Finding Your Folks: Mary Amelia Jones ... the final chapter

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

When I started this Jones surname research, I had no idea I was opening up a real can of worms. I guess with a name like “Jones,” many conflicts should be expected. After researching the Internet using official records as well as family trees composed by others, I have come to the conclusion that this family is a real mess.

Internet trees (for what they’re worth) agree that William (son of Richard) and Mary Jones had a daughter named Mary, but none have connected her to the Tidwells. They say she married a Spear. Those researchers also give other children for William and Mary Jones, but they have our Mary born in 1799 (we have 1785 which is borne out by two censuses).

Mrs. McCall in her book “McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families,” which I have used as the main source for this series, has only two known children of William Jones and his first wife (Mary) and states that Mary Amelia, their daughter, was born in South Carolina in 1785.

Mrs McCall has no maiden name for Richard’s first wife while Internet sources say her name was Mary “Ham” or “Hancom.”

Mrs. McCall gives as her source for much of the Jones family information, “Richard and Peter Jones of Virginia,” by Mrs. Augusta Fothergill. Several Internet sources give their source as “The First Jones Family in America,” author not given. Others give each other or Family TreeMaker CDs as sources, which is about as credible as having no source at all.

I mention these things only as a point of reference for those who may be researching this family. With this many conflicts, there are bound to be many errors. Take the time to check the official records to make sure your information is correct. Many official records are now online for Jasper, Putnam and Greene counties and are free for the looking. You may find them on the Georgia GenWeb Archives pages.

For those of you who don’t have computers, records for all these counties may be found at the Georgia Archives in Morrow — many more than you will find on the Internet.

With that said, I’ll go back to Mrs. McCall’s book and pick up with William Jones’ arrival in Georgia. Backtracking a little, we learned that William Jones was born in Amelia County, Va., Nov. 17, 1758, and died in Jasper County, Ga., Feb. 15, 1841. He was a Revolutionary Soldier who was discharged at Augusta, Ga. He married Mary in Virginia and moved to South Carolina, where our Mary Amelia was born in 1785. Mary Amelia had one known brother, William (Jr.).

William (Sr.) received land in Wilkes Co. (now Elbert Co., Ga.) for his Revolutionary service.
William’s wife, Mary, died sometime before 1808 when he remarried Emilia Unknown in Greene Co., Ga. They moved to Jasper Co., Ga. and had five children.

Mrs. McCall does not list the names of William’s children with his second wife.

My book on Colonial Georgia Marriages told me that William’s second wife was Emilia Patterson and they were married 4 Jan. 1808 in Greene County. Internet sources say her maiden name was Heard and she was the widow of Francis Patterson. William and Emilia Jones are said to have had 21 children, including his, hers and theirs. This would not be hard to check out using Greene County records.

In 1803 in Greene County, William and Mary Jones’ daughter Mary Amelia Jones, married William Tidwell, one of two orphaned sons of William Tidwell and Mary deGraffenried, and they settled in Baldwin County, later Putnam County. In 1814, William Tidwell volunteered as a soldier of the War of 1812 from Putnam County.

After western Georgia lands were opened up with the 1827 Land Lottery, William and Amelia (Jones) Tidwell, along with William’s only brother, Benjamin and his wife, Milly Grimes Tidwell, moved into the newly settled area and lived in the Fayette-Coweta-Spalding-Meriwether County area.

I will quote from Mrs. McCall here, since she says it so beautifully: “They prospered in this new country. He was a man of stern integrity and unflinching courage. He and his wife were members of the County Line Christian Church. His wife was very religious and a woman of strong character. He was a fighter in the Indian raids, owned many slaves, and had a private race track on his plantation.”

William Tidwell died in Meriwether County in September of 1837. He left no will and his estate was appraised by Robert B. Kilpatrick, Reuben Westmoreland and Charles L. Dupree. His son, John J. Tidwell was appointed administrator of his estate and his wife, Mary Amelia Tidwell was appointed guardian of his two youngest sons, Pleasant M. and Littleberry. He left a large estate including land, livestock, personal property, many blooded horses and many slaves.

Mary Amelia Jones Tidwell lived near her children in Meriwether County until her death in 1852. Those children included Benjamin (or Benajah), Amelia (called Milly), John J., Mark, Grace, William D., Julia, Pleasant Madden and Littleberry Tidwell. All were born in Putnam County except the last two.

We have already done a great deal about Milly Tidwell and James Boyd, parents of the Bethany Boyds. Next week we’ll explore the lives of some of the other Tidwell children.

I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; E-mail or Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

Until next week, happy hunting!

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