Exhibits

 

 

WHO WAS BOB JONES?

His name is on Southlake’s largest park, a road, and the city’s nature center and preserve. So who was he?

Learn the fascinating story of Bob Jones and his wife, Almeady Chisum Jones, at our current exhibit until Sept. 4 in Southlake Town Hall. Enslaved until the end of the Civil War, they overcame the challenges of a mixed-race heritage with integrity and hard work, earning the respect of all who knew them. Newly uncovered documents, pictures and family heirlooms give fresh insight into their story. 

View a virtual tour of the exhibit here.

This historical pictorial map of Denton County, based on an early county survey, was drawn in 1936 by Sena Mounts Wright, for the Texas Centennial. John Chisum settled near Bolivar. Leazer settled in the Elizabethtown/Medlin area. Bob and Almeady built their homeplace in the southern portion of Denton County.
Bob’s Sister and Other Kin
Bob’s sister, Ellen, married Plez McConnell in 1874 in Denton. In this photo, circa 1920, members of the extended Jones family gathered at the McConnell’s Oklahoma home. Those visiting included, standing second from left, Elnora Williams, who in 1928 would marry Emory, seated third from left. Standing third from left is a Jones daughter, Artie. Almeady Chisum Jones is seated sixth from the left, next to Ellen and Plez.
Bob’s Arkansas Family
Into the 1960s, the Texas Joneses and the Arkansas Joneses (Leazer’s two families) kept in touch. Two people in this 1940s photograph are Bob’s half-siblings: Roxie, third from the left, and Jink, fifth from the left. Jink, also known as Captain Jink, was named for a song popular post-Civil War, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. For some reason, the “s” was left off his name. In 2020, the wife of Jink’s grandson helped us with research on Leazer.
Virgie Jones Evans’ Wedding Dress and Family Organ
Virgie, who married James Evans in 1906 on the front porch of the family home, was the first daughter to become a bride. Over the next 20 years, each of her five sisters would marry on the same spot on the front porch. “All the girls made their husbands [to be] ask Daddy,” Eugie recalled. “His response was always the same: Now, if you take them away, I don’t want you to mistreat them, and if you can’t make a living for them, then you bring them back home. Wasn’t any of them that ever had to come back home.”

Eugie made a veil that they all wore. Unfortunately, it was lost in the 1948 homeplace fire.

Bob and Almeady purchased the organ from a cross-country peddler, according to family members who remember it sitting in the Jones parlor. Today, it sits the home of Marie Evans Grigsby, Virgie and James’ granddaughter.
Jones Reunion at Chisum Ranch
In 2010, Anita Witt, who owned the former Chisum ranch near Bolivar in Denton County, invited the Jones family to have a reunion at the ranch. Anita is seen in the center of this reunion photo in a red checkered shirt and wind-brimmed hat.
Civil Rights Fans
These fans from the 1950s-’60s were found in the 1990s at an abandoned house in the Jones community. Fans were often passed out at church and at funerals.
Mount Carmel Baptist Church
The church, according to grandson Bobby Jones, was a white wooden building about 25-by-40 feet in size. No steeple, no coat room no special ornamentation like a cross or stained glass. No pulpitjust a podium that the preacher stood behind and five benches on each side. A “circuit rider” preacher came once a month. Each summer there was a weeklong revival. Standing outside the doorway to the church are, left to right, McKinley Thomas; James Evans; Virgie Jones Evans; Emory Jones; Eugie Jones Thomas and Mrs. Henley, Virgie’s sister-in-law.
Food and Fellowship
The Jones family looked forward to “dinner on the grounds,” held at the church or, as in this picture (date unknown), in the yard of the homeplace. Everyone brought a favorite dish: fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, baked chicken, stewed chicken, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, purple-hulled peas, cabbage, pinto beans, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, cornbread and more. For dessert, sweet potato pie, peach and berry cobblers and pound cake. Usually iced tea and lemonade to drink.
The Old School
In the 1950s, grandsons Bill (by door) and Bobby (looking in the windows alongside the building) visited Walnut Grove School. The eight-grade school was closed in 1951 because its students were moving on to junior and senior high.
Linda Grigsby Walczyk spoke in 2012 at the opening of Carroll ISD’s Walnut Grove Elementary School. Her mother taught at the original Walnut Grove School.
Betty Jean Jones, daughter of Jinks and Lula, sits with with friends and cousins at a Jones family picnic in this undated photo. She was named for two of her great-grandmothers: Betsy (her mother’s grandmother) and Jensie. Both Betsy and Jensie had been slaves.

“I had a car and some white girlfriends, Norma and Wilma Barnett, who lived on Dove Road, across from the Torians. If we wanted a malt, we would all go into town together, and they would have me sitting in the middle of a booth at the City Drug store. Norma and Wilma would just glare at the people working there, just daring them to say something, but they never did,” Betty said, laughing. “Of course, the people working at the City Drug knew who I was, and they knew the Barnetts, too.”

“I handed out the boutonnieres and corsages at Wilma’s wedding,” Betty said. “Everyone knew me, but it was very strange.”

“I could do everything but go to school and go to the movies – though I did go to the movies a few times,” Betty said. “I remember one summer when our neighbor Ivy would ask Mother if I could go to the movies with her and her daughter, Dorothy. Mama would say, ‘No, I don’t want her going and sitting in the balcony by herself.’ Ivy would say, ‘She isn’t going to sit in the balcony, she’s going to sit with us.’ This was the Palace Theater in Grapevine.”
Eugene McConnell, Bob’s cousin, son of Ellen and Plez, holding the reins of High Head in an undated photo. Family members recall High Head winning a $1,000 purse at the State Fair of Texas.
Jinks and Emory raised Poland China hogs and took them to livestock shows, but at first didn’t get very far because the shows were segregated. “But after they had entered for about four years, they realized that they would have to have hogs that were outstanding before the judges would place them,” said Lula Jones. “So that is just what they did. They were so outstanding that the judges had to put them in the place they belonged. Then every time they competed in a show they would win from one to thee blue ribbons. They won several grand championships over the 40 years that they competed. In this photo, circa 1940s, Emory stands with his Grand Champion boar at the State Fair of Texas.
Eleven-year-old Bobby with his Grand Champion hog “Pen of Three” at the State Fair of Texas, 1948
Ten-year-old Bill with his Grand Champion at the State Fair of Texas, 1949
Emory Jones’ sons, left to right, Odell, Bill and Bobby, in summer 1944. The boys are standing in the front yard of their home which sat south of Bob and Almeady’s homeplace.
Eugie made this Mexican Feather quilt “when Jinks was away at war,” around 1918. She told a niece that she didn’t use a pattern, instead following the impressions she made by “drawing” with the point of her needle. Her signature is worked into the stitches. The quilt earned her a blue ribbon at the State Fair of Texas.

As soon as they were able, the Jones girls learned to sew. Later they became accomplished seamstresses, sewing their own clothing. As was the custom, they learned from their mother, who learned from hers.

From the black and white sheep on the Chisum ranch, Almeady’s mother Jensie spun yarn and wove cloth to make John enough “gray tweed” for two tailer-made suits a year. Any additional cloth Jensie had time to make was hers to sell.
Original Jones ranch fencing near the homeplace
Bob Jones in front of the homeplace, circa 1920
Almeady feeding her chickens near the homeplace, date unknown
Over the years, like any rancher, Bob dealt with mineral rights and bank loans, deposits and repayments. Bob and Meady’s signatures appear on several of these documents.
During his trail-drive days, Bob became good friends with Bud Daggett of Fort Worth. Later, Bud was an owner of Daggett-Keen Commission Company at the Stockyards, which facilitated the buying and selling of livestock. On trips to the Stockyards, Bob did business with his old friend.

In the early 1930s, two of Bob’s grandsons, sons of Virgie and James Evans, lived with Mary and Will Lake, Bud Daggett’s daughter and son-in-law, while attending I.M. Terrell High School.

“A room upstairs [at the Jones home] was always available as overnight accommodations to all white people who traveled by there,” remembers Ted Willhoite (1911-2003) of Grapevine. “My grandfather Charlie Winfrey [of Grapevine] told me that he traveled in that part of the country buying cattle and stayed at the Jones home.”

Jinks and Emory were proud to call John Chisum their grandfather. Chisum, says the Texas State Historical Association, was personable and shrewd, primarily a cattle dealer who traveled in search of markets.
“(Col)” following J.D. Jones on this 1927 bank statement identifies Bob as colored.
Spring-fed Denton Creek, part of the Trinity River system, flooded in the spring. A Southlake old-timer remembers Jinks in a boat to “fish his cows” out of the creek. Between 1947 and 1952, the Army Corps of Engineers worked to dam the creek and create Lake Grapevine.
Much of the Jones property was swallowed up with the creation of Lake Grapevine.
These two fuzzy images, taken in 1947 by the government, show the Emory Jones home (top) and the only known photograph of the original Jones homeplace and outbuildings (bottom).
Construction workers below the dam roadway during the construction of Lake Grapevine, circa 1950
Bob Jones’ hand-sewn wedding suit pants, 1875
The tag inside Bob’s shirt identifies it as purchased at Washer Brothers Clothing House, a men’s department store established around 1882 in Fort Worth.E
Eugie Jones made this Edwardian white cotton and lace dress for herself, circa 1900-1910.
The women of the Jones community enjoyed getting together to quilt and chat. 

Helping to make this quilt were Venora Burns, Hattie Burns, Leona Revels, Viola Gardner, Meady Dillingham, Elnora Jones, Francis Revels, Bula Jones, Meady Jones, Eudora Stinnett, Ella Jones, Virgie Evans, Lorene Evans, Lola Woods, Lula Jones, Rosa Jones, Eula Jones and Artie Clay. 

The scraps of fabric show the patterns and colors of the dresses, shirts and aprons that the women made for their families. Almeady purchased her fabrics at Yates Dry Goods in Grapevine.