Mary had been very attached to the property, though she did not live on it continuously during her life time. She and her siblings are said to have been born in the house and her cremated ashes had been returned there and spread in the yard. She was reportedly a very interesting woman, though I never knew her, not having lived in this area until 2006. Mary Frances Jones was a bit of a local celebrity. People still refer to my house as “the Mary Jones” place.
Mary was an avid gardener, with a passion for flowers. The local nursery remembers her well, as she hired them each year to maintain and expand her gardens. She also had an affinity for the visual arts. She held many art shows in the yard in her later years, inviting local artists to show their work, and displaying much of her own. Her art work was very delicate, modeled on Japanese form. We discovered several pieces still at the house, but unfortunately they were damaged with mold from being stored in in the basement.
She was also a staunch Methodist and very involved in the church. She supported the work of the Methodist Missionaries around the world, both spiritually and financially. She, herself had been a missionary in her youth. From the time she was a very young girl Mary had aspired to visit and work in India. Yes, she was a very interesting person, a local celebrity in her own right. People who knew her in her old age often describe her as being very upright, very proper, spiritual, a perfectionist and, perhaps, a little set in her ways, hard to please, strict; yet, in her youth Mary Frances Jones could be seen as very progressive for her time.
Mary Francis Jones was born 10/5/1915 (Star Gazette-2002) to William Lodwick Jones and Luella Ault. She was one of five children. The Jones were very involved with the Odessa Methodist church and raised their children with civic pride and a desire to help their fellow man. Mary embraced these teachings and, as a child, longed to serve in the foreign education field, as an emissary for Christ, in India. She graduated from Odessa High school and went to the Ithaca College, earning a degree in Physical Education and English. Following College, she worked as a teacher for 9 years at Williamson Central schools.
In those 9 years, Mary never lost sight of her dream to serve overseas. India was not in her cards, however. In 1948 Mary was finally given the opportunity to travel overseas. Having heard about the bombing of Hiroshema, Mary was moved to go to Japan and help the bombing victims. She approached the Methodist church for sponsorship and entered missionary work on special assignment. Mary spent 3 1/2 years in post WWII Japan before returning to her family in Odessa in the summer of 1952. Mary spent the summer visiting with friends and relatives and caring for her sick mother. Luella Jones passed away on 8/31/1952. She was able to live long enough to see her daughter consecrated on 7/26/1953 as a regular missionary for the Methodist church. Upon her mother’s death the family home in Odessa passed to Mary.
Following her mother’s death, Mary returned to college and achieved her Master’s degree in religious education from Union Theological School. She also took classes at Columbia University’s teacher’s college and Scanett College in Nashville Tenn. Mary returned to her work in Japan in 1959 and remained there for another 5 years, rebuilding the Aikaen Social Center, established a scholarship program for needy children of Japan and developed day care and counseling programs at the center.
After returning to the states Mary settled in New Jersey with her longtime friend, Elizabeth Winton. Mary worked as a guidance counselor for the Newark City Hospital school of nursing. On 2/13/1976 Mary added Elizabeth’s name to the deed to the house. On 3/2/1981 Elizabeth gave her portion back to Mary and had her name removed from the deed.
Ever tireless and civic minded, following her retirement Mary returned to Odessa and immersed herself in local affairs, and in her church. Mary was the driving force behind the establishment of the Schuyler County NY Environmental management council and helped to develop the Odessa recycling center. Mary was instrumental in the establishment of Earth day celebrations in Schuyler county as well as the inter faith peace group and “My Mother’s Garden” club. She served on the village planning board and updated the village zoning ordinance.
Mary was awarded the Paul Harris award for her work for world peace and honored by the county in 2002 for her service on the county’s environmental management board and for her environmentalist vision. Mary Frances Jones worked her entire life to shape the world in a way that would benefit all of mankind. She died on 11/3/2003, leaving no children, no spouse but a monumental legacy in her wake. The Village of Odessa, the County of Schuyler and the country of Japan have much to remember her for.
THE JONES FAMILY
We are working backward on this one, starting with the most recent family members and working our way back. We start here with the family of William Lodwick Jones and Luella Ault.
William L. Jones was born in Odessa Schuyler NY on 1/15/1879. He had brown hair and brown eyes and was of medium height and build, (WWI draft record). Will, as his friends called him, was a hardworking man, a miller by trade. In 1920 Will is recorded in the US census as living on Orchard Street in Odessa and working as a laborer on the Holly Farms. Will married Luella Ault in or around 1905. They had five children, (see below). Will died 1/2/1925 at the age of 46, leaving Louella (Lou as her friends called her,) to raise the children alone. William was the son of Nicoll Jones F. and Deborah A. Merwin. Luella was the daughter of Charles Ault and Anna Shelton.
Children of William Jones and Luella Ault:
John Paul Jones B. 4/20/1906 Odessa NY-D. 3/27/1980 in California-buried at sea. Married Eunice Rannings Madden. Eunice had married very briefly before marrying John and had one daughter from her prior marriage. John Jones raised her as his own. John Paul and Eunice Rannings Jones were also called to civic services. John moved his small family from Odessa Schuyler County NY and settled in The Trumansburg, Tompkins County area, outside of Ithaca NY. He was known locally as “the Cider King” because for many years he and Eunice owned and operated a cider Mill in Perry City New York. In 1960 the state threatened to shut down a local senior living complex known as the Tompkins home and farm. The state expected the county to make major repairs or they were going to shut it down. John Paul and Eunice were not to let that happen. They took over management of the farm and went to work making the necessary improvements. Within 3 months they were ready for the state inspection, which they passed with flying colors. The facility, then home to 28 senior citizens was recertified.
John Paul and Eunice continued managing the facility and within a years’ time, (1961) they had increased residency to 88 people, 60 more than the year before. Under their management the farm prospered and they were able to supply most of the food used in the facility and in 1968 produced a surplus of beef, poultry, eggs, pork, potatoes and vegetables worth $9700. John was honored that year by the NY State Bureau of agriculture and markets and, in a separate ceremony in New York City , by the NY City Center for the Elderly. The couple retired in May of 1973 and eventually moved to California to relax and enjoy their final days. They had the following children; Susan Madden, William L. Jones, Rebecca Jones,
Charles L. Jones B. 1911 Odessa NY- D10/28/1994. Married 6/25/1936 C. Elizabeth Thomas. They had one son: Thomas C. Jones
Anna Amelia Jones B; 2/27/1912-D. 7/30/2013 age 101. Married 1938-Llewellyn Clarence Edwards and moved to Avoca NY. They had three sons; L. Clifford Edwards Jr., Nicoll Edwards, William Edwards
Mary Frances Jones B: 10/5/1915 D: 11/3/2003. No marriage, no children.
Myrtle Stanley Jones: B; 1919 Odessa NY died: 4/4/2005 in Montour Falls NY Married x2- 1st-2/11/1939 -Edward Lovell , 2nd- 1958 Kurt Stepphen. Myrtle had the following children; John Lovell, Frederick Lovell, Mary Anna Lovell, Raymond Steffen.
Stay tuned for our next installment. There is a lot more to come.