JONES, John Coffin

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John Coffin Jones (1796-1861)

JONES, John Coffin (1796-1861), Boston-born merchant out of Honolulu who made numerous trips to California between 1830 and 1838 with his fleet of vessels:

  • Volunteer
  • Louisa
  • Harriet
  • Blanchard
  • Avon
  • Bolivar
  • Griffon
  • Rasselas
[Ellison/Nidever: 113].

Jones came to Santa Barbara where he married his second wife, Carlos Carrillo’s daughter, Manuela Antonia (1820-1900), at the Santa Barbara Mission on June 4, 1838. In 1843, Manuela’s father (Carlos Carrillo) and her uncle (José Antonio Carrillo), were granted Santa Rosa Island by Governor Micheltorena. They in turn sold the island to Manuela and Jones, and her sister Francisca and husband, Alpheus Basil Thompson. The sisters paid their father $3,300 for the island, “one half in silver money of good quality and the other half in goods.” Brothers-in-law John C. Jones and Alpheus Basil Thompson thus became partners in Santa Rosa Island. They stocked the island with cattle, sheep and horses in 1843 and 1844, funded by Jones and managed by Thompson with the proceeds to be shared equally. In 1846, Jones and his family moved to Boston, leaving his affairs in the hands of his friend and financial advisor, Alfred Robinson. When Jones found out Thompson had sold a large number of island livestock without sharing the proceeds, he filed a lawsuit against him in 1851. Robinson, along with attorney Charles Fernald, represented Jones in the suit against his brother-in-law A. B. Thompson. Strong opinions divided the Santa Barbara community, and the case was ruled in favor of Jones in Boston. Thompson claimed Jones had “bought” a number of witnesses and appealed. In 1857, Judge S. B. McKee again ruled in favor of Jones, and appointed Abel Stearns as receiver to establish values of livestock, their management costs, cash received and inventory on hand so the financial matter could be settled. In 1859, Santa Barbara cattlemen, the More brothers, bought both Jones’s and Thompson’s remaining interests, consisting of 8000 head of cattle and 2300 sheep. John Coffin Jones died in Boston in 1861. He and his wife Manuela had seven children:

  • Margarita Antonia Jones (1840- )
  • John Jones (1842- )
  • Benjamin Geronimo Jones (1844-1845)
  • Anna Powell Jones (1846- )
  • Joseph Cutler Jones (1849- )
  • Charles Carrillo Jones (1850-1869)
  • Martha Josepha Jones (1855- )

  • Gast, Ross H. 'Contentious Consul: A Biography of John Coffin Jones. Los Angeles: Dawson's Book Shop, 1976.
[original in SCIF archives]

July 23, 1858: “This indenture this day made by and between John C. Jones of the County of Norfolk, State of Massachusetts, by his lawful attorney Alfred Robinson, of the city and county of Santa Barbara, State of California party of the first part and T. Wallace More, of the city and county of Santa Barbara, State of California, party of the second part, witnesseth: That the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the covenant and agreement hereinafter contained to be kept all and singular, by the said party of the second part, and in consideration of the sum of money hereinafter mentioned to be paid by the said party of the second part, has sold, transferred and assigned unto the said party of the second part all of the right, title and interest of the said party of the first part, of, in and to all of the horned cattle, sheep, horses and mares, or livestock of whatsoever there may be, more or less, now on the Island of Santa Rosa, in the channel of Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara; and the said party of the second part in consideration of the promised covenant and agreed to and with the said party of the first part to pay him therefore, the full sum of $35,000 lawful currency of the United States of America, in payments as follows… The said party of the first part hereby gives and grants into the said party of the second part, the right to enter upon said Island of Santa Rosa for all necessary and lawful purposes connected with the rights hereby sold and transferred for the term of two years thereafter, in consideration of the sum of $250 per annum to be paid by the party of the first part in two equal payments in the months of July in each of the last two years… J. C. Jones per A. Robinson, Attorney in fact. T. Wallace More.” [Huntington Library, Stearns Collection, Box 87, Folder 12]