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The Mason Overstreet Jones Family

Written by Mary Jane (Mollie) Sechrist Jones

Mason Overstreet Jones was born January 14, 1871, in Comanche County, some six miles north of DeLeon.

His parents were Mason and Mary Jones who settled there during the early days when the county was and settlements were very sparse. Neighbors were so far away that when visiting each other they had so much news and were so full of love for each other that backbiting was not thought of. There was plenty of danger, as the Indians had no love for the settlers who they felt were trying to take their country from them. However, the family lived the life of the pioneers. Sometimes, it would be months that they would not see anyone.

The Leon River ran very close to the home. The land was new and very rich and fertile like valley land. [Mason Grigsby] raised an abundance of corn and wheat and soon had plenty of hogs running loose since there weren't any hog laws, which provided them with meat and bread. However, there was no mill nearer than Stephenville some thirty miles distant where he could get flour or meal ground from wheat or corn. The roads were nothing more than cow trails, so it was quite a job to go to the mill, and it would usually take three or four days.

There was plenty of wild game, and no laws to prevent killing it. Such staples as

Sugar, salt and soda were almost unknown, as Dallas was a long way off, and it was the nearest place where such things could be bought. Occasionally a freighter would come through with a load and the merchants or grocer would get their allotments, which would be very little.

Stephenville and Comanche were the nearest towns, and doctors were very scarce. If one of the family became sick enough to get a doctor, they would be likely to die as all home remedies were tried before calling the medicine man. (Rita Fincannon Dickinson note: I don't know whether it is covered elsewhere, but Grandmother Sechrist was the local doctor and midwife. When the doctors received a new kind of medicine, they gave some to here with instructions as to the use.) And when the doctor arrived, it was usually too late to do the sick any good, and many children died because of the need for the right care and medicine.

The family lived in Comanche for several years before they bought land over in Erath County and moved to the place on Armstrong Creek when Mason Overstreet was about four years old. (Rita Fincannon Dickinson note: We were still living on this land in 1921, when we left to go to Hockley County. It was north of the creek and west of the Road near Uncle Henry's farm. Mason Jones inherited it on his mother's death, and it was known as the Grandma Jones place; it was sold during World War II to Marvin Jones.)

Mary Jane Sechrist was born June 1, 1872, her parents living in Texas County, MO. When she was seven years old, the family was beginning to talk about the move to Texas. In April, 1872 [1879??] preparations began, and the talk was about how rich Texas was. In a short while, the wagons were loaded; the only brought bedding, a few chairs, and some cooking vessels. After three months on the road, the caravan landed on the Bosque River very close to Stephenville where they camped for two or three weeks. (Rita Fincannon Dickinson note: Somewhere, there is a story written by Grandmother when she was eighty telling in more detail about this trip and of her Grandmother Sechrist's death at either Tolar or Granbury. Later, Grandfather Sechrist went back to MO where he is buried.)

While camping near Stephenville, they met a man by the name of Jordan who had some land to sell over by Armstrong Creek in Erath County. After purchasing their land, they moved to it and began construction of their homes. They were rude log homes as the timber for building was not as good in TX as the MO pine was. Then they broke camp and each family moved into its own home, which seemed like mansions to the children after living in wagons for so long.

There were many disappointments. It was a dry year, and they had missed making a crop, so most of them went into the cotton patch. As it was their first experience, they could not make much there. Not much corn had been raised in the county, but there was plenty of grass, and the horses and cows could make their living on the range. The men could get a bushel of corn for a day's work, which was made into meal for bread. As they had to put their fields into cultivation, they could only work for corn a few days each month. The first winter passed, and the time for planting arrived. They didn't understand the climate, and everything was different, and so they didn't make much that first year. Originally, there had been twenty-one wagons arriving from MO. But as time went on, some grew dissatisfied, including great grandfather, and went back to MO.

{Mary Jane "Mollie" Sechrist and Mason Overstreet Jones] attended public school together and were married in 1889. They lived in the Bays community until 1926 when they moved to Stephenville. They were baptized into the Freewill Baptist Church in 1889. (Rita Fincannon Dickinson note: The church they belonged to when they died in Comanche County between DeLeon and Comanche.)

They were the parents of nine children; all lived to womanhood and manhood and were married and made homes of their own. When Jewel became seriously ill and passed away in a Fort Worth hospital Dec. 2, 1946, she was laid to rest in The Garden of Memories, a Fort Worth Cemetery. Our first real trouble, but she is waiting in heaven for us. After some four years of grief and disappointment, her husband passed away at his sister's home in CA. He was brought back to Fort Worth and buried by [Jewel's] side Nov. 30, 1950. To us, her grave looked so lonely until he was put by her. Now, when we visit their graves and take flowers, it seems to us that they are together. In life they had lived so close and been so devoted to each other that they seemed inseparable. They left no children to mourn them. (Rita Fincannon Note: According to Gwendola, just the fact that short died and was brought back to Fort Worth added years to Grandmother's life.)

I [Mary Jane "Mollie"] have had another birthday and I have been living on borrowed time for ten years. I feel like the sunset is not too far away. Even if I should live to be as old as my mother when she passed on was, life is very uncertain.

We, my husband and I, celebrated our 62nd wedding anniversary this July 4th, 1951. Vern and Christine [Pendleton] entertained the family with supper at the lake. Some of us spent the night. The next morning, everyone else came bringing a real picnic dinner. It was a great day to be remembered for many years. There were 56 present and 16 absent. We have had many anniversaries that were just as pleasant, but I failed to record them. One of them was our 60th, when we invited several friends and neighbors to a barbecue prepared by our son at Reecie and Opal's ranch. We enjoyed every minute of it, and hope someday to entertain everyone again. On our 61st, we were given a lovely celebration by Henry and Amanda. They cleaned up a nice park in their pasture, and some of us spent the night before out there sleeping in the great open with no roof over us except the trees. It was wonderful to listen to the whippoorwills. The next day the grandchildren came with cakes, salads, pies and vegetables. Our children furnished the barbecue. So another great day had passed.

Each time we meet, we say, "Today is the best one." Many other good days have come and gone, too numerous to mention. So, amid all the sorrow and disappointments, this is a beautiful world, and we feel so proud of our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. We almost pity anyone who doesn't have them, for we wonder how we would get along without them. We suppose, as we get older, that we are more appreciative because when we were young we didn't think about these things. We love the two adopted ones just as much as the others. We feel like they are ours, and trust that each one of the family will always feel the same way. And we pray that each grandchild and great grandchild will walk the straight and narrow path. And, God forbid that anyone should shame our name for a good name is to be chosen over riches. And how we do appreciate every one of them and love them.

Mother Sechrist had 107 descendants when she left this world. And we are hoping to reach 100 if the sum isn't that now.

We have so many blessings, it would be impossible to mention them all. We have so many material things to enjoy that our parents didn't have, such as radios, telephones, television, cars, and the many [machines] to farm with that our parents never thought of. We even cook in glass. And our mother was so glad to get a new tin pan for a cobbler pan. I've seen the cobbler pan get a hole in it, and they would take a piece of cotton and pull it through the hole and still make a pie in the pan, and we'd eat it as though the pan was all right.

In my family, there were 10 of us who lived to be grown. One brother passed on June 12, 1950. There are nine of us now, but all are getting old. In the Jones family, ten children lived to be grown, but there are only five alive (Rita Fincannon Dickinson note: in 1956).

As time passes, so many things happen unexpectedly. Our oldest son, Henry, didn't seem to be very well, and on Dec. 8, 1955, he passed on to a better world. Oh, how it grieved our hearts to give him up, but we know that God does all things well and if our children are good citizens and devoted Christians we should be satisfied even though we miss them so much our hearts are broken. Yet, we have so much to be thankful for. God is good to us. Daddy and I know, according to age, we don't have too many years left, but amid all the sorrows and difficulties of life, this is a beautiful world.

The year 1955 was a sad one, as our grandson, Edgar, sickened and died in August. He was the oldest grandson and a good Christian boy. And oh, those three little girls do need him. A few weeks before he died, his sister left for Korea, and it will be a sad homecoming for her.