About Mary Jones
JONES, MARY SMITH (1819-1907). Mary Smith Jones, wife of Republic of Texas president Anson Jones and first president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, was born in Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory, on July 24, 1819, to John McCutcheon and Sarah (Pevehouse) Smith. After Smith died in 1833, his wife and her five children moved to Texas and settled in January 1834 in Brazoria. There Sarah Smith married John Woodruff, a widower with six children. In April 1836 the Woodruff family and other Brazorians lost their homes when a division of Santa Anna's army forced them to flee toward the Sabine River. The Woodruffs found shelter in the timber of Clear Creek, eight miles from the battlefield of San Jacinto. After December 1836 the family resided in Houston.
Was the first president of the Daughters of the republic of Texas.
On July 23, 1837, Mary Smith was married in Houston to Hugh McCrory, a soldier in the Army of the Republic of Texas. McCrory died suddenly seven weeks later. In Austin on May 17, 1840, Mary married Anson Jones, a prominent doctor and politician from Brazoria. Jones's political career eventually included a two-year term as senator from Brazoria, service as secretary of state under President Sam Houston, and election as president of the Republic of Texas in 1844. That year the Joneses built their plantation house at their estate, Barrington, four miles from Washington-on-the-Brazos. The estate was later sold at a loss, and after Jones's suicide in January 1858 Mary and the children were destitute. They moved to Galveston, where Ashbel Smith helped Mrs. Jones to buy his brother's 460-acre farm on Goose Creek, near the site of present Baytown. She moved to San Jacinto in 1871 and to Willis in 1874. In 1879 she returned to Houston, home of her son Cromwell, chief justice of Harris County. After his death, she lived with her daughter.
One of her driving ambitions in later years was to rectify what she considered gross misrepresentations of her husband's role during the annexation controversy. To that end she repeatedly contacted authors and publishers in an unsuccessful attempt to produce a favorable biography of Anson Jones and to publish his book, Republic of Texas. Her major means of support during these years was the sale of family land in Matagorda, Bastrop, Bexar, and Goliad counties. Mrs. Jones served, largely in a symbolic role, as the first president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas from 1891 through 1907. She was a Democrat and Episcopalian and was influential in establishing a church in Washington and St. Paul's College in Anderson. The Joneses had four children. Mary Jones died on December 31, 1907, at the residence of her daughter in Houston. She was buried at Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Herbert Gambrell, Anson Jones: The Last President of Texas (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1948). Houston Daily Post, January 1, 1908. University of North Texas Archives.
From Texas Archival Resources Online:
Mary (Mrs. Anson) Jones Letters
- Creator: Jones, Mary Smith
- Title: Mary (Mrs. Anson) Jones Letters
- Dates: 1858-1900
- Abstract: This set of papers is mostly letters written by Mrs. Jones to her son, C. Anson Jones between 1866 and 1882. There are also a few legal/business documents and miscellaneous letters that she and her son received.
- Identification: 1970-003
- Quantity: 2 boxes, 1 linear foot
- Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Mary Smith was born on July 24, 1819 in territory that later became Lawrence County, Arkansas (it was Arkansas Territory at the time of her birth). Her mother, a widow, moved her family to Brazoria County, Texas in 1834 when Mary was 15. The family settled on a farm in Brazoria County. Her mother married John Woodruff, a widower with several children. The Woodruff-Smith family left the farm during the Texas Revolution for safer regions farther east, returning after the Battle of San Jacinto.
Mary married Hugh McCrory on July 23, 1837 in Houston. McCrory was a soldier with Felix Huston's volunteers who became a Houston businessman following his release. McCrory died a few weeks after his marriage to Mary.
Mary met Anson Jones when he began boarding at the Woodruff house in Houston while he was serving in the Texas legislature. They planned to marry in 1838, following the end of Mary's year of mourning, but had to put aside their plans when Jones was appointed ambassador to the United States from Texas. Following his return the couple was married on May 17, 1840. Jones served as President of the Republic of Texas from 1844 to 1846, when Texas became part of the United States and James Pinkney Henderson became the first governor of the State of Texas.
Mary and Anson Jones had four children:
- 1. Samuel Houston (later changed to Samuel Edward) (born ),
- 2. Charles Edward (born ),
- 3. Sallie S. (born ), and
- 4. Cromwell Anson (born ).
Jones committed suicide in January, 1858, following a defeated bid to become the senator from Texas. Mary was widowed a second time at age 39.
Following Jones' death in 1858, Mary moved the family to Galveston, then to a farm in Harris County. Her husband had acquired land throughout east Texas during his life, and dealing with taxes, claims, and sales of the land occupied much of Mary's time throughout her life, as evidenced by her letters. She relied heavily on her children to assist her in her dealings with these legal and financial problems.
Samuel Edward and Charles served in the Confederate Army, where Charles died at the Battle of Shiloh. Samuel Edwards became a successful dentist. Sallie married R. G. Ashe and had at least one son, C. E. Ashe, who became a lawyer. Cromwell Anson became a lawyer and served as judge in Harris County, Texas until his death in 1888.
Mary became actively involved in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, serving as its first president. She died on December 31, 1907. Her daughter, Sallie (Jones) Ashe, became an active member of the organization as well.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains 203 items and includes items dated from 1858 to 1900. The bulk of the items are dated between 1869 and 1881. The collection consists for the most part of correspondence, with some legal documents and tax papers.
In addition to Mary Jones' letters, there is correspondence from Sallie (Jones) Ashe, her husband R. G. Ashe, Henry Cowing, Anson Jones, Cromwell Anson Jones, Joseph E. Field, and J. J. McMillan.
The collection has been arranged in two series: Correspondence, and Legal Documents. The Correspondence series includes 189 items, dating from 1858 to 1882. Mary Jones' letters, the bulk of the collection, are arranged chronologically. Following these letters are letters received from others, which have been arranged alphabetically by sender and chronologically within the group.
Mary Jones's Timeline
July 24, 1819
Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory, United States
February 26, 1841
January 8, 1845
June 5, 1850
Washington County, Texas, United States
December 31, 1907
Houston, Harris County, Texas, United States
Houston, Harris County, Texas, United States