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Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones

03 Jun
Clipping from Denton Record-Chronicle, Wednesday 14 Apr 1949

Almeady “Meady” Chisum Jones was the daughter of Jensie Moore and John Chisum. Jensie was a former slave and lived as the wife of John Chisum in North Texas. Almeady married John Dolford “Bob” Jones in 1874 (some accounts say 1869, but Almeady was born around 1857 and their first child was born in 1875) after they met at a dance in Bonham. The couple had at least ten children.

Image believed to be in the public domain

Bob Jones was born a slave on June 16, 1850 in Huntington, Arkansas. His mother was named Elizabeth and his father was a White farmer named Leazer Alvis Jones. Leazer eventually settled in Texas and Bob is said to have herded sheep on the family place before the Civil War. Afterward, Bob acquired a small amount of land, 49 to 60 acres, near the Medlin community and expanded it to as many as 2,000 acres before his death in 1936. Almeady survived him and lived until 1949. Much of what we know about the family came from Bob and Almeady’s daughter Eugie Jones Thomas (1885-1985) who lived on the family farm near Trophy Club northeast of Roanoke for many years. Eugie Jones Thomas gave a number of interviews in the 1970s around the time that Lake Grapevine was being expanded.

Eugie commented on a state government program called the Texas Family Land Heritage Program that began in 1973. According to its description, it was designed to honor contributions made to the state’s agriculture industry by individual farming and ranching families. The land had to be in continuous agricultural production in the hands of one family for 100 years or more. Bob had started the farm in 1868. Bob and Almeady eventually built a two story home that remained until it was destroyed by fire in 1948.

In a 1977 interview also in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Eugie told of how the Federal government initially planned to take the entire farm for Lake Grapevine and paid her an undisclosed amount of money for it, which she did not want to accept, but deposited in a bank account. Eventually the government relented and altered the plans for the lake, but demanded the return of their money. Eugie gladly repaid the funds and kept the land. She expressed her desire never to sell it, as she had specifically advised by Almeady.

Jensie, Almeady’s mother, met cattleman John Chisum when she came through Texas with another family headed west during the “gold rush” days. The travelers needed money and according to the family legend, Jensie was bought by Chisum for $1,400 to cook and clean. The couple never officially married, but Chisum is said to have had two daughters by her, Harriet and Almeady. They lived in a house near Bolivar (located due west from Sanger), but when Chisum decided to relocate his cattle operation to a place on the Concho River, he set up a residence for Jensie and the two girls in Bonham.

Jensie and Harriet are believed to have died and been buried in Bonham, though the location of their graves is currently unknown. Chisum died of cancer in 1884. Bob, Almeady and most of the children are buried in Medlin Cemetery, which is now part of Trophy Club in the Southlake area.

While Bob and Almeady’s life was still affected by segregation, they were respected members of the community. Bob founded a school and hired a teacher to educate his family. Their farm was worked by both by Black and White tenant farmers. The family founded Mount Carmel Baptist Church around 1900 and the church was in existence for around 50 years before the structure was lost to a fire, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike.

The federal government and City of Southlake was eventually able to acquire and/or annex the former Jones farm. Some of it is now under the water of Lake Grapevine but around 500 acres is believed to remain intact. Bob Jones Road was named for him sometime in the 1970s. Bob Jones Park was opened in 1998 and the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve was opened ten years later. On November 17, 2020, the Southlake City Council approved funding for a sculpture of Bob and Almeady Jones to be installed on the property in 2021.


Special thanks to Dennis Merrell.

© 2021, all rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2021 in biography, black history

 

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