Setting alone and neglected
the old Jones Ranch Place is as an aged lady who in her youth was the
sparkling and vibrant Scarlet O'Hara of "Gone With the Wind. The story was
a tribute to these same Jones's whose grandfather came out of Georgia
there in Jonesville of Jones county. Now, burnt sienna days as in the fall
flow in and out of her secret life and walls like the oils of an artist's
Growing up there one the
beautiful planes of the prairie was an experience to remember and to
share. Bellzona, the grandmother, mother of Lee Otis Jones was called "The
Old Lady." If anyone deserved the name it was Bell. Her husband Joseph
Hubbard Jones sold his land, rather he mortgaged it. It was on the banks
of the Arkansas River in Ralston, Oklahoma. He had 20,000.00 dollars. With
this money he built this ranch house along with a two car slab floor
garage, a very large barn with cemented floors and drains built in for
milk cows, an equally large hay barn, three tenant houses, a modern large
chicken house and a small well house, and, of course, the ranch house.
Today, 20,000 might have built the garage.
Joseph's son's were young
men, ages seventeen and nineteen. It was Joseph's thinking to bring about
the plans of the ranch place.
Unseen is the underground
watering system to connect the buildings. Joe "witched" the water after
they were warned over and over there would be no water found. Lee's brave
abandon saw him dynamiting the rock one shot at a time until the cold
clear wonderful water was struck.
The hundred foot long rock
wall was built later by Lee for two purposes. One was to make a wind break
for the cattle and another was to use the stone picked up off the prairie
allowing modern machinery to be able to cut and bale the hay.
The rock porch on the front
was added by Bert Peters in 1942 with a considerable amount of the work
done by Lee Otis, then around forty years old. Bert was getting older and
need the younger man's strength to help him stack the heavier rocks. This
allowed Lee to enjoy the talents at the time of the fine old rock mason.
Lee spoke affectionately of the elderly man and what he had learned from
Bert Peters work can be
seen today on the other ranches in the area, especially the Adams ranch.
People yet today are fascinated at how he was able to build rock arches
over the drive ways.