Matilda Armenia Jones
Contributed by
Barbara Hale Reynolds

Matilda Armenia Jones, daughter of John William "Billie" Jones and Elizabeth Eddy, was born in Madison County, Alabama August 18, 1839. According to 1870 Census Records she was born August 24, 1839, but her death certificate signed by her second husband lists her birth date as August 18, 1839. Matilda died February 2, 1916 in Montgomery County, Arkansas, at 76 years of age due to heart failure as noted on death certificate. Her body was interred February 1916 in Barber Cemetery in Montgomery County.

She married Thomas J. Welch in Scott County, Arkansas about 1855. I have no marriage record for Matilda and Thomas, however, William J. Welch, a great, great grandson of Thomas and Matilda, says in "The Welches Come West" in the History of Scott County by Michael Cates:

"Two Welch brothers, Thomas and Andrew, came west from Tennessee, with their sister Mary Ann, to Arkansas where land in Scott County, LaFave Township, was patented to Andrew in 1855. It was here that the two Welch brothers married two Jones sisters. The Jones family had moved to Arkansas from Alabama in the mid 1840s, settling in Park township."

Thomas was born in Lauderdale County, Alabama, in 1830 and died in 1860 in Scott County, Arkansas, at 30 years of age. His body was interred September 1860 in Park Cemetery, Nola, Arkansas. William J. Welch states: "Grandfather was murdered by the bushwhackers in 1860. This is important because even though the Civil War didn't officially start until April 1861, it started in Kansas in 1857 and spilled over into Missouri and Arkansas immediately thereafter. Kansas has forever since been called Bloody Kansas."

Two sons were born to Matilda and Thomas Welch: Lafayette W. Welch, born July 25, 1856, and John Elijah Welch, born May 1, 1858. After the death of the boys' father, they moved with their mother into her mother's home (Elizabeth Jones.) Matilda's brothers Thomas Benton Jones, William Smith Jones, and Martin Vanburen "Van" Jones were also living with Elizabeth. Over the next several years the young Welch boys received guidance and direction from their uncles, particularly Benton and William Jones, and Uncle Andrew "Andy" Welch who lived nearby (paraphrased from "The Welches Come West" in the History of Scott County by Michael Cate,)

During the Civil War Matilda Welch was accosted by bushwhackers who demanded to know the whereabouts of her brothers. When she refused to reveal where the men had gone, the bushwhackers tortured her by burning her feet and legs. Her stubborn courage protected her brothers, and over the years she would tell the story to generations of wide-eyed youngsters who viewed her burned, scarred legs. (Taken from "The Welches Come West" in the History of Scott County by Michael Cate.)

Several years after Thomas J. Welch died, she married William Jess Oller in Scott County, Arkansas, in 1872. William was born in Scott County, Arkansas April 2, 1848. William was the son of William R. Oller and Zilpha Ann Baggs. After Matilda's death he married Lucinda Emmeline Stanford Scott County, Arkansas sometime after 1916.

William Jess died April 22, 1931 in Montgomery County, Arkansas, at 83 years of age. His body was interred April 1931 in Barber Cemetery.

Matilda purchased land February 25, 1876 Scott County, Arkansas. Final Certificate No. 1050 Homestead Application No. 2925 Land Office: Dardenelle, Arkansas November 19, 1875 in Section 26, Township 3N, Range 26 by Patent March 1, 1876; Approved February 25, 1876; and final proof given by Beverly Oller and Levi B. Jones.

Matilda Armenia "Mattie" Jones and Thomas J. Welch had the following children:

  1. Lafayette Washington Welch was born in Scott County, Arkansas, on July 25, 1856. Lafayette died June 18, 1938 in Heavener, Oklahoma, at 81 years of age. He married Victoria Rosetta Wilson in Scott County, Arkansas, January 25, 1885. Victoria was born in Sevier County, Arkansas June 29, 1861. Victoria was the daughter of John Anderson Wilson and Nancy Ann "Jane" Holiman. Victoria died March 24, 1927 in Heavener, Oklahoma, at 65 years of age. Her body was interred March 1927 in Pine Crest Cemetery, Mena, Arkansas.
  2. John Elijah Welch was born in Scott County, Arkansas, on May 01, 1858. John died October 11, 1923 in Hughes County, Oklahoma, at 65 years of age of a vascular heart problem. He married Sarah Jane Pettit Scott County, Arkansas, 1876. Sarah was born in Benton County, Alabama February 20, 1856. Sarah was the daughter of Giles Dalford Pettit and Mary J. Poole. Sarah died March 23, 1924 in Holdenville, Oklahoma, at 68 years of age.

Matilda Armenia "Mattie" Jones and William Jess "Jack" Oller had the following children:

Note: I don't have records of their county of birth. I have seen references to their son William Benton being born in Yell County, but his mother owned land in Scott County, which she applied for in 1869 and was granted in the name of Matilda Welch in 1876. She and second husband Jess Oller were in two different Scott County, Arkansas census records: 1880 and 1900. Without further proof, I assume that all their children were born in Scott County, Arkansas:

  1. William Benton Oller was born in Arkansas on August 4, 1873. William died February 7, 1936 in Seminole County, Oklahoma, at 62 years of age. Buried at Maple Grove Cemetery Seminole, Oklahoma. He married Margaret Jane Sizemore in LeFlore County, Oklahoma, September 3, 1899. Margaret was born in Marion County, Alabama January 27, 1877. Margaret was the daughter of Felix Franklin Sizemore and Esther Lucinda Evans. Margaret died December 27, 1957 in Carter County, Oklahoma, at 80 years of age. Her body was interred December 29, 1957 in Maple Grove Cemetery in Seminole County, Oklahoma.
  2. Florence Eurella Regal Oller was born in Arkansas on October 24, 1876. Florence died May 5, 1939 in Montgomery County, Arkansas, at 62 years of age. Her body was interred May 1939 in Barber Cemetery. She married Wilburn Henson Scott County, Arkansas, February 21, 1894. Wilburn was born in Mississippi December 1877. Wilburn was the son of W.J. Henson and Sarah Henson. Wilburn was divorced from Florence Eurella Regal Oller Scott County, Arkansas, August 16, 1898. Wilburn died after 1901 Scott County, Arkansas. She married Louis Miller Barber "Sude" in Montgomery County, Arkansas, August 27, 1907. Groom: Louis M. Barber, Resides: Sims, Age: 51, Bride: Mrs. Florence Ollar, Resides: Mena, Age: 31, Date: 22 Aug 1907, Principal Surety: Pete McPhetiage (Polk Co., marriages, Book H, Page 501). Louis was born in Montgomery County, Arkansas January 6,1856. Old Chambers Place on the Washita River, Sims, Montgomery County, Arkansas. Louis was the son of Ransom Joseph Barber and Cinthia Ann McConnell. Louis died February 16, 1948 in Montgomery County, Arkansas, at 92 years of age. His body was interred February 1948 in Barber Cemetery.
  3. Mauda Oller was born in Arkansas in 1878. Another source says she was born on Dutch Creek, Scott County, Arkansas. Mauda died 1892 in Latimer County, Oklahoma, at 13 years of age.
  4. James Andrew Oller was born in Arkansas in May 1879. James was partially paralyzed from polio and almost blind. James died 1928 in Montgomery County, Arkansas, at 49 years of age.

Note: Many of the details contained in Matilda's story, her homestead documents, and her photo were provided by the courtesy of her second great-grandson, William J. Welch.

Matilda Armenia Jones Welch

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