A Jones Family History
the first three hundred years (1700-2000)

Click here to edit subtitle

The 9th Generation – World War II and After in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan

Jesse Hayworth & Lenore Fox Jones

Jesse Hayworth Jones was born in East St. Louis MO on April 12th, 1916, the first child and only son of Rosco Conklin Jones (1887-1936) and his wife Ada Horne Jones (1891-1958). His father was born and raised in Laura, OH, but had been working as a chemist in Missouri at the time he met and married Ada (they were married in Cleveland OH in 1914), and they lived in East St. Louis for the first few years of their marriage. When Jesse was two, they moved back to Alliance, Stark County, Ohio where his sister Ann was born in 1918. The 1920 US census lists his father as a chemist working in a steel foundry in Stark County, Ohio, and the 1930 US census shows the family (Jesse age 13 and Ann 11) living in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, and father Roscoe working as a Chemical Engineer for the New York Central Railroad. Family records note that he worked for the NYCRR for 20 years, until his death from a sudden heart attack in 1936 when Jesse was 18.  By then they had moved back to East Cleveland OH. Jesse had been attending Case Western Reserve when his father died, and later transferred to Ohio State.  According to the 1940 US Census, Jesse,  age 24, was living at 2024 Hayden Avenue, East Cleveland, with his widowed mother and younger sister Ann, age 21.

Lenore Fox Jones was born in 1918 in Cleveland, Ohio, the first of two daughters of Edward Fox (1882-1969) and Lillian Thomas Fox (1881-1968). Her father owned and ran a deli and butcher shop together with his brothers. She spent most of her childhood in Bratenahl, Cuyahoga County, before the family moved to East 144th Street in Cleveland. The 1940 US Census found Lenore age 21 living on East 144th Street in Cleveland with her parents, her sister Mildred and Mildred's husband Merrell Nelson and their two young children, David and Ann Nelson. Lenore was at that time working as a hosiery buyer for an upscale department store in Cleveland (Halle Bros) and making buying trips to New York City by train.


According to my recollection of family stories, at some period in Jesse and Lenore's late teenage years, their families both attended the same Episcopal church, where Lenore and Jesse's sister, Ann, became good friends. That close friendship continued throughout the remainder of their lives. Following a custom of the time, teenage girlfriends and girl cousins wrote to brothers of friends or to their own boy cousins who were away from home at school or working (perhaps a very early form of social networking ... ?).  Lenore wrote letters to Ann's older brother Jesse during the time he was away from home studying and working. (I found several of these letters in my father's files over seventy years later.) They both had socialized at church and had dated mutual friends; according to family lore, Lenore dated Bob Keefer, the man Ann eventually married, and Jesse dated Lenore's younger sister, Mildred. In any event, Jesse and Lenore married in March of 1942, and Ann and Bob Keefer in November of 1942. (Mildred had eloped at age 17 with Merle Nelson in 1937 and already had two children by 1942.)

Jesse and Lenore lived near their families in Ohio, and their first child, Brooks Paul, was born in December 1942 in Gallipolis OH.  They moved to Philadelphia PA where Jesse worked as a chemist for Bell Laboratories during WWII, and their daughter Marney Ann and son Michael Fox were both born there in  January 1944 and July 1945, respectively. In 1946  they moved back to Cleveland OH with their three small children, and the next few years were spent living with or near Lenore's parents who still lived on East 144th Street in Cleveland.

My parents never talked much about those early years except to say they were difficult ones, and I got the impression that Jesse worked as a chemist and as a traveling salesman (maybe selling water softeners?) during that time. When Brooks reached school age he spent a year living with Jesse's Aunt Margaret Horne Hansen (his mother's youngest sister) and her family in Scarsdale, Westchester Co, NY, where he attended kindergarten. I have many memories of my Fox grandparents large house, although none of our father actually living there with us. We were surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles, however, as my maternal grandmother's sister Miriam Thomas Anthony lived only a few blocks away and also had a full house - her husband, two daughters, sons in law, Uncle Will who was blind, Uncle Charles with the wooden leg, ... and black cat Inky). Our Fox grandmother had immigrated from Wales as a child, and she and her siblings carried on the Welsh tradition of two or three generations continuing to live in the same household or very close by throughout their whole lives, so there was nothing unusual about our living conditions and we were very well taken care of (although I suspect our parents had financial difficulties at the time).

By 1948-49, Jesse was supervising large rural water purification installations throughout Indiana, and the family was together again in a small cottage on Lake Manitoe in Rochester, Indiana. In hindsight, it is clear that their financial situation must have been very difficult, but we three children remember our time in Indiana with great fondness.  We were 7, 6 and 4-1/2, with Brooks and Marney taking a school bus to a rural elementary school (Woodrow School) and Michael at home.  We had a large yard that ended in an inlet of the lake, our own duck boat for paddling around the inlet catching leatherback and snapping turtles, a fox terrier named Nicolas, two goats named Sidney and Dudley, and all the garter snakes we could catch. A horse and wagon brought ice and another brought vegetables and fruit, and we got our eggs from the farmer down the road. The lake froze over in the winter and we went sledding and ice skating and watched the iceboat races and ice fishermen. That there was no heat or hot water or bathroom (only a toilet in an adjacent cement block hut) were features that never bothered us, though must have been difficult for our parents who had both been brought up in the city in comfortable circumstances. It was only shocking to me years later to remember that we had been allowed on a regular basis to go out in the 12' duck boat on our own, with 7-year old Brooks in charge of the three of us.  We were also left in Brooks' charge at night when Lenore worked part time in a factory that assembled radios and Jesse was traveling or down the road at Starkey 's Roadhouse.

By 1950, the family was back in Cleveland in a small rented house on Catalpa Road where the children attended East Clark School.  In 1951, Jesse relocated his family to St Johns, a small town in the middle of Michigan, chosen for its central location as he was establishing himself as a chemical consultant and used large machinery dealer serving the automobile industry. The family lived for several months in an apartment across the street from the Episcopal church, then moved into the Rectory of the church, a lovely old house with large rooms and enough bedrooms for each child to have a room alone. The children attended East Ward Elementary School a few blocks away. The church became the center of our mother's social life as well as ours, but our father rarely attended. His business thrived and he traveled around Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.  We had excellent teachers, lived a short walk from the city library (where the family went every Tuesday evening) and we kids walked to the matinee at the Clinton movie theater on the main street on Sunday afternoons, and then afterwards went to Richard's Dairy for a mutt sundae (one scoop of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and Spanish peanuts, served in a paper cone).

In 1954, Jesse was doing so well financially he decided to move the family to Florida and commute between Florida and Michigan to run his business. He had sailed Star class sailboats on Lake Erie as a young man and his dream was to own a large sailboat, so moving to Florida was partly to realize this dream. We moved into an apartment on Treasure Island, near John's Pass, in St. Petersburg , Florida. We children loved Florida and soon made friends in the building and in the neighborhood, and took the bus to the Gulf Beaches School. We played on the beaches and fished off the Pass (with a line and a hook) for "shiners" to sell as bait to the real fishermen.  Jesse bought an old wooden hulled 42' sailboat (the Melody) which he kept docked at Maderia Beach. Jesse's dream soured as the business failed and the separations took a toll on their marriage. After not much more than a year, Jesse moved the family moved back to St. Johns MI. Lenore was then pregnant with their fourth child, Mark Victor, who was born in St. Johns in 1955.

208 South Lansing Street, St Johns MI, a red brick two storey farmhouse built in the 1890s, became our family home from 1955, and stands empty on the same corner still today in 2015.  After Brooks, Marney, Michael and Mark grew up and left home for their respective destinies, Jesse and Lenore closed the house and moved to Florida and bought a 25' Swedish motor-sailboat and lived on it for the next twelve years, traveling around the Caribbean and up and down the Inland Waterway. Their relationship had survived many trials and tribulations, and their life on the water was not always idyllic, but my mother told me several times towards the end of her life that those years were the years she enjoyed most of their 45 years of marriage.  I know she loved their sailboat, "Fox", and the freedom of living on the water, and he, I believe, was pleased to finally have her undivided attention.

In  ?  , Jesse's failing eyesight and Lenore's failing health found them back in St Johns at 208 South Lansing Street, and they never returned to Florida. Jesse became legally blind around ? , which didn't stop him from riding his bicycle all around town. Lenore died at age 69 of cancer after a valiant struggle in 1987, and Jesse lived on alone in the house; he died in 2009 at the Eagle's Nest two months short of his 93rd birthday.

Jesse Hayworth Jones, age 11 months, with mother Ada Horne Jones, 1917.

Lenore Margaret Fox, age 2-1/2 in 1920, Cleveland OH.

A note written by Ada in Jesse's baby book:

"Jesse's first outing in horse and buggy with his Jones grandparents"

Photo taken in 1916, Baby Jesse with mother Ada Jones and grandmother Armina K. Jones.

First Cousins: Ruth Anthony, 8, in back row; left to right, Daniel Lloyd Thomas, 4, Dorothy Anthony, 2, Lenore Fox 2-1/2, Cleveland OH in Fall 1920.

Jesse at 18, probably his high school graduation photo, taken in 1934. It's interesting to note that by 1940 all that beautiful hair had disappeared. Early baldness was a family trait among the Jones men, and most photos of Jesse, his father and his uncles show them wearing hats. Jesse had a huge collection of hats for every use and occasion, and wore them inside and outside the house. In his later years he wore a beret even to bed. His other reason for wearing hats everywhere was that due to his height - 6'2" - he was notorious for bumping his head everywhere he went and usually sported a bandage or cut under whatever hat he was wearing.

In 1941, Lenore Fox, 23, far left, in the wedding party of her maternal first cousin, Ruth Anthony & Charles Wehagen, both age 27. Ruth's sister Dorothy, 21, is on the right.

This wedding photo was one of my treasured possessions as a child. My Aunt Ruthie was a tiny woman, under 5 feet tall and very much loved and admired by my mother.  (My daughter Maya's second name is Ruth, at my mother's request, in her memory.)

When I was about ten years old and visiting the Anthony/Wehagen household in Ohio with my mother, the cousins dressed me up in Ruthie's satin wedding dress and veil and it fit perfectly! (Ruth must be standing on a box for this photo as she was much smaller than both Lenore and Dorothy.)

Jesse & Lenore Jones,1942, Cleveland OH
As I recall being told as a child, this photo was taken at the wedding of Jesse's sister, Ann Jones, and Robert Keefer (1916-2000) on the 14th September 1942 in Cleveland OH. If so, Lenore would have been six months pregnant with their first child, Brooks Paul, who was born on December 8th 1942. They had been married in March 1942. (I was told that the scarf/hat was a wartime style to save money, labor and time on hairdressing. Many of the photos taken during these years - and the birth of three children within four years - show Lenore in various head wrappings.)

Jesse & Lenore Jones, 25th wedding anniversary, Michigan, March 1967

Lenore and Jesse with Brooks, Marney and Michael, circa 1948

Lenore was 5'2" with light brown hair with golden highlights, hazel eyes, flawless skin and perfectly straight teeth. She was kind, intelligent, gentle and loving, and was greatly loved and admired by everyone. She was "Len" or "Aunt Nonnie" to her large Fox family. She was the ideal mother in her children's eyes. She had many close friends who no doubt considered her a martyr for putting up with her charming but very difficult and demanding husband Jesse.

Jesse was 6"2" with pale blue eyes and wavy dark blonde hair which receded to baldness by age 30. He had been a gymnast at school and could do a back flip from a standing position. He had excellent posture even into his 90's and always had a rather arrogant and aloof way of walking, more like striding. He managed to always become the center of attention when he entered a room, and he had an abundance of charm and charisma which made him admired by both men and women throughout his long lifetime.

While Jesse was "the genius/boy wonder" with his flash and charm, Lenore was the integrity and strength of character that held our family together. Where Jesse may have been the one who showed us the possibilities of a world that was wider than our small town world, Lenore was the one who prepared us to live in that world and to have the self confidence to make our way.


Jesse Hayworth Jones and sister Ann Louise Jones Keefer, Easter 1961 in Cleveland OH.
The next page brings us to Jesse & Lenore's four children, the current "Elders" of the Jones Family