While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas W. Cutrer

JONES, GEORGE WASHINGTON (1828?–1903). George Washington (Wash) Jones, politician, was born on September 5, 1828 (1833 according to some sources), in Marion County, Alabama, and spent his boyhood years in Tipton County, Tennessee. He moved to Texas with his parents in 1848, settled on the Colorado River some ten miles below Bastrop, and taught school and farmed for two years. He moved to Bastrop in 1850, read law in the office of attorney Phil Claiborne, and was admitted to the bar in 1851. In 1853 he was narrowly defeated in the race for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, but in 1856 he was elected Bastrop County district attorney, an office he held until the outbreak of the Civil War. He also failed in an attempt at the state Senate. During this period he is said to have shot and killed a fellow attorney named Rose on a street in Bastrop. Although reputedly a brilliant and forceful speaker, Jones was said to have been "addicted to drink-the spree kind."

He was a Unionist and supporter of Stephen A. Douglas, but joined the Confederate States Army as a private-"a foolish undertaking," he declared, "but I will fight it out with my people." On June 9, 1862, he was elected lieutenant colonel of Robert T. P. Allen's Seventeenth Texas Infantry. After the battle of Milliken's Bend, Jones rose to command of the regiment and in September 1864 was promoted to the rank of colonel. According to Oran M. Roberts, he was "a valiant and popular officer in the discharge of his duty to his command and to the country."

After resuming his law practice in Bastrop, Jones was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and was the candidate for lieutenant governor on James W. Throckmorton's ticket in the election of 1866, in which he polled 48,908 of the 57,622 votes cast and overwhelmingly defeated Livingston Lindsay. He served until he was removed by Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Fifth Military District, as an "impediment to reconstruction" on July 30, 1867. After an unsuccessful independent campaign for Congress in 1876, Jones won election as a representative from the Fifth Congressional District of Texas in 1878, with support from the Greenback and Republican parties. He narrowly won reelection and served in Congress until 1883. He ran independent campaigns for governor in 1882 and 1884 and lost both races to John Ireland. Jones mounted a Populist-backed independent campaign in 1898, but lost to Albert Sidney Burleson. He died in Bastrop on July 11, 1903, and is buried there in Fairview Cemetery.


Kerek Darren Hogg, Wash Jones: The Life of George Washington Jones, Economic Radical and Political Dissenter (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1993). Kenneth Kesselus, History of Bastrop County, Texas, Before Statehood (Austin: Jenkins, 1986). Dudley Goodall Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Scarff, 1898; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1986). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "JONES, GEORGE WASHINGTON," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjo49.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 3, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...