OZIAS DENTON JONES
OZIAS DENTON JONES. In the person of the subject of this personal sketch, Howard valley, in Jack county, owns a citizen who has participated in the civil--and some of the military--affairs of the Lone Star state during the past forty-three years, and whether at fighting Indians, defending his politics or pushing on the handles of his plow, he has made is a strenuous battle and has succeeded or failed according to the courage of his adversary or the odds of the fates against him.
His early experiences in Texas Mr. Jones acquired in the state service during the war. He came hither in 1862, just discharged from a brief term of service in the Confederate army and enlisted in Colonel Bowlin’s regiment for service against the Indians. As is well known this was chiefly a service of scouting all over the frontier of the state, in small bands or large according as the danger seemed greatest, never fighting an orderly pitched battle but always conducting a running fight with the odds from five to fifty against them. During his months of this sort of warfare our subject encountered the red man many times, but only one face to face and then under circumstances to freeze the blood and to make the hair stand.
Just west of Belknap fifteen of the regiment, including Mr. Jones, were indulging in their usual lookout for the “Braves” when they spied two at some distance and made a charge after them. The Indians retreated into an ambush and joined a band of several hundred posted and waiting about the jaws of the trap they had set for the soldiers. The boys fell in and the trap was sprung but the soldiers beat back the cowards before they were surrounded and a running fight for ten miles was kept up, the remnant of the soldiers then reaching a small stockade where they felt temporarily safe. On the way to safety the boys picked up the family of a cowman away from home and all pinned their faith and their safety to the improvised fort and to the trusty carbine. Until darkness hovered over all the Indians kept beating at the stockade, threatening every moment to overwhelm it and scalp the last victim it contained, but nightfall and the possible suspicion of relief from the fort or re-enforcements from the camp caused them to retire. The next morning ten soldiers returned along the trail of the fight and buried their dead and mutilated comrades and found thirty “good Indians” to tell the story of the accuracy of the white man’s aim.
Mr. Jones was mustered out of his frontier service at Gainesville in 1865 and then took up farming near where his parents had lived. He remained in Grayson county until his departure for Jack county, in 1879, and had gathered little “moss” up to that date, for his team of ponies and a wagon and seventy-five dollars in money comprised the sum total of his assets upon his arrival in Howard valley.
For two years subsequent to his entry to the county Mr. Jones was a tenant on rented land but, deciding to own a home at the expense of heroic effort and some sacrifice if necessary, he bought, as the man without money always does, an eighty acre tract on the Holmark survey. He erected a box house sixteen by sixteen feet, put up a pole stable and “made himself at home.” At first crops were good and then poor, as the seasons run, but his testimony on this point is to the effect that there has been a marked improvement in the character of the seasons and that now this portion of Texas has come to be a fairly reliable agricultural country.
Raising cotton at first, and then, when his help began to leave him, turning his attention to grain, with as many cattle as his growing area would support, prosperity has shown itself and been visited upon him until his eighty acres has increased to four hundred and thirty, and this almost single-handed, he having had hired help not more than three months while accomplishing these results.
Ozias D. Jones was born in Claiborne county, Tennessee, March 22, 1838, a son of Samuel Jones and a grandson of Samuel Jones Sr. His father was reared and married in Tennessee, his wife being Rhoda, a daughter of Obediah Hensley. Of this union there were born: Hillary, who died in the Indian Territory leaving a family; Mary Ann, wife of Charles Dent, of Springfield, Missouri; John, who was killed by the “Red-legged Kansas Jayhawkers” during the war; Ozias Denton; William Crocket, who died in Missouri; James M., of Dade county, Missouri; Nancy, who married Isaac Underwood and died in Missouri; Shelby, who passed away in Missouri, and Julia, wife of Andrew Scott, of the Creek Nation.
In 1852, Samuel and Rhoda Jones migrated to Dade county, Missouri, and there our subject acquired the finishing touches to his very limited education. The radical differences of the people of that locality over the issues of the war caused them to come to Texas where southern sentiment abounded and they reached the Lone Star state and settled near Collinsville in 1862, where Mr. Jones soon died. His widow survived him a brief time and died in 1864.
Under his home environment nothing but real work confronted Ozias D. Jones from a very early age. He got in between the plow handles before his age could be expressed by two figures and he has not seen fit to abandon his calling since. He enlisted in the Confederate service in 1861, with Clarkson’s regiment, Price’s command, and, in the six months of his enlistment, he helped fight the battles of Oak Hill, Dry Wood and Lexington, and when he was discharged from the army he came to Texas and got into the frontier service here.
In September, 1862, Mr. Jones married Martha, a daughter of Elihu Cox, from Jackson county, Missouri, to Grayson county, Texas, where he and his wife passed away. Mrs. Jones was born in Jackson county, Missouri, in 1843, and is the mother of Dicey and John, the daughter yet at home but the son of a young lawyer of San Antonio, who is married to Mary Ames and has a daughter Mary. In preparation for his profession John Jones studied law with Mr. Sporer, of Jacksboro, and was admitted to the bar there.
In his political beliefs and practice our subject is a Democrat and he has attended party conventions in the county in a delegate capacity. He relies for spiritual strength on the teachings of the Word and communes with the congregation of the Methodist church.
B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 516-517.
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