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American History
Dennis and His Son, Dempsey's Cradle Board

Out of Foraker, Oklahoma, in the year 1957, the nights were certainly blacker than anywhere else. Pilots flying over the area referred to it as the black hole. Tonight though, there was a halo of light cast over the rock porch and for a short distance down the front sidewalk, leading to nowhere. There was nothing around the house, but the eighty acres of meadow in front and to the sides.

Crickets were sawing a noisy song together and in unison until they dominated the night with their loud communication. Occasionally, a louder buzzing of some other insect would penetrate the steady monotony of the cricket's tune. There was another sound too. It was the blades of the wind generator as they sounded a steady rhythm in their effort to provide the power to light up the inside of the big old house. The constant presence of ever pushing winds gave free energy to the machine and in turn, the property.

There was a feeling of peace all about the place and one felt they had stepped back into another era. This total country was removed from the hurried pace of the world. The only tie to civilization was a television setting immediately inside the door. It flickered to no audience and was rendered soundless by the lone occupant.

Dennis, this single person, was puttering about the old, completely equipped kitchen. He was energetically cleaning and working as though he was still helping the women clean up after a hay bailing crew instead of only his own solitary meal. The aging gentleman was true to his life long habits of neatness.

The old cattle ranch was no longer functioning and had not done so for a number of years. It was very isolated, miles from the nearest complete towns. Even when it was up and working, buyers for cattle had to fly in from distant places to buy the prime beef, bred to the Hereford line. The small towns in between, were like the ranch as to their existence. The communities were just there, and not functioning completely.

He was quite aware there would be no neighbor to casually drop in on him, but he was not deterred by this thought. Instead, quickly he was putting things into an orderly state.

This evening was to bring a sudden coolness upon the house and Dennis wanted to finish his chores in time for his nightly correspondence. His conservative ways would allow him to pull the covers over his shoulders later on during the night for warmth. The wind generator provided electricity, because propane wasn't low in price to buy. The stored gas was a commodity to be saved for the very windy cold nights to come.

As he finished his kitchen chores, he walked across the large dining room to the very small desk in the corner. It was as meticulous as was everything else about the place. Old habits die hard. For years they had managed this ranch by planning and having materials at hand for work. It saved money and time because there was nothing practical about running, "back and forth," for supplies. Here, in the middle of the desk were his tools in readiness for the letter he would get off to one or another of his family in distant places.

The loss of the wealth of the ranch home was evident in this small desk. Dennis had picked it up at one of the junk shops and he set it here where once stood his very heavy huge oak, roll top desk. His old desk had cubby holes filled with official looking papers of every sort. There were receipts for the sale of expensive Hereford stock, Dun and Bradstreet credit ratings, transactions for cattle sales, personal correspondence, etc. This little desk knew nothing of that. When his daughter had sold the desk he knew she needed the money and didn't protest. That desk was the one his wife had fallen over when she committed suicide after trying to balance money matters. It remained in the house for many years, but it was really "good riddance" as far as he was concerned. Probably, the same thinking on his daughter's part also.

He wasn't bothered by the humble service of this desk and he made himself comfortable before it. The thing served his needs for the moment, and this was to simply dash off a note to someone he loved. There was a nephew in a boarding school, who was always pleased to get a message from his Uncle. The letters were always addressed to Master Jones, and this was a bit of longed for remembered elegance for the boy.

There was a niece who was married with children and she too was glad to hear from him via the old home place. She could see him sitting comfortably at the little desk in a quiet corner with the expanse of the large old house all about him as she read and reread his letters.

His daughter lived in the mountains of Colorado. She appreciated her father giving her a break from her duties of home and four sons.

There was a sister, who was older and widowed and she too enjoyed the friendly notes from her brother. If the writing was scrawled in a hasty manner and was sometimes hard to read, this was of no consequence.

In the middle of the last note Dennis stopped long enough to start the tub for his nightly bath. The water splashed and ran in a full stream from the faucet. This provision came from a triumph of his younger life and he would never tire of the luxury. The fact that his father had "witched" the water in an area where there was no water made it a rare pleasure. In his mind he could see the pump in the well house put into action by a switch. This activated the flow of water from the small holding tank into pipes and finally out of this spout. The electrical hot water appliance and tank were left there by his daughter during her stay in the old home place when she was raising her daughters. He knew the electricity was quickly heating his bath water. While Dennis was waiting for his tub to fill, he finished his last letter.

Clean pyjamas along with the soft leather fur lined slippers gave a good feeling his day was quickly coming to an end. He went through all parts of the rambling old house, checking a window here, pulling a drapery straight, locking a door, and switching off lights behind him, leaving the immaculate rooms as though ready for an occupant to step into them. After slipping between the heavy covers, some sewn by his mother more than fifty years before, Dennis switched on the little light attached to the head piece of the bed.

The revised version of the Bible taken from his large collection of many translations was kept on his bedside table. This he reached for now. He read until he was too sleepy to continue. If the ghosts of the children still born in this same poster bed or that of his wife, who too died close by, bothered him, he would never speak of it. Dennis heard no strange sounds in the night, he slept a good undisturbed sleep, dreaming only of the sounds of the hired hands in the hay field or the voices of happy children playing on the floors which were covered with expensive Persian rugs.

When the man was young, he never was an early riser. Morning would find him in his robe sitting at his roll top desk, then in this bedroom, going over papers pertaining to the business of the ranch. With this need no longer there to keep the ranch functioning, Dennis took the time for reading or for sorting through his mail at an elegant narrow table in front of the large window opening onto the front rock porch.

Soft cool breezes from off the prairie filtered through the window. It moved the lace curtain and was a reminder of the constant presence of the wind, who was the true owner of the land. It was the warming of these breezes to warn Dennis this pleasant time was seeing the morning slipping away. The cooing of the young pigeons, chirping of other little birds, and the possessive meadowlark warning about his territory, told Dennis it was time to get about his business.

Today, he planned to go by the little town of Foraker, setting in the middle of the ranching community. The only evidence of its continued existence was seen by the old red brick buildings standing vacant and neglected. The one building still open was used for the post office. This was manned by one person who simply kept the inside boxes stuffed with the mail of the few remaining residents in the far out places. He planned also to go on to the next small town where there was a grocery store, still. There he could restock his pantry with a few essential items. Dennis had never worked for hire, had no income except the smattering of small oil royalties he drew quarterly. If he was not very cautious before the end of the quarter, he could be seriously, financially in trouble.

Quickly now, he selected his wardrobe for the day. Although his suits were no longer new, they were still expensively cut, well pressed and neat. His matching socks and tie were set together beside a handkerchief for his suit coat pocket. This morning he chose a light blue suit and a white shirt along with a tie of a shimmery fabric in a darker color. The handkerchief was of the same fabric. The western cut of the suit called for the expensive, though worn, cowboy boots, which were well polished. His constant companion, a Stetson hat was impeccably cleaned and blocked and it topped off his attire. Soft leather gloves he always carried, possibly going back to a tradition and a time when men wore them to protect their hand from the reins of the horse and from the rope they threw. Though Dennis had long since stopped working horses, there had been enchanted days in the memory of the children when he easily, gracefully looped a rope, picking up his target as though he were floating it carefully through the air to land with the least possible injury to the subject it encircled.

Dennis's modest little black car put, putted along the dusty, rocky road through pastures, across bridges, beside the ever present pumping oil wells, past old established rancher's homes and on into the small settlement where a few houses remained. If he remembered how his once shining, always new, car sped across these same roads easily, and flashed into the earlier bustling country town, there was not an indication of his thoughts visible.

He pulled up to the post office. There were only a few of the town folk who stayed around the entry way in hopes of picking up a short job there at Foraker. The men today watched the aging rancher walk toward them. As he walked by them, they spoke to him in a friendly way.

How're you, tahday, Sir?" they nodded politely.

He stopped briefly to acknowledge their greeting, "Well, now, couldn't be better." "Thank you, kindly." "Nice of you to ask."

"What can I do for you gentlemen today?" he continued, just as he had done over the years. The fact hat he could do nothing for them never seemed to cross his mind, or theirs, for that matter. Or if it did, they were too loyal, too kind, to acknowledge his true condition.

"Oh ah reckin' ever thang is all right." One of the other men would respond. With these small pleasantries over, Dennis would tip his Stetson hat, "If you gentlemen will excuse me, I'll just be about my business."

His little car chugged over miles of green pastures, mile after mile lending a vision of far away green pastures which reached to a distant blue horizon of low hills.

Grazing in large numbers, still looking small against the great expanse of the land, were the different breeds of cattle. They were a mere sprinkling over the vast prairie. Some herds were dots of white, the Charlaois. Other were called Brangus because they were a mix between the Black Angus and the Indian Brahma. The most common was the Hereford or white face. They were popular because of their being able to forage these vast grass lands. The breed off those was the polled Hereford, named so because of their lack of horns which freed the rancher up from having to perform the dehorning chores. This animal's short stocky square build provided tender cuts of fine beef.

Occasionally, two young bulls, or males, in polite society, would test their strength against each other by butting their heads. Maybe this was a memory woven from a distant wild past, but now mostly bred out of this stock.

The old rancher noted the tanks, or ponds, which were filled with run off rain water. This said too, the blue stem grass, would be plentiful. His mind noted there would be a good winter pasture. This year he would have held his calves from market to winter over on the plentiful grass for a greater increase in the next years. Following that philosophy of, "make hay while the sun shines."

The road was a friend, a companion, and it stayed with him while he covered the smooth highways over the rough terrain of the rolling hills. He thought back to another time and he was thankful to those of his acquaintances, large ranching landholders, who brought tax money to the area. Their pushing for good roads in order to move their cattle to the city by the big cattle trucks were a benefit to everyone. He recalled not too far in the past the gumbo mud roads. This was the mud to stick to anything and everything it touched. It stuck to shoes, horses hooves, the underside of the car until it was as if the automobile had been customized with weights to bring it low to the ground. The mud was a glue like material, sticking, and drying to a rock hard substance.

Driving into the larger town of Shidler he became aware of the marker made from stacking flat rocks in a cylindrical shape at the end of a fence to become the corner post. This was once an oil boom town, but now, it was quiet and far removed from its uproarious past, when its neighbor was named "Whiz Bang," The town itself was settled into a hill and a rock ridged valley causing the road to take on a roller coaster look. Remnants of a grand old hotel modeled after a Spanish stucco style was on his left. Moments later the downtown appeared.

Dennis parked his car, long ways, in the middle of a wide street as was customary. He walked toward the corner drug store. When he settled into a stool against the bar of the soda fountain, a pretty girl whose dark beauty whispered of her ancestry, waited on him. She smiled and asked if he wanted his usual limeade. Just as he finished his drink, the owner came from somewhere in the back, and put his arm around Dennis, shaking his hand at the same time.

"Where have you been, Ole Boy?" The owner made him feel welcome and comfortable in his establishment. "I thought the coyotes and bob cats had your old carcass," and both the men laughed together like two boys.

"Naw," Dennis shook his head and grinned, "I'm too tough for those varmints." The two men laughed again at their own impending age.

"What do you see in that old spread up there any how?" "Why don't you come on into town and rent one of my small apartments?" "I've got some nice places here over the store." "Shucks, I live up there myself." " It is a lot easier than trying to carry on a place out of town," The drugstore owner knew he was wasting his breath, but he made the effort anyway.

The thought had crossed Dennis's mind and, it was certainly true he did get lonely. But, he quickly dismissed the idea as he excused himself in order to get to the business at hand. And this was that of stocking up on provisions. Deep in thought, Dennis had not noticed the old man leaning up against the building until, he was immediately upon him. The grizzly, unshaven, tattered person there was of another life style. He had never been in the path Jones walked, but he was now. For only a moment, Dennis acknowledged him, briefly nodding a hello.

The few things he needed he quickly purchased and went about loading them into his car when the aging gnarly man again caught his eye. This time Jones stopped and made some sort of an attempt at conversation.

"Bill Jake!" "Are you still working at all?"

Looking down at the sidewalk, and then looking to a distant unknown place on down the street; Bill Jake was gathering his thoughts. "Well, now, ain't doin' a thang to speak of, anymore." "My workin' days is over, it looks like." "I haven't had one of my saws cranked up now since I can't remember when." The old man looked a little forlorn while he dropped his head, as if was ashamed not to be ever productive.

Dennis glanced at the building behind the man and studied the pattern of rock slabs fitted together on its wall. There were dark and light sawed rocks forming a patchwork design. He remembered when Bill Jake had put these buildings up, and it seemed to him to be a long time ago. In his mind he could see Bill Jake, when he was young and working here. He often had stood for long hours at his saw slicing the slabs of large rocks. Dennis felt it must have been a monumental chore. Somehow, this man standing before him had single handedly edged the stones up into four-sided walls. He built them slowly until he had one building, two, then three. The buildings stood in a row to make a large part of one side of the street.

"Well, I know what you mean about work, Bill Jake." "Things are mighty quiet around my place too." "The family is all off and gone." "There's nothin' around here for them to do." "They went out where there are jobs, quick money at the end of every week, for a pay check." "They don't want to wait a whole winter for a calf crop to come off, you know."

"Yeah, I guess that's the way things are anymore," Bill Jake wasn't much of a conversationalist, but he could see a point. "They never set their sights on anything long range anymore." "Every thing is jest for the time bein', and I reckin' that's all right, what ever suits their fancy".

"Might as well be headin' on back toward the ranch." "It''ll be gettin' dark soon and I'm not much wantin' to change a flat tire in the dark," Dennis excused himself and was off toward his car.

"Come on around sometimes, Jones." "I'm stuck there in that little hole of a dump of mine, most of the time," Bill Jake called after him.

"I might just do that," Dennis called back to the lonely old man standing there under the street light.

As his car followed the same road home, he had time for thinking about the brief encounter with the old timer. The days were when he could not have had time to even wonder about the aging resident of the town. Recently, his days were long and free from hurry. Once he had lived a hard fast life and he honestly felt his creator had used him as a stylus to make an impression on the area. As a boy, he had come to the land when the town he was now leaving was nothing more than a rowdy oil booming community. He would be first to tell he wasn't to be remembered as a saint. His Dad had worked for the Texas Rangers there to help clean up the place, but that is another story.

Bell, his mother had raised him with a hard ready switch of discipline to inculcate the strong Christian values right for success and there would be no way he could fail even if he only half obeyed them. A daughter and her seven children remained for him, but they were living in a distant place. This left him quite alone. Dennis had witnessed terrors unbelievable to the average person. There was no more room left for fear, especially not for a lonely, cranky, elderly man spending his time leaning against a wall he had built when he was young.

Dusk caught Dennis Jones driving up the last section toward his place. Forever, he enjoyed the meadow which provided so abundantly for their stock, over the years. His brother Lee and his wife had single handedly picked the rock up off the meadow which allowed the eighty acres to produce and be harvested with a hay baling machine. The blue haze over the grass, had a beauty about it reminding him of a blue green sea as it rippled in the evening breeze.

His eye followed a movement, and he looked on up toward the house, then on to the fence surrounding the yard. Here he caught a rustling in the tall grass at the fence line. Slowing his car so as to look more carefully, he was sure he saw a coyote in a slinky way moving toward the other side of the yard. Once there the animal would allow himself to slip unnoticed behind the separate two car garage, toward the barn yard and back to the one hundred foot rock garden wall and so on to safety.

Opening the car door, Dennis took with ease the weapon he kept for varmints and with a slow easy motion he rested the gun on top of the car. He leveled a shot off toward the direction of the crafty animal. The crack of the rifle so startled the coyote, he jumped straight up into the air and was running before he came back down to the ground. The ability Dennis had with a gun simply allowed him to place the bullet close enough to the coyote's ears to frighten him off and the knowledgeable old rancher held no intent to kill. There was no live stock, nothing for the sneaky little animal to haul off in the way of a settin' hen.

"See if that doesn't cool your heels, you sneakin', chicken thieven' outfit you," Dennis couldn't think of enough names to call the pesky creature. There had always been a co-existence between the Jones's and the little varmints frequenting the prairie. They were never hunted or pursued by this branch, and as long as they kept out of the immediate proximity of the meadow and the fenced yard during the day, peace was maintained. Rarely, did one come close to the house, but today, Dennis noted its boldness. This was just one more sign of the changed condition of the place. There were, in fact, no chickens and probably, this one was a young curious animal who had never heard the jolt of a bullet speeding past his sensitive ears. "You go on, tell your buddies you are not welcome," Dennis brushed the clever little animal off with a note of respect in his voice. He knew they had their place. The mice and rats, snakes and such was food for the coyote and they controlled the little variety of rattlesnakes in the meadow allowing the children to play freely in the grass.

The yelping of the coyotes sounding like an inexperienced fiddle player at night told they were hunting close about, if not within the confines of the fenced yard. Occasionally, in the years of drought and poor hunting conditions there would be times when a coyote would come into the back chicken yard to make off with a hen, even at the risk of the singing bullets, but then, so would the hawks, skunks, pole cats, and every once in a while a bob cat would make an appearance. The bob cats with their large size and their reluctant fear of man would only be seen at the most careless of their roaming or their most desperate hunger. So, the balance of the prairie was maintained, and it was a pleasant sweet place Jones truly loved throughout his life time.

He was home now, settled into his evening ritual. If a stranger were to come up the drive through the meadow, they would have thought a party was in progress at the lone ranch house standing here on these stretches of prairie. The big outside light over the porch led to a perspective view through the yard and up to the porch. Lights all over the house were blazing. Why not? Free electricity. There was a fiddle playing, sandwiched in between singing banjos. Occasionally, Bob Wills called his playful, "Ah-hah," over the sound of the fiddles. All this was issuing forth from the big phonograph in the corner of the living room. To see the solitary person busy with this or that chore would have been a surprise to anyone viewing the scene. It appeared more like an entire family was still inhabiting the old ranch house.

Before turning in for the night this resident promised himself he would look in on old Bill Jake. He was curious about the old man, who was truly alone. His own solitude gave him an understanding of the old man's situation. In direct opposition to his own life, which was filled with extended family....Bill Jake seemed to have no one.

The morning light coming over the top of his bed, today brought Dennis up to the plan of his day. While in his robe, lingering over a cup of cowboy coffee, he, for some time, had a project he was thinking of finishing up and this was to make a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the largest cities in the state. An early start was necessary. This was a chore he felt he must see through.

For years at the back of his closet had stood an Osage cradle board belonging to his first son, Dempsey. He saved it over the protests of his Osage wife. It was going against her tribal customs as to the burning of a deceased person's possessions. He had always given her the freedom to practice her own culture. However, this one time he stood firm against burning this one object.

Dempsey, his first son died when he was a baby. If anyone wanted to believe a ghost haunted the place, it would have been his. He was a charming child and had stolen their hearts.

The cradle board Dennis saved was carved and decorated in the Osage fashion. There was a flat board decorated with large brass headed nails along the edges. Designs were hand painted around the edges also. There was a pull down wooden fully beaded, hoop over the top section for the head, which allowed the child to be covered without the blanket touching its face, thus creating a warm tent. This allowed the child not to necessarily have to breathe the cold air when being carried outside. Beaded finer woven bands acted as belts for binding over the baby's swaddling and held him to the board. Whether this custom was, as the history told, to insure a straight back or a shaped head or simply to make it easier to carry the child, was of no importance to Dennis. It was simply something his wife had wanted and he had made sure a proper cradle was created for the baby. Over the years he kept it and as time was slipping by for him, it was his resolve to take the board to a museum where it would be preserved as an artifact. This would be to keep a visible record of the fast fading ways of the Osage tribe.

The trip to Gilcrease Museum at Tulsa, Oklahoma was a success and he had no trouble in placing the board there. With the chore completed he decided to stop off at Shidler and take bill Jake up on his offer of hospitality, and also, to inquire of some gossip he had heard all the way up to the larger town of Pawhuska.

Patiently, he stood before a door, at the back of the long stone building, The door was looking more like a utility room than for a lodging. The humble abode of the elderly man pulled at Dennis's tender heart. There was a bed, less than half a bed, really more of a cot, holding rumpled and tattered worn blankets. All the furniture to be seen was a rickety old chair, along with some saw horses and five gallon buckets setting about here and there. Open tin can in varying degrees of spoilage explained the old man's diet. The unfinished studs of two-by-fours were the walls, and nails hammered into them served as clothing racks.

As sad as the surrounding were, Dennis was not to let the dreariness of it deter him in his mission. Bill Jake greeted him, "Man!" "You are a sight for these old eyes, Denny Boy!" "I never thought you would in a hundred years take me up on my invite." "Yeah?" Dennis was cautious in his acknowledging the comment. "I heard you had some misfortune?"

"Well, it ain't no secret, I don't guess, how I kept a roll hid in this here hole in the wall, becuz yesterday when I went up to tap into it, ever bit of it wuz gone," Bill Jake spoke with a dejected voice.

"Gone!" "What do you mean?" "Someone took it?" "Or what?" Dennis was skillful in his fact-finding ability. He still carried an honorary United States marshall badge even though he never practiced, unless it was the utmost necessity.

"It wuz that old floozy who comes in here to sleep on my cot during her time off." "I know she got it." "Ain't no use in tryin' to git it back neither; she's done "cavaged" on to it and I might as well kiss five thousand dollar's good-bye."

"You mean, you don't put your money in a bank?" "I can't believe anyone, these days, would not put their money in a bank."

"Oh, I ain't broke, by no means, but I just had not got in with my rental monies for some time now," Bill Jake informed the started Dennis. "I guess this means I won't be takin' you out for no treat tonight," Bill Jake sadly shook his head.

"Forget about that," Dennis had a way of lifting a person out of their misery. "Get your things together and come on up to the ranch with me for the night." "I've got some steaks and a bottle of wine in the car." "Dennis found his sympathy for the old man was overcoming his usual strict dictates as to association."

So began the December friendship of the unlikely characters. One a craggy, tough, old shaper of stone, who had worked hard and hung tightly to every cent he earned except for this last indiscretion. The other man had worked equally as hard with his mind, moving mountains in his need for service to his community. To see the prosperity of a very large family, even down to in-laws and cousins had been his goal. The last court battle and lawyers fees to keep a wealthy estate to his grandchildren had swept his house clean, but down to the necessities. Today, the placement of the baby's cradle board, even for a small price would yet be a whispered legacy onto future generations, who would not even know its tie to their family, but would; nevertheless, be reminded of their heritage by the article hanging in a museum.

Dennis had a way of working steadily through a situation and this he did as adroitly as if he had been managing a major sale of cattle, or planning some other such chore. He was busily pulling clothes from his closet while his guest eyed him suspiciously. With encouragement, Bill Jake made a selection of shirt, slacks, socks, belt and shoes.

Dennis excused himself to run a tub of bath water. "I'll just be seeing about our steaks while your tub is getting ready.

"We will have our wine before dinner when you have finished dressing," cleverly. Dennis manipulated his tattered charge toward a presentable dinner appearance.

As if to reward Dennis's efforts, a shaven, clean, though casual; but nevertheless, well dressed gentleman appeared from the bedroom and could have been any one of the neighbors from one of the surrounding ranches.

"And so, Mr. Bill Jake, are you ready for a toast with this good red port?" Dennis offered the man a drink from the crystal left there from days of another time; a time when youth and merriment filled the house. It may have been the guests were from a more prominent position in life, but they were none the more welcome. In those days the homemade elderberry wine flowed easily from the large wooden barrels kept in the cool of the cellar. The wine's rich burgundy red lent its magic to the pleasure of those evenings. "I'll wager you will enjoy your steak much more with this wine," and Dennis raised his glass. Their evening was shared along with the swapping of tales of the rough and bawdy day of oil fields, and to the stories of ranching and building fortunes.

The old ranch house once again lent its aura of mystery, and quiet protections to its occupants, even though they were only two aging men as different as day and night as to their life style.

"Denny, do you remember when drip gas run down the bar ditches?" "The only thing you needed to do to fill your car tank was take a pop bottle and hold it down under the gas until it bubbled full."

"Yes, yes, those were quite the days!" With this last observation Dennis rose from the table feeling suddenly very tired. "I guess, if you will excuse me, Sir, I had better bring myself away from the pleasure of your company." "It has been a long day for me." " I had some unfinished business I attended to and I'm surely ready for bed." "It seems we both were needing some support from a friend." "If you don't mind, I'll thank you for your kind visit by showing you to your room."

The next day, bill Jake went back to his pattern of life, living among the town people, Dennis went back to his own quiet life as well. Dennis Jones's life was by no means over and he would go on to face many a trial as if he had been appointed to it by some higher hand. He didn't know, how could he know, sons in laws. who came from a different culture would see this elegant old home become total and tattered ruins not unlike old Bill Jake. Was there an aura with old Bill Jake to remain, causing it to happen?

Generations of family work to make this old ranch possible was not known. These accomplishments looked to be only Dennis's. The raging jealousy for this accomplishment he accepted with no complaint and if we wondered how he could do so, it wouldn't be until many years after his death the documentation of long lines of workers in the family would be seen, reaching back to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and one of a closer place, Valley View, Arkansas here his Great-grandfather, William Beaver Jones, was a blacksmith.

Dennis's grandfather was one of the first persons in the state, before statehood, acting as an Indian agent delivering food to the Little (Kaw) and big Osage. Not a popular job at the time. This was William Stephens Jones.

William's son, Joseph Hubbard Jones, Dennis's father lived during a time of pushing for reform. His running the Cherokee strip gave the family a start. Joe was a worker and worked on a crew and gang who lifted the big rocks from the tracks that would become roads making the inaccessible back places available. He worked for wages and worked for himself. Once when the railroad track moved away from the little town he started, he simply rebuilt houses close to the new track. He owned a bicycle shop in Perry, Oklahoma. When he worked for the Texas rangers it was for wages. All this was history and since the Jones men were not much to talk about these things they have only been learned through research.

And finally, Dennis's brother Lee was a worker too. His project made the ranch successful. Too bad the brothers broke up over the less wise decisions of younger people.

Standing at the pinnacle of his ancestors hard work gave Dennis an unusual position. Really, he did fairly well with it. Not perfect, because the empire the ancestors worked toward crumbled in his generation. There were too many changes for him to work through. To this day older members of the family have a deep resentment for his pushing them to higher achievement. They say low things about him while they themselves enjoy the great material fruits of his labor as to his teaching. Only the children, who themselves are becoming elderly now, remember the gentle way he had of directing them, never wavering, always there with the admonition, "You Can But You Can't," or "Hmm.." "It all comes back to me now!" "There is more in savin' than makin' ." And on and on.

Osage Cradleboard Cradleboards



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