John W Jones

John W Jones

Homer, Licking County, Ohio, USA
Death 24 Sep 1920 (aged 65)
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Dickens, Clay County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 32044274 · View Source
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By Frank Rouse, 2002
Erasmus McCollum Jones was born in Licking County, Ohio on October 21, 1853. His younger brother, John W. Jones, was born on June 22, 1855. Erasmus (Ross) and John were the two youngest of the eight children born to Nelson Mathias and Christina Fry Jones. The young brothers experienced the tragic loss of loved ones in the autumn of 1860 when an older sister (Euphema), an older brother (Abraham), and their mother all died. History would repeat itself 33 years later in Iowa with an eerily similar loss of family members.

Nelson Jones was remarried in 1861 to Caroline Reynolds and in1863 moved his family to Illinois. Four children were born to Nelson and Carrie. The relationship with their new stepfamily must have been fairly good for Ross and John. They kept in contact through correspondence with some of them in later years from their new home in Iowa. A few of the letters received by Ross and John have survived the years and are in the possession of Frank Rouse of Dickens, Iowa, a great grandson of Ross. On September 16, 1885, Ross Jones married Leona Redd in Randolph, Illinois. Children born to Ross and Leona were as follows:

Earle born June 23,1886 in Illinois ~ died July 6, 1909,tuberculosis ~ buried-Dickens, Iowa
Eva Mae born September 17, 1887 in Bloomington, Illinois ~ died May 29, 1951,cerebral
hemorrhage ~ buried-Spencer, Iowa
Charles born 1888 or1889 in Illinois ~ died unknown causes (Oregon?)
Freddie born October 18,1890 in Illinois ~ died April 3, 1893,pneumonia ~ buried-Dickens, Iowa
Warren born December 9,1892 in Dickens, Iowa ~ died March 10, 1893 ~ buried-Dickens, Iowa

Leona Redd Jones' mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Wamsley, had moved from Illinois to Spencer, Iowa, the county seat of Clay County. At the urging of Mrs. Wamsley the young family, as well as John Jones, moved to Clay County in 1891 and began farming. Tragedy struck when the two youngest boys, Freddie and Warren, died in the spring of 1893. The death certificate for Freddie lists pneumonia as the cause of death. In December of that year, the 31-year-old mother of the family, Leona Redd Jones, also died. Although he was only 40 years old, and with three young children to raise, Ross never remarried. His brother John, who then moved in with the family, helped to raise the children. John
eventually married but not until 1916 when he was 60 years old.

Ross and John farmed together, purchasing 320 acres in Section 8, Freeman Township, Clay County, Iowa, in 1899 for about $26/acre. The land they purchased is in the "Tall Grass Prairie Pothole Region" of the north central United States. Due to regular prairie fires, this area was almost totally devoid of trees prior to settlement, but had native prairie grasses up to ten feet tall as well as many wetlands. Crops were
grown on the higher ground, with the rest of the land either wasteland, pasture or prairie grass that was cut for hay. The Jones brothers gained a reputation locally for producing the best corn crop in the area. They drained some of their land by tiling it into Redwood Lake, a shallow lake, or slough, which covered approximately 30 acres of their property. By 1920 county drainage districts had been established which included the land that the Jones brothers had purchased. A 28-inch diameter concrete tile main crossed their property draining Redwood Lake and providing the outlet needed to drain all of their land. Today, after being completely tiled, every acre of this land can be cropped. In 1909, Earle Jones, the 23-year-old son of Ross died of tuberculosis. Shortly after this, Ross, John, and Eva Mae moved off the farm and into the nearby town of Dickens. In 1914 the Jones brothers sold their farm. Land values had risen substantially in the fifteen years since they bought the farm. The 320 acres purchased in 1899 for
$8,300 sold in 1914 for $38,400. The Jones brothers financed the buyers on half the farm by writing a $20,900 mortgage at 5.25% interest payable over fifteen years. Since they were both about sixty years old, the ortgage payments they planned to receive were expected to provide adequately for them through their retirement years. The interest earned on this mortgage would amount to $1,100 a year. In contrast to this, laborers in Clay County in 1914 were making about $700 to $800 per year. What Ross and John had not expected was the volatile farm economy during and after World War I. In 1917, three years after they sold the farm, it was resold for $56,000.00. The value of the farm had risen from $26/acre in 1899 to $173/acre in 1917. However, the good economic times in farm country would soon end. The Great Depression of the 1930's had already begun in the farm economy in the 1920's. Due to the drastic drop in the price of grain and livestock, the subsequent buyers of the Jones brothers' land were unable to make the farm payments. One of these purchasers committed suicide on the farm when he could see no way out of his financial dilemma. The result of this farm recession for Ross Jones was that half of the farm, 160 acres, came back into his possession in 1927. Along with it came over $3,000 of drainage assessments yet to be paid.

Some very significant events in the life of Ross Jones occurred in the thirteen years between the time the farm was sold in 1914 and when it came back into his possession in 1927. His brother John was married to Mrs. Alma Derry in 1916 and then he died in 1920. John's obituary states that he had been ill with the flu, but that it was thought a trip north might help him recover. However he grew weaker and had to stop in St.Paul, Minnesota, where he died. In 1916 Ross' daughter Eva Mae married Leonard A. Carter. They owned and operated a grocery and dry goods store in Dickens until World War II. A daughter, MaryAlice, was born in 1919, and a son, Eugene Ross, was born in 1923. Ross' only surviving son, Charles, lived in The Dalles, Oregon, with his wife Ressie and three sons: Frances, Dale and Wayne.
After the death of his brother in 1920, Ross made his home in Dickens with his daughter Eva Mae and son-in-law Leonard Carter. Leonard had been raised in a very strict Christian home with the highest of moral values. No card playing or alcohol would have ever been allowed in his father's house. Ross, on the other hand, took great pleasure in gambling and was known to hit the bottle on occasion. Needless to say Leonard did not always appreciate the habits of Ross, who was living in his home. However, since Leonard's mother was also living with the family, he could not make too much of an issue of Ross being there. On March 31, 1938 Ross died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 84 years. He is buried in
the Dickens cemetery along with his wife Leona, brother John, and his three sons who preceded him (Warren, Freddie, and Earle).

The Jones brothers, Ross and John, were pretty much inseparable throughout their lives. As young boys in Illinois they faced together the death of a brother, a sister, and their mother all in the year of 1860. Together they moved to Iowa in search of better land to farm. They worked their land together for twenty-three years. John was there for Ross when two of his sons and his wife all died in 1893. Together
the brothers raised Ross' three surviving children as they farmed their land. John was there for Ross again in 1909 when his son Earle died at the age of 23 years. It is only fitting that these brothers be buried in the same cemetery plot in Dickens, Iowa.

Today there are no descendents with the Jones surname still living in Clay County, Iowa. Charlie, the surviving son of Ross, moved to the state of Oregon as a young man. However, half of the 320-acre farm
originally purchased by Ross and John is still owned by a Jones descendent. Frank Rouse, a son of Mary Alice Carter Rouse, and great grandson of Ross Jones, owns the 160 acres that came back into the
possession of Ross in 1927.

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  • Created by: Robert Jones
  • Added: 8 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32044274
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John W Jones (22 Jun 1855–24 Sep 1920), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32044274, citing Dickens Cemetery, Dickens, Clay County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Robert Jones (contributor 46993278) .