Although born in Great Barrington in 1798 (not Lenox), Anson Jones is a colorful example of the many Lenox residents who moved on in the early 19th century to New York, Ohio, – or in his case Texas – in search of land, opportunity or a clean slate.
Jones was licensed as a doctor in Oneida, NY in 1826 and opened a practice but was not successful. After being pursued by creditors, including a side trip to Venezuela, Dr. Jones was arrested in Philadelphia. After failing in business in New Orleans, he moved to Texas in 1833 and finally established a successful medical practice.
He became a supporter of independence for Texas, fought in the revolution against Mexico, and served in various capacities in the new government of the Republic of Texas, until eventually being elected the second and last President of the Republic in 1844. He had married Mary Smith in Houston in 1840. She went on to be the first head of the Daughters of the Republic.
The United States had, by 1845 and the election of James K. Polk, shifted to being in favor of annexation as had the majority of the citizens of the Texas Republic. Dr. Anson made no declaration one way or the other on annexation and was burned in effigy by the Republic’s citizens and became a lame duck as plans for annexation proceeded. I
In February 1846 the Republic ceased to exist and Jones hoped he would be appointed a Senator for the new state. He was passed over; and although he became a highly successful planter, he remained bitter and disappointed. He shot himself in Houston at the Old Capital Hotel after dinner on January 9,i1858.