California Genealogy and History Archives
If Mr. Jones could be induced to write a history of his life it would be found to contain much of interest to old and young alike, for his experiences have been associated with the early historical epoch of this Pacific commonwealth. A native of the south, he was born March 18, 1836, in Jefferson county, Tenn., near the line which separates that state from Virginia. His knowledge of his birthplace is very vague in his memory, however, for from the age of four years he was reared in Cass county, Missouri, remaining there until he was sixteen years of age. It was about this time, in the fall of 1853, that he made a trip to Old Mexico in the interests of the United States government, carrying supplies to the soldiers there. His return to Missouri in the fall of that year was followed by preparations for his immigration to California, and May 2, 1854, found him starting on the journey. The party of which he formed a part consisted of forty men and women, under the leadership of Captain Norman Rosson. The Sacramento river was crossed at Red Bluffs, and from there they proceeded without accident or injury, and when the} reached their destination, each went in the direction that choice or inclination dictated. Mr. Jones went to Placer county and secured employment in panning gold. The habits of uprightness and honesty which have been marked characteristics throughout his entire life, became apparent at an early age and were put to a test while filling the position just referred to. Being at one time left in charge of the premises for two weeks, in the course of his duties he found hidden in the barn two sacks of gold, which he put in a place of safety and gave to his employer upon his return. Subsequently he came to Sonoma county, locating first near Sebastopol, and later on Sonoma mountain, near the old adobe. Still later he located on his present property near Petaluma, where he has one hundred acres of choice land, upon which he carries on dairying, owning twenty cows of fine breed, considerable live-stock, besides which he has seven hundred chickens. Although he is advancing in years he is still caring for his ranch interests with the same interest and enthusiasm as formerly and is as keenly interested in the affairs and happenings in the world at large as he was a quarter of a century ago.
The marriage of William Jones occurred in Petaluma and united him with Miss Rebecca A. Farley, who was born in Indiana in 1844, the daughter of S. H. and Elizabeth (Grant) Farley. Their marriage was celebrated in the old Casa Granda fort, on the Sonoma road, February 14, 1860, and on February 14, 1910, they celebrated their golden wedding in the home which has enshrined about it the memories of their happy married life. The participants consisted largely of relatives, numbering thirty-seven, all of whom were rejoiced to see the happy couple in such buoyant spirits and excellent health. A large family of twelve children blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Jones, of whom we mention the following: Frances E. became the wife of A. Wilsey, by whom she has two children, William and Zelpha, the family making their home in Petaluma. Amanda E. became the wife of Benjamin K. Bowman and the mother of three children, Robert, Beatrice and Claire. Mary Alice is deceased. William F., a well-known rancher of Marin county, married Mary Dennett and they have four children, Dennett F., Cecil M., Wilma A. and Elliott McG. Carrie Ann became the wife of William Meyer, of Hollister, California. Robert Grant is a guard at the San Quentin prison. Charles Milton is a resident of Ross Station; his wife was formerly Miss Elizabeth McGrath. Emma Jane is the wife of Henry King of Petaluma, and they have four children, Kenneth ; Elvus, Gertrude and Everett D. Walter Graves is still at home. Martha Lena is a school teacher in San Rafael. Edith Jeanette is the wife of Otto Ingram. Vivian Aletha is the wife of DeWitt Appleton and the mother of two children, only one of whom is living, Dederick.
Politically Mr. Jones is a Democrat of no uncertain stand, the only instance of his departure from the rule to cast a straight Democratic vote being the time when he voted for Gen. U. S. Grant. For ten years he filled the office of school trustee of San Antone, now Union, district and in every way possible has exerted an influence toward betterment of conditions in the locality in which he lives, as well as in the state in general. When in a reminiscent mood Mr. Jones is very entertaining in his account of happenings and events of the long ago. Hunting and fishing were sports in which he indulged whenever the duties of his pioneer life would permit, but ordinarily, however, the former of these pastimes was waiting at his door, for he relates that during the years from 1859 to 1870 he could go to his door with his gun and find game plenty, and on a number of occasions he shot hear.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011