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Frank Wagner

JONES, LEVI (1792–1878). Levi Jones, physician and land speculator, was born in Virginia in 1792. His family later moved to Kentucky, where he was a member of the Kentucky volunteer militia during the War of 1812. On October 23, 1816, he married Lucy B. Wardlow in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Jones moved to Texas in 1833 to invest in land both for himself and others. He was one of the ten people who formed the original Galveston City Company (see GALVESTON, TEXAS), and he acted as an agent for the company in 1837. The next year he brought his family from Kentucky to live in Galveston. In 1843 he represented Galveston County in the Eighth Congress of the Republic of Texas and served as president of the board of trustees at Galveston University. In the course of his land speculations, Jones discovered that the grant of Tamaulipas to Enrique Villareal in 1831 was faulty. He found the legitimate owners, Bargas and Bósquez, purchased their interest, and had the two-league tract surveyed; the land in question became the townsite of Corpus Christi. Jones sold his interest to the Galveston cotton merchant J. Temple Doswell, who prosecuted his claim to the United States Supreme Court. The case was started in 1849 but not decided until 1873, during which time much of the town had been sold to various landholders. The court finally upheld the claim. Jones's part in the transaction angered many, and public meetings were held in opposition to him. He later lost large sums of money trying to organize the city of Bolivar, opposite Galveston, among other ventures. Money received from the reluctant landowners of Corpus Christi allowed him to live in relative comfort for the rest of his life, and he died on March 14, 1878, in Galveston.


Corpus Christi Weekly Gazette, May 24, December 6, 1873. Galveston Weekly News, March 18, 1878. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Frank Wagner, "JONES, LEVI," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjo58.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 3, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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