GUN JONES 74 YEAR OLD NATIVE BORN COLLIN NEGRO RESPECTED BY ALL; SLAVE OF O. HEDGCOXE
“Gun” Jones, a 74-year-old Allen negro, was in McKinney one day recently circulating a subscription paper for needed finances by the colored Baptist church to which he belongs. “Gun” Jones is perhaps the widest known and most highly respected colored citizen of our entire county. He was born a slave in Collin county on June 9, 1852, on the farm of Oliver Hedgcoxe about ten miles southwest of McKinney and was eleven or twelve years old when Lincoln issued the decree emancipating the negores. Although Gun is now in his seventy-fifth year, he says he can see as well as ever, hear perfectly, sleeps well, eats heartily and works every day.
On November 17 last year he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a dinner to their children and friends at their home which they own in the little village of Allen where they have resided in recent years. They are the parents of eleven children - eight boys and three girls. Presents totaling value to more than one hundred dollars were given them, that occasion as tokens of esteem and genuine friendship. One of their white friends, Milton Whisenant, gave them a five dollar gold piece which they are saving and keeping in the bank at Allen.
Never Arrested or Paid Fine.
Few persons, white or black, as old as “Gun” can boast of being native born Collin citizens who have never lived anywhere else during that long period. Old “Gun” proudly boasts of the fact that he was never arrested, never paid a fine and was never summoned before the grand jury but one time in all his life.
Attended School in McKinney.
This old time negro attended school only about four months altogether in his life. That was when he was about thirteen or fourteen years old and then resided with his parents six miles slightly southwest of McKinney on land now belonging to George Thompson. At that time, sixty years ago, what few colored children living in or around McKinney, attended school in a little hewn log school house that stood in Lewisville [east McKinney] near the site of the two-story eight-teacher, colored school building of the present time. “Gun” walked to and from school every day and thought little about the twelve-mile daily tramp over muddy roads to school and back again. He says his teacher was an old colored man named John Garret. In those days, Jake Chamberlain, who died a few years ago at the age of 114, was the most influential negro in McKinney.
Methodist, Then Baptist.
In his youthful days, “Gun” joined the Methodist church at old Lebanon and was steward in it until the society disbanded. He then joined the Baptist church which maintained an organization there and for over forty years has been a Baptist deacon. Uncle “Gun” in explaining his changed of church membership said, “I just had to have a spiritual shelter so when the Methodists disbanded their church I gladly did the next best thing and joined the Baptists. We have good people in all the churches and some in all the churches who don’t live as they should all the time. I believe in Christianity and in supporting religion and the churches by living right every day and by contributing from our money to support the churches.”
“Gun” Jones has claimed to be a farmer throughout his long life and is still engaged in that avocation to some extent. He has been a tenant all these years on farms owned by T. A. Coleman, Lone Christi, Price Bush and others. He has always followed threshing during the summer and fall seasons. In the earlier days before modern improvement in threshing machinery, he was known as an expert “feeder” and “separator” man. For a number of years he was with the Coleman & Harrison threshing firm. Composed of the late Prof. T. A. Coleman, county superintendent of schools, and Mm. B. Harrison, then of McKinney but now a prominent business man of Petersburg, Va. He was in the same position with Bob Fisher’s thresher for a continuous period of fifteen years.
Respected by Whites.
Uncle “Gun” has always conducted himself so as to be a model citizen for his own race to pattern after and lived in a way that has won the respect and esteem of every white acquaintance. Uncle “Gun” says that the early white settlers and old-time citizens of Collin were the best people in all the world and he still loves the few surviving ones and reveres the memories of these who have passed on to the other shore. Collin county had only been organized six years when he was born into the world and McKinney, which was incorporated and became a town seventy-nine years ago was then only a tiny pioneer village, just four years old at the time of his birth. Comparatively few Collin people are now living in the county who were born in slavery times, and still fewer, if any others are living here who are native born.
SAM HOUSTON JONES
Sam Houston Jones (1853-1945) married Nancy Jane Chadwell (1860-1940). Their four children - Effie, William Harrison, John Bruce, and Sam Houston, Jr., grew up on the farm they purchased south of Leonard. Effie married Tom Wright. They had six children - Jones, Freda, Edmond, Joe Sam, Naomi, and Neil. Tom sold real estate. William Harrison married and had 2 daughters; John Bruce married and had 1 daughter.
Sam (Huse) Houston Jones, Jr., (1887-1974), married Cynthia Parrish - (1891-1975), on May 8, 1910. They built a larger home on “Uncle Sam and Aunt Teet’s (the Sam H. Jones, Sr.) land and raised their children there. Houston Parrish (Pat) Jones and his wife, Hazel Parr Jones, lived in Leonard until his death in 1975. He operated a garage for many years. Bill Wayne married Mary Sweeney in 1944. They have two sons, Wayne and Mark; Bill and Mary are living in Leonard now. Catherine Jones married Scott Jackson in 1935. Danny their son lives in Leonard; Mary Jean, their daughter, in Dallas.
Elizabeth (Tootsie), married Kermit Jackson, brother to Scott. Joe, Betty, Jack, and Tootsie and their families all live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
Scott and Catherine owned and operated the Exxon station in Leonard for a number of years.