by Christine Jones Dunst
Our earliest known Jones family record begins with Hezekiah Jones of Amherst County (formerly part of Albemarle County), Virginia, shortly before the Revolutionary War. He was possibly the son of Robert Jones III of Northumberland County in the Virginia Tidewater area, because; (1) the time factor is right, (2) Robert Jones III died penniless, so the son might likely immigrate to the new frontier to Albemarle County, Virginia, just northeast of the Bristol, TN/VA area, and only 80 miles or so east of Cumberland Gap, and (3) our Hezekiah named one of his sons Robert. I cannot prove the connection, but in case it's true, our family history begins with Robert Jones, died in 1676, in Northumberland County, who was a large land-owner and prosperous tobacco planter. His son, Robert II, had a son Robert III, whose son was Hezekiah. Robert III, trying to recoup his losses, died on a voyage to the West Indies in 1749. Hezekiah was young then, probably in his twenties.
Our Hezekiah married Mary Ann Sowell about 1754. Since they named their oldest son Thomas (b1755), and a daughter Martha, she was probably a daughter of a large land-owner in Albemarle County, Thomas Sowell and his wife Martha, who also had sons John and William.
Hezekiah and Mary Ann sold some land in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1774. Seven years later (1781), Mary Ann was a widow, when she bought 400 acres of confiscated land in Amherst County (now Nelson County) Virginia for about $1,000. Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia signed the deed. In 1799 Mary Ann sold this land to her sons Thomas and Charles. Thomas later bought out Charles. At his death in 1835, Thomas had 1,176 acres and 26 slaves. His tombstone is in the old Jones graveyard on this property, where his mother Mary Ann is doubtless also buried in one of the many unmarked graves. I visited there in 1942.
The children of Hezekiah and Mary Ann Sowell Jones were: