Col. James G. Jones Biography Page


Father: James W. Jones
Mother: Elizabeth Trimble
Date and Place of Birth: 7/3/1814.  Paris, Kentucky. 
Spouse: Rosa Ann Rappelye (b. 1819 - d. 3/4/1899).
Children: Mary E. (b. 1839), Julia E. (b. 1841), Alice C. (b. 1844), James (b. 1847), Seymour (b. 1849), Maurice (b. 1852), Percy Vivian (b. 1857), Ora (b. 1859).
Date and Place of Death:  April 5, 1872.  Evansville, Indiana (Vanderburgh County).
Place of Burial: Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana (Vanderburgh County).  Section 13, Lot 34, Burial No. 5298.

See also: Colonel James Garrard Jones Grave Marker Ceremony Newspaper Article Page, Col. Jones Grave Marker Dedication Page, The Letters of Col. James G. Jones, The Sword of Col. James G. Jones

Military History: Commissioned as Colonel of 42nd at time of regiment organization.  Mustered out 11/5/1864.  See details below.
Submitter of Information: Mary-Frances Jones, Susan Ponstein.


Photo Courtesy of  Susan Ponstein


Military History
Source:  NARA Military Records

Death of Judge Jones

Source:  Evansville Courier, Evansville, Indiana. April 8, 1872


James G. Jones, late Judge of the Circuit Court of this District, died at his residence, on Fulton Avenue, on Friday night at half-past eleven o'clock.  For many months Judge Jones had been in failing health, and since his retirement from the bench he seldom left his home.  During the past week he drove into town several times, and it was remarked by his friends that he looked much improved.  On Friday night he became much weaker, and about eleven o'clock he raised up in bed, took some medicine, and as he laid back upon his pillow he ceased to breathe.

Judge Jones was born in Paris, Kentucky, on the 3rd of July, 1814, and his father removed to Evansville in 1819, and settled in what is now known as the Hull property, just beyond the eastern city limits, but subsequently removed to Union Township, where the subject of this sketch grew to manhood.

His early education was very limited, and after he arrived at man's Estate he began the system of self education that finally placed him in the front rank as a man of profound learning.  When he was called to the bar, he met and contended successfully with the master minds of that day - very few of whom survive - and labored to give Evansville the prominence which she has since attained, not only by his efforts at the bar, but by encouraging or participating in every laudable enterprise that promised to develop the resources of the city and the surrounding country.  It was not only as a lawyer, that Mr. Jones was known, as a man of learning for acquirements were varied as well as profound.  Mr. Whittlesey, of the Courier, who is one of the early residents here, says of him.

Among the first positions which Colonel Jones held as a public officer was that of Deputy Recorder of Vanderburgh County, and in that capacity it was his fortune to have made the county records upon which most of the titles to the real estate in this county depend.  He transcribed from the records of the Land Office, at Vincennes, all the field notes of the government surveys within this county, and the early books of deeds and mortgages, as well as those field notes, are in his handwriting.  He was a fine business penman, and his ability in that respect has prevented much complication of old titles, and has materially aided every Surveyor who has done business in our county.

In addition to being a fine lawyer, James G. Jones was a good practical surveyor.  The land marks, which are the recognized guides for the surveys of Evansville, including all of Lamasco, were fixed by him, aided by William M. Walker and William Whittlesey.  His memory of localities was so perfect that he was able to state with accuracy all the particular points fixed as guides for work twenty years after those points had been made.  We have often seen his recollection in this respect tested, and never knew him to fail in a single instance.

During his long residence in Evansville, he occupied many offices of trust, among which were Trustee and Attorney under the town corporation, and, having taken a prominent part in urging the formation of a city government, he was elected the first Mayor in 1847, under the city charter, which was drafted by him, and granted by the Legislature mainly through his efforts.  He held the position of Mayor for six years, being elected to his last term in 1850.

In 1860 Mr. Jones was elected Attorney General of Indiana over Hon. Oscar B. Hord, and served in that capacity until September, 1861, when he was appointed Colonel of the Forty-Second Regiment of Infantry, and served with his regiment until his health gave way, when he came home on detached service.  At the close of the war, he resumed the practice of law, and in 1869 was appointed by Governor Baker Judge of this Circuit, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge Parrett.  Judge Jones never fully regained his health, and, during the later portion of his occupation of the bench, he had, on several occasions, to call on some member of the bar to preside in his stead.  He was almost universally liked by the bar.  His knowledge of the law was so thorough, his memory so remarkably accurate, and his decisions so correct, that his opinions were always very highly valued.

In a case before the Circuit Court since he retired from the bench, he was on one occasion a witness and also one of the attorneys.  He testified concerning the title of the property now occupied by Dr. Muhlhausen's residence, and surprised the whole Court by the extent and accuracy of his memory of the various owners ' and occupants thereof.  Later in the case the records were introduced, and Judge Jones objected to their admission as evidence.  He had, up to that time, not taken much active part in the case, and his objection was a source of surprise to his associates, as well as the others.  In arguing the question of admissibility, he showed them to be informal and incorrect, and succeeded in having them rejected, his remarkable memory being his reliance.

In medical jurisprudence he was especially well versed, and in a case before the Criminal Court about two years ago, where he presided by a change of judges, he displayed this knowledge to a remarkable degree by his questions to the witnesses when the attorneys had exhausted their knowledge.

Judge Jones possessed as strong poetic temperament, and in his leisure moments he has written many pieces that are said to possess high poetic merit.  But a few days since he promised the writer to jot down some of his early recollections of Evansville and vicinity for publication in the Journal, saying that his health was so much improved that he hoped to be able to do so in a few days.  It was because he appeared so much improved in health during the few days prior to his death that the announcement on Saturday morning caused so much surprise.

Judge Jones was married in 1838, to Rose Ann Rappelye, daughter of a well known citizen of that day, and the union was blessed with eight children, six of whom survive.  Of these, the eldest daughter is the wife of Major Blythe Hines, the second, is the wife of Mr. Chas.  H. Wentz, formerly of this city, but now a resident of Missouri, and the third, the wife of E. G. Van Riper, Esq., now resident of Liverpool, England.  His other children are Morris now employed by the post office, in this city, Percy, a lad, and an unmarried daughter.

In his intercourse with his fellow-man, he was genial and pleasant in his manners, and very entertaining in conversation.  He was a man of kind heart, as many young members of the bar bear testimony.  Although at one time possessed of considerable property, and always, until his strength failed, very enterprising, he was never grasping, and his possessions at the time of his death were very limited.

It was the intention of the family to have kept him until Tuesday when Mrs. Wentz was expected to arrive from Missouri, but the warm weather of Saturday rendered this impossible and he was buried yesterday.  A long procession of carriages attending his funeral to Oak Hill Cemetery.  The funeral services were performed by Rev.  W. H. Van Antwerp, of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  Messrs.  Parrett, Garvin, Reavis, Shackelford, Butterfield and Wood, of the Evansville Bar, acting as pall bearers.

At a meeting of the Evansville bar, held on Saturday, at which Hon. John Law presided, and Mr. Chas.  H. Mann acted as secretary, it was resolved to attend the funeral of Judge Jones in a body.

Messrs. Shackleford, Dyer, Warreh, Dennis and Maier, were appointed a committee to draft appropriate resolutions, and at a meeting to be held on the first day of the next term of the Circuit Court, at two o'clock.

Biography of Colonel James G. Jones

 Source: Evansville and Its Men of Mark, Published 1873. pp 44-45.


No work on Evansville would be complete without mention of Col. JAS. G. JONES.  He grew up with the city and was ever identified with its interests.  One of the earliest settlers in this section, his personal reminiscences went back to the time when Evansville was a mere village, and the surrounding country a wilderness.

Col. Jones was born at Paris, Kentucky, July 3d, 1814.  He came, with his parents, to Vanderburgh County in 1819, and settled in Union Township.  His youthful education consisted in the sports and labor of pioneer life-proficient in the use of gun and oar-able to read and write-he even then gave promise of the larger fame and fortune which he was destined to experience.

It is only owing to his indomitable pluck and the aid of a hickory fire that his mind became familiar with the abstruse sciences of mathematics, which he diligently studied in his father's cabin.  By dint of hard work he became a lawyer, and was recognized as among the most brilliant of the State.  His logical mind made his services as a counselor invaluable, and ranked him above the eloquent advocate, for he came out from all legal encounters with victory on his side, where it was possible of attainment.  One of his first public positions was that of County Recorder, and he has made the county records upon which most of the titles to the real estate depend.  He was also, a good surveyor, and his work in this capacity is the recognized guide for the present surreys of the city.

In 1840, he was Attorney of the city under the corporation; also, a town trustee.  In the latter capacity he drew, in his own beautiful chirography, the draft of the city charter, under which the city government was formed.  His efforts secured the many special privileges which Evansville to-day enjoys, and which were put into practical operation in 1847.  He was the first Mayor of the city, receiving a salary of five hundred dollars; and in 1850 he was reelected to a second term.  His election involved the Temperance question, or that of "license" and "no license," and his majority as the license candidate, against Conrad Baker, his no-license competitor, was sixty-three votes.  In 1853, he was defeated for this office, on local issues, by Hon. Jno. S. Hopkins; and in 1856, by the late John Henson, on political questions-Col. Jones being the Republican nominee.  He was afterward twice defeated for the City Council.

In 1860, Col. Jones was elected by the Republican party for the office of Attorney-General of Indiana, an office which he gave up in 1861, to accept the colonelcy of the Forty-second Regiment, Indiana Volunteers.  His patriotism was manifested by distinguished services in the cause of the Union.  Sickness, from which he never really recovered, took him from the field of battle; but he was, without doubt, of as great service to the country as Provost Marshal General of the State, and subsequently as the head of the recruiting bureau.

At the close of the war he resumed his practice of the law, but his tremendous labors in the army had told on his constitution; and in 1869 he held his last official position, by appointment of Governor Baker, as Judge Of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, caused by the resignation of Hon. Wm. F. Parrett.

In February, 1838, he was married to Miss Rose Ann Rappelye, the daughter of one of our oldest citizens; and four sons and four daughters were born to them.

Colonel Jones died April 5th, 1872, and his loss was deeply mourned.  His genial temperament rendered him a good companion and a deservedly popular man in all circles.  His gifts of heart and mind held all in his friendship and bound them still closer to him.  The loving husband and kind father-there is also, the broad circle of the community which recognized his worth; the State which honored him in its trying moments; and the loving recollections in which his memory is enshrined.

Death of Col. James G. Jones

by S.F. Horrall, late Captain of Co. G, 42nd IVI

Source: Washington Gazette, Washington, IN, Sat., Apr. 13, 1872, v. 7, no. 6, p. 2, c. 3.

Death of Colonel James G. JONES -- It is with a feeling of profound sorrow that we announce the death of Col. James G. JONES, late of Evansville, which lamentable event took place at his residence in that city on Tuesday night of last week. Col. JONES was one of the oldest citizens of Evansville, and more thoroughly identified with that city than any man now living there. Our first intimate acquaintance with the deceased was in Sep. 1861, when with the members of Company G, we joined the 42nd IN Volunteer Regiment. At that time or before he organized the regiment, he was Attorney General for the State, which position he resigned to accept the commission of Colonel of the regiment. Feeling that he had a high duty to perform Col. JONES, though then advanced in years, entered the active service of his government and to his untiring energy and devotion to the welfare of his men mainly is due the valuable service the 42nd rendered the government afterward. At the battle of Perryville, on the 8th of October 1862, Col. JONES displayed his valor and though it was the first time the whole regiment was under fire, he commanded the troops admirably and proved himself as true and brave as he was kind-hearted to his men. At that battle the regiment was most unfortunate. Out of about five hundred men then in the ranks, near two hundred and fifty were killed and wounded. The writer of this article commanded Company G on that day and out of fifty-six men twenty-two fell, killed and wounded. We speak thus in detail for the purpose of paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased. After this fight, which for the numbers engaged was as bloody a one as the regiment engaged in. (and if our memory serves us right, the number of battles and skirmishes was forty-two.) Col. JONES, as far as he was able that night, visited at the hospitals in person the soldiers of his regiment who were wounded and spoke words of cheer to them. This is the only engagement Col. JONES was ever in. While at Nashville he was attacked with disease that came near proving fatal but he partially regained his health and remained a Colonel in the army on detached service until the close of the war. It has been said and that truly, that the army is the place to try a man's friendship his kind-heartedness and his faithfulness to friends. Those of his old companions in arms, who knew COL. JONES best, loved him most. Thus, another of the ardent friends of our government in the darkest hours of the rebellion has passed from earth. Many of the members of his old regiment, who reside within the limit of the circulation of the Gazette, will read this with heartfelt sorrow. A true patriot and a good man is gone.


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