Posts Tagged ‘Jones’

An Ohio Pioneer Woman’s Obituary

October 16, 2009

pioneers river

From the TRIBUNE.

DIED — December 31st, 1870, Mrs. Martha Alford, re???? of Esquire R.B. Alford, late of Portsmouth. Mrs. Alford was born in Mason County, Kentucky, about the year 1797, the precise date not known. She came to Portsmouth in the spring of 1812, consequently she has resided in Portsmouth and vicinity nearly fifty-eight years.

Her father’s family emigrated from Maryland to Kentucky in 1793, while the Indians were yet prowling along the banks of the Ohio, watching for an opportunity to decoy boats within their power, so as to murder and scalp the defenceless emigrants and plunder their boats of whatever they contained. However, the boat containing the family of Griffith Jones ran the gauntlet in safety without any thing more serious happening to them than a false alarm or two and hearing an occasional war whoop or a yell from the infurate savages.

Mrs. Alford was born into the Methodist church and always lived a consistent member of that denomination, and was a truly exemplary christian mother in Israel. In order to have cicar conception of her christian character it is necessary to go back a little and see under what circumstances she became a christian.

Her father joined the Methodist church before the revolutionary war under the preaching of the first founders of Methodism in America. When such preachers as Freeborn, Garrettson and Abbott, and other of lesser note were carrying every thing before them with their powerful preaching. His house was always the preacher’s home.

A rude log cabin, perhaps it generally was, yet the weary “itinerant,” with his horse and saddle bags, always found a welcome home at the house of Griffith Jones. So that Martha, the youngest child of a large family, as was said above, was literally born into the Methodist church. As to how well she performed the duties of a christian, all those who were acquainted with her can testify.

She was twice married. The first time to a man by the name of Lodge, who died early with the consumption. She had three children by her first husband who inherited their father’s disease and all died soon after coming to maturity. She had no children by her last husband, consequently leaves no descendants.

She was the last survivor of a large family, who flourished here in the early settlement of Portsmouth. Some few of the Glovers and Joneses yet remain amongst us.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 7, 1871

The Jones’ Boys: Stout-Hearted Little Fellows Frozen to Death

January 27, 2009
American Flat/Ophir Grade

American Flat/Ophir Grade

A Sad, Sad Incident — Two little boys Found Frozen to Death.

The Gold Hill News of Wednesday last has the following:

We grieve to record the sad fact that two little sons of Robert Jones, the well-known milkman, whose milk ranch is situated at American Flat, were frozen to death on the Ophir Grade during the late heavy snow storm. They were at Mr. Jones’ ranch in Truckee Meadows, and their father sent a letter telling them they might

Come Home to Christmas

And have a good time. Their names were John, aged ten years, and Henry, aged about thirteen. They left the ranch at the Meadows last Saturday morning, on horseback, driving two cows and two calves before them. It was a very stormy day, but notwithstanding the chilly rain and snow which was falling, the stout-hearted little fellows thought they could make the trip. The streams along the route were swollen, and the road so bad that their progress was slower than they expected, and they only reached Brown’s ranch, in Steamboat valley, where they staid that night. Next morning (Sunday) they started out again, going by way of Steamboat and around by Ophir grade, although it was still

Storming Heavily.

It seems strange that the people at Brown’s station or ranch, should have allowed these two little boys to go forward in such a storm, attempting what most men would have considered too great a hardship to encounter. But the little fellows were thinking of home and the Christmas pleasures promised them. They passed out into the storm and were

Seen No More Alive.

Yesterday the anxious father, fearing that perhaps his dear little sons might have made the attempt to come through the storm, or at any rate, desirous of visiting them, started for the Truckee Meadows by way of Virginia and the Geiger Grade. He heard of them when he got to Brown’s, and immediately started following up the route they had taken. Hoping to find them at some place of shelter they might have sought, he eagerly inquired, but could get no trace of them. More and more eagerly he pressed forward his tired steed through the deep drifts of snow up the Ophir Grade from Washoe Valley, and at length about 7 o’clock this morning saw a horse some distance a head standing in the road. He recognized the animal at once, and fearing the worst, hastened to him. There, near the faithful animal, close beside the road, lay his two little boys locked fast in each other’s arms,

Frozen to Death.

No trace of the other horse or of the cows and calves they were driving were to be found, and appearances indicated that they must have left those animals behind, and both were riding this horse, which was the strongest of the two, the other one, perhaps having given out entirely. Both boys were well clothed, the eldest having on a long pair of stout winter boots. The youngest wore a pair of gum boots, which he had taken off and lay near by. He had done this, perhaps, to empty the water out of them, with the assistance of the brother, and then both being overpowered by the cold and fatigue, had finally laid down to die.

Great Drifts of Snow.

Were along the grade, but where they lay was a bleak place, swept clean by the driving winds, and no snow covered them. Their wet clothes were frozen fast to the ground. They have at last reached home, but, alas, not to gladden it with their childish joy. The chill hand of death has silenced forever their bright hopes and joyous anticipations.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Dec 30,  1871

**Photo posted by RickC on Flickr, with this description:

Ophir Grade was the toll road between Virginia City and Washoe Valley where the first ore processing mills were. This is American Flat west of Virginia City and shows a mill built of concrete in the early 1900’s that was only used for a couple of years. Virginia and Truckee RR spur grade is also shown.

Little River County, Arkansas Lynchings, 1899

January 19, 2009
An Alabama Lynching: picture from

An Alabama Lynching: picture from




Wrath of the White Men Not Yet Appeased, and Search Going On
–Murder of Planter Starts the Trouble.

TEXARKANA, Ar., March 23. — A race war is on in Little River county, and during the past forty-eight hours an indefinite number of negroes have met their death at the hands of an infuriated white population. Seven are know to have been lynched, shot to death or slain in some manner and the work is not yet done.

The bodies of the victims of the mob’s vengeance are hanging to trees in various parts of the country, strung up wherever overtaken, while that of another who was shot to death while trying to escape, was thrown into a river.

White men are collecting in mobs heavily armed and determined; negroes are fleeing for their lives and the community is in an uproar.

The known dead to date are:
Two Let Off With Whipping.

Joe King and John Johnson were also taken in hand by mobs and whipped. They were afterwards turned loose and have disappeared.

Little River county is in the extreme southwest corner of the state, bordered on the west by the Indian territory and on the south by Texas. The negro population is large and has for a long time proved very troublesome to the whites. Frequent murders have occurred and thefts and fights have become common affairs. One or two negroes have previously been severely dealt with when the people found it necessary to take the law into their own hands but it was not until Tuesday that the trouble took on a very serious aspect. It then developed that carefully laid plans had been made by a number of negroes to precipitate a race war, and that many white men had been marked for victims. It is learned that twenty-three negroes were implicated in this plot and the whites are now bent on meting out summary punishment to the entire coterie of conspirators. Seven have been killed and the work of wiping out the entire list continues without relaxation of determination.

All implicated in the plot are known and small parties of white men, varying in number from twenty-five to fifty, are scouring the country for them. Wherever one is found he is quickly strung up, his body perforated with leaden missiles to make sure of their work and the mob hastens on in quest of its next victim. Some of them were found near Richmond and the work of killing the first two or three was an easy matter.

Negroes Panic Stricken.
But the news soon spread among the negroes, who, instead of making the resistance and offering the battle that they had threatened, became panic stricken and began getting out of the community as quickly as possible. Two whose names were on the list of conspirators got a good start of the mob who were detailed to look after them and they succeeded in reaching  the Texas state line before being captured. However, they did not escape. They were overtaken, out of breath and exhausted, but were swung without ceremony.

Last Saturday a prominent planter named James Stockton was murdered at his home near Rocky Comfort by a man named Duckett. The negro escaped at the time, but after remaining in hiding in the swamps until Tuesday he surrendered, saying he had had nothing to eat since his flight. He was taken to Rocky Comfort and soon after his arrival there Sheriff Johnson and deputies started with him for Richmond. They were overtaken by 200 armed men, who demanded the prisoner. Duckett was taken to the place where he had killed Stockton and after making a confession he was lynched. when the negro was taken to the George  plantation just before the start was made for Richmond, it seemed as if every man in the ten miles knew of the capture and before the officer and prisoner could get fairly started the whole country was aroused.

Had Planned an Uprising.
After the lynching it was learned that Duckett had frequently tried to get the negroes in the country to join him in a race war against the whites. A few hours after he had killed Stockton he passed several negroes at a farm house and told them that he had killed one white man and if they would follow him he would kill more. It is now believed that the negroes had banded for a race war. Duckett’s body was buried by the county, as the negroes refused to touch it.

Advices from New Boston, Tex., tonight are to the effect that across the river several negroes have been lynched. This morning Benjamin Jones was found dead on Hurricane Bend and from New Boston it is learned that Joe King and Moses Jones were found hanging to trees at Horseshoe Curve today. Another Jones is missing. In the gang that was plotting for a race war were twenty-three negroes, and it is likely that the entire number have been strung up in the thickets. The negroes are fleeing from the district. Today three wagons full arrived at Texarkana, having crossed Red river at Index at midnight last night. The citizens of Little River county have suffered much recently from lawlessness. Some months ago, the two races clashed at Allene at a sawmill and a small riot followed. From accounts it seems that Duckett and several ringleaders have been killed.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 24, 1899

The Pressley Murders: Can’t Hang a White Man, Be His Crime Ever so Bloody.

January 5, 2009


A Man in South Carolina, Shoots Two Men Dead and Mortally Stabs Another.

By Telegraph to the Gazette.

CHARLESTON, S.C., November 18.–
A terrible tragedy was enacted in Edgefield county to-day. A white man named Robert Jones occupied some land, rented from his relatives, Charles and Edward Presley. The notified him as he could no longer pay the rent, he must vacate. To-day Jones went to the field where Edward Presley, aged 80, and his sons, Charles and Edward jr., were plowing and shot Charles dead. Ed. started in pursuit, and Jones stabbed him mortally with a knife. Jones then reloaded his gun, and killed the father, old Mr. Pressley, who is the grandfather of Jones’ wife. Jones then came to the court house, entered the jail and surrendered, remarking that he had killed three of the best men in the county. This account is from the News and Courier correspondent, who visited the scene. Another account is that the Pressleys went to the field where Jones was working and Jones killed them in self-defense.

Daily Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Nov 19, 1885


“All of yesterday and to-day were consumed in the R.T. Jones murder case. He is indicted under three separate indictments for killing three persons — Edward Pressley, Sr., (an old man, 78 years old,) and his two sons, Charles Pressley and Edward Pressley, Jr. The case now being disposed of is for the killing of Charles Pressley.

On November 29, 1880, R.T. Jones and Charles Pressley entered into a contract with the sinking fund commission to purchase 210 1/2 acres of the Jennings tract in Moss township, Edgefield county. The contract made was that the purchasers should pay one-fourth cash, and the balance in one, two and three annual installments. The cash payment was made on Dec. 11, 1880, R.T. Jones paying the whole of the amount required under the contract, $210.50.

The Pressleys having no money at that time to meet the payment, Jones paid this amount with the understanding that he would be allowed 50 acres by advancing $200, and the $10.50 Pressley could consider a loss. This satisfied the cash payments required by the secretary of state. Next year, they were not able to meet the installment in full, which was due, and the next year they were unable to do so. The officers could not grant them indulgence any longer, and so their right to the land as purchasers was declared forfeited. Then it was that U.R. Brooks, assistant land agent, came over to see about the matter. Negotiations were entered into with him through Charles Pressley to rent the place from Nov. 1, 1883. He made the rental lease out in the name of Charles Pressley, and R.T. Jones signed the paper as witness.

It will thus be seen that Charles Pressley was recognized by the state as the renter of the property. Things pursued the even tenor of their ways until November, 1885, when the triple murder took place, growing out of a misunderstanding between the Pressleys and Jones as to who had the right to work certain portions of this land under the rental lease. Jones claimed that he considered he was entitled to 50 acres of the land on account of having paid as one of the purchasers under the original contract, $210.50, the cash payment, one-fourth of the total amount which, it was stipulated, should be paid.

The facts adduced from the testimony given are as follows:
J.B. Pressley, the only surviving male member of the Pressley family, testified that on the 18th of November, 1885, his father, Edward Pressley, Sr., and his two brothers, Charles and Edward, went off after breakfast, his brothers intending to do some ploughing on a little piece of land about a quarter of a mile from their house, that at about half-past 10 o’clock he heard the report of a gun, as if two shots had gone off in quick succession, and in about five minutes he heard another gun, and soon after that a negro boy rode up to where he was with one of his brother’s horses that they had carried to the field with them. He proceeded immediately to the field and found his father and his brothers, Charles and Edward, lying on the ground dead. His father and brother Charles were shot to death and his brother Edward was cut to pieces with a knife.

Charles Brooks testified that on the 18th of November, 1885, he was sitting before his crib door shucking corn when he heard the report of a gun, looked up and saw three or four hundred yards off R.T. Jones and young Edward Pressley like they were fighting; an arm was moving up and down vigorously; directly he saw Edward Pressley fall to the ground. Jones then walked off a few steps, picked up his gun and commenced to reload it. After which he walked over to where old man Edward Pressley was standing holding a horse right where Charles Pressley was lying dead, and deliberately shot the old gentleman down. Having killed the three Pressleys, Jones then walked off. Charles Brooks called to a neighbor of his, Dan Mitchell, to come there, that he believed Jones had killed all three of the Pressleys. In a short while J.B. Pressley arrived on the spot and Charles Brooks and Dan Mitchell went over to where the bodies were. It was shown by the state that not one of the Pressleys was armed, the only weapon of any kind found was a penknife which was closed and in the pocket of Charles Pressley.

The defense put up a plea of self-defense in Charles Pressley’s case, and it is presumed that it will be the same in the other two cases. The prisoner testified that he had some words with the Pressleys and had forbid them going on what he considered his land, that on the morning of the 18th of November, 1880, he had hsi gun, intending to go squirrel hunting, when he saw the Pressleys ploughing in the field, and that he walked over where they were and ordered them off. Charles Pressley replied that he didn’t intend to go off, and that, moreover, if he, Jones, did not go off he would kill him. Charles Pressley then advanced on Jones (so the defendant claims) with a drawn knife, whereupon Jones shot him down.

As R.T. Jones is only being tried on this case for the killing of Charles Pressley, the triple murder was not investigated beyond the part as to the reason or ????? which led Jones to kill young Edward and the old man. The prisoner had employed the finest talent in the county to defend him, Messrs. W.T. Gary, Ernest? Gary and N.G. Evans.

The jury retired at 6:30 p.m. and after sitting up all night with the question,? reported in the court in the morning that they could not arrive at a verdict. A mistrial was ordered Six were for acquittal, five for manslaughter and one for murder. A more ??????, ????? and cold-blooded murder was never committed.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 20, 1886

The trial of Robert Jones for the murcer of his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law will also come up this term. Lat Novembers, while the examination of the Culbreath lynchers was going on in the Edgefield court house, this terrible triple murder was committed within hearing of the court. Jones had recently married a Miss Pressley, the daughter of Mr. Edward Pressley, who was eighty years of age and palsied. Mr. Pressley had two sons, Charles and Edward, who rented a farm and planted it. Jones would do no work, but lived on his relatives. One day in November, Edward Pressley, Jr., told Jones that he must work or leave the place. The following day Jones took a gun, walked into the field where the two young Pressleys were working and the old man was looking on, and shot Edward dead. Charles Pressley started toward Jones, who drew a knife and cut Charles to death. He then deliberately reloaded his gun, and, walking up to the old man, shot him dead. Then, leaving the three bodies in the field, he walked to the jail and delivered himself up. Jones was tried in July for the murder of Edward Pressley, but the jury was packed and a mistrial resulted.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Nov 3, 1886

Murder Trials in Carolina.
CHARLESTON, S.C., March 11. — The mistrial of R.T. Jones, at Edgefield Courthouse, probably ends that infamous case. In the fall of 1887 Jones, in a dispute over some land, killed his father-in-law, Edward Pressley, Sr., and his two brothers-in-law, Charles and Edward Pressley, Jr. Jones was tried for the murder of Pressley, Sr., and sentenced to thirty years in the penitentiary. An appeal was taken, and by inadvertence two other indictments were nullified. Then Jones was bailed. At the third trial there was a failure to agree, as at the fourth, which has just taken place.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 12, 1889

Can’t Hang a White Man, Be His Crime Ever so Bloody.

COLUMBIA, S.C., June 15. — The fact that it is very difficult to find a South Carolina jury which will convict a white man of murder was again strikingly illustrated Saturday, when R.T. Jones, the famous Edgefield county “family exterminator,” was found guilty of manslaughter in the Lexington county court. Six years ago Jones brutally and in cold blood murdered three of his kinsmen — Edward Presley, aged 78, and his two sons, Edward and Charles.

Atrocious Crime of the Prisoner.

He shot and cut them to death because they were planting a piece of land, concerning the title to which Jones and the Presleys had had a dispute. Previous to the trial just ended Jones was tried five times for his triple crime in Edgefield county, the jury in each instance failing to agree in spite of the fact that the evidence against him was overwhelming. Jones will probably be given thirty years in the penitentiary, but declares he will poison himself before he will go there.

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) June 16, 1891