J. D. “Bob” & Almeady Jones
J. D. “Bob” Jones (1850-1936) was born into slavery and brought to Texas by his white father. After the Civil War, to earn money for land and cattle, Bob worked on trail drives. Almeady Chisum Jones (1857-1949) was born into slavery and raised on the Denton County, Texas, ranch of cattle baron John Simpson Chisum. Her mother told her Chisum was her father.
Bob and Almeady, who married in 1875, built a prosperous ranch along the Denton-Tarrant County line. They raised 10 children, making sure each went through the eighth grade.
The pair contributed to racial harmony and community spirit. In the late 1800s, they started what became a tradition: an end-of-harvest picnic for ranch hands and neighbors, Black and white.
When Bob died in 1936, 500 people, Black and white, attended his funeral. Mrs. Will Lake, the daughter of his friend Bud Daggett, wrote a tribute titled “Bob Jones Pioneer Texan”: “My father and Bob Jones used to ride together – trail driver mates they were. … The world has all too few men of the caliber of Bob Jones.”
Almeady, who faced life with courage and good will, died in 1949.
In 1948, when their land was being taken for Lake Grapevine, sons Jinks and Emory opened Grapevine Live Stock Auction Barn on FM 114 and White’s Chapel Road. Their wives ran the adjoining Jones Bros. Cafe, possibly the first integrated cafe in Texas. The brothers continued the popular community picnics next to their auction barn.
The Jones name lives on. Today in Southlake there is a Bob Jones Park, Bob Jones Road and Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve.
Bob and Almeady portrayed the most positive characteristics of Western behavior: honesty, hospitality and respect. They showed how life could be meaningful and productive despite the challenges of a mixed-race heritage.
In 2021, Bob and Almeady's story received the Texas Historical Commission's prestigious Award of Excellence in Preserving History. See more at southlakehistory.org.