Jones Prairie, Milam County, Texas
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Fort Tumbleweed's History of Jones Prairie
A Portrait of Jones Prairie, c1927
by Maudie Ruth Canady Chaney 1911-1999
Excerpts from a rough draft of a speech by Maudie Ruth Canady while she was a fifteen-year-old student at Jones Prairie, Milam County, Texas. c1926-1927. The original was not fully developed but was complete enough so that minor editing was all that was needed to make it more readable. However, the original spelling has been retained. Only two sections relevant to the history of the community have been used.
Jones Prairie exists today as a rural community. The area where the stores and business were located shows scant trace of them. In 1987, the last remaining structure was still standing (see photo right). Maudie Ruth visited it and told her son that she remembered going to public functions on its second floor which acted as an auditorium or meeting hall. The building was demolished sometime after September 2000 and before April 2001.
"Jones Prairie is a lil town situated in Milam Co. about 5 miles west of the Brazos River. In the year 1901 and before then, Mr. Touchstone and Mr. Bill Weise owned a small store and Mr. Geo. Smith, a small blacksmith shop at this place. Mr. Smith has done business continually during the past 20 hears thereby adding much force and several modern conveniences to his shop. Mr. Smith is our only black smith today and we're very proud of him. However our lil store has passed through several hands, namely from Touchstone and Weise to Reid and Flinn and finally Mr. Flinn bought Mr.'s Reid's interest.
"In the spring of 1912, fire destroyed the small building but Mr. Flinn replaced it with our two-story building now standing. Later Mr. Flinn sold interest to Dr. W. J. Fontaine. About this same time Mr. Flinn sold his home to Mr. John McClerran and moved to Cameron. We felt his absence very much in our society but Mr. Flinn still pushes his business in the store and if you car to buy they have anything from the smallest trifle to any lawful drug to sell. Mr. Edgar Key being manager.
"A few years later Mr. J. E. Lester and son erected a building in our Lil town, thereby rivaling Flinn and Fontaine in merchandise and groceries. However in the year 1920, Mr. Lester's health failed and his son wanted to do other business so they sold their building to Mr. T. B. Stedham [the name was Stidham], then manager of the Flinn and Fontaine firm. Mr. Stedham being postmaster of the place had to move the post office from the Flinn and Fontaine firm to his own place of business thereby strengthening his own place of business. Mr. Stedham would be proud to have anyone call on him and I expect he'd sell you boys some chewing gum Saturday afternoon to take your girl on Saturday night or Sunday.
"In the year [missing] Mr. R. H. Jones constable of Beat 2 built an ice house and cold drink stand adding convenience as well as comfort to our Lil town. Mr. S. S. Hickman, star barber of our community, did have a room joined to the store that was destroyed by fire but now he has a building of his own and we know how the boys appreciate his work by their patriotism.
"Beside these business firms Mr. Gibson of Calvert, Texas, Robertson County, has a gin in our lil town run by Mr. H. B. Crook, whom we all love and respect for his strenuous efforts to help the many farmers of Jones Prairie Community during cotton picking time.
"We have a few homes we can boost for our Lil town names: Mr. J. E. Lester, Mr. John McCerran, Mr. B. F. Stedham, Mr. T. B. Stedham and Dr. W. J. Fontaine. Dr.'s home is quite a distance from the main part of our Lil town but as we have an oil well going down on the Byran[?] Sneed farm 'bout 2 1/2 miles northeast of us we hope to number his home among the many beautiful homes that will beautify our large city to be.
"When we think of Dr. Fontaine's home we cannot pass . . . without thinking of the most highly appreciated services rendered us as our physician for the last 20 years . . . Dr. Fontaine is loved and respected by all people who know him and we heartily hope to maintain his presence as well as all others.
"Last but not least is our school. We are all proud of it. Our school building here was once two small buildings and bore the names Tarver Grove and Barron. In the year 1918, the people decided to consolidate them and call them Jones Prairie High School. In May 1929, the first building which was a secondary school was destroyed by fire caused by lightning. We felt this very keenly but didn't lose courage. We built this building . . . and we should be very proud and take more interest in it for we must educate the younger generation so that they will be qualified to care for our community, county, State and much beloved U. S."
Go to The Little River Baptist Church and Cemetery Page
They have served the Jones Prairie community for more than 150 years.
See also the following web sites:
James D. Walker's Milam County projects site Milam County. A TXGenWeb Project