Friday, April 11, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: J is for Jones



My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Jones.  Angus Jones.

Angus Jones was another witness for my grandaunt Sallie in her divorce from George, her husband of 23 years.  He was a neighbor who saw and HEARD the evil temper that drove Sallie from her home. 

While Angus was just another witness in a long line of witnesses, he stands out to me for one simple reason.  He was black.  Or “colored” as noted in his deposition. 

Not that I’m surprised a black person would help a white person.  But it was 1914 in sleepy ol’ Shenandoah, Virginia.  I grew up in a time and place when neighborhoods were strictly segregated.  So learning that blacks and whites were neighbors is a revelation to me; that a black man was called to testify seems rather progressive, at least from my understanding of the times.  (And apparently my understanding is flawed.)
 
Deposition of Angus Jones 1914
Names have been marked through to protect the privacy of living descendants.


Angus Jones was born to William and Rachel Jones in 1855ish (depending on which census you believe).  He lived his whole life in Page County, but he married Mariah Arrington from Greene County, just across the mountain, on August 6, 1880. 

Photo by Jan Hensley
Baby Angus 1898-1899
Since the 1890 census was destroyed, Angus and Mariah first show up together in the 1900 census.  Angus worked for the railroad and Mariah was busy caring for their 6 children; two others had died in infancy.  They owned their home on Second Street, free and clear without mortgage.  Neighboring homes were occupied by the families of two of Angus’s brothers who worked in the quarry.  But otherwise, all other neighbors were white.

Photo courtesy of Jan Hensley
Eddie, a twin, 1903-1904

In 1910, Angus and family were still living on Second Street, just down from Sallie’s house, and not far from Ina Printz (the subject of yesterday’s post).  He was working odd jobs and Mariah was caring for their 6 children; however, now there had been 10 in all, so 4 dying in infancy. 

Photo courtesy of Jan Hensley
Martha 1890 - 1902
In 1920, Angus was back working for the railroad.  Two of his five daughters were working as servants in private homes.

Between 1920 and 1930, Angus experienced a lot of sad times.  He lost his wife, plus three of his remaining six children.  One died in 1921, and two girls died within days of each other in 1922.  So in 1930, Angus was alone except for a grandson whose parents were living and working in Harlem in Manhattan, New York.

Photos of the Jones-Arrington Cemetery in Shenandoah, Virginia are on findagrave.com.  There are 6 very fine tombstones for Angus and Mariah’s children, and more for other relatives on both sides of their family.  


Surprisingly there is no photo of a tombstone for Angus and Mariah. 


For a more Jolly time, Jump on over to the A to Z April Challenge.


19 comments:

  1. Gosh, my views are flawed also! How wonderful to know humanity was on Sallie's street! Such rich history! I so enjoy reading your blog. I spoke to my mom yesterday to check out your blog. I'm hoping we can get everyone in the family excited about researching our members!

    Sue Kuentz

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    1. I know! I think Sallie had some good neighbors who helped her out many times. Thanks for visiting.

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  2. Your grand aunt Sallie had lots of people coming to help her by becoming a witness. I have admiration for the painstaking research you have done Wendy.

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    1. You're so kind -- you're making me blush. Thanks for the visit.

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  3. Poor Angus Jones, losing so many of his children.

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    1. Heartbreaking, especially those 2 years when 3 grown children died. I wonder if there was an epidemic.

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  4. Not surprising that his race was noted in the deposition, as was the practice in most court renderings and of course in the Census of the time. Quite surprising to find a neighborhood of that time with any black families, much less three. Glad to hear they have Memorials on Find A Grave...someday perhaps a descendant will find that site and yours very helpful in learning more about Angus Jones.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. It would be fantastic if a descendant found my blog. Two girls married, and for sure at least one had children so it's possible.

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  5. Dear Wendy: You have NO idea how fascinating I found that! That was something I loved reading ! THANK YOU! jean

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    1. Why thank-you. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. I wonder why there are new tombstones for Angus and Mariah. :-(

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    1. Me too. At least 2 daughters and a grandson were around when Angus died -- and he was there when his wife died. I'm surprised there is no tombstone given they have their own cemetery, not just family plot.

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  7. I really like the theme you have chosen, very interesting. I am impressed with all the information you found about Angus Jones - what a fascinating snippet of his life. And how noble of him to be a witness for your grandaunt. This is a great post!

    Nancy @ NanMock.blogspot.com

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    1. The information I am finding for these short bios is available on Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Findagrave. What I find is what I have to write about -- please don't think I'm doing anything extra. I'm not beating the streets. Thanks for the kind words and for the visit.

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  8. We hear things were so segregated back then, but maybe not so much? Fascinating.

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    1. Maybe it varied from place to place. That Sallie and Angus were neighbors is a BIG surprise to me. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. Fascinating story Wendy, it would never have occurred to me to check out the neighbours histories, if I researched my family.

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    1. The thought came to me some time ago that I have all these old photos of my relatives' friends and neighbors but I've done nothing with them. Yet those friends were part of my relatives' lives too. Thanks for the visit.

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  10. YAY, Angus Jones! I am fascinated by him and his family. It sounds like they were all hard workers, and to be able to purchase a home free and clear of a mortgage shows how honorable he was. The fact that he stood up in court for Sallie makes him more wonderful. I bet that wasn't easy.

    It is interesting that some of them would end up in Harlem. I am sure they felt the pressure to get out of the south and live up north to experience more freedom.

    I hope a relative of his finds you.

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