Addison “Add” Jones, Well Known Black Cowboy

Addison “Add” Jones was born a slave in Texas. Much of what we understand about his early life was told by his wife Rosa when she furnished information for his death certificate after he died. He is thought to have been born in Gonzalez County in 1845.

Jones worked for many years for George Washington Littlefield (1842-1920), probably only a few years older than Addison, who was former soldier in the Confederate army after which he became a rancher, banker and was known as a philanthropist. Littlefield’s father had died when he was about ten years old and he grew up on the family farm, also in the general vicinity of Gonzalez County. How Jones and Littlefield became acquainted is not documented, but they were closely associated for most of Addison’s life. Addison is believed to have worked on Littlefield ranches including the LFD, Four Lakes in Lea County and Yellow House.

There were racially discriminatory situations that occurred throughout the southwest over these years. It is said that the Black cowboys often got the hardest and most disagreeable jobs, but in ranch life, Black cowboys were quite common, either working in all Black crews or alongside other cowboys. Addison gained a reputation for being a skilled cowboy and a hard worker. He was a leader, was known to be a good horseman and would often be the first to ride wild broncs as they began the process of being broken or tamed. He was also skilled at roping horses and served as trail boss in the Littlefield outfits. Because of his skills and endurance, Add Jones was one of the best known Black cowboys in West Texas and eastern New Mexico.

Jones does not appear to have had much formal education, if any at all, and it has been speculated that he had limited ability to read and write. He left no personally written accounts of his life, as far as is known. He owned his own home later in life and lived in Roswell when he and his wife were older.

According to a 1993 article in the Roswell Daily Record by Elvis Fleming, Addison and Rosa were married on December 7, 1899 in the Chaves County courthouse when he was 54 and she was 36. Rosa was originally from Texas and was working in Roswell.

The couple was living in Roswell when he died in 1926. His obituary was carried in the March 25, 1926 issue of the Roswell Daily Record, and cited his having lived in southeastern New Mexico for forty years. It also mentioned his sunny disposition and many friendships among all people. It also related that he was a member of the Knights of Pythias and that he was a Mason. His wife Rosa followed him in death in 1933. Both are buried in South Park Cemetery in Roswell, New Mexico.

Sources include newspaper articles, and “Black Cowboys of Texas” edited by Sara R. Massey.

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