 1842. My theory would seem to be further backed up by his sister Alvina's 1844 Tinsley Survey land purchase from Isaac, which would explain why Thomas was surrounded by Whitlocks on the 1850 Census in Marshall County.

This 1850 Census also indicates that Thomas' wife Nancy Brown had died sometime between 1841 and 1848. I've never seen an actual marriage record, but it is generally believed that sometime around 1847-1848 Thomas got remarried to a woman 37 years younger than him named Martha A. Nunley. Through this second marriage Thomas had six more children: Andrew (1848-KY), Wiley (1849-KY), Burrell (1851-KY), Lucy (1853-KY), Thomas (1855-KY), and Sarah (1858-KY). The 1870 Calloway County Census would seem to also indicate the couple had a daughter named Tennessee (1850-KY). This is actually the wife of Thomas' son Andrew K. Jones, and the couple can later be found on the 1900 Census for Jackson County, Arkansas. Thomas Jones would continue to appear in the Calloway County tax records making his final appearance in 1872, leaving most people to believe he died shortly thereafter circa 1874. As with his father Isaac, no known burial location.

1811 Surry County, NC Marriage Bond~Thomas Jones to Nancy Brown (front)

1811 Surry County, NC Marriage Bond~Thomas Jones to Nancy Brown (back)

1818 Surry County, NC Deed~John Brown to John Brown Jr. (page 1) Thomas Jones witness

1818 Surry County, NC Deed~John Brown to John Brown Jr. (page 2) Thomas Jones witness

1818 Surry County, NC State Land Grant Purchase~Thomas Jones

1818 Surry County, NC State Land Grant Survey~Thomas Jones

1819 Surry County, NC Deed~Willie (Wiley) Jones to Benjamin Johnson (sale of Thomas' land) page 1

1819 Surry County, NC Deed~Willie (Wiley) Jones to Benjamin Johnson (sale of Thomas' land) page 2

1835 Calloway County, KY Land Receipt~Adams Sutherland to Thomas Jones

1854 Calloway County, KY Court Record~James L. Jones & others Vs. Mary Whitlock & others

1858 Calloway County, KY Court Record~John Jeffrey & others Vs. A. Vance & others

(if anyone would like the documents pertaining to the incorrect Sarah Matticks marriage, just email me.)


  1. It must be said "KUDOS" to the transciber who did this Blog with all the hard work and research that was involved! I am sure that EVERYONE in this JONES Family Bloodline must be Proud to have a Relative create such a Blog! I am heavily connected to alot of these relatives on both my Paternal (Jones) and Maternal Bloodline (Jeffrey). This was a Blessing that I found this site! My many Thanks!

  2. Well THANK YOU Bo! That's all very kind of you to say. Glad to hear that you've found some use & interest in my research! Once again, thanks very much for your kind words, they definitely inspire me to continue my efforts here!

  3. Many thanks for posting the connection between Edward Milstead, his aunt Mary “Polly” Fernandis, and Sarah Fernandis Maddox.

    It’s believed Edward and his wife, Elizabeth, were the parents of my 3rd-Great Grandfather George Milstead (whose parents were born in Maryland and, by deduction, Durham Parish of Charles Co.)...

    I haven’t figured out how William Milstead is connected to him; either his father or an elder brother. Maybe even an can’t depend on early censuses. Ha

    I might add, as far as connections go, that William Milstead and Mary Fernandis are the executors for the will of her sister, Eleanor Fernandis (Prince William Co., VA; dated 23 April 1791; proven 7 April 1794).

    Apparently, there is a Benedictor Milstead, daughter of Edward Milstead (Jr?) and a Benedictor Fernandis, sister of Mary “Polly” and Sarah.

    One online source says William Milstead was married to Benedictor Milstead, while another says Benedictor Fernandis married Benjamin Maddox.

    If the Benedictor Milstead, who relinquished her right of dower to William Milstead, was a Fernandis, it would explain why Sarah referred to Edward as her nephew (and assumes William to be Edward of Surry County’s father).

    Based on a transcribed will I read, the suggestion that Benedictor Milstead was a wife of William Milstead appears to indicate he married his sister.

    A lot of misinformation out there.

    But you've started me thinking all about this Milstead/Farnandis connection.



  4. Indenture made November 27, 1800; William Milstead of Prince William County, Virginia, planter, in consideration of 150 current money of Maryland paid by Barton Milstead and Peter Milstead of CC, planters, have sold 1/4th part of two tracts of land being my full share of the land will to me by Edward Milstead my father after the decease of Elizabeth Milstead the relict of said Edward Milstead. Signed William Milstead in the presence of Samuel Hanson, Francis B. Franklin

    November 27, 1800; Benedictor Milstead wife of William Milstead relinquished her right of dower...

    This was a copy of what I'd found earlier this evening.