Pioneers Bob and Almeady Jones entering Texas Trail of Fame this fall
By Joy Donovan
Above photo of William Larue Jones, with sculptor, at a sculpture in Southlake remembering Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones courtesy of Anita Robeson
An area pioneering couple whose names are well known in Southlake will be inducted this fall into the Texas Trail of Fame and honored with bronze stars placed in a sidewalk in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.
J.D. “Bob” and Almeady Chisum Jones will join eight other 2023 inductees in representing the values and spirit of the West. The nonprofit Texas Trail of Fame has placed 250 bronze stars at the Stockyards over the past 25 years.
Other honorees this year are musicians Asleep at the Wheel; the late Bob Watt Jr., longtime president and general manager of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo; Oscar-nominated storyteller Taylor Sheridan, who grew up in Fort Worth; pioneer Mary Overton Burke; rancher John V. Farwell; preservationist Mary Ann “Molly” Goodnight; artist Burl Washington; and Texas’ official vehicle, the chuck wagon. Honorees or their representatives have been invited to attend.
Born into slavery, both Bob (1850-1936) and Almeady (1857-1949) overcame many obstacles.
“They were outstanding people in so many ways,” said Anita Robeson, author of the couple’s nomination and a historian for the Southlake Historical Society. “They were good business people, they were ethical, they were social. They bridged the gap between Black and White and helped build community.”
The Texas Trail of Fame banquet and induction ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Oct. 26 at Billy Bob’s Texas, 2525 Rodeo Plaza. Tickets: texastrailoffame.org.
An unveiling of the bronze stars will be 10 a.m. Oct. 28 in front of the Stockyards Exchange Building, 131 E. Exchange Ave. It’s free and open to the public. The Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering, a Western swing festival with poetry, a rodeo and more, also will be rockin’ the Stockyards that weekend.
William LaRue Jones will be accepting the award on behalf of his grandparents, Bob and Almeady. An accomplished musician, conductor and retired college professor, Jones, 84 this October, is the couple’s only living grandchild. He never knew his grandfather, but he does remember his grandmother and the many family stories.
“He was hardworking, and his handshake was his word,” Jones said of his grandfather. “He was certainly one of the most honorable, well-respected people in that region.”
Bob Jones is the namesake of Bob Jones Road, Bob Jones Park and Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve. The Carroll Independent School District paid tribute to Jones in 2012 by naming Walnut Grove Elementary School after the school he built for his grandchildren and other Black or biracial children who were barred from White schools.
Almeady Jones, who faced life with integrity and fortitude, raised 10 children, cooking over an open fire, milking cows and living off the land. “She was a pretty sweet little lady [when I knew her], but I understand she was pretty stern in her younger days,” her grandson said with a laugh.
In the late 1940s, as the Jones land was being acquired by the Army Corps of Engineers for Grapevine Lake, sons Jinks and Emory opened a livestock sale barn at the southeast corner of Texas 114 and White Chapel Boulevard. Their wives ran a cafe next door that is thought to be the first integrated dining establishment in Texas.
In 2021, the Southlake Historical Society exhibit “Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones: A True Story of Resilience, Courage & Success” won the Texas Historical Commission’s prestigious Award of Excellence in Preserving History. The exhibit is on southlakehistory.org.
Bob and Almeady Jones’ influence on the Western way of life, key to their being recognized on the Texas Trail of Fame, continues across generations and to far-flung locales. When their grandson visits Fort Worth to receive their honor, he will wear what he’s worn in Iowa, Minnesota, Europe and Asia, a symbol of the Western way of life known to his grandparents.
“I wear cowboy boots most of the time,” William Jones said. “I wear a nice pair of cowboy boots even when I’m conducting.”