Contributed by Peggy Contreras
from An Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties
Western Historical Publishing Co., Page 258, 259,
Union County Biographies
THOMAS JONES - It is a noted principle, that in the degree in which one is called to endure hardship and successfully surmounts all obstacles and triumphs over every opposition, in that degree is his character strengthened and his forces of real manhood brought out. May it not be that because of the application of this principle, we have in so many of the early pioneers of this wealthy county, such fine specimens of genuine manhood and especially developed in the virtues mentioned. Well known among this worthy number is the esteemed gentleman, whose name initiates this paragraph, and who has surely done a noble part in enduring the woes of humanity and is developing the resources of the county, while he has ever manifested in the long years of his residence here a commendable exemplification of the Christian character and the sagacity and ability with which he is endowed.
In Cocke county, Tennessee - Russell and Sarah (Hayes) Jones. The father died when Thomas was yet very small and so he never knew the wise guiding of a father's counsel. He passed the years of his minority on the farm and in attending school as he had opportunity, until he was twenty-three years of age. At that time he hired out for four years to operate a farm. In 1854, he bought a farm for himself in his native county which he sold two years later and embarked in the mercantile world in partnership with Mr. McMahan at Bridgeport, in his native state. In the fall of 1858, he sold out this business and migrated to Benton county, Arkansas, and farmed for one year, then went to Washington county, the same state, for a couple of years and then moved to Buchanan county, Missouri, thence to Platte county and in the spring of 1864 sold out and started for Oregon with ox teams. The journey began on May 13, 1864, and ended in the Grande Ronde valley on September 25, 1864. While en route he was taken sick at the Platte river and suffered for twenty days with the pneumonia. Upon arriving at their destination, he contracted to work for the man who lives next to his present place and after fulfilling ten days of the time was taken sick with the typhoid fever and was unable to get out until the next spring. He then rented his present place and two years later, bought it. He lives two and one half miles north from Cove. Here he has carried on general farming and stock raising until the present time, being prosperous in his efforts.
On January 17, 1854, Mr. Jones married Miss Maria [Mariah] Jane, daughter of Warren and Sarah Brook, natives of Tennessee. They have become the parents of the following children: Sarah Eveline, now Mrs. Remillard; Susan Frances, wife of Ed E. Cates; Emma Jane, now Mrs. H.C. Nealy, of Cove; John T.; Royal D.; Mary V., wife of Ed Rees. Mr. Jones is not a political aspirant but is interested in good government. He joined the Methodist church in 1858 and has been a member since and is highly respected and esteemed by all.
When Mr. Jones came across the plains he was with a small train, and at Deer Creek station the Indians stole the stock. In attempting to regain them, some of the party were killed. The unfortunate travelers in their dire distress turned to Colonel Williams, of the United States army, for assistance and even offered him five hundred dollars to recover the stock, but he declined. The men afterwards were convinced that he was a beneficiary in this wretched undertaking of the theft and have many indications to warrant that belief.
Peggy Lovelace Contreras
Descendant of Thomas Jones & Mariah Jane Brooks
5th generation from Cove, Union, OR
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