Jones, Silas Washington Robinson
||FIRST: Silas Washington
|BORN: 3 Nov 1814
||DIED: 21 Nov 1911
|BIRTH PLACE: Clark Co., Kentucky
|DEATH PLACE: Kokomo, Howard Co., Indiana
Name of father Thomas Jones.
Maiden name of mother Frances Bybee.
MARRIAGE - Elizabeth Allen 17 Nov 1836.
1850 IN CENSUS - Silas W. R. Jones, age 37, farmer, b. Kentucky, is enumerated with wife Elizabeth, age 31, b. Indiana, along with James T., age 12, Joseph, age 11, Rachel, age 9, William H. Jones, age 7, Susannah age 7, Silas A., age 5, Jesse B., age 4, and Madison L., age 1, all born in Indiana. Also enumerated with the family is Nelson Creack, age 20, farmer, b. Tennessee, and Elizabeth Helig, age 12, b. Indiana.
1880 OR CENSUS - W. R. Silas Jones, age 65, farmer, b. Kentucky, is enumerated with wife Elizabeth Jones, age 61, b. Indiana, along with L. Madison, age 30, occupation lawyer, b. Indiana, Emma, age 24, occupation teacher, b. Oregon, Sarah, age 22, occupation teacher, b. Oregon, Scott, age 19, occupation farm worker, b. Oregon, Harrison, age 19, occupation farm worker, b. Oregon. Also enumerated with the family are grandaughters Mary Faine, age 15, b. Oregon and Alma Faine, age 14, b. Oregon.
"Grandfather was a spare man of medium height and complexion. Many of the family remember him when on his gray pony, Colonel, he rode over his far flung acres. Nothing, not even the stormiest weather, kept him from his rounds. He used to wear a black hat, a decided contrast to his white hair and beard, high boots and a wide black cape line with red, that was long enough to protect his knees." (From: The Annals Of The S. W. R. Jones Family);
BIOGRAPHICAL (From - the Statesman Journal's monthly column "Headstones in History", 2 Mar 2004, Section C, pg 1, "A Jones you couldn't keep up with", by Capi Lynn):
"A Jones You Couldn’t Keep Up With. Between moves, S.W.R. Jones left a large mark on Marion County.
March 2, 2004
Silas Washington Robinson Jones lived a remarkable life.
He married four times and had 15 children.
He accumulated more than 5,500 acres of farm land in Marion County.
He gained notoriety for being swindled out of $5,000.
He offered $10,000 to any woman who would marry him.
He was arrested for alleged bigamy.
Descendants to this day continue to uncover the fascinating but sometimes disturbing details of his life.
“It’s only been probably in the last five years that there’s even been any whispers of it in public,” great-great-grandson Roger Jones said.
At the most recent family reunion, descendants poked fun at S.W.R.’s misdeeds by gathering old bottles and filling them with dirt from what used to be his land.
“We labeled them ‘The Dirt on S.W.R.’ and sold them as a fund-raiser,” said Dian Jones Forster, great-great-granddaughter and president of S.W.R. Jones Family Inc.
The Oregon pioneer died in 1911, shortly after his 97th birthday. He was buried in Kokomo, Ind., but a memorial marker in his honor stands tall in the middle of a small Oregon cemetery near Brooks.
Contradictory to cemetery records in both states, another great-great-grandson who has done considerable research believes S.W.R.’s remains may have been returned to Oregon.
“Back in the 1930s, I found records where the family put together a collection to go back to Kokomo to return his remains,” Jay said. “There is no headstone at Kokomo, just basically a blank spot.
“I think it points toward him being disinterred.”
S.W.R. donated land for the cemetery, 12 miles northeast of Salem. The sign at the entrance reads Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, but it also has been known through the years as Brooks, Brooks Pioneer, Jones, Parkersville, Pioneer Waconda and The Nook.
One of his sons, Willie, was the first to be buried there, in 1855. He was around 11 or 12 years old.
There are more than 50 Joneses listed in the cemetery records, and others intend to make it their resting place.
Roger Jones, who lives in Portland, said he and his wife have purchased plots there.
The marker for S.W.R. is shared by his wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of a probate judge. She bore him 15 children, including three sets of twins.
Before venturing west, they lived in Indiana, where S.W.R. reportedly was at odds with neighbors.
Jay B. Jones, who lives in Danville, Pa., said his great-great-grandfather at one time was declared a public nuisance after the county built a road that sliced through his land and S.W.R. built a fence across the road.
“The guy was in and out of court all the time because he was basically ambitious,” Jay said.
Jay also told of the time when a woman burned down S.W.R.’s house. Not long after, he decided a move was in the best interests of his family.
“I got the impression pressure was building for him to find a better place to live,” Jay said.
S.W.R. and Elizabeth already had 10 of their children when they came to Oregon in 1853. For the journey across the plains, descendants said S.W.R. had a custom-built wagon made for his family and hired a guide, a hunter and a cook. He had the family’s heavy items, like furniture, shipped ahead of time.
“When this man did something, he planned it out,” said Dian Jones Forster, who lives in Silverton.
The Jones family settled in what was then called French Prairie.
S.W.R. went to work accumulating more than 5,500 acres. He passed on some to his children, although in 1878, he still had considerable holdings, according to a biographical sketch in the “Illustrated Historical Atlas Map for Marion and Linn counties”.
“His present estate, 3,300 acres of fine farming land, is situated 11 miles north of Salem, and two miles south of Gervais,” the sketch said. “Mr. Jones has improved this place until it is now one of the finest in the Willamette Valley.”
S.W.R. was described in “The Annals of the S.W.R. Jones Family” as as a man of medium height and complexion.
“Many of the family remember him when on his gray pony, Colonel, he rode across his far flung acres.,” the book said. “He used to wear a black hat, a decided contrast to his white hair and beard, high boots and a wide black cape lined with red, that was long enough to protect his knees.”
Life changed for S.W.R. when Elizabeth died in April 1890. A few months later, the 76-year-old advertised that he would pay $10,000 to any woman who would marry him.
About this same time, a trio interested in purchasing his farm swindled him out of $5,000.
“I would not have been taken in this time if I had read the papers and known more of the world,” he was quoted as saying in the Aug. 1, 1890 Morning Oregonian.
S.W.R.’s children, apparently concerned about their father’s uncharacteristic behavior, petitioned the court for protective guardianship. Before S.W.R. was to appear in court, he left for Indiana.
“If he had been treated with respect,” Roger Jones said, “I suspect he would never have left Oregon.
“I think they were trying to reel in a person who had to be in great grief.”
Along the way to Indiana, he was married briefly to two different women. Both apparently already were married and after his wealth. It was during this time that the bigamy allegations surfaced.
S.W.R. reportedly divorced both women simultaneously on Jan. 10, 1891.
“His reputation does become somewhat sullied by the allegations made against him,” Roger Jones said.
He took a fourth wife that fall, and that marriage lasted until his death.
Despite the skeletons in S.W.R.’s closet, his descendants hold an annual family reunion on the second Sunday of August near Brooks. They gather in an oak grove called The Nook, which once was among S.W.R.’s many land holdings.
Today, the family is petitioning the county to turn the 5-acre parcel into a historic park.
“It’s pretty amazing so many people are so dedicated to still preserving his legacy,” Jay B. Jones said".
Silas W.R. Jones, the oldest man in Howard county, was born in Clark county Kentucky in 1814 died at his late in home in Kokomo, Ind. November 21, 1911, aged 97 years. At the age of eleven Mr. Jones removed with his parents to Owen county, Indiana where he was reared. When twenty-two years old he was married to Miss Elizabeth allen and in 1853 went with his family to Oregon, being among the pioneer settlers of that state. Here he lived and accumulated totaling thousands of acres. With his sons well provide with farms in Oregon, Mr. Jones returned to Indiana in 1891 and took up his residence in Kokomo. In the past few years he had disposed of all his Oregon lands and invested in Kokomo and Howard county properties.
Mr. Jones first wife having died, he was married October 14, 1891, to Mrs. Hannah Slyter, who survives him with eight children, all residents of Oregon, whose names are as follows: M.L. Silas, Scott and Harrison and Mrs. Susannah Hunsucker, Mrs. Sarah Clark and Mrs. Emma Simmons. One son, Harrison, came to the funeral, having come when he heard of his father’s illness. His son Joseph, now dead was three times elected judge of the superior court of California.
During his long career, Mr. Jones did not slight the most important thing in his life, but early in his life was converted and joined the Baptist church.
After moving to Oregon he joined the Christian church. He was for some years connected with the Christian congregation of this city, but during the last years of his life he held to the First United Brethren church of this city, and his love for this church was expressed in a very generous gift when he deeded the church four hundred acres of his Oregon land.
Mr. Jones endeavored to live a Christian life. It was during the last five weeks of his fatal illness that he expressed his clearest view regarding the future. He told his minister recently, in company with his family, that he was prepared to go, and anxiously waited for that hour to come having made all his funeral arrangements.
He leaves to mourn his loss, the widow, and the above named sons and daughters, tho families of T.R. and M.M. Jones, Elizabeth Gibbons and Mrs. Lucy McDade, sisters, both preceded him.
The funeral was held at the residence, 725 N. Courtland, conducted by Rev. R.A. smith of the First United Brethren church of this city, on Thursday at 2 p.m. The choir of this church furnished the music. Interment in Crown Point cemetery. Kokomo Dispatch, Kokomo, Ind.
[newspaper clipping, not cited]
S. W. R. Jones
Died Nov. 21, 1911
Aged/ 97 Y's 18 D's
[shares monument with Elizabeth]
Saucy Survey & Photographs
1850 IN CENSUS (Owen Co., Montgomery, FA #313)
1880 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., Gervais, pg 108D)
The Annals Of The S. W. R. Jones Family, pg 28
SJ 2 Mar 2004 C:1