County Seat: Anson * County Population: 20,202 (2010 Census)
The Jones County Courthouse was built with brick and Pecos red sandstone in 1910 and reflects a Beaux-Arts style, as etched by designer Elmer George Withers.
The Seventh Texas Legislature created Jones County in 1858 and named the county after Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the area’s untamed wilderness combined to postpone the county’s formal organization until 1881, according to the courthouse historical marker. Voters selected Jones City, later renamed Anson, as the county seat.
The first permanent courthouse was a small frame building used until the county purchased a hotel in 1884 to conduct county business. An 1886 brick courthouse served the county for the next 24 years. In late 1909, the Jones County Commissioners Court determined that the growth of the county called for a larger capitol.
The Beaux Arts style showcased in the 1910 courthouse is complemented by influences from the Arts and Crafts movement found in a decorative painting uncovered during a 1990s rehabilitation on the ceiling of the district courtroom. Other notable features include the statue of Lady Justice atop the domed clock tower and the pedimented porticoes with flanking pairs of Ionic columns on each façade.
Jones County residents enjoy the pleasure and amenities of small-town life but are only 23 miles away from Abilene.
The Texas Cowboy Reunion Oldtimers’ Association headquarters is located in Jones County. In 1930, the Association was founded along with the Texas Cowboy Reunion to “hand down to posterity, customs and traditions” of early cattle people who lived in dugouts and fought droughts, die-outs, heat, and freeze-ups, raising the longhorns that finally brought settlement to the southwest.
The Texas Cowboy Reunion is held every year for four days over the Fourth of July and includes chuckwagon meals, square dancing, and oldtimers’ memories and songs. The town of Stamford celebrates with a cowboy parade, and thousands come to see what is described as “the world’s largest amateur cowboy show” with performances by actual cowhands.
Fort Phantom Hill was established on Nov. 14, 1851, as a unit in a chain of forts from the Red River to the Rio Grande with a mission to defend frontier settlers. The post was technically named the Post on Clear Fork of the Brazos; however, the everyday name transitioned to Phantom Hill, either from prevalent mirages or sightings of a ghostly Indian silhouette in the moonlight.
The Swenson Land & Cattle Company, incorporated in 1926, established its headquarters in Jones County in 1927.
Finally, the county seat of Anson offers a diversified recreational area. The city park is home to one of the largest swimming pools in the region, which is surrounded by a 9-hole golf course, little league park, picnic facilities, playground, a clubhouse, and show barns for fairs and stock shows.