May (pronounced, "your a May") Jones, Holt, Finn, daughter of
Metza He Bertha Big Eagle, Jones and Dennis Homer Flynn Jones was born May
2, 1923. She died November 29, 1974. This picture was taken in 1940 when
she was elected Pow Wow princess of the Ponca Tribe due to the efforts of
her uncle, Lee Otis Jones's wife, Velma Louise Pensoneau Jones.
Lee and Velma ranched
"The Strike Axe Place" which adjoined Ura May's father's ranch.
Ura May's mother, Metza
Bertha Big Eagle died when she was fourteen. Dennis Homer Flynn Jones, her
father, became her source of encouragement. Because Dennis was away a lot
of the time, the responsibility of the ranch and the children fell to Lee
Ura May had a beautiful,
trained soprano voice. Her aunt Velma was anxious to see her perform.
While wearing this dress, she sang the song, Indian Love Call in the Miss
Oklahoma contest. Under spot lights, casting a shadow from her Eagle head
piece she made a striking impression.
Tragedy seemed to follow
the family around Ura May. First with her mother, Bertha. Her brother,
Warren Curtis Jones, was shot and killed by his wife's uncle, and Ura May
herself died with cancer. She left four young sons with the responsibility
upon the older to raise the younger. It wasn't unusual for so much grief
as well as pleasure to be brought to the members of the Osage Tribe. The
amount of the oil wealth surrounding them was responsible for this.
Dennis, her father,
protected Ura May from the hard realities required in preserving the
family land and funds and she was not aware he was doing so. He sacrificed
everything he owned to finance his last court battle in order to keep the
land and oil royalties for her children, his grandchildren. In doing this
he literally became ragged and thin. His surviving days were spent with
his brother, Lee, who had to be responsible for his medical necessities
because of Dennis's pendulum like mental health, which could easily be
understood due to his valiant fight for his remaining family.
Doggedly, Dennis set his
jaw to his purpose and didn't waver until he had won his battle through
the courts. To win, he sold an article a month from the material wealth
accumulated. One month, a silver sword, the next month, a piece of cut
glass, a player piano and on like this for eight years. The estate was
totally depleted but the oil royalties and the lands were held for his
Osage grandsons. Dennis and Bertha's lovely ranch home that was lavishly
furnished was like a battlefield stripped of its green fields.
The few things left were
scavenged. Occasionally something of theirs shows up in a museum. The
house itself, sets in total disrepair, with tenant houses, dairy-barn,
hay-barn, two car garages are all lost. These were the last reminders of
the owner's triumphs and sorrows.
Dennis died a pauper and
was buried apart from his family in a cemetery in Foraker, Oklahoma which
he probably helped to establish.
A well established
businessman of Ponca City, Herman Smith "Smitty," who had known
Dennis through the years dropped by the house on a casual visit. Dennis
was walking across the yard toward the back of the lot. Smitty made the
comment, "Well, there's the old gentleman."
Ura May is buried in
As of 1998, three of her sons, John,
Author have expired. Author was an attorney.
Ura May in informal dress, standing beside her
Warren, Ura May's brother in front of them.