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Of Events in the Life of

F. F. Jones

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PERIOD OF 1910-1920

Albert and Dona were married February 23, 1910. The house on the Taylor County farm burned in the fall of 1910. A new house was erected in the spring of 1911.

1912, I bought the N.Y. store fire wreck, and proceeded to clean it up and rebuild it.

The fall of 1912 I was elected State Senator, and served in the 35th G. A. in 1913, and the 36th G. A. in 1915. I was appointed a delegate to the Northwestern Road Congress meeting at Cedar Rapids, October 4, 5, 6, and 7, 1915.


May 15, 1915, Governor Clark sent me certificates of appointment on the State Board of Education. One to fill out unexpired term of Gardner Cowles, resigned, and the other for the full term of six years following. This with the understanding that I might choose to stand for reelection to the Senate in 1916, but lost in the primary. My full term appointment was confirmed by the senate in 1917 - and I stayed on the Board of Education.

In the winter of 1917, I sold my stock in the Villisca National Bank and the Bank at Morton Mills, and with the cash bought the 148-acre Oyster farm in the porth part of Villisca. Settlement was made March 2, 1918. I proceeded at once to develop it into a Poland China Hog Farm. I bought the foundation stock from Williams Bros., with some Yankee breeding in it. I kept out of the "organization" that ruined several "purebred" enterprises of Southwest Iowa. When we quit, 8 years later, it was with a profit, and customers well pleased.

In November, 1920, in the interest of a "Modern Library" for the University, and one for the State College, a committee from the State Board of Education, with our architect, Mr. Proudfoot, took a trip visiting several institutions and states, where libraries, modern in architecture and administration, had recently gone into service. One of the unsettled questions at that time was as to the relative merits of "CENTRAL" vs. "DEPARTMENTAL" libraries for our institutions. On this trip we visited other places, but will refer only to the places mentioned in the prepared itinerary.

Our committee met at St. Paul, thence to Madison, Chicago, Springfield, Ann Arbor, Toronto, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, New Haven, Hartford, Boston, and Providence. We disbanded at Boston, after busy days spent in the two libraries at Harvard University, the City Library, the State House Library, and the Boston Museum.

I left Friday night about midnight and came home by way of Bath, N.Y., where again I visited my cousins over Sunday. Travel for the trip was about 4,000 miles.

PERIOD OF 1920-1930

Hog business at Breview was continued up to 1926, with about two profitable public sales a year. No fancy prices were charged, and we think every customer was well treated.

We spent 1923 Christmas in New York. In December, 1926, Albert and Dona, as guests of wife and I, made a trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. We were all guests of Letha while in New York, and at Christmas time.


When we came to Villisca in 1882, Smith and Son owned a combined elevator and grist mill located about where the stock yards are now. Villisca was very prompt in calling a mass meeting for the purpose of raising funds to assist in replacing this utility. I went over to the meeting with F. G. Waterman. Our two lawyers, F. P. Greenlee, and W. H. Redman, were both there ready for business. They argued and abused each other, quibbled and fussed over non-important details of the subscriptions until late in the night. The meeting was finally dismissed and no subscription was ever taken, and the property was never replaced.


Shortly after this, the old well system - one well on each side of the public square, with a tub on four wheels and a man-power pump - was abandoned. The city council then contracted for a modern water system. This consisted of a large well and steam pump at the lower end of third avenue, with a cast main running up third avenue to a wooden tank on top of the hill with automatic cut-off for pressure. Improvements from time to time have been added, until we have the splendid system of today. At that time, the jail, fire-fighting equipment and meeting-places for firemen, and city council were all located on what is now the west half-lot of the Villisca Implement Company's property.


I was elected to the city council the year the saloons were put out of business, so we did not have the usual license fees to use for expenses. There were unpaid warrants outstanding of over two thousand dollars. Many citizens thought the new council would have a hard time to make "ends meet." However, at the end of six years the record stood - no new debts, old warrants all paid, two new and larger wells, fed by springs, added, and two water mains had been extended. One mill had been cut from tax levy, and another mill used in starting a sinking fund, making a two-mill reduction in available cash. Less taxes, no new debts, old warrants paid off, a "pay as you go" system working and a balance in the treasury, was thought to be evidence of good management! The sinking fund never grew larger. The next council used it for expenses and went right on, with no arrangements for payment, issuing warrants at will and expecting some one to pay them. As cashier, I refused to pay longer in the absence of a guarantee. What the mayor said to me on that question was not very complimentary, but he called a meeting to consider the matter. The city clerk came to the bank that evening as we were closing, and requested me to represent him at that called meeting. He turned over his books with his resignation, and requested me to explain, and "tell the FACTS to the council!"

When I appeared in the council chamber, the mayor was calling the council to order. He suggested that if Jones had business with the council, it was a good time right then to make it known. I told the council what the books were, how I came to have them, what the accounting showed, and the request of the clerk. The books and figures were correct and showed a shortage of over two thousand dollars, about the amount of the overdraft at the bank. The clerk had failed to turn in the water rents collected and could not pay it back then. "Give me a chance," he begged, "and I will repay it!" A discussion followed as to how such shortages could be avoided.

One member of that surprised council died in Villisca in 1940.


In the early days of electric lighting, it was decided to install them on the streets of Villisca. In our investigations, we finally went to see Arc Lights at Maryville, Mo., and on over to Stanbury, Mo., to see a town with carbon lamps over the center of each street intersection. The Stanbury system was cheaper and we liked it better, so we recommended that system for Villisca, and the city followed our advice.


I have had the pleasure of business and pleasure trips, so that I have seen our east coast from Florida to Canada, and our west coast from Canada to Los Angeles, and southern Canada from Vancouver, most of the way to Montreal. In addition to these, I have made business trips to most of the large cities in the middle west.

While a member of the "Prison Reform Commission," we visited cities having outstanding reformatories, including Kankakee, Illinois, Elmira, N.Y., and Concord Junction Mass.

While a member of the Insurance Commission, we attended the National Convention of Insurance Commissioners at Chicago.

My first trip as a member of the State Board of Education, was to visit new dental schools and check up on "up-to-date" arrangements of dental buildings. The foundations for our new dental buildings at Iowa City was already in, but differences of opinion arose as to a more modern arrangement of clinics and laboratories. Besides the ordinary dental buildings, we visited the beautiful new building at Philadelphia, a gift from a citizen. It cost over a million dollars and was used entirely for a graduate dental school, and said to be the finest in America. We also visited the 5c children's dental clinic in Boston. There is no other dental office like this. Each child brought 5c with each visit. Our report must have been satisfactory, because I never heard a complaint afterwards, and the building was not enlarged or the clinical rooms changed.

When it was decided to establish a psychopathic hospital in connection with our great medical school at Iowa City, we discovered that there were only two full-fledged hospitals in the country from which it was possible to get worth while information - Baltimore and Philadelphia. We visited these institutions and our report recommended a program that more nearly met Iowa objectives. We thought it a better arrangement for Iowa to have a detention hospital at Iowa City, where the curables could be detained and treated, while the incurables would be sent on to our asylums already provided for the mentally sick.


When investigating libraries for Iowa City and Ames, we visited a large number of institutions and public libraries. There were so many different ideas and programs, and such a variety of systems in use, that we were unable to make recommendations for buildings that would fit, at the same time, the needs at Iowa City and at Ames.


In 1927, wife, Letha, and I visited Yellowstone Park via Billings, Montana. We went in at Cody Entrance, and out by the west entrance. We stopped over at Salt Lake City and Denver on the way home. We spent Christmas, 1927, in New York. On February 17, 1928, fire burned the roof off our home. We replaced the roof, installed a new furnace, and repainted inside and out.

EUROPE - 1929

We sailed from New York, July 7th, on the Aquitania, at 11 o'clock P.M. Called and discharged some passengers at Cherbourg, France. Docked at South Hampton and rode the boat train to London. We had rooms at the Cecil Hotel on the Strand. We enjoyed this very pleasant and restful trip.

We found London interesting, and visited the Parliament Buildings, West Minster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, British Museum, London Tower, Art Galleries, Memorials, Places, etc.

On the trip to Scotland, we rode from London to Edinburg, on the Flying "Scotsman" train, about 500 miles, without a stop. There were many interesting things to see at Edinburg. We visited the Castle, Firth of Fourth Bridge, Princess Street, the Sunken Gardens, old churches, etc. We attended church on Sunday in a church over five hundred years old.

We visited the Sir Walter Scott home down on the Tweed and several ruins of old cathedrals, roofs gone, but within the walls of which people of note are still being buried. Graves of Sir Walter Scott and General Haig are near each other at Dryburg Abbey.

From Edinburg, we went on up through the Highlands to Oban and Tobermowry and back through Scottish Lake country to Glasgow. From Glasgow, we came down through the English Lake country and back to London for a week. We crossed the Channel at Harwick and on the Continent, visited Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and France. We sailed for home from Cherbourg on the "Leviathan," August 27, 1929.


The continental trip was full of interest in things to see and experiences had. The canals of Amsterdam and a harbor below sea level looked strange. The art galleries, diamond cutting and the side trip to Marken, were all very interesting. From Brussels, we went out to the Waterloo battlefield. At Cologne we visited the great cathedral and took the boat up the Rhine on our way to Switzerland where we saw some of the fine lakes, and great mountains, with glaciers and avalanches in action. From Interlaken, we went to Paris where there are so many things to see in the city and on the trips, that we will stop to mention only a few of them seen on the trips to the battlefields out from Paris.

We spent some time at Boilou Wood, where our American boys first went into action. The trenches still stood opposing each other a few hundred yards apart. The timber between was all shot away. A few worthless guns and other equipment displayed on the trenches. Down at the foot of the hill stood the little chapel, and off in the distance ran the long rows of markers, indicating the resting places of our dead.

We stopped at Rheims. Rockefeller was repairing the cathedral. The equestrian statue of Joan of Arc still stands in front. To the north, we saw where the tanks were first used in the World War.

We later visited Versailles so beautifully landscaped, and the great Hall of Battles inside. These paintings are of great battles in which the French have fought. The most beautiful burying place we saw is where the American Aviation and Laffayette Escadrill members who lost their lives over there are buried.

We rode the boat train from Paris to Cherbourg where we joined twenty-seven hundred other passengers, on our way home. We arrived in New York, Monday morning, September 2nd, more than pleased with the trip.

PERIOD OF 1930-1940

First National closed its doors October 1930. The receivership paid depositors only 69%. Villisca National went into hands of conservator in 1933, in charge of J. L. Wheeler. Just a year later to the day, the Nodaway Valley National opened its doors under a "committee agreement" with the Villisca National and the R. F. C., approved by the Banking Department, and by this "committee" arrangement, the depositors were paid in full 100%, and some interest.

May 20, 1934, I was with the company that was invited to ride the first westbound zephyr on the "Q" from Corning to Villisca.

Albert was buried, August 4, 1935.

We spent Christmas, 1936, in New York.


In June, 1937, J. L. Palmquist went to California on very short notice and no provision for additional help, and harvest trade at hand. Carl and I did the best we could, but in a month I was "out," and not able to do much since.

I sold the implement business to Lincoln and Bixler, as of October 1, 1937. Sold Hardware business to J. L. Palmquist and Son, as of January 1, 1938.

In 1938, did some repairing and improvements at the Block and established an office there. Spent Christmas, 1938, in New York, arrived home in that big snow of March 1, 1939. Took a cold a couple of weeks later, and was under doctor's care nearly two months. Madam had rheumatism at the same time.


Joe was in my employ for many years. There never was any friction between us. No one was trusted with my checkbook farther than he. I always considered him a gentleman and worthy of confidence as an employee. He was a church man, a citizen, and a lover of his home. I never changed my mind and no one ever heard me express any other opinion of Joe Moore.

In the last grand jury investigation of the "Moore" case, state officials were in charge. They used the "Dope Sheets" and "Statements of Testimony" furnished by Wilkerson. This grand jury, according to its report, was unable to find any reliable evidence that would support the Wilkerson accusations against any person or persons.

This grand jury report, in connection with the known "clean record" of J. B. Moore, should reinstate him in the full confidence of any persons who ever doubted his integrity.


In the early days of Wilkerson's activities here, Scott Smith became one of his supporters and remained such until the meeting of the last grand jury, state officials in charge, of which he was a member. At the conclusion of the hearing, he signed the reports, along with the others, making it unanimous.

A few days later, he called to me in front of Albert Wolfe's office and said, "I have just been finding out what an awful fool I made of myself in that Wilkerson matter. I wish to make all the amends I can for those blunders."

I said to him in reply, "Scott, your statement is satisfactory and all right with me. That is all past history now, let's forget it!"

After a short conversation, we shook hands and parted.


When I took charge of the Farmers Bank, January 1, 1895, Tom had been the bookkeeper for several years with the Citizen's Bank. He continued with us until after we had organized the Villisca National Bank, and he had worked twenty-four and a half years at that one desk.

We tried to keep him longer, enough to make it a twenty-five year service, anyway, but his family was already in Lincoln and he quit. We thought he would be ready to return in a month, but de did not think so. So we went ahead and closed a deal with T. C. Huff, who had just sold his drug store. Tom was tired of loafing in two weeks and offered to return if the job was still open, but it was then too late.

Many interesting incidents occurred while Tom was with us. I will mention two or three of them.

I had worked in the Banes Store several years where no work was done on Sunday, no even the business mail was removed from the Post Office. I had followed the same rule in my business, business mail untouched until Monday morning, and no work on Sunday. Sunday Work vs. Sunday School.

A few weeks after the Farmers' Bank opened up, Jack Spargur and I went down to the bank after the Sunday School supplies left there on Saturday. We found Tom doing some clean-up work on his books as had been his custom. I told him what the rule would be on Sunday work and wound up by inviting him to go up to Sunday School with us. He hesitated a moment and said he was not fixed to go that morning, but would go with me next Sunday morning, which he did. He joined the men's class I was teaching and for over two years was seldom ever absent, and took an unusual interest in the class and its work. Before closing the bank Saturday evenings, we often discussed the lesson for the next morning. One Saturday night he informed me that he would not be at Sunday School the next morning.

"Out of town?" I asked.

"No, I am quitting!"

"Quitting! What in the name of sins--"

Tom kept on talking, "I wish you would express to the class in the morning my appreciation of the consideration and kindness and the fine treatment they have accorded me at all times. They have been a great help to me and I am the better for it."

"You know," he went on, "that my wife and youngsters are members of the Presbyterian Church across the way."

"Yes," I said, "I know."

Then, in not a very steady voice, he said, "I am joining church with them over there at the morning service tomorrow."


Tom loved flowers and every winter had the bank windows full of them. Among his collection, one winter, he had a scraggly looking bush with a long name, and a few yellow flowers on it. He showed it off with every opportunity.

Harv Shiffer was working in the bank at that time and discovered some tassels in a store down town, exactly the same shape and color as the flowers appearing on Tom's plant. He got some thread the same color as the bark and succeeded in sewing on blossoms, all the traffic would bear, and now one the wiser.

I made some remark about the unusual number of flowers on that plant one evening and Harv informed me that they had not all grown on that bush, and told the story. He was anxious to have Tom introduced to the wonderful flower display in a way that would be "suitable to the occasion." I suggested that he get J. M. Patton to make the introduction. He was a good friend of Tim's and would "shine" on a job like that.

Mr. Patton came down with his deposit the next afternoon when the bank was full of customers. "Wise John" and "innocent Tom" proceeded to put on a "show" that caused us to run nearly an hour past closing time before we could get things in shape so we could quit.

The last I knew of the blossoms, Tom was corresponding with Shiffer, who had gone to the Klondike, and was enclosing a yellow flower in every letter he mailed to him.


Tom had been gone to Lincoln several weeks when the famous money famine struck the banks of the country. Finances were in good shape, but correspondent banks refused to ship currency. When it got scarce, everyone wanted it. The banks were criticized and no one knew what the outcome would be. In our mail one morning was a great fat letter from Tom. When I opened it, a pile of checks, C. of D.'s and drafts came tumbling out. His letter read:"

"Dear Jones: Here are my earthly possessions. Keep them till I come. I do not know these bankers out here nor their banking methods. I do know about the old bank back there.

The last visit I had with this faithful old friend was when he came along a few weeks later, gathering up these "earthly possessions."


As stated elsewhere in this booklet, I was in the employ of Mr. Banes for several years. I wish to add this testimony to what has been said.

I never knew Mr. Banes to show any disposition to take advantage of anyone or take a nickel more than belonged to him in any transaction. However, Dave Whitmyer made some remark about Vicksburg when in the store one day, and Mr. Banes asked at once, "Dave, were you boys down at Vicksburg?"

"Well--," says Dave, "didn't we get all your blankets and extra equipment the first night you camped out at ---?"

Mr. Banes made no reply. He needed no further evidence. I asked him about it afterward, and how they got along.

"Oh," he says, "we just waited for the next 'green horn' regiment to come along and camp somewhere near us."


I received at my desk one morning, at the time I was a member of the Iowa House, a note from Mr. Aldrich, curator of the Historical Department, stating that W.W. Merritt was in town. He wanted me to locate him, and together, be his guests for luncheon and spend the afternoon with him at the Historical building, which Mr. Merritt and I were happy to do. That's how I came to see the treasures of that department that are not often seen by outside parties. It was a great treat to spend a half day with Mr. Aldrich and Mr. Merritt and the treasures.


For many years a man by the name of Patten conducted an experimental farm, twenty acres or so, at Charles City, Iowa. He had developed the famous Patten's Greening Apples and had developed apples, peaches, and the fruits that would stand the winters many miles further north than ever before. I was a member of the committee that went up there and bought the little farm for the State, thus saving this valuable experimentation for more hardy fruit.


There had always been more or less agitation regarding the removal of our penitentiary from Fort Madison to some more central location, in order to save travel and expense. Governor Garst and I were sent down there to investigate and report on the proposition.

We were hardly inside the walls before we were besieged by employees for salary increases. Garst, a good politician, promised 'em all, "Soon as we could get around to it!" I asked him about these promises later. "Well," he said, "there were so many asking that we could do little else. It made them happy for the time, but it may be a long time before 'we can get around to it!"

The location of that penitentiary is bad - physically as well as geographically, and, at that time, a disgrace to the state. Not much to move. Better a new outfit!

It was snowing when we arrived at Ottumwa that evening. Our train was held an hour for the railroad commissioners to arrive. When we reached Prairie City, trains were fast in drifts, and we were held again. We reached Des Moines about noon the next day.


C. C. Dowell was chairman of appropriations in the Senate the winter I was chairman of appropriations in the House. The "Omnibus" bill constructed by these two committees is considered one of the most important appropriation bills of each session and usually takes a full day's time for its consideration in each house.

For some cause the construction of this bill this session fell to Dowell for the Senate, and Jones for the House. We did a good job, we thought, but when considered in the Senate on Saturday, it was badly used, amended out of shape, and holes punched in it all over. It was due in the House Monday morning. The designated manager, when he saw the mutilated bill, was "too sick" to handle it and backed out entirely. Sunday afternoon, the Governor and Speaker made "special request" that I handle the bill. We spent the full day on the floor with that bill. At night, we reported back to the Senate their "enacting clause," but beneath it the original house bill (House and Senate bills are alike) with a very few "agreed to" changes. We did not lose a roll call in the day's work, which in it self was pronounced a record.

Mr. Dowell was a congressman for twenty-two years, and died in the harness last February. His body was brought back to Des Moines for burial.


A prominent writer and lecturer and woman suffrage organizer, and graduate of State College at Ames. She was present at one of the great Alumni Banquets a few years since. The speakers' table was near the center on one side of the immense armory. President Pearson delegated me as her escort at the banquet. The gracious lady could not but know that she had an amateur for an escort, but she managed things so expertly, I doubt if more than a few others found it out.

The National Institute of Social Sciences, on May 7, 1940, at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, presented to Mrs. Catt, Mr. Willkie, and Dr. West, gold medals in honor of their distinguished services to humanity.


Along about 1912, several successful blackmail stunts were pulled off, all following the "PLAN" about as outlined below.

I.--The VICTIM, who must have standing and be able to pay.

II.--The OPERATOR, who is able to create evidence, false or twisted, and persuade people to believe and take sides, even against their own better judgment - a good mixer with certain classes!

III.--The PUBLICITY or SCARE MAN, whose work hitches up with the work of the operator in suggesting ruin and disgrace for the chosen victim.

IV.--The CONFIDENCE MAN, who presents the terms of settlement agreed upon by the trio, and undertakes a settlement.

The active members of the Villisca trio that fit so perfectly into the pattern then being used by "blackmailers," were J. N. Wilkerson, operator and "evidence fixer;" jack Boyle, publicity writer and publisher of the illustrated write-ups in the Kansas City Post; and a Mr. "Daley," who, in 1915, offered a complete blackmail settlement, including delivery of Wilkerson documents, for $25,000.00.

Concerted action on the part of this TRIO certainly shows an understanding between them that evidences the belief that they were more interested in collecting a "blackmail fee" than in pursuing further the solution of the Villisca crime.

Then too, the report of the state supervised grand jury shows that this jury used Wilkerson's lists of witnesses and "dope sheets," but the jury was unable to discover any reliable evidence that would stand up against any one. The report does not say that they were unable to find SUFFICIENT reliable evidence; it says that they were unable to find "ANY RELIABLE EVIDENCE." If they were unable to find reliable evidence in 1917, the date of the report, certainly there was none in 1915 when these men were offering to sell out and "QUIT" for $25,000.00.

The active members of this "TRIO" fit so perfectly into the "pattern" the blackmailers were using, that we feel justified in offering a few suggestions regarding these men and some features of their activities, not generally discussed at the time.


He first appeared in Villisca as a Texas land agent. Later he posed as a Burns detective assigned to the Moore murder case. When we first became aware of his presence here, his associates were anything but detectives. He traveled the country over hunting up, arranging, and editing so called "evidence." He spent much time in getting affidavits and coaching his friends as to how he expected them to testify in what proved to be an effort to build up a case to where it could be used as a basis of settlement with the Joneses. He imposed upon the churches, the relatives and friends of Joe Moore, and upon many other good people, especially of Villisca and Red Oak. He persuaded many to sign affidavits and agree to "dope sheets" that were repudiated by them later when called before the grand jury, conducted by sate officials, and their final report so states. This grand jury investigation of 1917 not only used Wilkerson's "dope sheets" and "statements," but called and carefully examined his list of one hundred and sixty witnesses, and then made a "unanimous" final report to the judge. Here is the statement regarding the "Testimony" word for word as published in said report and the newspapers:

"We have been unable to discover any sufficient creditable testimony upon which we would be warranted in returning an indictment against any person or persons which, in our judgment, would warrant any jury under the law, in returning a verdict of "Guilty" against any person or persons." (See Nonpareil 4-6-17, Red Oak Sun 4-17-17, Villisca Review 4-7-17, Des Moines Register 4-17-17, and others).


He wrote the articles for the Kansas City Post and was very active with Wilkerson in Villisca on Old Settlers' Day, 1915, and acted as the "Scare" man in the "Hold-up" scheme along with Wilkerson and Daley.

This man, Jack Boyle, was a gifted magazine and newspaper writer, but was also an opium fiend and a criminal. He had served time in both the California and Colorado state prisons. He was in trouble again in Kansas City--"White Slave Charge" and was caught again in 1917 running an "Opium Joint." (See Nonpareil 1-19-17, and you have the whole story--including his visit to Iowa with J. N. Wilkerson).


He was the confidence man of the trio, and said his name was "Daley," but refused to give more of his name or any information regarding himself, other than that he was a "FRIEND" of both sides and was authorized to make a settlement that would stop all activities at once. He arranged by phone and came after night up to my library where he made the proposals. (We had friends listening in!)

He stated that he was prepared to deliver all "Evidence and Affidavits" and call off the "Investigation" upon payment of $25,000.00.

As his "shakedown" was a complete failure, they changed tactics, it seems, and commenced holding public meetings.


In July of the next year, 1916, Wilkerson arrested Wm. Mansfield in Kansas City, gave him a so-called "Third Degree" and lodged him in jail at Red Oak. When the grand jury met, the evidence was found so weak that the cases were promptly dismissed, and the prisoner free.

Mansfield then sued the Burns agency and recovered a judgment for $2,250 for that false arrest and THIRD DEGREE! (See Red Oak Sun 4-17-17, Des Moines Register 4-17-17).


Judge Deemer of Red Oak, in an article on criminal procedure, published in January, 1908, says, "The basic and radical difference between Anglo-Saxon and Roman law is that the former holds a man innocent until proven guilty by orderly processes of the law--Grand Jury, adequate defense and jury trial. The Latin or Roman law does not require the accuser to furnish proof as to the Truth of His Accusation. So, it is the Latin rule that is used as a defense by the mob." The "party" often lynches the wrong "nigger." The excuse is, "We gave him a chance and he failed to prove himself innocent."

The innocent old lady accused of witchcraft by children who had "fits," unable to prove her innocence, was compelled to meet the awful fate of a witch.

In old heathen courts the same principle was often used. If unable to prove innocence, the helpless prisoner was given a portion of deadly poison. If he lived he was innocent; if he died he was guilty. Even educated people in Montgomery county have been heard to say, "If innocent, let him prove it." That means that the burden of proof is upon the ACCUSED. The law that affords us protection holds that the ACCUSER must prove his accusations true. That means that the burden of proof is upon the ACCUSER.


Both the report and the bills recommended by the Prison Reform Commission were written in my library, and I had charge of the bills on the floor of the House. They provided for Parols and an indeterminate sentence system, and changed the Prison at Anamosa into a Men's Reformatory.

The Minority Report of the Insurance Commission also was written in my library. The bills themselves were agreed to around the table in our office in the State Capitol. Several important changes were suggested in the life insurance laws regarding the handling of Deferred Dividends. The most important change recommended by the commission in our Fire Insurance Laws was the Uniform Policy Bill. In Iowa, no more important to the insured, legislation has ever been had. It is Sec. 1758-B of the code, all in one place and penalties for violations.


Before finishing my work as a legislator, I succeeded in codifying the appropriation laws for state educational institutions, reducing them from fifty-six, hard to understand, laws into six laws that could be read in a few minutes, and understood by any intelligent person.


In my five sessions in the Iowa Legislature, I found it something of a handicap to have no newspaper support or publicity at home. However, I got by fairly well by making a good record and building a reputation in the legislature itself. A check-up of those five sessions will show that no member received more recognition in desirable special committee work and trips and appointments on prominent "Commissions" than "Jones of Montgomery."

The first bill I introduced, H. F. 371, was the State Highway Commission Bill of 1904. Dr. Brindley, in his "History of Road Legislation in Iowa," gives a full chapter to the Commission and says, page 220, it is not too much to say that the creation of the State Highway Commission by the General Assembly in 1904 marked an important turning point in the history of road legislation in Iowa. On page 217, he says that "the history of road legislation and administration in Iowa since 1904 is in a very large measure the history of the State Highway Commission."

It was easy to see that something needed to be done for Iowa highways other than write laws. So, when I wrote this bill, I had the promise that Ames College would, if the bill passed, man the enterprise, give it a home, and through the Commission, furnish information, manuals, plans, helps to supervisors, demonstrations, and supervision, so that highway construction and maintenance would mean something in Iowa, to the farmers, and to the state.

In establishing the State Highway Commission, the College did a fine thing for it by appointing two of its best and most competent men of its faculty as supervisors of the enterprise--Dean Curtiss of the Agricultural Department, and Dean Marston, head of the Engineering Department. Professor T. H. McDonald, a man well fitted for the place, was engaged to take charge of the office and prosecute the work. We now have the experts and the builders working together on the highways. The author of the law defended it on all occasions, until it got started on its career of success. Mr. Brindley makes reference to several of these addresses. (See pages 224-230). This was the address made before the State Supervisors Convention. All the big guns were there. He gives me credit for making, from the standpoint of history of road legislation, the "most important" address made before the convention. (See page 230).


At North Grove in 1877, C. Teeman was superintendent of the Sunday School, and I was the assistant superintendent. At Villisca in 1882, Hull was the Pastor, and J. S. Boise was the superintendent of the Sunday School. I commenced teaching in Sunday School at once, and had the bad boys' class. Soon I was assistant superintendent, and while Reverend Redburn was renovating things in 1894, I became superintendent. The prospect for success did not look good to me. There was too much dissention and lack of support, but Redburn insisted and made a lot of promises, so I took the job. Dissentions evaporated almost immediately as is shown by the following incident. It was while we were yet in the old church, some church paper suggested that the Sunday Schools furnish no treats at their Christmas entertainments and turn in the money to benevolences or something.

The matter was discussed and we finally agreed to follow the suggestion.

We had the entertainment all right, but I felt, as we stood up for the dismissal, that our youngsters had not had exactly a square deal. No treats and no Santa Claus. I was ashamed of it, but too late then.

Before the preacher got to the platform for the dismissal, Bang! Open flew the entrance doors, and in rushed TWO Santa Clauses, the Old Saint and his wife. Attendants followed with baskets of candies, nuts and treats for all.

What a happy time we had!

I resigned during Reverend Boyd's pastorate in 1924, after about thirty years of one of the most satisfactory relationships I ever maintained in our outside of the church. We enjoyed the support of willing workers, loyal teachers and officers from among the best and most efficient of the church membership. There were changes in personnel during the thirty years, but not in loyal support. I did not attend the elections for the last several years, so that the board would not be influenced by may presence. We used a fine installation service for the teachers, and had a well-attended weekly teachers' meeting for over twenty-five years, during which time there were practically no meetings canceled. Summer or winter, teachers and officers knew the meeting would be held and when and where, and that it would commence on time. The objectives were information and enthusiasm for the "workers," and greater efficiency in the teaching. Teachers were provided also with a lot of usable material for use in their class work.

For a long time I had connection with State Association Work with all the "new kinks" in Sunday School management. I was State Treasurer for a time, and later, chairman of the Executive committee, which committee managed the enterprise. I attended several state conventions, and in 1902, attended the one at Sioux City, and in June of that year, wife and I attended the International Sunday School Convention at Denver.

When we built the new church in 1896, after the Hohanshelt revival, I was a member of the Building committee. As a board, we were unable to secure the location we wanted. Too many talking; inside information leaking out. It was thought that one man could do better. So they asked me to take the job. It took some time and patience. The estate we were dealing with was in Nebraska. We were careful to let no one know about the progress of negotiations until we had a signed contract ready to present.

Thus my relationship with the M. E. Church in Villisca, continued on in a most pleasant and satisfactory condition for many years. When I became a member of the Villisca Church in 1882, the church had poor credit, poor management, not very high social standing, six hundred dollar preachers, and that salary not always paid in full. I helped secure a needed loan from the Church Extension Society, and helped pay it off. I helped pay for the bell tower and bell in 1884, and for the "wings" added by Brother Campbell.

Soon after we occupied the new church in 1896, I made up a record of church transactions up to that time, and placed them in a box, together with deeds, documents, subscription lists, and correspondence regarding the new church enterprise, and other papers, a book full of information for future interested members, and deposited the box in the vaults of the Villisca National Bank for safe keeping.

I was NOT on the committee that was sent out to investigate Organs, and came back in debt for Vocalion organ, of doubtful value to us!

I WAS on the committee that later remodeled the choir loft, and bought and installed, out of debt, a good new pipe organ. I rendered other services, along with these, and lived to see our church in good credit and standing with a harmonious and aggressive membership, a good church home, and finances up with the best in our district.

This church building of 1896 was burned to the ground Sunday morning, November 6, 1938. Its successor was built in the fall and winter of 1939 and spring of 1940. Reverend E. M. Buehler came as pastor, September, 1939.


The Banes Store erected a large number of windmills, but found occasionally a customer who wanted a better outfit than usual. We erected several of these better wooden tower jobs. (No steel towers as yet). One of these was on the old "Billy" Wilson farm, just northwest of Villisca, afterward owned by Louis Enarson for years. Another one was on the Wm. Guss farm, eleven miles southeast. The Guss tower was about the tallest in the country. Corners were five by five, and all lumber selected and painted one coat before nailed up, and one coat afterward. I took special pride in this tower as a sample of my designing and workmanship. It was painted occasionally and stood there straight and plumb and true, the tallest and best looking windmill tower in the country, a splendid "ad" for the builders, until taken down by wreckers after fifty years. When at the Guss farm some years ago, some one remarked that they had another article bought of the same clerk, and a little older than the tower. We went out to a double corn crib, and there stood a "Bennett and Franz" spring wagon, still in usable condition after forty years. B. & F. built their buggies and spring wagons to be like that.

Wm. Curtis, from east of Guss, told me of a prospect for a Minneapolis Binder, Frank Conicne, a stranger to me living south of Corning, and said he would go with me to see the prospect.

I stopped for Curtis but he was not at home. I arrived at the Conicne home about one o'clock, hot and tired and the team jaded. I could see through the window the dining table out full length and full of men. A motherly looking woman came to the porch door, only a few feet from the yard gate where I sat in my buggy.

I told her who I was and asked about dinner. She was sorry, but had her hands full for that day and it looked it. I asked for Conicne, and she sent him out into the blazing sun bareheaded. I told him who I was and wished to get a date for a Binder talk.

Mrs. Conicne understood better that time, for a boy pushed his head up beside the wheel and said, "Is your name Frank Jones?"


"From Villisca?"


"Mother says if you are Frank Jones from Villisca you may have your dinner!"

He went with me and fed the team. I stayed and helped with the job after dinner, and went home happy with a good dinner and a signed CASH ORDER for a "Minneapolis" in my pocket.

In the early days of six-foot mowers, we sold Dan Morgan, in the south end of Holt Grove eighteen miles from Villisca, a six-foot mower and a binder. A year or so later, Dan Morgan, jr., sent word he would like figures on a like outfit.

On my way over to see him I stopped to talk a minute with Joe Posten, just east of the Vint Stevens home. Before I got away, here came Mr. Stevens up the road after me to come back and stay all night. It was then mid-afternoon, and I had to se Morgan that night. "Well," says Stevens, "go on over and fix him up and come back, no matter how late. I am up these nights with asthma anyway. We will have something for you to eat." I sold the machinery and got back before dark, supper waiting. We spent most of the time till midnight going over affairs at Guss and the doings of his boys who had attended the first school I taught in Iowa. He was much interested in my work and success. He had done me many favors. He turned around and went back to Haleyville with me when I secured that school years before. He was acquainted with all of the directors. His near neighbor, Mr. Kimpton, was one of the largest depositors in our bank years later. This was my last good visit with this old friend.


In the early days of the Binder Business, we were very particular to know that everything was O.K. about the new machine before taking it to the field.

We had sold John Barton, who lived four miles southeast from Guss, a new Minneapolis. Garside and Hopkins, there setting it up, discovered a sprung casting in the binder that did not "clear" properly, and were afraid it would not work. It was too late to get help or repairs to them that day, so we arranged to be there in the morning.

Mr. Baines was at my house with a livery team at one o'clock that night with the needed repairs, and I started on the trip. I slept part of the way, and arrived there before sunrise. There stood the binder not far from the house. I glanced over it, tripped it, and turned it over. The noise had not died away before I heard the men in the house tumbling out of bed. It sounded like they were all awake, waiting for some signal, and came rushing out almost in a bunch.

Our store boys went home after we had the binder fixed. I stayed, put it in the field, helped it along a hard slough a few times, slept beside a shock part of A. M., got settlement at noontime, and came home. The old Minneapolis worked perfectly, and never caused further trouble.


Billy Hopkins and I made a trip to St. Louis while we were working for Mr. Baines, along in the 1880's, and at the exposition section of their State Fair, saw an adding machine demonstrated.

I was a member of the Villisca Chautauqua Circle, composed of what was supposed to be the "Intellectuals" of the town. For roll-calls we were expected to use anything new, novel or strange, we might get hold of during the week. I undertook to use a description of this adding machine and how it worked. Simply touch punch-buttons for the several (or a hundred, if that many) amounts to be added, turn a crank and there appeared the correct total. It would be CORRECT too, and save a lot of office time. That roll-call came near losing me my reputation for truth and veracity. My "Circle" had not heard of such a machine, and thought I was imposing upon them, and did not believe there ever was such a "critter." The matter rested there for several weeks until one of the members saw a write-up of the machine and confidence was restored.


I was fairly active and helped what I could in securing the passage of the Children's Hospital Bill, my first session in the Legislature. Acting President Macbride had charge of the University. After the Hospital had been in operation a few months, he invited me to luncheon one day. He wished to talk to me about the Children's Hospital I had helped establish. Among the stories he told about the work up there, was this one.

A poor family in the northern part of Iowa had a little boy about six years old who had never walked. The neighbors took up a collection and sent the boy by the mother to Iowa City. Some months latter, a week or so before our little visit, another collection had sent the mother back for the boy. When she arrived at the hospital, it was just breakfast time for the youngsters. The mother could not wait. The boy knew she was coming and was anxious too, so the elevator full, including President Macbride, went up to see the meeting. The boy glimpsed his mother on the elevator, swung his table around out of his way, and slipped to the floor. The mother caught sight of this movement in a room full of youngsters, walked a few steps off the elevator, fell to her knees, bowed her head, and held up her arms. Not a sound was heard except sobs, and a boyish voice--"Mama! I can walk!" President Macbride said there were no dry eyes in that audience. Fact is, tears rolled down his cheeks as he told the story.


Saloons went out of business in Villisca about 1890. An "Original Package House" was soon started by one of the old saloon keepers. I was on the committee to handle the situation. We took possession of the stock and closed the "House." Another one opened up. When we got possession of that one, they were ready to quit. Affairs went along as usual until about 1905 when an owner of a building had rented a room for a drug store. A mulet tax was assessed against the druggist and also the building. The owner circulated a petition to have the tax remitted. He asked me to sign the petition and also visit the Board of Supervisors and personally solicit a cancellation of the tax. I had always been on the other sided of the temperance questions and did not feel justified in sacrificing a life long principle adhered to for political support.

Thus came about the lack of home newspaper support while a member of the Legislature. The affair soon cleared itself up, however, for the druggist paid off the fines!

I was a member of the committee for the suppression of intemperance when the bill to repeal the "Mulet Law" was introduced. I helped rewire the bill so as to leave in the law sections that would help in law enforcement, like the mulet tax against violators, the definition of a bootlegger, etc. The bill as rewritten was passed by the temperance members.


Loans to bank officers and directors in banks I have helped manage have been very few and far between. No chronic borrowers!

On the other hand, the banks I have helped manage have not been BORROWERS of cash or funds.

The old Farmers Bank did, on one occasion only, request a credit of $5,000.00 for six days to cover a shipment of a train load of cattle from Clarinda. Something happened so that shipment did not go in a solid train, and the credit was not used.


My first campaign for nomination to office was in the fall of 1903. I had as my opponent the president of the First National Bank of Red Oak.

I carried every precinct in the county. Similar experiences have been had occasionally, but they are seldom ever repeated.

After a man has a record, no matter how good, opposers are able to find fault with it and criticize. In my case the criticism seemed to center around a Two-Cent Fare Bill. My! What a rumpus those fellows did stir up. A stranger could have concluded that more than half the voters were interested in reducing railroad fares in Iowa and that Jones was responsible for the failure. (I was not a member of the committee, and anyway, Iowa law can not regulate interstate rates).

This bill was referred to the proper committee, when introduced, for consideration and recommendation. The committee, in its report, recommended it for "indefinite postponement."

Such committee action is seldom ever reversed, and in this case the Legislature stood by its committee as usual.

After the primary, the matter was soon forgotten and I never heard anyone advocate such a measure since.


"It's the songs ye sing

And the smiles ye wear,

That's making the sunshine everywhere."


It is true; some people are a blessing. They love the things that are good and true. A glimpse into their hearts, from whence the real life flows, will show them clean, pure and honest. Other hearTs, we have reason to believe, are filthy, indecent and mean. Their lives and tongues evidence that condition. Instead of the songs, the smiles and the sunshine, they radiate enmity, suspicion and gloom. There is always trouble and contentions where such are active. Here are represented two lines of influences, one helpful and uplifting, the other harmful and "down-dragging." Community life and spirit is enriched by the one and withered by the other.


The observation, that no people ever builds up or prospers whose ears are "open" to idle talk or whose hears easily "turn" to the demagogue, is worthy of consideration.


To Miss McPherson, the high school teacher, whose words of encouragement have been an inspiration through the years!

To my School Friends in Illinois and in Iowa from Hawleyville to Brooks!

To my Business Patrons, whose patronage and commendation contributed to my success in business!

To my Political Friends, whose support helped me to places of influence and standing among the Officials and Legislators of Iowa.

To our M. E. Sunday School, whose loyalty to the Superintendent and the Cause never wavered over a period of thirty years. I have not forgotten the many tokens of respect received from you--they several teacher's bibles, the pieces of jewelry, the dictionary, the easy chair, etc. They awaken pleasant memories of those active years.

To my Personal Friends, Employees, Business Associates, Villisca M. E. Preachers, active or retired, together with the groups mentioned above, I am under obligation to all--the living and the dead--and so am saying to you in the closing words of this booklet--THANK YOU!


There is, however, a man who was pastor of the M. E. church here for eight years, whose services to me personally and to the church and community at large, was of such character and value that the "thanks" as usually applied are insufficient to express my appreciation of this outstanding citizen, pastor and friend. So to you, Brother Menoher, I bring additional greetings in this personal mention and again Thank You!

Also to the Legislators of five G. A.'s, and members of the "State Board of Education," I am under lasting obligation to you and Thank You!

This "Write-Up" is not a Life History nor an Autobiography. There are too many omissions and too many details incomplete.

No systematic record was ever kept, and I was unable, on account of health, to dig up records that could have been used.

The characters are real. The stories are true. Some of the dates may lack accuracy.

I was near eight-three and under a doctor's care when I commenced writing these paragraphs, and calling them--REMINISCENCES.


I never have taken a drink or liquor, not even a glass of beer.

I do not use tobacco in any form.

I am eight-five years old and have eyesight and hearing as good as ever.

I have in appearance a full set of teeth and only one false tooth.

I have never had but one contested law suit over a Farm Implement and none in the Banking business, except the one in Omaha and the interpretation of a will.


As we come to the last days of this wonderful period of progress, we have to admit some discouraging tendencies in the outlook for the future.

As a people, the U. S. is vitally interested in the outcome of the European War. If England wins democracies are assured of a lease of life. If Germany wins, the future looks uncertain and hazardous for our style of Government and our "way-of-life."

In any event there are certain tendencies that our country should seek to avoid. One of them is the concentration of power in the hands of one person--or a few--a Bureau. Another is the ownership or control of Banks, Railroads, Means of Communication, etc., by the Government. A third is the tendency of business and other enterprises of the people to drift away from private ownership and control. These and other changes now taking place, mark the pathways of Democracies toward STATE SOCIALISM. This, and all other forms of Fascism, by whatever name, should be avoided if we are to retain the freedom we enjoy and prize so much.

In a week or so the happy youngsters whose voices we've been hearing from play grounds and swimming pools, will be back in school.

These are representatives of the generation that will make and write much of American history in the succeeding period of eighty-five years. We are wondering what the story will be--one of DEFEAT or one of PROGRESS!

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