Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Leo Joseph JONES

34 years ago today my grandfather Leo Joseph Jones died.

What I know about grandpa's childhood is:
He was born September 6, 1898 in Gladstone, Oregon.

In 1900 he and his mother were residing at The Sisters of the Good Shepherd of the Magdalene House in Abernathy Precinct in Oregon. When they left there, they went to stay with his mother Roxena's mother Margaret Isabell and step-father James Arthur Titus. Shortly thereafter, Roxena "Ena" married James A Shellenberger. They lived in Seattle.

Around 1904 Leo threw a rock and hit his Uncle George Ezra Titus, who was 5 years older than Leo, in the head. George's sister Sarah stated Ena beat Leo so badly over this, she thought Ena would kill him.

The family moved to Weston, Oregon.
Leo in 1905 Weston, Oregon

By 1910 the family moved to West Plains, Kansas.

Leo stated to family he ran away from home when he was 12 years old. When and where the family lived when Leo left is not known. Sarah (Titus) Carlile thought it was due to being beaten by his mother and step-father.

September 7, 1917 Leo joined the Navy while living in Eagle, Colorado. He shipped out of New York City, where he had a picture taken of himself.
He served until August 14, 1919

In 1920 he lived in Covington, Washington with his Uncle Maynard Arthur Titus and wife Rachel. He was a log loader at a logging camp.

He moved back to Colorado. There he met Florence Regina Flannery. They were married December 25, 1923 in Victor, Colorado.


Grandpa's adult years-
They made their first home in Victor, where Patricia Marie was born.

The mining trade was declining in their area.
Leo was able to get a job with his brother-in-law August "Jack" Herman Kaiser welding for the Railroad.

They lived in a boxcar.


They settled in Oakland, California by 1926.
Roxena, Florence holding Patricia, Leo, Roxena's sister Pearl
However, due to conflict with her mother-in-law, Florence "Peggy" wasn't happy in Oakland. They moved to Gilman, Colorado; living with Florence's father. Leo worked in the Zinc mine. They had Barbara June while living there.

The depression started, so to support his family, Leo went to Gardena, California with a friend to find work. He saw a man welding on a tank. It was a different kind of welding than what Leo used while working for the railroad. He watched for awhile, then went to apply for the job. He had to show he could do the work. He did exactly what he'd seen the man do on the tank. He was hired immediately.

The family moved back to Oakland, California. They saw a cottage behind a home and asked if they could rent it for a couple of weeks, but ended up living there a year. The owners, Jess and Pauline Haynes became life-long friends. While living there they had Leo Thomas.

To get to work Leo rode an motorcycle.
When he was on the way home from work, he slid in gravel going around a corner. He was very badly injured. Hospital staff stated he would not survive. Ena told the nurses his children would have the opportunity to see their father one last time before he died. The nurse stated children were not allowed in the hospital. Ena stated she would bring them up the drainpipe if she had to, but the children WILL SEE THEIR FATHER. One nurse escorted them up the back stairs after normal visiting hours.

They rented from some friends Oscar and Gladys Dahlstrom, whom they knew from Colorado.

The Dahlstrom's owned a store. which Leo and Florence bought with the inheritance money Florence received after her father died.

While living here their last child Constance Lee was born.

Towards the end of the depression Florence tended the store, while Leo worked near Nevada City in a gold mine-probably the Empire Mine. Oscar and Gladys Dahlstrom's siblings lived in that area. While Gladys stayed in Oakland, Leo and Oscar worked near Nevada City. Oscar died in North San Juan March 26, 1937, after having lived and worked in the area for four years.

Florence and Leo sold the store and moved to 92nd Avenue.


Leo Joesph, Patricia, Barbara, Florence
Leo Thomas, Constance

In December 1942 they bought a house at 158 Euclid Avenue; San Leandro, California.

Leo hired on with Bechtel Steel to work on the pipeline in Saudi Arabia. He was assigned to weld on a barge. Several months later he stepped back to look at his work, forgetting he was on scaffolding. He fell to the deck below. Due to his injuries, he was sent home.

It was many months before he could work steadily after this injury.

In the mid-1960s Leo was told Robert Henry Jones was not his father by his Uncle George Titus. George stated he'd bring the evidence the next time he came to visit, but died before that happened. Sarah (Titus) Carlile stated George was the executor of their mother's estate. Written on a sealed envelope in Margaret's handwriting- Do Not Open Until After My Death. Since there weren't any birth certificates in the state of Oregon until 1903, it's believed the proof was contained in that envelope. Leo's self-esteem suffered after receiving this information.

In January 1972 he was sick with bronchitis. He refused to see a doctor, who'd previously told him he needed to stop smoking. He became weak and fell to the floor. Florence called an ambulance to take Leo to the hospital. His condition progressed to bronchial pneumonia and he slipped into a coma. About 7:40 P.M. on February 1, 1972 due to fluid filled lungs he passed from this life.

My purpose for starting this blog tonight is in memory of my grandfather, in whose home I was raised. Some of my fondest memories of him were of helping me to balance as I learned to handstand, ride my bike and after work he'd take me to play at the school until it was dinner time.