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Donna's Journal
Presentation for Stillwater Writers Group


      Stillwater is only forty miles almost as the crow flies from Ponca City, our town. That didn't matter though because it might have as well been Dallas or New York City for the degree of stage fright I was having. Here I was speaking in front of these authors who were seasoned writers with degrees in English, one a publisher of eleven books, and others who not only did literary work but were brilliant in their careers at the University.

       Oh well, Jones people are known for their bare faced, audacious behavior and hopefully I am no exception. There wasn't any worry about being so bold as to be rude. I was too scared for that.

       The following is my outline which I followed fairly closely. My presentation was received with respect and appreciation. I kept watching the small audience to see if anyone was nodding off or bored out of their mind. I didn't see that. All kept their attention focused on what was being said.

       When time came to ask for questions there were numbers of lively comments about one or another of the pictures I showed to them or a story told. Being too short on cash at this time of year I did have to make some sacrifices to have the pictures enlarged to 11x14 and then plasticized so they would stand on the wire easel I used.

       My daughter-in-law did a video of my talk. I was able to study it after I came home. What I saw was Indian hands almost talking in sign language. The joke among the folks is how one speaker talked about a buffalo hunt with his fore fingers making a loping sign, one hand right behind the other to indicate two buffalo running. I wasn't quite that bad but almost. I'll remember to use a little less “sign language.”

       Here are my notes:

Stillwaters Writers Group November 20, 2004

First of all let me express my appreciation for being invited to speak here before the Stillwaters Writers Group.

I have also enjoyed making the acquaintance of the ones that are are here today.

I have taken this opportunity to invite members of my family today in order that they might all see what is happening with one branch of their family.

I'm very proud of Kathy Flood, my daughter-in-law.  She is a strong person, a willing hard worker and very well manages my son's, her husband's, small ranch with all the involvement there, livestock, etc.

To stand before this group, who represent so much energy and force through their years of hard work and dedication to creative writing makes me very humble. I'm not a writer by skill and have had to keep referring back to “Grammar for Dummies.”......................

The wealth of information dropped into my lap by my father upon his death made me feel responsible for sharing his culture with anyone interested enough to read it.

Dad protected these old photo's for a lifetime and just before he died while he was very ill he took the time to write names and dates on the backs for me. Dad was of Welch ancestors. He worked hard, first with ranching and then in a foundry. Outside of the striving to teach us the values he loved there wasn't much time to go into his linage or history.

When I saw these old photo's I was startled to see the history. I am an artist and sometimes look closer at things than I should.  My curiosity was so aroused. With years of research many questions have been answered for me, and hopefully I can share this information not just for family but for everyone. Although these pictures are not going to be in this first book it is my hope to eventually have these published also.

Photo 1.  Hun-Kah-mohn-Kah, Sas a Chief (Minnie Smith) with  Nancy Bellzona Collins Jones, Mrs. Joseph Hubbard Jones, grandmother.
Photo 2. Dora Jones Frenchman, Mrs. Edward Frenchman, sister to Joseph
Photo 3. Grace SnakeHide, (Berry) Jeff Smith and unknown bodyguard.
Photo 4. Velma Pensoneau Jones, Mrs. Lee Otis Jones, gggranddaughter of Paschal Pensoneau who was dit, Le Fluer, France. Pensoneau's have their own museum out of St. Louis. Uncle Louison was a lawyer there and left a biography for his brother, Paschal, our grandfather.
Photo 5. Adah Gertrude Jones, Dan Wadley with child

Notes left in 1986 by Aunt Gertrude partially inspired me to begin this journey of recording and saving history for the youth of our family.  I did not want to be so busy with everyday chores that I  not leave with our youth what I have learned about this wonderful, very large family of JONESES, thus the title “HOW TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES.” READ PAGES 342, 343, 346

An early day settler once told me, “The only thing to defeat a person in Oklahoma is “Mental Depression” Through seeing the spirit, dedication to family, love of life, in these old stories about the Joneses it is my hope the young people will learn how to rise above their own sorrows, and like champions “keep coming back to win”

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