The cabin which is on this property was built by Smith Jones (1803-1861).
Smith Jones was born in 1803 in a section of Jackson County that in 1818
became Gwinnett County. We do not know how he came to be named “Smith” but
at that time it was a common practice in the South to use a surname as the
given name, especially for a son.
Before Smith Jones was twelve years old he and his brothers became
orphans. His father died before May 1812 and his mother died before March
11, 1811. In July 1817, Smith’s maternal grandfather, Nathan Fowler, died
and in his will left to the five orphan Jones children a tract of land,
including his plantation house, and his farm equipment. Since no record of
the settlement of Nathan Fowler’s estate has been found, we do not know what
happened to this land.
After the death of their parents, their sister, Matilda,
newly married to Wiley Bridges, a citizen of Lawrenceville, was able to give them a home.
On January 6, 1818, Smith and Nathan, having reached the age where they
could decide for themselves, chose their brother-in-law as their guardian.
The Jackson County court approved, noting that the court had earlier
appointed Wiley Bridges as guardian of their brother Thomas. James is not
mentioned and it is not known what happened to him. He may have been of age
by this time.
No marriage record for Smith and Anna Butler has been found but it is
likely that they married in Gwinnett County since, according to the 1820
census for Wiley Bridges household, Smith was probably still there. Two of
the three Gwinnett County marriage books covering this period were lost in a
fire and they are not listed in the third book or in Putnam County records.
In 1820, Gwinnett County had 693 households and a total population of
4,589 people. It was not a major slave owning area, only 23% of the heads of
households owned slaves. But it was growing by leaps and bounds. By 1830 the
number of households had nearly tripled, to 1,848, and the total population
was 13,220. However, by 1840 the lure of cheap land to the West and the
depletion of the local soil, had taken their toll. There were only 10,813
people left in the County, a decrease of 22%. Soon this pull to the West
would influence Smith Jones and his family.
In the 1830 census, Smith is shown heading a household of 3 boys less
than 5, one youth 15-20 (a brother?), one female and one male, Smith and
Anna, 20-30 and one female 40-50, probably Anna’s mother, Mary Crickett
Butler. His household in the 1840 census consisted of two boys and two girls
under five, two boys aged 5-10, one youth aged 15-20, one female ,Anna ,
aged 20-30, one female aged 60-70.
Smith Jones was active in community affairs, being appointed a justice
of the peace for the Harbin District (#478) in 1841 and serving on petit
juries at least two times. And, on occasion, he was appointed by local
authorities to settle disputes.
Their farm was in the Harbin District near the present day town of
Dacula. It was bounded roughly by Ebenezer Church Road, Whitley Road and the
Appalachee River. The Ebenezer Church was founded in 1847 and it is likely
that Smith and his family attended the church before they left the next year
for Sugar Valley in the Cherokee Purchase.
In 1838 the United States forced 15,000 Cherokee Indians in Northwest
Georgia to leave Georgia and nearby areas and resettle in Oklahoma.Their
forced removal resulted in the infamous Trail of Tears. But tragedy for the
Cherokees was opportunity for others. It opened a large area for settlement
by whites. Smith and Anna Jones, taking advantage of the situation, moved to
Sugar Valley in Murray County in the Fall of 1848. He is listed in the 1850
census for the County as aged 47. Family history relates that he and his
wife were members of the “Old Primitive Baptist Church”. At the time of the
census, he and his wife, the former Anna Crickett Butler, had eight
children – six boys and two girls -ranging in age from 25 to 5. In the Fall
of 1859 Smith Jones and most of his family moved from Murray County to
Izard County, Arkansas by ox wagon. By then, son Thomas Marion had married
and he remained behind with his wife who was expecting a child. Another
married son, Willis Cornelius, went with the rest of the family to Izard
County. We are not sure if the brothers Nathan Henry, Rufus Philo and
Benjamin Curry came long. Perhaps they had already struck out to seek their
fortunes on their own.
On November 25, 1859 in the Batesville land office, Smith Jones paid $40
for 160 acres (25 cents per acre) in the North Fork Township (in Section 5,
Township 17N, Range 11W) near the White River in Izard County, Arkansas.
This land is now in Baxter County. The log house they built in a small
valley near Moccasin Creek still stands.
In the 1860 census of Izard County the family consisted of:
Smith Jones, age 57 – farmer
Annie, age 57 – domestic (housekeeper)
Willis C., age 26 – farmer
Ellen F., age 22 – domestic
Oliver S., age 18, Serving (laborer)
James H. M., age 15 – Serving
Benjamin Curry, Rufus P., Nathan H., Elizabeth M. and Mary E. Jones were
no longer members of the household. The ” Ellen F.” listed in the household
was the wife of son Willis Cornelius.
Both Smith and Anna Jones are buried near the mouth of Moccasin Creek in
the Talley Cemetery west of Pineville, Arkansas in Izard County. The
cemetery is in bottom land that has grown up into a cane break and the
gravestones are hidden away in the cane. A son, James Hamilton Jones, and a
daughter, Elizabeth Matilda Talley and her husband, are also buried in the
Here is a link to the gravestone: