Sunday, November 30, 2008

My ancestor Gabriel Jones was the first lawyer in the Shenandoah Valley, was the lawyer for Lord Fairfax, was the executor of Lord Fairfax's will, was the law partner for the young Thomas Jefferson when Jefferson first began practising law and loaned Jefferson enough money to get Jefferson financially through the period of the American Revolution, was a delegate to both the Continental Congress and the Virginia Convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution, and was the political mentor to George Washington who along with James Wood (the founder of Winchester, VA) helped him to get elected to his first public office (the House of Burgesses) - with George Washington once traveling all alone from the country down through the mountains of what is now West Virginia just to meet with his old friend and mentor Gabriel Jones at his home at Port Republic hear Harrisonburg before Washington returned to his Mount Vernon home.

My ancestor Mary Ann Jones - descendant of both Gabriel Jones and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall - who married my ancestor Jonathan Hunsicker

My ancestor John Marshall, the most famous Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

DESCENT FROM CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN MARHSALL AND GABRIEL JONES - On our Hunsicker side of the family, we are directly descended from U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall. Crediting with establishng the judicial branch as the third branch of our government, he is considered as important as any founding father - even though he never signed the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. It was his decision in the case Marbury v. Madison that established the principle of judicial review. He did serve under George Washington during the Revolutionary War and afterwards became one of the strongest supporters of Washington and his presidency. Washington offered him several different cabinet posts, but Marshall refused to give up his successful law practice in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Finally, however, he did agree to become Secretary of State under President John Adams. During the end of Adams' presidency, Adams appointed Marshall as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and for a brief period of time he held this position as well as the position of Secretary of State - the only person to ever hold a cabinet position while being a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. His success as Chief Justice was accredited to not only his political acumen, but also to his geneality. He had known George Washington while growing up since his father, Thomas Marshall, was a fellow surveyor of Washington's. Upon Washington's death, George Washington's nephew Bushrod Washington, who was also a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gave John Marshall all the papers of George Washington. John Marshall preserved these papers and used them to write the first comprehensive and documented biography of George Washington. We are descended from Marshall's daughter, Anna Maria Marshall, who married our ancestor William Strother Jones. William Strother Jones was the grandson of our ancestor Gabriel Jones. If one goes to the magnificent new Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, the first individual discussed is our ancestor Gabriel Jones. This is because he was the first lawyer in the Shenandoah Valley. In this role, he was the first elected delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses from Frederick County, became the attorney for Lord Fairfax, and became a political mentor and friend to George Washington - and helped George Washington to get elected to his first public office. Once George Washington travelled alone in the winter down through the entire length of West Virginia just to visit our ancestor Gabriel Jones on Washington's return from the Ohio country (see Washington's diary of his trip to Ohio in 1784). When Thomas Jefferson graduated from law school at the College of William & Mary, he joined Jones as a junior law partner. Later, Jones was to lend Jefferson a large sum of money that allowed Jefferson to financially survive during the Revolutionary War. Jones himself was elected to the Continental Congress and was a member of the Virginia ratifying convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. Our ancestor and Gabriel Jones' grandson, William Strother Jones, and Anna Maria Marshall had a son, Richard Jones, who lived on Apple Pie Ridge in Winchester, Virginia and received a pension for serving in the Mexican War (as described in our family bible pages). He was my great-great-great-great grandfather. His daughter, Mary Ann Jones, married our ancestor Jonathan Hunsicker in Winchester, Virginia. Aunt Cindy has a coverlet sewn by Grandma Mary Ann Jones Hunsicker. Above is a picture of our ancestor Gabriel Jones (with his well known patch over his eye - painted by the famous painter Gilbert Stuart) followed by pictures of our ancestors Grandma Jones and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall.