After much soul searching,
talking and discussion Rodney and I have made a decision. There was
obviously more theft as far as having stone taken off the stone porch of
the Old Jones Place. This was the thing to give us a reason to rethink
what we are trying to do.
Going back over research three things are pointed out as to being a
problem with museums. One is theft and two is the protection of guests.
All sorts of things can happen when there is a public place. The third is
the need to be well covered with insurance. As I recall when I was a girl
and according to the records I found insurance was 2000 dollars every
quarter. This was when the ranch was functioning and probably, covered all
situations from employees to equipment, buildings damage, loss of animals
or accidents involved with them. Once Grampa Jones ran into a prize stock
animal which was out on the road. The price of the animal was two
thousand, probably, something like ten thousand these days. The insurance
was well worth it in that instance. The far out location determined the
cost too. Who knows what it would be now. Because it is in a far out
place, this determines the cost
Theft of saved valuable documents is such a real possibility. I have had
things taken from my home. My grandmother's family Bible with dates and
places has completely disappeared. The librarian's sometimes will,
carefully, watch certain documents. When I went back to record some of
the things, I had found at a library the material was completely gone with
the library not knowing where it was.
The protection of guests can become a greater problem in an isolated area
such as the old ranch place when the closest lawman is seventeen miles
away and the next town is around forty or more miles away. We had friends
visiting another state. They were caught in a robbery and were bound up
inside a shed for hours before they were found and this was not in a
backward location. It wasn't on the main highways.
There can be no binding up of the family it seems in regards to their
feeling about the old place. This is a real problem because there is no
joy associated with working through a project with so much anger displayed
even after almost one hundred years. Soon the negativity begins to
permeate one's thinking too, giving a sadness and fear of failure. All
art or creation must have a happy inspiration, as far as I'm concerned.
Even if the thing doesn't touch one's own thinking it does settle upon the
young people and they become doubtful and fearful also. Exactly opposite
as to what we are trying to do.
There is not an airing of a secret in discussing these matters. Every one
of the family involved is more than willing to speak of their grief in and
around the place. Sometimes, I believe I was the only one who enjoyed so
much the beauty of the place.
Mother is so against any restoration because of the suicide (or murder) to
have happened there. Her culture teaches so strongly of evil spirits and
they avoid a place where they might be. We lived there when we were first
married and were never bothered by anything. The quiet peacefulness of
the prairie was so wonderful.
My brothers all for one reason or another will in no way get involved with
helping, supporting, or encouraging any saving of the old place. One
brother lives directly behind in a very elegant stone home. His memories
of the old place go along with the divorce between his mother and my
father, Lee Otis Jones.
There was a disagreement as to legal papers. None were signed allowing my
father to claim his part of the lands which was the Strike Ax Place.
Aunt Bertha was loving and kind and wanted my Dad close because he was the
manager and saw to the good of the whole family, but she died without
completing that part of the plan. My whole family held bitter deep anger
over that because the two ranches were destroyed without my father being
there to continue his care for them.
There are some wounds to become scars and this is just the way it is.
However, the legacy, the genealogy, the dreams of my father are forever
sealed there in the stone he carefully arranged taking nothing and making
beauty with it. This cannot be taken away.
We already have saved this for the children through our photographs and
the records kept. With this in mind we have decided to go on with our
collecting of artifacts. Rodney is going to put glass on the arbor off the
front of our home here. My daughter's family and my son both live close.
We have wonderful neighbors, who we depend upon in emergencies and this
has been a protection for the whole neighborhood.
I have been recording via video tape many of the American Indian
activities for historical records. With a DVD and a screen our guests can
study many facets of our culture. Of course, there is the wonderful
material my brother, is working to save also. A new contract leads him
into a fresh pursuit in that area.
The steel supports of the arbor can easily be covered with stone and a
duplicate of Dad's old stone porch can be made here. Then, the memory of
my Dad and his wishes to create beauty through the “art” of stone masonry
will be ever present, daily with us. We won't have the prairie out the
front, but then, one cannot have everything.
My daughter in the wheelchair was disappointment because she like me could
feel her grandfather's love through the creation of the stone porch. For
this reason we will go ahead and have the place mowed in order to cut down
on the possibility of fire. After it is cleaned up, we want to invite the
community to a cook out so they might enjoy some of the historical
documents we will take and display. There is no electricity, so it will
have to be held in the afternoon and early evening.
Our immediate family always is working to make life more enjoyable for
Rhonda. It is for her as much as anyone we will do this much. Also our
forty-sixth anniversary is coming up and we might pan to have it there.