Whitfield Ross-9th Texas Cavalry-Colonel Dudley W. Jones

A few days ago, I saw a posting on the Texas Civil War History boards about some grave dedications in Houston. Having been a resident of the suburbs of Houston, I looked at the posting to see the names of the Civil War Veterans. In particular, I was looking for Colonel Dudley William Jones who had died in Houston in 1869. It is not a new search. I had read years ago that his grave was not well cared for nor was it easy to find.

This morning I woke up early and was in  a Google mood, so I started to search for the three cemeteries where he might have been residing. The first thing I discovered was that he could not have been in any of the three. The first city cemetery had been changed to the Founders Memorial Cemetery and was basically full in the 1840s. The second two, whose names I had were the Greenwood and the Washington Street Cemeteries were not started till the 1870s and Greenwood was actually Glenwood on Washington Street.

Then I discovered that a second city cemetery was started in the 1840s and was located north of the city on Girard Street. This cemetery was quickly filled with the victims of the several epidemics of that time. Some say there were over 10,000 people in the cemetery called City Cemetery II and was closed in 1904.

All was well, except for the unkempt graves.  In 1904 the city though probably illegally, De-designated the cemetery. In the 1920s the city wanted to build a hospital. Not having a good space, and the second city cemetery was beginning to look bad because it was full and not cared for the way it should have been, they decided to build the hospital over the cemetery. Even though it was opposed by the Daughters of the Confederacy they continued with the construction.  The city elevated the basement above the graves so they would not disturb the graves. A few graves were moved to facilitate the construction. Next the city decided it needed to build a Fire Department Maintenance Facility in 1968.  Again, because there was no one of importance except a few Confederates, the city went ahead with the construction. This time they moved a few graves to the Magnolia Cemetery and basically built right over the cemetery. In a later expansion, they dug up a few bones and they were being carried off as souvenirs until this was stopped and a anthropologist was placed in charge and the graves were dug up and re-interred at another location on the Fire Facility site.

Today the site is only accessible by special  permission according to an article written in December 2006 by Houstonian Tracey. Is Dudley William Jones still buried there, or was he ever? More than likely he was. Without family to protect his grave, it was soon over grown and not cared for.

What kind of city is Houston. Here are the graves of 10,000 people many whom built the city, but were unknown because of their wealth or because of epidemics that wiped out whole families. Dudley William Jones had no family in Houston, so his grave had no one to care for it. None of his soldiers knew he was there or dead until it was written of in Victor Roses’ book on “Fighting With Ross Texas Brigade”. At that time many were getting old, and the hospital, called Jefferson Davis after the President of the Confederacy, was soon built covering many of the graves.

Would some of you Sons of Confederacy in Houston check to see if Dudley Jones grave is still accessible or findable.

One of my friends here in Kerrville tells of his kin who are buried in McKinney. There graves are in a portion of town that is now run down and mostly populated by Black and Hispanic families. He feels that it is an un-safe area for whites, especially those who want to place a Confederate Battle Flag over their grave during Veteran or Confederate Veterans Days. He expresses the sadness of feeling that way.

Who was Dudley William Jones.  He was the son of Henry and Martha (Heron) Jones of Lamar County, Texas. Dudley was birthed in 1840. The year of his birth his family moved to Titus County and the community of Mt Pleasant. Jones was educated by his mother and the few schools of the area. He did attend Maury Institute in Coffeeville before the war.  He was even then noted to be “a great ladies man”. In 1861 he returned to Mt Pleasant and enlisted in the Titus Greys. This company soon went to Tarrent County to join the regiment of Colonel William B. Sims as Company I.

The regiment’s adjutant named Bell, was “accused of Abolitionism and Bigamy, the latter being pretty strongly proven upon him.” He was hauled out by the men and hanged. They soon elected Jones to replace him as adjutant and he was elevated from private to lieutenant.

The regiment fought through the battles in the Indian Territory in late 1861, Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge), Corinth, Hatchie Bridge and the Holly Springs Raid in 1862. Jones had been elected Lieutenant Colonel during the reorganization in May 1862. Sims had been wounded at Elkhorn Tavern. Nathan W. Townes was Sims replacement, but soon resigned and a 22 year old Dudley William Jones was elected to Colonel. His service was always good, but at the battle of Thompson Station in March 1863, it rose to courageous. He was cited by Ross the acting Brigade Commander.

Jones commanded the 9th Texas Cavalry through the battles in the Mississippi campaign against Sherman, the Atlanta Campaign and the Tennessee Campaigns fighting in over 100 days of fighting. He was wounded several times, but returned to be the commander at the surrender in May 1865. At that time he was also the acting commander of the Ross Brigade. He led his regiment home to Titus County. He traveled around the country for a year and returned  to his father’s farm in 1866. He soon learned law and started a practice in Mt Pleasant and was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1866. He was the president of the Texas Club, an organization of former Confederate soldiers. He was a member of the committee that oversaw the removal of the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston from New Orleans and saw to there interment in the Texas Cemetery in Austin.

In 1867 he moved to Houston, where he practiced law and was the editor of a news paper called the Klu Klux Vidette. On August 14, 1869, while eating dinner at a restaurant, he gagged on the food and soon died of a “hemorrhage of the bowels”. During the same time frame there was a bad epidemic and hundreds of people were being buried in the first city cemetery and soon they were being placed in the second city cemetery. Jones was lost in this shuffle.

In Mt Pleasant there is a monument erected in Jones memory on the town square, so I am told and have read. It was dedicated in the early 1900s at one of the Confederate Veteran Reunions. Did they know of the status of Jones grave at the time of the reunion?

This description of Jones life is found at his biography in the Handbook of Texas Civil War History online. The description of his lost grave and the debacle of the City Cemetery II are not there. This is discovery of this author this morning and the result of a couple of years of looking. Again I have not solved the problem. That will not occur until Jones grave is officially known and found.

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