Friday, November 2, 2012

The Wives of Joseph Jones

A week ago, I was surprised to learn of a third marriage for my third-great-grandfather, Joseph Thomas Jones. This week's viewing of his Civil War pension file unveiled more surprises - a fourth marriage, a divorce, a death date and location for first wife (my third-great-grandmother) Mary Catherine Green Jones, birth dates for the five Jones children, and a curious omission of Joseph's previous Confederate Army service (more on that in a separate post). This post focuses on the four wives of Joseph Thomas Jones.

Wife #1 - Mary Catherine Green
Wife #2 - Amanda L. Cooper Irwin
Wife #3 - Martha Cordelia "Cordie" Hart
Wife #4 - Pearl Cox

I posted a detailed update on Mary Catherine Green yesterday, so I won't repeat the detail, but I will note the dates for her marriage to Joseph ran from 25 February 1856 to her death in Maryville, Blount County on 15 September 1890.

After Mary Catherine passed away, Joseph met a young widower in Blount County, Amanda L. Cooper Irwin (she was 35 years old, with two children from her previous marriage of James Irwin). Joseph and Amanda were married on 18 August 1891. The couple lived in Maryville during this time. Amanda served Joseph with divorce papers on 4 December 1896. Joseph did not contest this, and the divorce was finalized in Chancery Court on 20 April 1897. A copy of the divorce decree is included in Joseph Jones' Civil War file, case is titled Amanda L. Jones v. Joseph Jones (it's a poor photo, I need to go back and make a better scan).
Jones v Jones Divorce Decree

Following the divorce, Amanda was restored to her previous married name, Amanda L. Irwin. She remained in Blount County, Tennessee for several years before moving to Pinellas County, Florida, where she passed away in 1935. As far as I can tell, Amanda never remarried.

After Joseph's divorce from Amanda Irwin was finalized, Joseph moved back to Jefferson County, where he met Martha Cordelia "Cordie" Hart. From the papers, it looks like Joseph and Cordie were married in a ceremony on 27 April 1897, one week after his divorce from Amanda Irwin was final. The marriage was recorded on 1 December 1897. Cordie Hart was born on 17 April 1863, and was the daughter of Floyd Hart and Mary Ann Slayton Hart. Cordie's older sister, Leah Warren Hart, married Joseph's cousin, Thomas W. Thornhill, on 15 November 1893. Thomas appears as a witness in Joseph's Civil War pension file.

Joseph and Cordie lived for a number of years in White Pine, Jefferson County, where they bought property in 1899. Cordie Jones also signed her own name as a witness in Joseph's Civil War pension papers.

Cordie Hart Jones passed away on 28 December 1906. She was 43 years old.

Joseph met his fourth and final wife, Pearl Cox. He was 70 years old, she was barely 19. They were married on 4 July 1907 in Hamblen County. Pearl was born on 1 November 1887, the daughter of Nicholas Nathaniel Cox and Julia Rebecca Noe.
Joseph's pension file is full of meticulous details. He began the pursuit of a pension in 1880, and continued until the pension was finally awarded in 1907. I can only assume this dogged pursuit of the pension was a result of Joseph watching his mother, Elizabeth Thornhill Jones, struggle for a widow's pension and mother's pension from the death of husband Robert Thomas Jones Sr and son Robert Thomas Jones Jr in the Mexican War. It looks like Joseph went through a significant amount of effort to make sure each of his wives was thoroughly documented during their lives. After Mary Catherine had passed, Joseph made sure Cordie Hart Jones, and later, Pearl Cox Jones, were included as witnesses. I feel like he wanted to be certain they would be eligible to receive his pension in the future.

Joseph and Pearl lived together in White Pine for three years.

After Joseph's death on 21 January 1910, Pearl submitted an inquiry for a widow's pension in June 1910. She was 22 at the time. As far as I can tell, they had no children.

Pearl later married Civil War veteran Harvey Bales on 12 April 1911. Bales died on 8 June 1924. Sadly, Pearl's request for a widow's pension for Bales was rejected. In 1929, Pearl married widower William Lafayette Newman, a mail carrier in Jefferson County whose wife Jennie had passed in 1927. They remained together for the rest of their lives. William Newman died in 1953, and Pearl on 26 October 1956 in Jefferson County at the age of 68.

I'm not making any judgments with this information. I don't know the circumstances of Joseph's divorce from Amanda Irwin, he didn't contest it. It certainly looks like he cared for Cordie Hart and Pearl Cox. J. Wesley Cox and Margaret A. Cox testified for Joseph during his lifetime as part of the special appeal which ultimately led to the granting of his pension (I don't know yet their relation to Pearl Cox).

If other descendants of the Green, Irwin, Hart, Cox, Bales or Newman families find this information online, I'd be interested to know if any photos exist, or if there is other information on these four women who were a part of Joseph's life. I share this to provide a thorough account of those who were connected to Joseph, and also so there is an accurate record of the relations in the family. Through these marriages, Joseph was connected to a large group of people in Jefferson, Hamblen and Blount Counties. This may be helpful information to other researchers.

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