so many other men who came to Texas during
those trying times proceeding war with Mexico, Anson
Jones had a colorful past. At times he was successful but, more
often than not, failure seemed to follow this man who would end up
being the last president of the Republic of Texas.
According to the Handbook of Texas Online, Jones was born in
Massachusetts on January 20, 1798. As a young man he had planned on
becoming a printer but his family persuaded him to become a doctor
and as a result he was licensed to practice medicine in New York in
He made a meager living as a doctor in New York and decided he might
be more successful if he moved out west. However, he only got as far
as Philadelphia before he was arrested for outstanding debts and eventually
ended up staying in that city for a while where he taught school and
In 1833, Jones
drifted to Texas where he met John
A. Wharton who convinced him to move to Brazoria
and open a medical practice. Texas was in great need of doctors
at the time and Jones met with huge success in the little town on
the banks of the Brazos River.
As tensions grew between Texas and
tried hard to promote peace but was finally worn down as Mexico
continued to try the patience of the settlers by imposing more taxes
and passing unfair laws.
When war finally came, Jones enlisted as a private in Robert J.
Calder’s company where he served as surgeon during the Battle
of San Jacinto. After the war, Jones returned to Brazoria
and resumed his medical practice.
When the First Congress of the republic met, Jones became very interested
in politics. He was adamantly against Texas
joining the Union and expressed a desire for it to remain a sovereign
nation. It was his belief that it was much better for Texas
to have a treaty with Mexico, where independence was recognized,
rather than becoming part of the United States. The simple truth
was; Jones wanted Texas to remain a
Jones won a
minor victory in 1838 when President Sam
Houston appointed him minister to the United States and ordered
him to go to Washington and withdraw the annexation proposal. However,
when new President
Mirabeau B. Lamar came into office, Jones was ordered back to
administration, Jones served as a senator where he continued to
slam the president’s policies. He was against everything that Lamar
stood for including the president’s Texan
Santa Fe expedition that turned out to be a disaster.
tenure as president was over, Sam
Houston was once again elected to serve as head of the republic.
It was during this time that Jones also was given back some of the
power that he had lost. Houston
appointed Jones secretary of state giving him the authority to handle
the foreign relations of Texas. He
immediately began to pursue trade agreements with France and England.
reached the highest office in the land when he was elected to the
presidency of Texas in September of
1844. He continued to oppose annexation to the United States but
was overruled by the Texas Congress and the country joined the Union
For some reason, Jones developed a hatred for Sam
Houston after the annexation. Perhaps it was because he believed
he should have been elected senator to the United States – a position
that was eventually won by Houston
and Thomas J. Rusk. History tells us that Jones remained very bitter
over the outcome of that election.
|In later years,
Jones retired to the plantation he called “Barrington,” near Washington-on-the-Brazos
and became a prosperous planter. He is also credited with establishing
the first Masonic lodge in Texas which was located at Brazoria.
In 1853, he was one of the founders of the Medical Association of