Thomas Madison Jones d 17 January 1927

Thomas Madison Jones was born 11 November, 1841, in Patrick County, Virginia, the sixth of eight children of Reuben and Judith (Moore) Jones. 

Thomas was in the 1850 census in Patrick County, age 8, with his family.  When he was still young, his mother died, and in 1859, Reuben married a second time.  That wife died a couple years later, and Reuben married a third time, and had seven more children.  It is possible that the first family did not stay together after Judith died, as family lore is that Thomas later named his first son William Thomas Allen Jones, for the family who raised him. 

By 1860, the family moved to North Carolina, and Thomas was in the Ashe County census, age 19, with father, step-mother, and brother Robert.

Thomas’ Civil War service is recorded as: JONES, THOMAS M., 19, B. VA, 1860 AsCC HH#550. Co. B, 8th TN Cavalry, served from 4/18/63 to 6/23/65. According to family lore, he was captured and held prisoner near Gettysburg.  Supposedly a photo held by a family member has this information is written on the back.  However, it is not correct.  Thomas was captured at Zolicofer TN during battle.  He was taken to Libby Prison (a tobacco warehouse) in Richmond VA, then moved to the Pendleton Building in the same town for about a month.  He then was taken to Danville VA for about four months.  His next prison was Andersonville GA, and while there contracted typhoid fever.  He was moved to Florence SC, then paroled from Charleston SC to Camp Parole, MD.  Camp Parole was one of three camps established during the Civil War to accept paroled Union prisoners of war until they were exchanged for Confederate prisoners.  Some soldiers were returned to their regiments, and some were sent home. Thomas was exchanged on 7 December 1864 because he was ill. Not long after Thomas was paroled, this practice of exchange ceased, and many died in the prisons.  Thomas spent months in the hospital at Camp Parole. 

Once discharged, on 23 June 1865, Thomas returned from the army by way of Nashville, travelling home with Noah Greer.  They came through Johnson County TN and Thomas returned to his farm.  On 8 November 1866, Thomas married Drucilla Caroline Johnson, in Mountain City, Johnson County, Tennessee.  They were listed in the 1870 census living in North Fork, of Ashe County NC, with the first of their eight children.  Thomas acquired land grants in Ashe County, recorded in 1874 and 1883. 

In 1880, the family lived in Oldfields NC.  His occupation was farmer. In the 1883 directory, TM Jones listed among “principal farmers”, in Creston, Ashe Co.  He is listed the same in the 1890 directory.  Thomas was also active in the Three Top Regular Baptist Church. 

In 1889, Thomas filed for an invalid pension, alleging that his shoulders, hip and chest bothered him ever since being in prison.  He wasn’t able to work his farm until the next spring after his return, and even then, he was only able to do 1/3 to ½ of a normal amount of work.  Thomas had also suffered from scurvy while in Andersonville, which resulted in loose teeth.  Besides seeing doctors, he also treated himself using pills and a nerve and bone liniment (patent medicine of unknown patent).   The surgeon’s certificate declared Thomas 4/18 disabled, and Thomas did get a pension of $6/month.  The attorney’s fee for his work on Thomas’ behalf was $10.

Although the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, Thomas was mentioned on the 1890 Ashe County Veterans Schedule of Pensioners, resident of Clifton Township.   This documents that he has a “disease of breast” and “coler” (cholera?) taken while in the Army. 

Drucilla died 21 November 1890, according to papers filed with the Bureau of Pensions in 1898.  (In papers filed in 1921, her death date was reported as 22 Oct 1889.) 

In 1895, Thomas applied for an increase in his pension.  He was frequently denied increases, because it was hard for him to prove that his disabilities were related to disease while in prison. 

Thomas married his first cousin, Malinda Rosabelle Worley, on 24 Dec 1896, in Todd NC. 

In 1900 the family lived in Creston, NC.  In 1904, Thomas’s pension was raised from $6 to $10 per month.  In 1907, it was raised again to $12/month because Thomas was over 62.                            

In 1910 the census lists Thomas and Rosabelle in Clifton.  They lived adjacent to his son Allen. Thomas’ pension was raised to $24.  Rosa died 27 April 1911. After Rosa died, Thomas had no home of his own, but lived with various children. In 1918, his pension went to $30.  

Thomas was listed in the 1920 census in Creston, NC.  He was living with his son Allen (William Thomas Allen Jones) and wife Belle, and the children.  I particularly like this census image because it has three generations together, and helps prove the relationships.   

In 1923, Thomas’ pension was raised to $72/month, because he and other witnesses had established that he was disabled to the extent that he required assistance with dressing and other daily functions.  He was described as having heart problems and cancer of the ear. In 1925, Thomas wrote a personal letter to the Bureau of Pensions requesting another increase because of the cost of his nursing care.  This was denied because he was not blind, or missing a hand or foot.  Another pension act was passed in 1926, and Thomas received $90/month.  Thomas again asked for an increase, but that was not acted upon before he died. 

Thomas died 17 January 1927, in Toliver, in Ashe County, NC.  He is buried at the Reuben Jones Family Cemetery.

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