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Published on June 29, 2021

How Randall Jones came to Texas, made a name for himself

By Janice R. Edwards
The Bulletin

Last week, I gave you a little history about the Battle of Jones Creek. But Captain Randall Jones had a very interesting life and history of his own.

How did he end up in what is now Brazoria County? He even has a creek and village named after him. It’s a long story, but I’ll give you the shorter version.

He was an adventurer, explorer, Indian fighter and trader, soldier, colonist, farmer/rancher, family man, a man of letters, policy maker, rescuer, one of Texas’ first conservationists, friend of Stephen F. Austin and a large influence on molding Texas.

Randall Jones was born in Columbia County, Georgia on Aug. 19, 1786. His family moved to Wilkinson County, Mississippi Territory, in 1810. When the second war with England broke out in 1812, he entered the U.S. Army as a volunteer and earned the rank of Captain through his gallantry in battle, particularly through his leadership in the “Canoe Fight” against the Creek Indians on the Alabama River in 1813, where he earned the rank of Captain.

In the fall of 1814, Jones came to the Sabine River and met with General Toledo, who had just been defeated at the Medina River in the Mexican revolution against Spain. General Toledo wanted Jones to join their fight, but Jones deemed them too small and ragged to join.

He opted out, went to Natchez, purchased $600 worth of merchandise and spent the winter of 1814 - 1815 trading with the then-friendly Comanche Indians.

By 1816, Jones had established a store in Nacogdoches and traded with the Mexicans and Indians until 1818.

Jones later joined the Long expedition in 1819 in Nacogdoches, where General Long was maintaining an independent government. Jones received the title of “Brigade Major” and was entrusted to bring Jane Long, who was staying with her sister, Mrs. Calvitt, to her husband in Texas.

To demonstrate how little was known of the topography at the time, General Long sent Capt. Jones along with a party of 21 men to Galveston to the mouth of the Brazos. By the time they made the trip, General Long and his forces had been defeated and scattered by Spanish Colonel Perez.

Capt. Jones’ failure in the Long expedition caused him and his brother, James W. Jones, to leave Texas. However, Randall returned to Texas in 1821 as part of the “Old 300” original Austin colonists.

They rescued Jane Long from Bolivar Peninsula along the way and built a house for her in 1822 at San Antonio Bay. They later escorted her to San Antonio to seek a widow’s pension from the Mexican Government.

In 1823, Jones returned to Louisiana and bought 60 head of cattle, which he then brought to his new home on the Brazos. This was the first large shipment of livestock brought to Austin’s fort settlement.

Jones became Stephen F. Austin’s’ confidant and often made suggestions how the colony should be run.

He was awarded a league and labor of land in Fort Bend and Wharton Counties on July 15, 1824, and settled along Jones Creek on his land grant. Jones married Polly Anderson on October 12, 1824, a month after returning from the Battle of Jones Creek, which he led against the Karankawa Indians. They raised nine children.

He was named Captain of Texas Militia in September, 1824, and fought the Battle of Jones Creek. In the census of March, 1826, he was classified as a farmer with six servants. Jones also served on the first petit jury in Fort Bend County in February, 1828.

In 1829 – 1830, Jones was the Sheriff of Austin’s Colony. In December, 1830, he was elected regidor (councilman) of Austin Municipality.

Austin appointed Jones on Oct. 11, 1835, to appraise horses and equipment for the army at the headquarters in Gonzales. He also represented Fort Bend County at the Texian Government in November 1835 as a member of the General Council. The Texian Government served as the provisional government of Mexican Texas from October 1835 to March 1836 during the Texas Revolution.

In June, 1873, Jones went blind and moved to his son-in-law’s house in Houston shortly before dying, and he was buried on his land in Fort Bend County. Like Austin, this prominent early Texan was re interred at the State Cemetery in 1934.

(Write Janice in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)