Nancy Bellzona Collins
Jones, Joseph Hubbard Jones and their daughter, Adah Gertrude Jones
Joseph Hubbard Jones,
Father of Lee Otis Jones, was born March 7, 1863, Valley Springs,
Arkansas. He died February 1, 1955 at Tonkawa, Oklahoma, Kay county. Joe
married Belle February 8, 1889 at Harrison, Arkansas, in Boone county.
Gertrude may have been around one year old in this picture so that dates
the photograph to be circa 1890. Some of the photographs of her family
Bellzona saved go back farther.
Nancy Bellzona Collins
Jones was the daughter of Nathaniel Stewart Collins and Elizabeth Ann
Brewer Collins. She was born January 8, 1871 in Harrison, Arkansas. She
died September 9, 1945 at Foraker, Oklahoma in Osage county, Oklahoma.
Nancy Bellzona, or as she
was called, Belle, was a fragile appearing woman of small stature. She was
plagued by asthma. There were no remedies for the ailment at that time and
it was of even more courage she needed to survive. Maybe, in some strange
way the daily fight with the illness gave her the strength of character
she needed to conquer the hard life in the early days during homesteading.
The second part of her life was equally as demanding and required delicate
adjustments to live with the massive wealth her family shared when the oil
fields pumped the black gold into the purses of the inexperienced. Her
life was one of adjustment, to the driving of an ox cart from Arkansas a
day after her marriage to Joseph, and then, later on in their marriage,
settling among the Osage's encampment. In this way they survive the
drought that drove so many out of Oklahoma. She not only adjusted but
readily turned each disadvantage to an advantage. The Native Osage was in
a time of transition from their own dress to the non-Indian style of the
day. Gramma Belle sewed shirts in the rich colors and cut of her
Scottish background, a style followed today. When the oil wealth isolated
her from her neighbors she turned her energies toward her family.
Belle was a woman strong in
her belief of God, not to any particular formal worship, but in a
private daily way of living. She searched the scriptures for answers to
her problems. Her old Bible falls apart to the scripture about "How the
Iron Did Swim," out of Second Kings, chapter six. Probably, it was a
miracle that many of these pioneers did survive. Survive they did and in
this way they will be a model for their descendants who are equally faced
with greater challenges.
As humans, we tend to
remember the good and forget the bad. There is no point in making Belle
appear to be a saint. She wasn't. Her attitudes were highly opinionated.
She also was a staunch republican. Belle and Joe had heated battles,
in their living room, over politics. He was just as strong, a democrat.
Bellzona believed "children
should be seen and not heard." Heaven help the child, who challenged her
authority. She wasn't cruel, never put a hand on us, but had a way of
letting a child know when they were out of line. If the method was of the
Indian mothers in a “hard-staring us down” way, we have to admit; It
worked. What made the discipline tolerable was the fact that all were
subject to it, no matter the age or station. The family called her "the
old lady," and, indeed, she was that.
She had family in Arkansas,
Texas and Missouri. Many of them relocated to the area around where she
lived in the Osage of Oklahoma. From there they spread out over the state
and still have descendants living here.
Only once did she bend in
her strict adherence to Puritanical teachings. Gramma Bell deviated from
her beliefs in allowing a Christmas tree and gifts under it into her house
the last year of her life. A child of eight was old enough to wonder,
“what is wrong with Gramma?”
Belle saved the old poem
that said, “She would have died for her sons.”
Her daughter-in-law, Velma,
who knew her well, commented, “Yes, she would have done that.”