Henry Jones

[Charles E. Page, September, 2003]

Henry was my 1st cousin [once removed]

He was son of my Grandpa Jones's brother, Uncle Will. Henry had a dairy farm at Deansboro, N.Y. over in Oneida County. It was large for the times, well run, neat and prosperous. His pure bred Holstein herd was well known in cattle circles.

He kept two hired men the year around. To keep from having to lay one off in winter, he kept them busy cutting firewood both for himself and for them. He had a "drag saw" inside a shed near the barn and the men hauled logs to it in ordinary weather and could saw them up and split the wood under cover on the stormy days.

At the Jones family reunions I remember sitting around with the men listening to their yarns. Henry enjoyed telling stories and talking with the others about happenings on their farms.

One story I remember he told was about the time he let a young boy [probably a nephew] drive his big red "M" tractor from the barnyard into the shed for the night. Henry took meticulous care of his machinery, as he did everything on the farm. Boys learned to drive tractors at an early age and this one had driven that tractor before. The boy did ok until he was entering the shed and then, for some reason, he hit the gas instead of the brakes. The M tractor was one of the "tricycle" types, that is, the two front wheels were close together and stuck out in front of the tractor body. This meant that if you ran into something those wheels were the first part of it to strike.

When the boy hit the gas, the tractor reared up, and the front wheels climbed the wall putting the tractor in an almost vertical position. Henry, standing close by, watching, jumped up and jerked the throttle lever down, effectively stalling the tractor. It could have turned completely over backward with disastrous results.. The boy clung to the seat and was unhurt. A tragedy averted.

Henry's farm at Deansboro was well located on mostly level land. It was "gravelly loam" soil, rich and well drained. However, the gravel in it was a "double-edged sword". Whenever it was plowed, more gravel stones came up to the surface. Although picking up stones was a job performed endlessly, a lot of them were left in the fields, and after plowing, fitting and planting was done, the fields were "rolled" with roller or "cultipacker" [a sort of corrugated roller]. This would push the stones down even with the surface of the ground out of the way.

Of course the stones gradually worked up again. One time we sitting around making farm talk, and my Uncle Seward Jones mentioned that their mower was getting old. He and Grandpa had used it probably 30 or 40 years. They used tallow, saved from butchering cows to fill the grease cups. It seemed to work as well as store-bought grease.

Anyway, Henry said he had just bought a new mower. Since his mower "cut more stones than it did hay he had to get a new one every 5 or 6 years. Such were the conversations when farmers got together.

Henry was prosperous and he was also generous. He sometimes lent money to less fortunate relatives, and helped other young people get started in farming. When he learned that Alberta and I were selling off our old cows and buying calves to start a new purebred herd, he gave us a newborn bull calf from his best stock. He said, "I think this calf will do you a lot of good". He was right.

We named the calf "Henry". We raised him successfully and he came to sire some good heifers. Years later when we sold our herd and moved from Butlers Corners to the farm at Hoboken, of the twelve pure bred calves Henry had sired that year, eleven were heifers. A remarkable ratio! Of course with the background of Henry Jones's well-known line of cattle [I think his pedigree prefix was Winterthur] they were valuable animals and brought a good price at the auction.