name is not as famous as that of his grandfather, Anson
Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas, but Charles
E. Ashe made a name for himself as a lawyer and judge.
From 1900 to 1936, he presided over the 11th District Court in Houston,
and he was a founder and first president of the Lawyers Library
His biggest claim to fame came in the ruling he gave in a Texas
case against Charles Ponzi, accused of financial fraud. Ponzi's
name today is synonymous with such words as swindle and scam.
Born at Cedar Bayou - now part of Baytown
-- in 1866, Ashe was the son of R.G. and Sallie Jones Ashe. R.G.
Ashe served in the Terry
Texas Rangers during the Civil War.
The Jones family moved to Goose
Creek before the Civil War in the wake of a tragedy. Suffering
from severe bouts of depression after Texas became a state, Anson
Jones committed suicide in 1858 at the Capitol Hotel (site of
the future Rice Hotel) on Main Street in Houston.
Survivors included wife Mary and four children, Charles Elliott,
Sam Edward, Cromwell Anson, and Sallie.
Too quickly, Jones had sold their home -- Barrington
at Washington-on-the-Brazos -- for one-fourth of its worth.
His widow and children relocated to Galveston
for a brief time after his death, but they needed financial stability
and emotional support.
Ashbel Smith provided both. A longtime friend who had presented
the eulogy at Jones' funeral, Smith made arrangements for Mary and
the children to move to Goose Creek. (Like Cedar Bayou, Goose Creek
is in present-day Baytown.).
With diligence and determination, Mary Jones established a successful
farm and provided a normal life for her family.
That lady was tough. With little time to dwell on her husband's
demise, she concentrated on running the farm and caring for her
Whatever became of the Jones Four?
After the Civil War, Sam Edward became a successful dentist in Houston.
Sam's middle name had been Houston, but Anson
Jones decided he no longer liked the man or the name. After
he and his former friend, Sam
Houston, had a falling-out, Sam Houston Jones answered to his
new name, Sam Edward Jones.
Jones had named another son after Charles Elliott, the British charge
d'affairs to the Republic of Texas. He had worked with Elliott during
the planning stage of Texas statehood, and they became good friends.
Charles Elliott Jones died in the Civil War. He and his brother,
Sam (middle name Edward, not Houston), along with Sam Houston Jr.
had joined the Bayland Guards, a Confederate unit led by Ashbel
Smith. The Guards drilled at Smith's Evergreen plantation before
marching off to war.
As far as I know, history has not recorded how the Jones boys got
along with Sam's boy in the Bayland Guards - whether the animosity
that had existed between their fathers ever affected them.
Cromwell Anson Jones was too young to serve in the war, but he made
his mark in county politics. He presided over Harris County Commissioners
Court after elected county judge in 1876.
Eventually, Mary Jones left Goose Creek and moved in with Sallie
and her son-in-law, R.G. Ashe, and then to the community of Willis
in Montgomery County. The widow of Texas President Anson
Jones also would become known as the mother of Harris County
Judge Cromwell Jones and the grandmother of District Judge Charles
And as the first president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas,
Mary Jones made a name for herself, too.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
9 , 2016 columns
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