Jones History

The present site of Jones has been the Hunting Grounds, Battle Fields, and Tribal Homes to numerous Plains Indian Tribes. The Federal Government eventually reserved this area for the Kickapoo Nation, who still have reservation land in the area, and continues to be home to numerous Kickapoo tribal members in addition to several other Indian families. The Kickapoo Nation lost a substantial amount of their holdings, with the opening of the area to white settlement in 1889. In 1832, this area was visited by Washington Irving when making his wild west tour of the United States. He details the area in his book, The Ringing Of The Horses, about his wild horse camp, (located just north of Jones, by the Deep Fork of the North Canadian River). A State Historical Marker, depicting this event is now located along the route of old US Highway 66 in a roadside park. In the decade preceding the Land Run of 1889, Capt. David Payne, (of Payne County, OK) believing that the assigned Indian Lands should be opened to white settlement, led several groups of settlers in attempts to establish permanent communities. One of his settlements was at the present site of Jones. It met the same end, as did all private attempts to establish illegal settlements. Federal Troops were sent in, broke up the settlements and escorted the would be residents out of the assigned lands, sometimes with force. In 1879, Elias C. Boudinot published an article in the Chicago Tribune newspaper stating that 2,000,000 acres of land in the heart of Indian Territory were unassigned — that the land was public domain subject to homestead. Under the Homestead law, if a settler could stay on a claim for five years, he could file outright ownership of that land. Land seekers crossed the Kansas border into Indian Territory, staking off claims. This was illegal, as the land belonged to the Indians. U.S. troops were sent in to remove these would-be settlers. Troops were stationed to prevent more from crossing. Even so, the “Boomers” continued to illegally cross the borders and stake claims for homesteading. Their actions drew a lot of attention, and several leaders arose to help the movement. Their persistence, along with the push of the railroad officials and other companies anticipating a profit, finally forced the U.S. Government to open the land for settlement. On March 23, 1889, a few days after final agreement with the Seminoles, President Harrison issued a proclamation that the Oklahoma district (known as the Unassigned lands) would be available for settlement at noon on April 22, 1889. The area had already been surveyed and sectioned into 160-acre tracts, each with a marker. The settlers each had a chance to stake a claim on one of these tracts. No one was allowed into the area before that time, and additional U.S. troops were placed on guard. On April 22, 1889, a U.S. troop force equal to two regiments was in the field. The calvary was stationed along the border to hold back the runners until noon; the infantry was stationed at two important points in the district, and at the two land offices. In the Land Run of 1889, all the land around Jones was claimed. The platted designation for the area was Springer Township. It was strictly made up of 160 acre farm sites. Soon the semblance of a farm community started to form, it was given the name of Glaze in 1896, after the homesteader whose land it was located on. It was located on Henney Road just south of the present day railroad track right of way. In 1898, Mr. Luther Aldrich and Mr. C.G. Jones, purchased most of the land which today makes up the town of Jones. They had the area platted and named after C.G. Jones, a local business man and politician, Pres. of the St. Louis and Oklahoma City Railroad (later called The Frisco), and later Mayor of Oklahoma City and Speaker of State House of Representatives out of this District. He was also pres. of one of the two banks in Jones. (The town of Luther, OK, located north east of Jones, was named after his son, Luther Jones, who was named after his good friend, Luther Aldr ich). The two land developers indicated to land seekers that the railroad intended to establish shops here. Settlers eagerly purchase town lots, in fact, construction on the railroad was ongoing when the Jones townsite platt was being filed. Everyone was sure it would be a thriving Depot. However, after the sale was complete, talk of the railroad establishing shops was not mentioned again. Mr. Aldrich transferred any interests he had to Mr. C.G. Jones in 1903. The town lot purchasers were disappointed, but pressed onward to put Jones on the map. There was a rail road passenger station built and used till it burned down, it was located at the south dead end of present day State Street, behind the bank. Jones developed as a farming community. The rich earth produced bumper drops of corn, wheat and cotton. During those early years, Jones shipped more broom corn and hay than any town in the county and more fruit than any town in the state. Jones had two cotton gins and the only cotton huller in the state. Jones also had a thriving livestock trade. Many believed Jones’ population would reach 5,000 by 1924. On April 6, 1906, a meeting was held in the city’s opera house, to organize a telephone service. The monthly rental fee was $1.00. In 1908, a petition to incorporate Jones was initiated. At the first town board meeting, January 25, 1909, C.H. Deford was elected President. A few months later on March 25, 1909, the board of trustees levied a poll tax of $1.00 on all male residents between the ages of 21 and 50. The tax had to be settled with the sheriff immediately. In 1916 a water system and electric light plant was installed and operated by the town. In 1926, O.G.&E. took over the electric service. Also in 1926 the business street of Jones was paved with cement sidewalk to sidewalk, making Jones the first small town in the state have a paved street. Jones can be proud of its residents having citizens represent our country in every military conflict from the Spanish-American War to Desert Storm. In 1950, American Legion Hut was built in their honor. It remained active by our veterans for 40 years and is currently being remodeled for use as a community activity building. Before the first school was organized in Jones, in fact before the town existed, a school was conducted in a log building on the Keller Farm located one half miles south of Britton Road on Henney Road. It was known as the Iola School. The first school in Jones was built in 1899, in a one room frame building. This building is still standing, its the first structure south of the railroad on the east side of Fourth Street, currently used as a private residence. The school then moved to its present site in 1911. In 1921, several small schools in the immediate area consolidates to form the first four year high school in Jones and was known as Consolidated District No. 9. The first class graduated in 1925 and consisted of only three students. Since then, approzimetely 2,500 gradutes have passed through the halls of JHS. Churches and Civic Organizations, some of them have been here since the turn of the century, are very active and a vital part of the community.