Jones, Dr. Isaac Newton (1797 - 1858)


Dr. Isaac Newton Jones was born in 1797, in Granville County, North Carolina. He completed his education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. He spent the first few years of his medical career in North Carolina, before moving to Philadelphia, PA.

At age 24, Dr. Isaac Newton Jones married Miss Eliza Booth at Oxford, North Carolina. Booth died in 1824. In 1828, Isaac Newton Jones married Elizabeth Littlejohn at Oxford. They moved from North Carolina to Bowie County, Texas. Two years later, Jones moved to the Lost Prairie on the Red River in the Arkansas Territory. Jones owned one of the most productive plantations on the Red River, and even owned the first steamboat to travel up the Red River.

In 1835, Davy Crockett stopped by Jones’s house. Crockett was on his way to Texas, and was running short on funds. Crockett traded his watch to Jones for some funds. After the Jones heard about Crockett’s death at the Alamo, he sent the watch to Crockett’s widow. Jones served briefly in the senate of the Republic Texas.

Dr. Isaac Newton Jones was a physician in Washington. He owned a plantation, a gin, and slaves. Jones became the guardian for James Black, inventor of the Bowie knife, after Black went blind. Jones treated Black for his blindness, but could do nothing to help. Black lived the rest of his life with the Jones family. Jones and his wife died, but Black then went to live with the Jones’s son, Daniel Webster Jones. Daniel Webster Jones would eventually become Governor of Arkansas from 1897-1901. The children of the town called Black, “Uncle Jimmy,” and would come by frequently to watch Black working at a forge that Jones had set up behind his house. Black was able to make a few small knives. The site of the house in which the Jones took care of James Black is located next to the giant magnolia tree on Conway Street. The site is marked with a plaque.

In 1858, Jones was killed in a most violent way. He went down to his plantation one day and visited his gin, which was operated by slaves. He was not happy with the level of production from his gin. He approached the boiler master, again a slave. The boiler master told Jones that there was a crack in the boiler, and that it should be shut down. Jones disregarded the boiler master. Jones ran inside the gin and began stoking the boiler (feeding it fuel). The boiler exploded and killed Jones. Jones is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Washington.

Source:"Don Montgomery. Old Washington Research Report: Biographical Sketches of Several Washington Doctors. 3 May 1980, in HWSP. Jones Family, in Charlean Moss Williams Collection Folder #26, MsF 082-A v1-01, in SARA." WT,

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