Finding Your Folks: James and Eliza McDowell Jones of Fayette and Campbell counties

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

This week, Nancy Jones Cornell, president of the Old Campbell County Historical Society (OCCHS) presents a story of her Joneses. Nancy writes:

“James and Eliza McDowell Jones were early settlers of Fayette and Campbell counties. Their last home was on Old White Mill Road off Highway 92 near Fairburn. James was referred to as a 'horse trader,' a term which simply meant he made trades (horses, land, etc.) for a living. My grandmother, Elzie Berry Jones, told me that James died while sitting on a log making a trade.

“The earliest information I have found on James is the 1821 Georgia Land Lottery when, as a resident of Franklin County, he drew Lot 146, District 14, of Fayette County. He sold this lot to James Forsyth of Habersham County on Nov. 25, 1825, for $500.

“James L. Jones of Jackson County drew a lot in the 1832 Georgia Gold Land Lottery. On Jan. 29, 1841, James Jones of Jackson County purchased two lots (LL #156 and LL #157) in the Fifth District, Fayette County, from Martin D. Burch. He apparently moved to Fayette County at this time. I have been told his youngest son, Benjamin Franklin Jones, was born in the 'old' Jett Luck house on Highway 92 near present day Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, which at that time would have been a part of Fayette County.

“On Jan. 27, 1851, James Jones of Fayette County purchased fraction Lot 92, Ninth District (166.5 acres) from Jesse Mann. He moved his family to this property on Old White Mill Road where, on June 20, 1854, he died.

“James (b. 2 June 1790 - d. 20 June 1854) and Eliza (b. 26 June 1800 - d. 22 July 1888) are buried in the Jones-Dorris Family Cemetery on their property. James was probably the first person buried in the cemetery.

“Two of James' sons, James L. and William Sanford, built and operated a wheat mill on Line Creek near their home. After the War Between the States, their former slave, Miller John, continued to operate this mill. Miller John and his wife also are buried in the Jones-Dorris Cemetery.

“Although lead and other minerals were found on the property, a representative from the Confederate Army sent during the war to check out the mine determined that there was so little lead it was not worth mining. And when winter temperatures caused the millpond to freeze over, the family cut the ice into chunks and stored them in a pit or cave for summer use. People came from as far away as Atlanta to purchase ice.

“James and Eliza had six sons and six daughters. They were: (1) Martha (1822 - 1896, buried Prays Mill, Douglas Co.) married Wm. H. Brown in Fayette County March 23 1847;

“(2) Francis M (1823 - 1862, died in Culpeper, Va.) never married;

“(3) James L. (1824 - 1892, buried Fairburn City Cemetery) married Martha Hearn in Campbell County on July 9, 1857;

“(4) William Sanford (1826 - 1903, buried Jones-Dorris Cemetery) married Eliza Eason, daughter of Rice and Frances Eason of Fayette County;

“(5) Edward J. (1829 - 1863) never married;

“(6) Nancy E. (1833 - unknown), married Adam R. Foster, son of Ann B. Foster, in Campbell County on 21 Feb. 1856;

“(7) Eliza Ann (1835 - unknown) married Wm. H. Eason on Dec. 20, 1855;

“(8) Melissa E. (1837 - unknown) married James M. Kidd, son of L.L. and Melinda Kidd on 16 Dec. 1858;

“(9) John N. (1839 - 1909, buried Fairburn City Cemetery) married Rebecca A. Brown, daughter of Middleton Brown;

“(10) Eveline (Emmaline) - no information;

“(11) Benjamin Franklin (1841 - 1919, buried Fairburn City Cemetery) married Nancy Gorman Black;

“and (12) Elizabeth Cleopatra (1844 - 1920) married Isaiah Green Dorris on Oct. 3, 1864.

“All of James and Eliza's sons served during the Civil War. The two eldest, James L. and Wm. Sanford, served in the Georgia State Troops. The younger four sons served as privates in the CSA.

“Francis M. enlisted 15 Oct. 1861 in Virginia under Capt. Thomas Glover in Co. A, 21st Regiment, Ga. Volunteer Infantry. He was sent to Culpeper Hospital on Oct. 31, 1861, and was there until his death on Jan. 23, 1862, of typhoid pneumonia.

Edward J. enlisted Aug. 26, 1862, at Calhoun, Ga., and arrived in Virginia to join Co. A, 21st Regt. On Sept. 29, 1862. He was evidently sick before enlisting because mention is made of his health in letters sent to his brother, Sanford. In late October, he was sent to Winder Div. 2 Hospital and, because of his illness, was given a furlough. He died at home March 11, 1863, and is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in the Jones Family Cemetery.

John N. enlisted as a private in Co. A, 55th Regt. which subsequently became the 56th Regt. Ga. Volunteer Infantry. John was among the soldiers captured in Kentucky during the fall of 1862. He was placed in a camp at Chattanooga and exchanged on Jan. 11, 1863. In May and June of 1864, he appears on the muster roll of those on duty at the military prison in Atlanta.

Benjamin Franklin, the youngest son, enlisted June 6, 1861 in Co. A, 21st Regt. at Campbellton. He was a private and served as Regimental Fifer. Benjamin was one of the few from Co. A to serve the entire war and be present at the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee.”

Nancy closes by saying that she is a direct descendant of James and Eliza McDowell through their son, James L. and Martha Hearn Jones. Thank you so much, Nancy, for that well-written story about your ancestors.

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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