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Jones, Charles Adam (1861–1934)

Clifford B. Jones Biography Entry

Charles Adam Jones, rancher, town founder, and businessman, the son of Benjamin Franklin and Mary (Nesbitt) Jones, was born at Rome, Georgia, on April 21, 1861. When he was ten, the family moved to Kansas City, where he received his education. He afterward went west to southeastern Colorado, where he worked as a cowboy until 1878. From 1880 to 1886 Jones owned and published the Dolores News, a weekly newspaper at Rico, Colorado. On January 8, 1884, he married Virginia Bartlett; they had two sons. He returned to Kansas City in 1886 and helped his father manage the National Water Works Company until the plant was taken over by the city in 1895. At the request of Kirkland B. Armour, Jones next worked for the Armour Packing Company, of which he was general purchasing agent. He resigned in 1907 to manage the Spur Ranch in northwest Texas for S. M. Swenson and Sons of New York. He became president of the Spur National Bank, which he organized in 1910, and was responsible for commercial development in the area-for locating and constructing Spur, Girard, and other townsites, building a railroad into the ranch's agricultural lands, establishing schools and churches, and encouraging the mercantile business necessary for growth in the territory. In 1913 Jones moved to the mouth of the Brazos, where he built the town of Freeport under the auspices of the Freeport Townsite Company and supervised construction of the Freeport Sulphur Company for the Swensons and their associates. He oversaw dredging operations and the construction of steam equipment, loading docks, industrial railroad facilities, pipelines, an asphalt plant, and a gasoline extraction plant. He also supervised the development of oil properties in Mexico that required the operation of a fleet of tankers to transport the oil to Freeport.

He moved to New York City as vice president of the Freeport Sulphur Company in 1920 and remained there until his resignation in 1927, when he moved to Los Angeles, California. There he wrote his memoirs, a portion of which was reportedly published. He subsequently moved back to Texas and published two articles in the Atlantic Monthly: "On the Last Frontier" (June 1934) and "Pink Higgins, the Good Bad Man" (July 1934). Jones and his wife lived at Spur, Texas, until his death, on November 25, 1934. He was buried in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Charles Adam Jones, Freeport, Texas). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Clifford B. Jones, “Jones, Charles Adam,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 15, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.