Jones, Oliver (1794–1866)

By: Carolyn Hyman

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 11, 2020

Oliver Jones, Texas pioneer, Indian fighter, and public official, was born in New York City in 1794. He served in the War of 1812 and was taken prisoner by the British. He became so disturbed by the failure of the United States to secure release for himself and his fellow prisoners of war that after the conflict he resolved to live no longer under such a government. He made his way to Mexico City, where he met Stephen F. Austin and was persuaded to travel with him to Texas in 1822. As one of Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, Jones received title on August 10, 1824, to a league of land on Cedar Lake Creek in what is now western Brazoria County and a labor on the west bank of the Brazos River in land now part of eastern Austin County. The census of March 1826 classified Jones as a farmer and stock raiser with six servants. In 1829, as a captain in the colony's militia, Jones led a company of fifty volunteers on an expedition against Waco and Tawakoni Indians from the Brazos River to the Colorado and then to the mouth of the San Saba. From 1829 to 1830 he served as alguacil, or sheriff, of Austin's colony. By 1833 he had become a client of William B. Travis at San Felipe de Austin. As a delegate to the Convention of 1833, he advocated a separate state government for Texas within the Mexican confederation. As a representative of Texas in the legislature of Coahuila and Texas in 1834, Jones, with his colleague José Antonio Vásquez and Supreme Court judge Thomas J. Chambers, issued a public appeal for a convention at Bexar to consider the establishment of a more satisfactory government for Texas. After the Texas Revolution Jones represented Austin County in the House of the Second Congress of the republic (1837–38), and in the Senate of the Third (1838), Fourth (1839–40), Sixth (1841–42), and Seventh (1842–43) congresses. He was chairman of the committee appointed to produce a flag and seal for the republic (see FLAGS OF TEXAS, and SEALS OF TEXAS) and also served as a delegate to the annexation convention in 1845. While attending Congress in Austin in 1840, Jones became acquainted with Mrs. Rebecca Greenleaf Westover McIntyre, whom he soon married. After annexation the couple established residence at Burleigh, a plantation on the Brazos River a few miles from Bellville, where Jones became a successful cotton planter. There Anson Jones, a political ally who referred to Oliver Jones as his adopted cousin, was a frequent guest. Jones resided at Burleigh until 1859, when he purchased a home in Galveston; he remained in the Houston vicinity for most of the rest of his life. He died in Houston at the residence of Mrs. Sarah Merriweather on September 17, 1866, and was buried in the city's Episcopal and Masonic Cemetery beside his wife, who had died on Christmas Eve the previous year. The bodies of both Rebecca and Oliver Jones were reinterred in the State Cemetery at Austin in 1930.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). J. H. Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6–7 (January, April, July 1903). Adele B. Looscan, "Sketch of the Life of Oliver Jones, and of His Wife, Rebecca Jones," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 10 (October 1906). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970). E. W. Winkler, ed., Secret Journals of the Senate, Republic of Texas (Austin, 1911).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

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

Carolyn Hyman, “Jones, Oliver,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 11, 2020

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