Jacques Family flourishes in Nashville, Howard County, Ark.

Published 12:35 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

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The story of the Jacks/Jacques family will be continued in today’s column by featuring Dr. Thomas Sonley (or Sondley) Jacques and his family and descendants.  He was the son of Isaac Jacques (1779-1850) and Anna Whitten (1785-1876). Dr. Jacques is the one to change his name from Jacks to Jacques. It has been reported that he killed a man molesting his daughter in Laurens Co., S.C., and afterwards, he fled to Arkansas. During this time, he also changed the spelling of his name.

Thomas Sonley Jacques was born March 31, 1827, in Laurens County, S.C., and died September 7, 1909, in the home of his daughter in Hope, Ark. When old enough, he studied medicine with Dr. Hill near his home. A few years later, he studied at Louisville University and Medical College of Charleston, S.C., from which he was graduated in 1848. He began a successful medical practice in Laurens County and was married in 1849 to his first wife, Sarah L.A. Raiford (1834-1857).  He became a popular physician and was quite successful in the field of agriculture. It has been reported that he lost $45,000 in slaves and cotton, etc. during the War Between the States.

Dr. Jacques and his wife, Sarah L.A., had the following children before her untimely death in 1857: Isaac Augustus “Gus,” b. 1850, d. 1907, m. Effie May Meadors (1885-1906; David Laurens “Tick,” b. 1852, d. 1936, m. 1874 Sarah “Sallie” Jane Anderson; Sarah Thompson Ann “Thompie,” b. 1854, d. 1876, m. 1872 W.W. Hill; and Thomas Adolphus, b.&d. 1856. Sarah L. Jacques was buried in the Sardis Cemetery in Laurens County.

Within a year after Sarah’s death, Dr. Jacques was married on February 24, 1858, to Nancy Caroline Shell (1839-1905), daughter of Henry R. Shell and Caroline Wolf. She became a mother to his three children, and they later became the parents of the following children: Sarah Lucretia, b. 1858; Henry Clinton, b. 1861, d. 1942, m. 1884 Mariah Elfleda Vaughn (1867-1946); Dr. Thomas Lamar, b. 1864, d. 1944; Caroline Wilmeda “Meda,” b. 1866, d. 1924, m. (1) John  Hutchinson (2) ? Oates; Carl, b. 1868, m. Cora Brewer; Random Franklin, b. 1870, d. 1948, m. (1) 1894 Ann Elizabeth York (1873-1965) (2) 1926 Ola Bowers; E.M., b. 1874; Anna Irene, b. 1875, d. 1937, m. 1898 E. Psellus Holt; Aurelia Thompson, b. 1876; Mary Bell “Mamie,” b. 1878, d. 1955, m. 1877 E. Mike Floyd Sr. (b. 1874); Barney Shell, b. 1880, d. 1955, m. 1905 Lee Sullivan; Ollius Paul, b. 1885, d. 1950, m. 1910 Annie Clardy (b. 1895); and Effie Ophelia, b. 1886.

Dr. Thomas S. Jacques was a Presbyterian, Democrat and Mason and very influential in his community. He purchased his first land in Arkansas in 1875 and gradually amassed 270 acres of prime forest land in the Center Point community of Howard County. He had a rather unique house constructed around 1875. In more recent years, it was featured in a publication entitled History and Architecture: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. It was described as “an example of a double pile, central hall, Greek Revival farmhouse by virtue of its unusual vegetal sawn porch detail. Though this type of farmhouse was common around the entire state in the past and especially so in southwest Arkansas, very few examples remain, and none which so clearly manifest such a high level of creativity and craftsmanship.”  In more recent years a family had restored the house for their personal residence, and they kept a variety of farm animals. Tragically, the house was destroyed by fire in very recent years, so the notable landmark is gone forever.

Records indicate Dr. Thomas S. Jacques and his second wife, Nancy Shell, died in Hempstead County, Ark. Dr. Jacques died in 1909 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. F.P. Holt, at Hope, Ark. A brief biographical sketch of Dr. Jacques’s life is included in the History of Southern Arkansas by Goodspeed on page 275. He was quite a reputable gentleman in his community and state.

The oldest son, Isaac Augustus Jacques, was born in 1850 in Laurens County, S.C., and moved as a young man with his family to Howard County, Ark., during the early 1870s. He became a permanent resident of that area where his livelihood was farming, which he enjoyed until his health began to fail. He was forced to retire from farming, but he continued to be a strong member of the Immanuel Baptist Church in which he played a leading role. He was married twice, once to Effie May Meadors, and was the father of three children: Edwin Jacques, James Jacques, and Mrs. Otis Langley. He died in 1960 after an extended, critical illness and was buried in the County Line Cemetery, which is near Nashville.

The second son, David Laurens Jacques, was born in 1852 in the Town of Clinton in Laurens County, S.C. He and his family will be featured in this column next week.

Dr. Thomas S. Jacques’s third child was a daughter, Sarah Ann Jacques, who was born in 1854 in Laurens County. In some records the name Thompson is listed as the second part of her given name. Also, the nickname Thompie is sometimes mentioned. Sadly, she died in 1875 at the young age of 20 years. There is a record of her having married W.W. Hill in 1872, but no children were identified for the couple.

Dr. Jacques’s fourth child by his first wife was a son, Thomas Adolphus Jacques, who was born and died in 1856.

The second child born to Dr. Jacques and his second wife, Nancy Shell, was a son, Henry Clinton Jacques, born 1861 in Laurens County. In 1884, he was married to Mariah Elfleda Vaughn (1867-1946). They eventually moved to McLennan County, Tex., where they lived out their lives and were buried at their deaths in the Chapel Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Waco, Tex. They were the parents of the following 11 children: Alma Ethel, b. 1885, d. 1900, m. ? Bolin; Nannie Eliza, b. 1886, d. 1964, m. 1909 Dee Van Maedgen (1887-1946); Olive Aurelia, b. 1888, d. 1955, m. ? Keetch; Sara Augusta, b. 1890, d. 1965, m. ? Whitlow; Vaughnie Shell, b. 1892, d. 1978, m. ? Barth; Clardy Shell, b. 1892, d. 1977, m. ? Barth; Dewitt Clinton, b. 1896, d. 1956; Thomas Sondley II, b. 1898, d. 1978; Conway Vance, b. 1901, d. 1984; Wanda Elfleda, b. 1903, d. 1986, m. ? Hudgens; and Ura Mariah, b. 1907, d. 1988, m. Carl Banovitch.

As mentioned, Dr. Jacques had many children, but space and lack of data prevents most of them being covered in this column. Remember to check the column next week for further coverage of this family.

The sources for today’s writing include Ancestry.com and records collected by this writer. Anyone who finds an error in the above or who has additional data on this family is encouraged to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.