Rodham Tullos “Baldy” Jones Submitted by: Donald Lee Jones
Rodham Tulloss Jones, when he was approximately 23 years of age, left Cherokee County, Georgia, for Texas in 1848 with his parents and other family members. IN preparation for the trip, his father, Benjamin Jones, bought some horses that, unknowing to him, had an outstanding mortgage against them. The family had been on the road for several days when three men overtook them and demanded that the horses be turned over to them. Benjamin Jones refused and this caused a fight to break out amongst the men, during which Benjamin Jones was struck on the head by a rifle butt that subdued him. The men threatening more violence took possession of the horses and rode off, leaving the family to bandage up Benjamin. The loss of the horses caused a delay in the trip until such time that more horses could be obtained. The family was forced to spend money from their savings that they needed as they still had a long way yet to go. After purchasing some new horses, with clear titles, the trip continued overland to Vicksburg, Mississippi. At Vicksburg, they sold the horses and bought tickets on a steamship to the big city of New Orleans. The journey on the steamship was an exciting experience for the children as well as the adults having been warned ahead of time to watch out for pickpockets and thieves who preyed on travelers. New Orleans was a busy port with travelers form far away places crowded around the docks. Some were conducting business while others were seeing relatives off or welcoming new arrivals with offers of lodging or transportation into the city. The women went shopping just a little way from the docks in order to get some needed supplies for themselves and the children. Benjamin, being careful of his money, sought out the steamship terminal office while the older children stayed with the possessions and watched the little ones. From New Orleans, Benjamin bought passage for a steamship traveling to Freeport, Texas. From here the family would begin the last leg of their trip overland through Texas. Again horses and supplies were bought for the journey to move the family northward to their new home. He and his family settled in Smith County, Texas, where they built a home and business until 1871. With Indian land allotments being given to qualified Indians in Oklahoma, the Jones family moved to Boggy Depot. The following remarks were made by Perry Washington Jones during an interview conducted by John F. Daughtgery, a W.P.A field worker on June 22, 1937: “My father was Rodham Jones, born in Georgia, July 25, 1825. He made shoes for the soldiers in Texas during the Civil War. My mother was Loriane (sic) Buckholt, born June 27, 1842 in Georgia. There were twelve children in our family. (Note: Laraine should be spelled Lurena. The other is Georgia, which should be Alabama.) I was born in Tyler, Texas on January 9, 1867 and moved with my parents from Texas to Boggy Depot in the Choctaw Nation, north of Durant in 1871. Father built a box house, hauling the lumber from Stringtown. He covered this house with three-foot boards and built a rock chimney. Mother cooked on the fireplace with a skittle and lid. We had sheep, which Mother sheared each spring for wool form, which our socks were knitted. We couldn’t buy socks at the time. I have knitted many a pair. It was my joy to pull burrs out of the wool so that it could be washed, carded and spun into yarn. We lived on the freight road from Denison, Texas and Fort Smith, Arkansas to Fort Sill. Most of the freighting for the western part of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations was done from Denison. I went to school at Boggy Depot in a small log house with shutters for windows. We had split log seats with no backs and we had to hold our books on our knees. Our mail came on a stage from Atoka every other day.” Soon after their arrival in the Choctaw Nation, Rodham Jones bought lumber at the sawmill in Stringtown and built a two-story house near the Butterfield Stage Road. This was about one and one half miles directly east of Ego, now Coleman, in Blue County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, now Atoka County. The home was of the type that was common and popular in his native Georgia at the time. He also set out a large orchard and vineyard that became famous throughout the surrounding area. Shortly before 1902, Rodham Jones and family left their home place and moved into the town of Wapanucka where he died on October 19, 1902. Lurena Elizabeth (Buckholt) Jones, his widow, remained in Wapanucka for a few years before moving to Wynnewood, Oklahoma where she passed away on March 15, 1923.