William Jesse Jones

William Jesse Jones came to Christian County prior to the Civil war. He was born in Tennessee on Oct. 9, 1832, but moved to Missouri as a young man. On Jan. 20, 1853. Will was married at Springfield to Elizabeth Inman, a Tennessee girl. They had a child, Mary A., in 1856, but the mother died giving birth. More than two years later, on Dec. 2, 1858, he married again to Sarah Ann Keltner. She, too, died in childbirth a year or so later. Will married a third time, on July 22, 1860, to Nancy A. F. Inman, the 18 year old sister of his first wife.

In the 1860 Christian County census, Will Jones is listed as a laborer, but he became a local blacksmith. He and Nancy had 10 children, eight lived to adulthood: Martha J., 1863, who married a Jackson; Joseph Frank, 1866; James Robert "Dade", 1867; John Henry, 1869; Allis E., 1872; David A., 1874; Albert G. "Eit", 1876; and Charles Wesley, 1878, born after his father's death.

Will Jones fought for the Union in the Civil War. He served in the Missouri State Militia, 4th Regt. Of Cavalry, Co. M, under Capt. Cross, from March 29, 1862, to March 28, 1865. His unit saw combat against the "Price Raids" into Missouri, during which time he was taken prisoner and suffered a stomach wound. After the Civil War, Will joined other local men in the Christian County Militia, where he was described as a stout man of about 5 feet, 6 inches in height and being of dark complexion with black hair and eyes. He died from his war wounds on July 25, 1877, at the age of 44.

Nancy, Will's widow, was born in Giles County, TN, on Jan. 29, 1844. And outlived him by nearly 50 years. In 1915 she was living on a farm two and a half miles west of Nixa with the family of her youngest son Charles. On May 26, a tornado struck the farmhouse where Nancy and a baby grandson, William Alexander, were sleeping. A family member remembered seeing them blown away with the roof of the house. The baby was found dead with a nail driven through his forehead. "Granny" was hurt so badly that the Springfield Republican newspaper reported that she was not expected to recover. But she did recover and two years later applied for a Civil War widow's pension, which she received until her death at age 82 on Feb. 7, 1926.

Note: The youngest child of Will & Nancy was listed as " William Charles Jones" in the book "History & Families of Christian County, Missouri". This is incorrect, his name was Charles Wesley Jones, who married Clara May Sparkman, sister to my grandmother, Martha Jane Sparkman. This article in the History & Families of Christian County Missouri, was submitted by Harold W. Crumpley, 1941, grandson of Will Jones II (son of James Robert Jones & Anna Malinda "Suzy" Coker).