From Annapolis to Alpine - The Life of Ada Jones Hancock

The following story has been shared with me by Catherine Gunter, a great-great granddaughter of Ada Nina Jones Hancock. The setting for the story begins in a mansion in Annapolis and concludes in a log cabin in Alpine. Here is the story:

Ada Nina Jones Hancock came from a wealthy family in Annapolis, MD to spend the last years of her life in a log cabin in Alpine.

Many years before his third marriage and the birth of his youngest daughter, Ada Nina Jones, Richard Ireland Jones, came to Maryland in the late 1880's to try and recover what assets he could on behalf of the Eden family. His efforts were specifically for Robert Eden, the last Lord Baltimore of the Maryland colony. After the American Revolution, most of Lord Baltimore’s assets were lost as the colonies became a united nation governed by a central leader and not the English monarchy. Upon his arrival in Maryland, Richard began a courtship with Susanna Tilghman, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Richard and Susanna were soon married and had one son, Arthur Tilghman Jones, who was born about 1795. At the time of her marriage to Richard, Susanna owned approximately 500 acres north of South East Creek in Queen Anne’s County, MD. On this tract facing the Chester River, they built their home, giving it the name "Kinnersley." It is not clear when Susanna died, but it appears to have been around 1800. She left her son, Arthur T. Jones, "Kinnersley" with a life estate to Richard Ireland Jones.

Kennersley mansion as it looks today.

The War of 1812 brought war with England once again to Maryland and its’ people. Richard Ireland Jones funded his own group of volunteers to fight for the U.S. In 1814, he was given the title "Major" of which he was extremely proud and one he wore the rest of life. In 1816, Major Richard Ireland Jones wed for the second time. This marriage was to Margaret Chew, and following the ceremony, the couple moved into the Upton Scott House on Shipwright Street in Annapolis, MD. In 1817, their first child, Richard Ireland Chew Jones, was born. Three daughters soon followed, their names being Marianna Eden Jones, Anna Eliza Jones, and Julianna Paca Jones. The couple’s last child, Alfred Jones, was born in 1824. Tragedy struck Richard again in November, 1825, with the unexpected death of his second wife, Margaret. She was laid to rest in the family grounds in the garden of the Upton Scott House. Margaret’s death left Richard with the overwhelming task of raising five small children. In 1827, while on a trip to Fayetteville, Tennessee, Richard met Lucretia Ball, a native of Monroe County, Kentucky, who was the daughter of William and Letitia Ball. Lucretia was teaching school at the time of their meeting. After a short courtship, the couple married on October 16, 1827, and returned to Annapolis. At the time of his third marriage, Richard was 57 years old. A son, William Edwin Ball Jones, was born in 1828 and a daughter, Emma, was born in 1832. Ada Nina was the last child born to Major Richard Ireland Jones.


The Upton Scott house in Annapolis, MD was the home Ada Nina Jones Hancock lived in as a small child.

The Jones family lived in the Upton Scott House until Lucretia’s untimely death in 1840 when once more, Major Jones found himself a widower at the age of 70 years old. He was forced to sell the Upton Scott House around 1842 and move in with his daughter, Marianna Jones Paca, who lived on the Wye Plantation in Talbot County, MD. William continued his education at St. John’s College and the two young daughters were placed in a Catholic school in Annapolis until their father’s death in June, 1844, left them orphans. William, Emma, and Ada returned to Monroe County, KY, to live with their mother’s family. William studied law and eventually moved to Overton County, Tennessee where he served as Mayor of Livingston in 1850, State Representative to Overton County between 1859-1861, and delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1860 before moving to Warren County, TN, where he became a lawyer and banker. He died there in 1888. Emma married James McMillin of Monroe County, KY, and lived there until her death in the late 1890s. Ada married Isaac Louallen Smith in 1856 in Overton County, TN. Isaac and Ada had three daughters, Emma Lenora, who married Napoleon Bonaparte Little, Agnes Vestina, who married Charlie Baker of Georgia, and Minnie LouAllen who married John Allen "Pop" Smith of Pickett County, Tennessee.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Ada and Issac lived in Clinton County, KY, where Isaac was employed as school teacher. He soon left the teaching profession to fight for the Confederacy under the direction of the infamous Champ Ferguson. While Isaac served with Champ Ferguson in the Civil War, Ada lived with her sister and brother-in-lawlaw, Emma and James McMillin, in Monroe County, KY . Isaac was visiting his family in Tompkinsville, KY, in late January of 1863. One morning, while returning to his troop, a neighbor mistook him for a soldier and hit him in the head with an ax, splitting his head and killing him instantly. Minnie Louallen was only eight months old at the time of her father’s death. Following Isaac’s death, Ada remained with her sister, Emma, until 1864 when she met her nephew’s wife’s brother, Dr. Amos Hancock. He was visiting from Overton County, TN, where he served in the Confederate Army and practiced as a physician. He and Ada married in Livingston, Tennessee in February, 1864. Four sons, James William(Bill)Hancock, John Floyd Hancock, Major Richard Arland Jones Hancock, and Amos Edgar Hancock, two daughters, Rebecca Mae Hancock and Sarah Gertrude Hancock Booher were born to this union. Amos and Ada lived in Wayne County, KY, for a time, but eventually settled on the Knight Place in Overton County, TN, near the present day Charles Keisling farm in the Boom Community of Pickett County. As Amos continued his work as a physician, Ada became a very respected midwife in her own right, often traveling alone at night on horseback to deliver a baby. One night, after returning home from bringing a newborn into the world, she felt certain she could feel the eyes of someone close by watching her. The presence of that person, or persons, was so close, she could almost feel their breath on her neck. This was around the time Jesse James and his gang of outlaws were known to be in the area, which gave Ada reason to believe they were ones watching her as she journeyed home. Although the incident terrified her, she returned safely to her home.

In 1895, Amos and Ada bought a farm and built a small home in the Alpine community of Overton County. Amos lived there only a short time, dying the following year at the age of 59. Ada continued to live on the farm until her death in 1917 at the age of 80 years old.

Ada’s life began in a townhouse mansion in Annapolis, MD. She came from parents of wealth and influence, but her final days were spent in a simple log cabin in Overton County. She and Amos are buried side by side in the Vaughn Cemetery in Alpine.