Stephen S. Jones Sr. 1750 - 1844
Stephen Jones Sr., a patriot and Revolutionary War soldier, is the patriarch of the Jones' of Harlan County, Kentucky. Stephen's migration to then Knox County, Kentucky in 1796 began a 200+ year journey of Jones' in Harlan County,
|Stephen S. Jones|
DAR Plaque Harlan, KY.
August 19, 1750|
St. Mary's County, Maryland
September 1, 1844 (aged 94)|
Harlan County, Kentucky
|Other names||RevWar Pension #S38092 DAR Ancestor #A062640|
Stephen S. Jones Sr. served 3 tours of duty during the Revolutionary War. He served with a rank of Private in the North Carolina Militia between the years of 1779 and 1781 for a total of 7 months active service.
Stephen S. Jones (Genealogy) was born on Wednesday the 19th of August in the year 1750 in St. Mary's County, Maryland. He was a pioneer, a patriot, a farmer and a family man. For nearly fifty years he slowly migrated from Maryland to Kentucky and from British subject to American citizen. Once Stephen reached Kentucky, he planted his feet and decided to stay. Stephen became the patriarch of the Jones Family of Harlan County, Kentucky. Over 260 years later, his descendants want to know about him and his life.
- 1 Preamble
- 2 Birth
- 3 Marriages
- 4 Military Service
- 5 Migration
- 5.1 Maryland
- 5.2 North Carolina
- 5.3 Going To Virginia
- 5.4 Going To Kentucky
- 6 Land & Deeds
- 7 Death
- 8 Census Data
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The early days of Stephen S. Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland, prior to Granville County, North Carolina in 1779 are unknown. Stephen's parents are unknown, despite the many Jones researchers claiming Ambrose and Catherine Jones of Granville County as such. There is no document in any research that explicitly states, with complete provable documentation, who Stephen's parents are. This is primarily because both his birth and death county are burn counties.
According to his own words, as evidenced in Stephen Jones' Rev. War Pension Petition of 1834, Stephen Jones was born on August 19, 1750 in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Some Jones researchers report his birth as August 15th. It's very possible the discrepancy in dates stem from deciphering the hand writing of the court recorder during Stephen's request interview. You can view the hand written documents of Stephen's pension files to see the discrepancies.
We know Stephen was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, however, St. Mary's County became a burn county in 1831 with most if not all early civil records lost. To further hinder active research, Harlan County, Kentucky, Stephen's death county, became a burn county when in October of 1863, Confederate troops put torch to the Harlan County Courthouse in retaliation of Union troops burning down the courthouse at Lee County, Virginia. Not all records were lost in the Harlan County Courthouse fire but many important documents were.
Stephen's parents are unknown. To date, no document has been produced naming, much less proving, the parents of Stephen Jones of St. Mary's, County, Maryland. The only reference to parents is found in Stephen's Rev War Pension file when Stephen states;
Answer to Question 1st -- I was born in St. Mary's County Maryland on the 15th, August 1750 2nd I have no record of my age -- my Father’s register stated my birth as above
The Stephen Confusion
Many Jones researchers mistakenly claim Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins of Granville County, North Carolina as the parents of Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County. There is no document or proof to the assumption that Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins of Granville County are the parents of Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland. This perpetuation of Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins being Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland parents was created by the Mountain Chapter, D.A.R of Harlan in 1940 and has totally skewed many Jones family trees. A number of Jones researchers including Linda Reno have concluded the parents of Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland remain unknown.
It is true Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins were parents of a son named Stephen Jones in Granville County. However, the Stephen of Ambrose and Catherine Jones moved from Granville County, North Carolina to Halifax County, Virginia and married Nancy Thompson. Ambrose Jones Sr. died in 1792 leaving a will which named his children. As well, when Ambrose and Catherine's son Gabriel Jones died, there was an estate settlement document which clearly names the children of his brother Stephen Jones. The children of Stephen Jones, son of Ambrose Jones Sr. are not the children of our Stephen Jones of St. Marys and Harlan counties.
Halifax County, VA.
|Stephen Jones 1750-1844
md. Susannah Wilburn
Harlan County, KY.
|Stephen Jones 1760-1834|
md. Mary Gibbs
Bedford County, VA
|Catherine Jones||Gabriel Jones||Mary "Polly" Jones|
|Elizabeth Jones||John Jones|
|Rebecca Jones||Elijah Jones|
|Lucy Jones||Mary Ann Jones|
|Susan Jones||Zacharia Martin Jones|
|Sally Jones||Stephen Jones Jr.|
|James T. Jones|
Most Jones researchers know Stephen as Stephen Jones Sr., however, many cast his name as Stephen S. Jones or Stephen L. Jones. There are three documents that depict Stephens name with middle initials. The first document is a Power of Attorney letter of January 28, 1828 by Stephen which is dictated to George Brittain, Clerk Of Harlan County. The Power of Attorney letter clearly shows "S" as the middle initial. The second document is the 1840 U.S. Census for Harlan County in which his middle initial appears as the letter "L". We believe the Power of Attorney document to be the true stating of Stephens name and not the census form; with consideration and the fact that in 1840 Stephen is 90 years old and was apparently in the care of possibly his granddaughter Sarah Holmes (spelled Holanes in the census). If Sarah is indeed the granddaughter, she likely is the daughter of John Jones Sr. 1774 - 1870, Stephens second born son. Most likely Stephen did not speak for himself as Sarah is head of household. The third document is the 1840 Pensioners Census in which the 1840 U.S. Census asked for the names and ages of "Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services. Essentially, the name was copied from the 1840 U.S. Census.
Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland married Susannah Wilburn b.Unk - d.Unk, daughter of Edward Wilburn Sr. 1725 - 1806 of Surry County, North Carolina. We do not have marriage documents, however, this is the only proven marriage of Stephen Jones. The proof of marriage is through the Power of Attorney letter of January 28, 1828. Exactly when or where the marriage took place is also unknown. However, as Stephen's first child Gabriel Jones 1771 - 1831 is thought to have been born in 1771, it would seem reasonable their marriage was in 1770 or 1771. It is also noted that a Stephen Jones is on the Property Tax Rolls of Surry County, North Carolina for the years of 1771 and 1772. While there is no proof, it would seem to indicate Gabriel, the first son, was born in Surry County, North Carolina.
Proof of Stephen's marriage to Susannah Wilburn b.Unk - d.Unk is in a single document, whereby on January 28, 1828, while living in Harlan County, Kentucky, Stephen Jones has a letter written which gives Power of Attorney to Richard Wilburn of Surry County, North Carolina, in the affair of settling the estate of Jane Wilburn, Susannah Wilburn's sister. In the Power of Attorney letter of 1828, Stephen S. Jones (note the middle initial) clearly and unequivocally states "being the lawful husband of Susanah Wilburn". Supporting evidence of this marriage is also found in the Last Will and Testament of Edward Wilburn Sr. 1725 - 1806, proven 1806 in Surry County, North Carolina and in the will of John Wilburn, Susannah's brother, proven in 1819 in Orange County, North Carolina. A photostat copy of the original letter is available to download here.
Stephen S. Jones
Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland is alleged to have married both Nancy Thompson and Mary Catherine Adams. There is no proof or documentation of these marriages. Mary Catherine and Nancy Thompson both married Stephen Jones, Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins son. Stephen Jones of Granville County, North Carolina married Nancy Thompson in Halifax County, Virginia in 1802 [[Gabriel Jones[[, son of Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins and the brother of Stephen Jones, all of Granville County, North Carolina, stated in his estate settlement of 1831/1835 the wife of his brother Stephen to be Catharine. This would indicate Stephen Jones of Granville County possibly married Mary Catharine Adams after Nancy Thompson.
A will written by John Wilburn (Welborn or Wilborne) dated January 19, 1819 and proven February Court 1819, mentions his sister Susannah Ludlo Jones. In the book, Abstracts of Wills Recorded in Orange County, North Carolina, 1752-1800, Volume 2, & Abstract of Wills Recorded in Orange County, NC. 1800-1850 page 85; (Ruth Hearndon Shields, Clearfield Press, the following is found: 
Through the years of 1779 to 1781, Stephen served a total of seven months duty in the North Carolina Militia. Prior to and during the Revolutionary War, North Carolina was divided into militia districts. Stephen's first two tours would have most likely been with the Hillsborough District militia which included Granville County, North Carolina. Stephen "removed" to Surry County, North Carolina in 1781 with his remaining tour under the purview of Salisbury District, North Carolina which included Surry County.
Further proof that our Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland was not in Halifax County, Virginia is found in the Rev War Pension Application of Robert W. Fitz. Robert W. Fitz vows under oath that in 1781 he substituted for Stephen Jones of Halifax County, son of Ambrose Jones Sr. and Catherine Collins. We know for a fact our Stephen Jones of St. Mary's County, Maryland was in Surry County, North Carolina in 1781.
In 1780, Stephen Jones reenlisted and participated at the Battle of Cross Creek, a minor skirmish in Surry County, North Carolina. In March 1781, Stephen Jones said he was with a Col. Haynes Morgan at the Battle of Guilford Court House. At Guilford Courthouse, the North Carolina Line was placed in the first line of defense and took the brunt of British sharpshooters and was forced to retreat to Winn’s Mill in Guilford County, North Carolina. After the Battle of Guilford Court House, Stephen moved back to Surry County, North Carolina.
Granville County, N.C. Volunteer
According to Stephen's Rev War Pension, he states he was living in Granville County, North Carolina in 1779. At the age of 29, Stephen Jones volunteered for a three month tour of duty in the North Carolina Militia. He did not, however, join the North Carolina Line, which was part of the Continental Army as some researchers suggest. Stephen came under the command of Richard Cook (Capt. Richard Donaldson Cook of St. Mary's County)For the next 3 months they marched around the Catawba River gathering information on the Catawba Indians and their Tory allies. Later Stephen Jones and his fellow troops marched to the Yadkin River in Granville County, North Carolina where they came across a British Company. The baggage train of the Continentals soon came under fire from the British army. After a brief skirmish, the British were soon defeated and taken prisoner. After this engagement, Stephen Jones was discharged from the army.
Granville County, North Carolina fell under the purview of the Hillsborough District militia. Within the Hillsborough District were the counties of Caswell, Chatham, Granville, Orange, Randolph, and Wake.
That he entered the service of the United States as a militia soldier in Granville County, North Carolina where he then resided as a volunteer for a tour of three months in the year 1779 as well as he now remembers under the following officers ...
Richard Cook - Captain, William Moon - Colonel, Thomas Person - General and – Briant [?] Lieutenant .. We marched from Granville County to Hillsboro, thence to Salisbury in Rowan County. Thence we marched for the Indian Nation, fell upon the Catawba River and up the same as far as Silver Creek. There we were met by our General Parsons who, as we understood, had by a near route, crossed the Blue Ridge to the garrison and brought back word that our services were not wanting and ordered a retreat which we obeyed. We reached Granville before our three months was out but continued there under the command of our officers until our three months was out. I received no written discharge for this service."
The map to the right shows an approximate route Stephen's company may have taken in his first sortie in 1779. Of course, we are assuming a few things as we have no details as to the actual route that was taken. We assume the militia assembled at Oxford, North Carolina, the county seat of Granville County. The distance between Oxford and Silver Creek at Morgantown is about 200 miles. By Stephen's account it took nearly three months to make that round trip.
Cross Creek Sortie
|Cross Creek Sortie|
|Part of American Revolutionary War|
|North Carolina Line||British Regulars|
As quoted by Stephen Jones Sr. in his Revolutionary War Pension Petition, 1834 ...
[He states that] ... "in the year 1780, as well as I remember, I know it was before the last tour I have mentioned, I was drafted to go a tour to Cross Creek (today known as Fayetteville, North Carolina) against the British. I do not remember how long I was drafted for nor do I know how long I served. I only know we marched to Cross Creek but before we got there, understanding that the British had left the place, we returned home. From old age and the consequent loss of memory, I can not tell precisely how long I served in this tour but from the best of my knowledge and recollection not less than one month."
Yadkin River Sortie
Stephen would have been drafted in the Salisbury District, North Carolina, which included Surry County, North Carolina. Could this also be where Stephen rides with Captain Enoch Osborne. It's also questionable if our Stephen rode with Osborne at all. There are conflicting bits of information regarding the acquisition of his military headstone that he was under Osborne's command. Osborne led men in Virginia during the Rev War. There is no indication that Stephen served in Virginia during the war.
As quoted by Stephen Jones Sr. in his Revolutionary War Pension Petition, 1834 ...
"Afterwards in the year 1781, as well as I remember, I was drafted in Surry County, North Carolina, where I had removed, for a tour of three months under Colonel William Moon, Captain John Nall, Lieutenant Robert Baker. We marched from Surry and joined Colonel Morgan on the Catawba River. I believe it was in the month of February. We had to wade the Catawba River. Colonel Morgan ordered us to Salisbury, North Carolina to guard some British prisoners. Whilst we were guarding these prisoners, Morgan whipped (Colonel) Tarleton and brought his prisoners to Salisbury. With all the prisoners now together, we commenced a retreat. The rain fell upon us and we were forced to march across the Adkin [sic, Yadkin River]. Many of the soldiers, I among the number [indecipherable word] as I am [indecipherable word or words] had to wade the River.The British opened a fire upon our baggage wagons as they were crossing the river. Thence to the Virginia line, there other troops took the prisoners into custody and our time being near out, that we had not time to reach home before it would expire. We were ordered home. When I got home I received a written discharge for this service having fully performed the three months and a few days over."
Battle of Guilford Court House
It is a proven and undisputed fact stated in Stephen's Rev War Pension Petition, #S38092, that he was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland on Wednesday, August 19, 1750. We have no information as to where Stephen may have lived in St. Mary's County. We do not know any facts on his departure from Maryland. We do know that Stephen departed Maryland and arrive in North Carolina prior to 1779 based on his role in the North Carolina Militia.
There were several Jones' in St. Mary's County in the time frame of the birth of Stephen Jones in 1750. As we do not know Stephen's parents, the following could possibly be related to Stephen Jones in some fashion; John Jones, Joseph Jones, Solomon Jones, Walter Jones and William Jones. The names listed are Jones' who are owners of land in St. Mary's County in the time frame between 1720 - 1750.
St. Mary's County
In 1637 the entire colony of Maryland was St Mary's County. By 1696 counties had formed and reformed with the last county line for St. Mary's County being drawn in 1696 which to this day still holds. St. Mary's County is sandwiched between the Patuxen and Patowomack (Potomac) rivers to the north and south with the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Virginia to the west.
In 18th century St. Mary's County the two main cities were St. Mary's City on St Mary's River, the original capitol of Maryland, and Leonardtown. By Stephen Jones' birth in 1750, the estimated population of Maryland was just under 150,000 people with tobacco as it's primary economic engine. That was up from a mere 29,000 people in 1700.
Soon to add North Carolina detail. (Jan 2018)
Going To Virginia
Some sources claim Stephen Jones moved to Lee County, Virginia in 1782 , however, Lee County, Virginia did not exist until 1793. This move would have been to Washington County, Virginia, making him one of the earlier pioneer families to do so. Russell County, Virginia was carved out of Washington County, Virginia in 1786. Finally, Russell County, Virginia was split with the Southwestern most portion of Virginia becoming Lee County, Virginia in 1793. This author surmises Stephen Jones did not move from county to county as research suggests. Rather Stephen Jones, after leaving Surry County, North Carolina stayed in one place along the Virginia/Kentucky boundary prior to Kentucky becoming a state in 1792. With county boundaries being created, it caused the appearance of movement for Stephen Jones. Keep in mind, while the division of Russell County was in discussion and put to leadership during 1792, the Commonwealth of Kentucky was created. However, it is this author's surmise that Stephen was actually living on Kentucky soil but due to the logistics of the wilderness, was counted in Virginia until 1797. By 1799, Stephen is counted in the Knox County, Kentucky roll call.
The first census of the United States was carried out in 1790. There is a single Stephen Jones enumerated in Russell County.
Although a date is not given, the following is listed on Page 91 in the RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA LAW ORDER BOOK 2 (1792 - 1799):
In 1792 many inhabitants of Russell County, most likely the lower portion or Southwestern most part of Russell County petitioned the local government to separate from Russell County and create a new county. The petition passed in 1793 and the creation of Lee County made. On the list of petitioners is Stephen Jones and Vincent Hobbs.
In 1794, Stephen Jones would be part of the Vincent Hobbs Militia to capture Chief Robert Benge of the Cherokee Indians. Chief Robert Benge started his raids in 1785 by attacking the Archibald Scott family at Wallen Creek. These raids continued until 1794. In April 1794, Vincent Hobbs and his militia waited for Chief Robert Benge at Stone Gap, a gap used by both the Shawnee and Cherokee for their raids into Lee County, Virginia. Chief Benge was in route bringing some prisoners his braves had captured to be adopted into their tribe to replace family members killed by the white settlers. Hobbs and his men ambushed Benge killing him and 3 Indian braves. This was the last Indian battle fought in Southwest VA.
To note: Vincent Hobbs Sr. and his son Vincent Hobbs Jr. were part of the militia capturing Robert Benge. Vincent Hobbs Sr.'s daughter, Hannah Rebecca Hobbs, married John William Blanton. For the author of this note, this is an important fact. Because of this marriage, Martha Blanton, John William Blanton's great granddaughter married Frank K. Jones I of Harlan County which causes Vincent Hobbs Sr. to be another Great Grand Father to the author.
Virginia Tax Records
Interesting to note that Stephen Jones is not listed as taxed in 1794 by either Lee or Russell Counties, however it is clear that he is in Virginia. Could it be that Stephen was with Hobbs and involved with chasing down Chief Benge during the taxation period? What else was going on in 1794?
Lee County, VA.
A Stephen Jones is found on the 1795, 1796, 1797 Lee County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List. 1797 is the last year this Stephen Jones is seen on Southwestern Virginia rolls.
Russell County, VA.
A Stephen Jones is found on the 1789, 1790, 1792 and 1793 Russell Co., Virginia Personal Property Tax List and labeled as:
Stephen Jones Lower
Washington County, VA.
A Stephen Jones is listed in ......
Going To Kentucky
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Some researchers report that Stephen moved to Harlan County, Kentucky in 1794. This is just not true as the Lee County Personal Tax records prove he was in Virgina until at least 1797.
Jones was apparently the first frontiersman to settle in the Verde, KY region. In 1807, Mary, Stephen Jones’s first wife died and was buried in Verde KY. Some researchers also claim that after Mary's death, Stephen Jones married Nancy Thompson. This doesn't appear to true either. As this Nancy Thompson married Stephen Jones of Halifax County, Virginia, son of Ambrose Jones and Catherine Collins of Granville County, North Carolina fame.
In 1828, Nancy died and also buried in Verde KY. Later that year Jones marred Susannah Wilburn. In 1832, Jones applied for a pension for his service in the revolutionary war. Sometime before 1840, Jones died and was buried near Jones creek
Knox County Census 1810
Knox/Harlan County Transfer
Harlan County was formed in 1819 from the Eastern portion of Knox County. See list of men, aged 21 and older, transferred from Knox County to Harlan County.
Land & Deeds
1804 - Land grant in Knox county.
We do not know the exact date of Stephen's death. What we do know is he was enumerated in the 1840 US Census, that he received his military pension until at least the 2nd quarter of 1841 and that he is not enumerated in the 1850 US Census. We can assume he lived until at least the spring/summer of 1841. According to the U.S. Government GAO, Stephen Jones received a last pension payment during the 2nd quarter of 1841.
To date, no Last Will & Testament has been uncovered for Stephen S. Jones Sr.
Stephen S. Jones Sr. is believed to be buried in Jones Cemetery, also known as Crab Orchard Cemetery, in Harlan County, Ky. The cemetery is located on private property in the community of Ross Point, just off Highway 119 in Harlan County. It's interesting to note the "Latin Cross" on the headstone. The option for a religious symbol, either the cross or the Star of David, was not available until May 12, 1925. 
Dr. James Black Jones, DDM, a direct descendant of Stephen as well as a highly regarded and well respected member of the Harlan community, initiated a military headstone request for Stephen Jones burial location on Wednesday, October 18, 1939. On November 27, 1939 Dr. Jones' request is approved and December 22, 1939, the headstone was shipped to Harlan County. The fact that Dr. Jones, of such high stature, goes to this trouble, lends credence to the unproven fact that John Jones Sr. 1774 - 1870 is indeed, a son of Stephen S. Jones Sr.
The Mountain Trail Chapter of the D.A.R. also placed a headstone
- Radoff, Morris L.; Skordas, Gust; Jacobsen, Phebe H. (1963). "The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 2: The Records". Archives of Maryland Online. Publication #13. Annapolis. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- Melba Porter Hay; Dianne Wells; Thomas H. Appleton, Jr.; Thomas H. Appleton (2002). Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 30–. ISBN 0-916968-29-4.
- Reno, Linda. "A Journey Through Time" (PDF). St. Mary's County Genealogical Society. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- Proved on page 225 of the Harlan County Deed Book A
- Government, US Federal. "Clues in Census Records, 1790-1840". National Archives. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- Abstracts of Wills Recorded in Orange County, North Carolina, 1752-1800 and (202 Marriages Not Shown in the Orange County Marriage Bonds) and Abstracts of Wills Recorded in Orange County, North Carolina, 1800-1850. Genealogical Publishing Com. 1957. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-8063-0504-2.
- Ancestry.com. Virginia, Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Dodd, Jordan R., et al.. Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers.
- Harris, C. Leon (8 February 2015). "Pension Application of Robert W. Fitz S8475" (PDF). Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- General Joseph Martin Chapter-SAR
- Reno, Linda; Dawson, Marcella Jehl Dawson (2001). "St. Mary's County Land Ownership: 1637-1799". University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- General Joseph Martin Chapter
- Robertson, Rhonda. "RUSSELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA LAW ORDER BOOK 2 (1792 - 1799)". Rootsweb - Ancestry.com. Unknown. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "1790 Russell County Personal Tax List Part A". Binn's Genealogy. February 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- Ancestry.com - Jillson, Willard Rouse. The Kentucky Land Grants. Vol. I-II. Louisville, KY, USA: Filson Club Publications, 1925.
- Jones, LC (ed.). "Headstone Records Research Guide" (PDF). Military Veterans Headstones - Nonfederal-cemeteries. US Government. Retrieved 17 Jan 2018.
- [General Joseph Martin Chapter - SAR|http://www.josephmartinchapter.org/jones.html]