Jones, Enoch (1802–1863)

By: S. W. Pease and Art Martínez de Vara

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 30, 2010

Enoch Jones, land speculator, son of Thomas Griffith and Susan (Jones) Jones, was born in 1802 in New Jersey. While a young man, he contracted to construct locks for the western division of the Pennsylvania Canal; in 1832, as an engineer with the same company, he constructed the dam at Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In Detroit he began a store and engaged in the manufacturing of lumber. He immigrated to Texas sometime before 1837 and in partnership with noted Texas revolutionary veteran John William Smith was an avid supporter of the issuance of land script by the Republic of Texas as a means of paying national debts. Once this policy was adopted by the Republic, Jones and Smith began speculating in land script, which they acquired for cash, and eventually controlled as much as 175,000 acres. Jones returned to Detroit and subsequently moved to St. Louis and started an extensive wholesale business, while Smith continued to speculate in Texas land.

Smith died in 1845, and Jones returned to Texas in February 1846, settled in San Antonio, and opened a large mercantile store on Main Plaza. He also sold horses and property and was an incorporator and director of the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railway. Jones opposed secession and closed his mercantile store in 1861 fearing a decline in business due to his political opposition to the Confederacy. Jones retired to his “Castle on the Medina,” a large mansion that he built around 1856. The massive limestone Pennsylvania-style home overlooked the south bank of the Medina River and was reported to be the first house in Texas to have indoor plumbing. Jones first married Sophronia Hoyt of Cleveland, Ohio, and they had a son. Jones’s second marriage was to Olive Ann (Selrig) Webb, a widow with two children; they had up to five children together. Jones’s third wife was Charlotte Thompkins of Stillwater, New York; they had four children. Jones died on August 7, 1863, and was buried in City Cemetery No. 1 in San Antonio. Following his death, Charlotte Jones raised her family in the castle and eventually sold it to Count Norbert von Ormay in 1885. See also VON ORMY, TEXAS.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Constance Jones, “Enoch Jones, Texan,” paper presented to the San Antonio Historical Association, January 17, 1992. San Antonio Express, July 19, 1931. Telegraph and Texas Register, February 24, 1838. Texas State Gazette, September 28, 1850, March 1, 1851, October 23, 1852. Vertical Files, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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

S. W. Pease and Art Martínez de Vara, “Jones, Enoch,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2010