JERU JONES

Rose Davidson in Heart O' Texas News
30 April, 1931

   Just beyond the foot of the Mercury Hill lies the Teague Farm.  This country now reminds one of a great blue bowl with blue bonnets growing along the rim, deep blues and lighter ones blending together for miles.  Here I found Jehu Jones, so named for one of the kings of Sharon, who lived in ancient times.  Mr. Jones' father migrated to Texas in pioneer days in order to benefit the health of his delicate wife.  The family came from arkansas.  The elder Mr. Jones was a ranger before the Civil War.  Jehu Jones followed in his father's footsteps, joining the Minute Men of Lieutenant Ledbetter of San Saba.  He was in Brady when the city was organized.  Only mesquite graced the present site of the town in early days.  Mr. Jones says the town of Mercury is now twenty-eight years old and in the early (1873 and '74) moccasin tracks could be found every morning around the homes in that vicinity-most especially after the light of each moon.  He spent years fighting the Indians in this unsettled country.  Most of the fights were just skirmishes...
    Mr. Jones' father killed a chief at Deep Creek close to the Standfier Lee place.  This chief must have weighed at least two hundred pounds, and the two men fought to kill, being closely ambushed.  It had to be one or the other.  The chief took refuge in the underbrush after having one or two horses shot from under him.  This Comanche used some English and giving his war whoop reached for his quiver.  Mr. Jones dodged, then fell on his face as the arrows (three of them in quick succession) struck the ground behind him.  Then Mr. Jones rose on his knees, shooting the fatal shot with a muzzle loading rifle of the old type, so close was he to the Indians that the powder from the gun went to the Indian's breast.
    Mr. Jones says he has had many Indian trophies, bows, arrows, scalps, but never has possessed an Indian quiver.  The scalps were of long hair (about to the waist line) cut square like the present day bangs, far into the temple the course black hair was tangled and absolutely filthy, so that it was impossible to imagine it having belonged to a human being.  One of the greatest handicaps of pioneer days in fighting Indians was the fact that the guns furnished the "Minute Men" by the government were not long range, so consequently the redskins were smart enough to stay just beyond the reach of this old fashioned gun.  Often the men would travel all day with Indians just in sight but were unable to reach them.  Bands of Indians could always ge found from Richland Springs to the Chadwin Mountains.  Most of the traveling in the early days was done after night fall on account of the Comanches.  Many times as Mr. Jones rode through the county he would reach Judge Beasley's place, sometimes as late as ten o'clock in the evening.  The family would usually have retired but Mrs. Beasley would always arise and prepare a meal for the passers by.
    The Indians roved the county near Mercury until 1876-that being the account of the last raid made by them along the Colorado.  Mr. Jones lived in a log house and often his mother would stand in the cabin door to watch the Indians cross the nearby stream and then disappear in the valley.  On one occasion neighbors joined Mr. Jones in chase but the trail ended at the old Buffalo camp on the Concho River.  Mr. Jones says he imagined they would have gotten a "glorious good whipping" by the redskins if they had overtaken them as there were only six or eight neighbors on this party.  There were some Apaches in the county but they, generally speaking, roved more to the south of the county.  There were times when the Comanches and apaches were on terms and then there were times when they were at war with each other.   In describing an Indian shield Mr. Jones says they were things of great beauty, the shape was in the fashion of a disc, eight covers of buckskin they had, each more fantastic than the other (the painting represented different Indian legends).  The outside layer was of dressed deer hide so strong that it could turn the white man's bullets, and the shield operated by a string tied around the neck line.  This string would give so the owner could shift the shield to almost any place on his body for protection against his enemy.  Next to the body the shield had a variety of colored plumes, small and intricate, used as decorations.
    Two neighbors of Jehu Jones-Jim Ketchem and Tom Darnell-were murdered by the same tribe who stole Herman Lehmann.  These men, together with two others, were traveling through the county with pack horses laden with Mexican gold and silver.  also they had a lot of paper money along, money they had gotten for some cattle sold at Silver City, New Mexico.  The Indians destroyed the paper money thinking it worthless.  Herman Lehmann give an account of this incident in his Nine Years Among the Indians.
    Mr. Jones says the first man murdered by Indians in McCulloch County was a civilized Indian named Gohen-a fine brave man who never harmed anyone.  He had gone with a party to catch mustang ponies.  The party had had a hard ride and encountered a rain storm so they rode upon a hilltop to dry their clothing, blankets and boots, when the Indians surprised them, killing the men as they lay in their rudely constructed beds.  Mr. Jones helped to bury Cohen in a shallow grave in this county, near Salt Gap.
    Mr. Jones tells me he has one hundred and four descendants.  That is, the last account he had of them there were one hundred and four.
    His father used tobacco for 84 years.  (This is a terrific blow to the anti-tobacco leaders.)  Mr. Jones' father acquired the habit when he was seven years old as a treatment for snake bite.  In olden times this was prescribed by the best of doctors.  The father lived to be 91 years old.  Mr. Jones himself has smoked a pipe for sixty years and enjoys a good smoke even now.  Life has been very hard for Jehu Jones.  His wife died and he has been both mother and father to his five little girls.
    For eighteen years he cared for them in the mot tender fashion, taking them to the fields with him when he worked his land, mothering them when evening came.  Only those who have tried to be both mother and father to a child can understand.  Now they are grown and have homes of their own.  He has never been successful in securing his pension from the government for service as an Indian fighter.  This has been a disappointment to him in his old age.  He has lived through privations, has seen some ugly sights, but is still bright and cheerful in his home at the Teague Farm.  When in Brownwood once he spent a great deal of time dodging a reporter; finally he had to surrender and give the man an interview.  Later an old trail driver friend of his in Hot Springs, New Mexico, wrote to him telling him how much he had enjoyed reading his account of the old times and congratulating him on his courage as to the truthfulness of the account written in the Brownwood paper.  It's a fine thing that Mr. Jones didn't try to dodge a lady reporter 'cause they are the type that knock loud and long on the front door and then peep in the windows at the back.  A man just naturally can't escape a woman anyway.  Look at the ones who have tried, matrimonially and otherwise.

Rose Davidson in Heart O' Texas News
30 April, 1931
Submitted by: Louann Hall