by Phil Draper (Added Feb., 2009)
Compiled by Phil Draper 2006-2009.
What I know about the Jones Family, A Negro or mulatto family that lived in Hampton Township from the 1860s through the 30s. Their property was on the southeast corner of Hampton and Jones road, named after them.
My interest started when Ed Fritz, who was born near the Jones farm and went to the Jones school, told me, “Jones road was named after a black man”, and I wanted to find out who this man was.
My first contact was from ancestry. com., we will start with the census records.
In 1860, the census, enumerated in June, showed they were living in Bay City next to two other families of “mulottos”. An address was not given, the census shows John Jones 29, was born in Virginia and owned real estate valuing $200.00 and no personal property, I think the enumerator transposed the two as all he recorded shows the same pattern. It shows that he was married within the year to Clifford 28?, also a Negro women, born in Michigan. It states he was a farm laborer 28 years old; it listed one person in the household who could not read or write.
In 1870, the census, enumerated July 18th, things had really changed. They had moved to Hampton township and had four children. Alexander, a boy 9 and in school, Philomen 2, listed as a girl, but we know better and the twins Joseph and Josephine, 6 months old. We know that they have their own farm that has a value of $9000, an enormous amount back then.
They had personal property of $100. John could not write and that he was 35 and his wife was 32. They had a hired teamster Daniel Fairfax 22, a black man from Virginia, who could not read or write and George Smith 18 a black boy, I believe the son of his neighbor when they came to Bay City.
The Bay County Death Records Book B 1871-1884 report
26 Feb 1871 Hampton twp.
In 1880, the census, was enumerated June 1st, shows they were still living at the same location in Hampton Township. It shows Alexander now 19 helping on the farm, Philomen 12, now a boy in school, Harman Fairfax 52 (probably a relative of Daniel) listed as a servant, helping on the farm. He was from Virginia and now, in the 1880 census, parents were listed, his parents were both listed as being from Virginia as were John's. Clifford’s parents were both listed as being from Michigan but later we find a different statement. They also had another servant, and Alexander Moore 24, born in Michigan but whose parents were listed as being from Canada. Both servants ages were in brackets suggesting to me the real ages were not known. All the people on the farm were listed as mulatto. (Note the twins were not listed.)
The 1890 census was of no help because it was destroyed in a fire in Washington and there is nothing to replace it in this area besides Polk directories.
The 1887 Polk Directory for Bay County lists Clifford Jones as a farmer in Hampton Township, section 18 owning 80 acres worth $6280.
In 1900 the census answers a few questions but brought up new ones. We know that John was born in December of 1830 and that he was 70 years old, that he and his wife Clifford had been married 40 years and that they had had four children together and that two were still alive. Their son, Philomen was born in November 1868, was 32 years old and was working on the family farm. It states Clifford was 59 and was born in 1840 (the age of Clifford has changed with each census), they had one hired man, a white boy named Robert Reid 17. They owned their farm free and clear. Their neighbor was Joshua Richardson, 63 born in November 1836 and his wife Mary 58, born in March 1842. They were neighbors in Bay City in 1860 and were married 40 years also. They also owned their farm free and clear. Joshua was born in Virginia as were his parents. --- You have to wonder if John and Joshua came from Virginia together? Joshua and Mary had a son Leonard (?) who was born in August 1862. Everyone was listed as black this census.
The 1910 census apparently didn’t list the Jones’ or I just didn’t find it.
The 1920 census shows Philomen 58, running the farm with his Aunt Mary Harris 79, that he still owned the farm free and clear. Both were listed as white.
The 1930 census shows Philomen living in a rented apartment at 1116 1/2 N. Jefferson in Bay City, he was 63 years old listed his employment as a laborer in a factory. His rent was $9.00 a month. He listed his color as white. -- Ed Fritz said he remembers stories about an old black that lived in a corn crib by the old farm when he was very young, he was born in 1936, but said he never saw him. I do know that Jones had sold off a portion of their farm to a black family, who knows?
I have tried to find out more about this amazing family but that just creates more questions, where did they come to have that amount of money? Where are they buried? What happened to Alexander? Did they have any relatives? It appears they were very successful in their day and I respect them a great deal. I don’t I will ever quit searching for those answers.
Book excerpt "From Chalkboard to Computers - The Essexville-Hampton Story," 2001
"Despite the intense work in clearing and draining the land, the early settlers, who spoke little or no English, recognized the need for a school to educate their children. Land for a school was acquired in 1858 and the group built and meagerly equipped a one-room log cabin to serve as a school. It must have been an enormous sacrifice of their time and limited funds to bring that first school into existence.
"We do not know when the school first became know as the Jones School. The name went back many many years and it appears that it must have been named after the Jones family and Jones Road. John Jones and his wife Clifford were African Americans. They owned and operated an 89-acre farm, bounded by Hampton, Jones, and Borton Roads. Probably the Jones Road was name after this family. In the 1883 History of Bay County, John Jones is listed as having one of the "Exceptionally Fine Farms" and is also listed as beng one of the Superintendents of Bay County Agricultural Society. Viola Verellen stated that Mrs. Jones had beautiful clothes and was active in Bay City social circles. Viola said that Mrs. Jones had her own carriage and spirited horse that she enjoyed driving to Bay City at a fast pace. Their farming operation was prosperous and successful, the family well regarded, so the naming of the school as the Jones School in the late 1800's would have been a valid means of identification. The school was on the southwest corner of Jones and Hampton Roads."
Jan. 27, 2011 - Update by Phil Draper.
On line Michigan Death Records were found for John and his wife Clifford. John died May 4, 1907 and was buried at Elm Lawn Cemetery, Bay City, MI. His wife died on Nov. 29, 1916 and was buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery, Bay City, Mi.
--- Please contact us if you add to this history on the Jones family.