Capt. Randall Jones, one of the historic characters of Fort Bend County, was born in Columbia County, Georgia, on the 19th of August 1786. In 1810 he went to Wilkinson County, Mississippi Territory. When the second war with England broke out in 1812 he joined the American army as a private, but such was his energy and gallantry in battle that he received a captain’s commission, which he held until near the close of the war, or, to be more exact, until 1814. During this service he fought the battle with Indians known as the “Canoe Fight.” An extract from a letter from the volunteer army dated “East bank of the Alabama, November the 25th, 1813,” reads thus: “On the 11th inst. Captain Jones, of the twelve months’ volunteers, with a detachment of sixty volunteers and militia, marched from Fort Madison for the Alabama, and .on the 12th fell in with two parties of Creeks, which he entirely routed and killed nine warriors, without sustaining any loss on his part. Captain Jones and his party deserve the greatest praise and honor for the handsome manner in which the enterprise was conducted.” This was but the beginning of the eventful career of Captain Jones.
In the fall of 1814* he came to the Sabine River, and at Gaines’ Ferry met with General Toledo, just after his defeat at the Medina. This was the Mexican revolution against Spain, and after the defeat of Toleda at the Medina River, beyond San Antonio, the remnant of his army fled to the Sabine, and there formed a nucleus for another army, inviting Americans or anyone else who were so disposed to join his standard, and overtures to that effect were made to Captain Jones, but he thought that. Toledo’s army of about 200 Mexicans, Americans and Indians were rather too ragged and motley a set to join, and therefore declined. Instead he turned merchant, and, going to Natchez, bought $600 worth of goods, and spent the winter of 1814 and 1815 trading with the Comanche Indians in Texas, who at that time were on friendly terms with the whites.
In 1816 he established a store in Nacogdoches, and traded with the Indians and Mexicans until 1818. In the spring of this year he visited the pirate Lafitte on Galveston Island, for the purpose of buying some Negroes of him. The pirates were visiting the coast of Africa and loading their ships with the natives and selling them to the planters of Louisiana, and Mississippi. Lafitte’s price generally was one dollar per pound for these naked wild Africans. Captain Jones afterwards said that a more courteous and gentlemely man he never met than this pirate chief, in whom he expected to see a rough, uncouth, sullen being. He spent two days and nights on the island as guest of Lafitte, who saw to his every want and comfort, and deported himself as if he was the landlord of a public house.
In 1819 he joined the forces of General James Long at Nacogdoches, where the General was maintaining an independent government, and was acting as governor and commander of the northern forces of Mexico. Here Captain Jones received the title of “Brigade Major,” and was entrusted with the mission of conveying Mrs. Long from her sister’s, Mrs. B. Calvitt, on Red River, to her husband, at Nacogdoches, which in due time was accomplished, the entire distance being made on horseback. To give an idea how little was known about the topography of the country at that time, Captain Jones was sent by General Long with a. party of twenty-one men to go to Galveston, at the mouth of the Brazos! They struck the Brazos River at the mouth of the Navasota, and there encamped for the purpose of making skiffs in which to complete the journey, but were soon attacked by a Spanish force under Colonel Perez and driven into the woods with nothing to subsist upon. They made their way, however, to a village of friendly Indians on the Trinity, where they obtained provisions, and then went on into Louisiana, as by this time all of the forces of General Long had been defeated and scattered by Colonel Perez.
Captain Randall Jones and his brother James returned to Texas as colonists of Austin, and on the way rescued Mrs. Long at Bolivar Point, as has been stated elsewhere, and conveyed her to San Antonio, and then returned to the colony and settled in Fort Bend County. In 1823 Randall Jones returned to Louisiana and traded Negroes for sixty head of cattle, and conveyed them without loss to his new home on the Brazos. This was the first large shipment of stock brought to Fort Bend County. Before this the Mortons had conveyed some milch cows to the colony.
Captain Jones was a very active man in Austin’s colony, and in 1824, when the Craunkaway Indians began to attack some of the colonists lower down the country, in what is now Brazoria County, General Austin sent Captain Jones down there in September with twenty-three men, to chastise them. Of this force of colonists was the husband of Nancy Spencer. The captain dropped down the river in canoes from Fort Bend, and sent out scouts to locate the Indians. Two of the scouts were ordered to proceed to Bailey’s store, where it was reported that a dozen Indians had gone to capture the place and get ammunition, or, as some say, to purchase the ammunition, but this is hardly likely, under the circumstances. When the scouts arrived at the store they found a number of the colonists assembled, more or less excited on account of the recent conduct of the Indians in making an attack upon some of the settlers. The Indians came to the store, but were attacked by the whites, a few of them killed, and the balance driven off. The scouts of Captain Jones and some of the men at the store, one of the Baileys being of the number, then hastily went in search of the Captain and informed him of the situation, and he learning from other scouts that the Indians were encamped about seven miles distant, on the west bank of a sluggish stream since called Jones Creek, he made a night march and attacked them at daylight. These Indians were powerful, athletic fellows, very dexterous and accurate with the bow, each warrior carrying one his own length and placing one end of the bow on the ground when shooting. They were hid in the tall marsh grass when Captain Jones and his men made the attack, and having greatly superior numbers, boldly met the charge, and after a desperate fight of only a few minutes’ duration the settlers were forced to retreat, after having emptied their guns and pistols. The Indians lost fifteen warriors and Captain Jones had three of his men killed-Spencer, Bailey and Singer-and three wounded. The Captain also had a narrow escape, having an arrow shot through his cap, which knocked it from his head. The Indians, however, left this part of the country after the fight, and went over on the Colorado and killed some settlers there, but were finally defeated by Captain Jesse Burnham, in which fight they lost nine, and later in another battle they lost twenty warriors, and they ceased to molest the settlers on the Brazos and Colorado.
On the 12th of October 1824 Captain Jones married Miss Polly Andrews, and their first child was named Wiley Martin.
In 1835, when hostilities commenced with Mexico, a consultation was held at San Felipe, composed of members from the different districts, to consult as to ways and means to meet the emergency, and the members from Fort Bend were Wiley Martin, Thomas Barnett and Randall Jones.
The Randall Jones league of land is on Jones Creek, on the east side of the Brazos River, two miles above Richmond. His labor was located on the west side of the river, in the bend, where he settled, and where Deaf Smith drew his last breath, in 1837.
Captain Randall Jones had nine children. The eldest, Wiley Martin, went to California in 1849, and died there. James Austin married Allie Vasney; Martha married Robert Beale; Eliza M. married Hon. Gustav Cook; Miss Pamelia Ann never married, and lives in Houston with her sister, Mrs. Sallie Chambers Bruckmuller. Sudie E. married A. B. Ernest, who was killed at the battle of Shiloh. Sam. Houston died in the infirmary at Houston. During the civil war he belonged to the 8th Texas Terry Rangers, and was in prison at Fort Delaware nineteen months. James Miller married Fanny Haley; she died, and his second wife was Miss M. L. Mosley, a native of Alabama, but reared in Richmond. James M., now 58 years of age, lives in Richmond.
Captain Jones lived to a good old age, and died in Houston in 1873, at the house of his son-in-law, Hon. Gustav Cook. Several years before his death he was entirely blind.