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Fred "Casey" Jones


John Johnson

6th Grade 1998, LancasterSchool, Lancaster, MN

Honorable Mention

Kittson County Historical Society GenealogyEssay Contest - 1998


Fred Jones was a genius and an inventor. He was alwayscurious about how something worked.

Even as a child, he was this way. He took apart his dad'swatch to see how it ticked and why it stopped ticking. When he put it backtogether, it worked good as new.

When he was eleven years old, he left home and school toget a job at a garage. He had to lie about his age so he could get a job.There he swept floors.

By the time he really was fourteen years old he was thebest mechanic in the garage and he could fix anything.

One year later, he was the foreman of the garage. Thatyear he designed and built two racing cars, but the other mechanic helpedhim build them. One won its first race.

After he left the garage, he wandered around until he endedup close to Hallock, MN. At first, he worked for Walter Hill, the son ofJames J. Hill, on a 50,000 acre farm. He fixed their many steam enginesand four Packards. He did most of the repair jobs on the farm.

Soon, he left the Hill farm and moved to Hallock. Therehe worked at Oscar Younggren's garage. At that garage he built number 15,his very own race car. It went about one hundred miles per hour. At justabout every race he won, and he was known all over as "Speed Merchant."

Then he built a snowplane with a car engine, four skis,and a propeller. The body was an old airplane fuselage.

When World War One came up, Fred went to war. Whenevera machine broke down, or wiring needed to be done, everyone said, "GetJones!"

Fred returned to Hallock after the war. It was there hebuilt a wireless telegraph that was heard at sea. He also built a radiostation with a radius of six hundred miles. It was crystal clear. He didboth with the help of Cliff Bouvette.

Fred designed and built a portable x-ray for the Hallockhospital. It was small and light.

Fred also perfected x-rays. He made them with no bone distortion.

One time, Fred tried to make the vacuum tube smaller. Hemade a drawing of what he thought would replace the vacuum tube. Some timelater, a few scientists invented what looked just like what Fred had drawn.They called it the transistor.

Fred decided, after watching movies at the Grand Theaterin Hallock, that he would refine sound for the movies. That he did; he madethe best sound system for the movies of that time. Next, Fred refined thepicture itself. He made a special lens that didn't make the movie flicker.

A company called Ultraphone asked Fred to come and be anengineer for them. He accepted their offer. So, he went to Ultraphone anddesigned movie and sound equipment.

One day, Joe, Fred's boss, made a bet that Fred could refrigeratea semi-trailer better than anyone else on the market. Fred took on the challengewith enthusiasm. The cooling system he made was the best on the market butyet he improved it many times.

The army even chose Fred's design for cooling what theyneeded cooled.

Fred also invented a boxcar that would keep produce coldand fresh.

Indeed, Fred Jones was a genius and a great inventor withonly four years of formal schooling. Maybe most amazing, he was a blackman in a white man's world.

schooling. Maybe most amazing, he was a blackman in a white man's world.