Madness Monday: Searching For the Second Family of Charlie Thomas Jones.

My question for this edition of Madness Monday is — What was the name of the second wife of Charles Thomas Jones and what happened to her after their separation? I am also attempting to find the names of the two additional children born to him in this second marriage.

Someone out there has the answers to these questions! If it’s you, please write me.

Charles Thomas Jones, also known as Charlie Thomas Jones in many records (including his gravestone), was born 17 March 1883 (or 19 March) in Valdosta, Lowndes, Georgia and died 25 April 1947 in Huntersville, Mecklenburg, North Carolina. His parents JONES_Charles Thomas_1883-1947_Valdosta GA_ca 1930were Thomas Jones (b 1840 Thomas Co., GA – d 1912 Valdosta, GA) and Mary Jane (Davis) Jones (b 1849 Bulloch Co., GA – d c1905 Valdosta, Lowndes, GA).

Charles married Luella (or “Louella”) Mathis in February 1903 in Valdosta. Together, the couple had eight children before Luella passed away in childbirth in 1920 with baby number nine.

According to family records, the family was destitute and lived out in the country. Charlie was a carpenter at the time. Upon Luella’s death, the family attempted to stay together with the older boys going off to school during the day and the younger children being left at home alone. Supposedly, after a daughter broke her arm at home, residents of the city of Valdosta said “enough” and had the younger children sent off to the Georgia Baptist Asylum for Orphaned Children in Hapeville, Georgia (renamed in the 1940s to the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home). The oldest son, Jeffrey, who was 17 at the time [though according to the 1920 census, he was 15], was taken in by a local minister and his wife and trained for the ministry.

In effect, Charles abandoned this first family (there were to be two in the end) Six documents from the Georgia Baptist Orphan’s Home exist that were filled in and signed by “CT Jones” from Lowndes County, GA, “relinquishing and releasing to the GA Baptist Orphan’s Home of Fulton County, GA, the power, authority, custody, and control over and of the named child, including all rights to the services of said child and the proceeds of the child’s labor, during the entire period of the child’s minority.” On each paper, Charlie Jones named a child and stated the child was his own. In the documents, he indicates the following: Civil Conditions: Orphaned. “Mother Dead” was checked. Contributing Reasons for Admitting Child: Poverty of Father. Sources of Commitment: By Parent or Guardian. Financial Status: Fully Supported by Your Institution (GA Baptist Children’s Home).

On his World War I Draft Registration Card (filled out in 1918), Charlie states his name as Charles Thomas Jones; his residence as Jacksonville, Duval, Florida; and his age as 36. He provides a nearest relative of “Louella Jones,” his wife, and notes that he is a carpenter and his employer’s name is St. Johns River Shipyard Co. His wife is listed as living in Hahira, Lowndes, Georgia at the time (Hahira is a small city north of Valdosta and was where her parents were living).

After Luella’s passing in 1920, Charles supposedly drifted for a number of years. According to a family member, he remarried in Jacksonville, Florida in the 1920’s and had one or two additional children—that we will read in the letter below he had abandoned by 1928. I have not found a 1930 census for him as of yet (in the 1920 census, first wife Louella is still alive). From Jacksonville, he must have headed to Atlanta.

A copy of a letter dated 26 Nov 1928 from the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home and written to this new wife is owned by his ancestors and reads as follows. It is a poor copy and heavily illegible but the bottom line is that the children’s home was attempting to track him down for monies owed. Unfortunately, his wife’s first name is not mentioned: the letter is addressed to Mrs. C. T. Jones c/o Southern Bell Tel Co., Miami FL. Yes, I’ve called Southern Bell—now AT&T– and attempted to track her down via an old employee list, to no avail. Typographical errors found in the original letter have not been corrected.

Dear Mrs. Jones:-

I have information that you are the wife of Mr. C. T. Jones, who is now in Atlanta. Mr. Jones, has some children by a former marriage that are being cared for at this institution. He has never helped these children since they came to the institution. Three of the children are now self supporting and three are yet in the home.

We have information that Mr. Jones, deserted you with two children, if this is true he should be prosecuted for desertion. I discussed this matter with him recently he denise deserting and explained that he was making weekly remittances to you for the support of the children. Please advise about this matter.

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours, [signature illegible]

Would I ever be happy to find the letter she sent back in return with her opinion on the matter!

Charlie and his second wife supposedly separated in the mid 30’s and it has been believed by ancestors that he then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to live with one of his daughters, Jewell. However, in the 1940 Valdosta, Lowndes, Georgia census there is a Charles Jones, born abt. 1884 and a carpenter, residing as a lodger on N. Ashley Street. This is very likely him as a 21-year-old girl with the same name and birth year as one of his daughters, Mary Jane Jones, is lodging in the home as well. As well, the 1940 Charlotte, Mecklenburg, NC census for the daughter, Jewell, and her husband lists only the couple; it does not include her father, Charlie Jones, on the record. So he must have gone to live with Jewell sometime after 1940.

So, by 1928, he had supposedly abandoned his new wife and two children he had with her and was residing in Atlanta. Other than the letter to his abandoned wife, I don’t have any record of his residing in Atlanta.

In a family history letter written in 1993, it was noted that Charlie later got a job at the Union Carbide plant in Tennessee and worked there until WWII was over (the war ended in 1945). Old employee lists don’t exist.

The death certificate for Charlie Thomas Jones notes that he died at the Mecklenburg Sanatorium in 1947 of lung cancer and had been a resident there for four years. His “usual” residence is listed as the home in Charlotte, North Carolina of his daughter, Jewell. Charles, or Charlie, Thomas Jones is buried in Valdosta, Georgia.

So who can tell me about the second family of this man?


  1. Christine

    May I ask how you located the documents from the children’s home? I am researching for a friend and her mother was sent to the same institution. We are trying to find out why as she was previously living with her aunt.
    Any leads would be appreciated!!!

    1. Julie (Post author)

      Hi there! We simply sent a written request to the most current version of the children’s home: Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes. We were informed that only direct descendants can receive information, according to their rules or Georgia law. Unfortunately, sometime over the last 90 some-odd years, someone put the paper documents on microfiche. Then, sometime later, the microfiche documents were scanned into a computer. All of the paper documents have been destroyed. The records are of such poor quality that most words are illegible. Because the Home could not make out the names of the children on most documents, they printed out and sent us the whole Jones 1921 file, figuring that wasn’t violating any policies since it was so illegible. There are multiple copies of most documents, one for each child apparently. Good luck with your search! Julie


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