W. R. Jones, his wife Idella, and small daughter, Bertha, moved to Marion County in 1886. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jones were schoolteachers. They secured the school here in Yellville, teaching in 1886, 1887, and 1888. At the close of the last term, the school building was burned. The building was near the home where Altus Doshier now lives. The Methodist Church burned soon after the school fire and it was located on the property of the J. Q. Adams home. At the end of the last school term, Mr. Jones bought the MOUNTAIN ECHO, which he edited for many years. Mrs. Jones taught a term or two of school in the old Masonic building situated on the high hill east of town. Three other children were born: Ralph, Willie and Little Idella. Both Willie and Little Idella died in infancy, and Mrs. Jones died following the birth of the last baby.
In 1895, W. R. Jones married Lillie Forrest Carter, daughter of Perry G. Carter and Olive Carter. To this union one daughter, Ina, was born. W. R. began to buy land as zinc and other minerals had been discovered in the county. He made several trips to Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York and was instrumental in having people from those areas to look over the situation. Several of these people bought land and helped the mining industry.
In 1900, Mr. Jones bought a home from Mrs. Olive Carter, son of William Murden Carter, Carter's daughters Lillie Carter Jones and Ida Mary Carter; Perry Carter died in 1893. There has been a member of the Carter family living in this home since 1871. Lillie Carter was six weeks old when brought to this home. In the early 1900's the house was remodeled as it stands today, the residence of Ina Jones Duren.
During the mining boom, Mr. Jones and T. L. Bond opened a small bank at Summit where the railroad station for Yellville was situated. Then, after a few years, they bought the Miners Bank in Yellville from J. S. Cowdrey and Victor Wilbur. The consolidated bank was moved to the south side of the square in the building now occupied by the Baker Real Estate Office where it remained for years.
During that time, W. Jones got into the mercantile business with stores in Yellville, Summit, Flippin, Buffalo, Pyatt, and Peel. The Yellville store was first run by Caleb Newill and wife. At Flippin, Newt Christian and Menard Stookey and wife Margaret ran that store. The store at Buffalo was operated by Will and Mamie Carter; the Pyatt store was operated by Cam Milum; the Peel store was run by J. F. Treadway; and the Summit store was operated by W. J. Patterson and wife. Even with all this, Mr. Jones kept interested in politics, but not running for office until the latter days of his life. He was representative of Marion County in 1895 and 1896; then again in 1929-1930 Session and was nominated by the Democratic Party in August 1930 to serve in the 1931-1932 General Assembly but died soon after his renomination. During the time he was in the Legislature, he was interested in good roads and good schools. He was instrumental in getting Highway 62 established from Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Paducah, Kentucky. He also played an important part in getting Highway 101 from Flippin to Rea Valley, which has been extended further into the state.
As his first love was schools, Mr. Jones helped to get consolidation in schools established in this county. People did not like tearing up their school districts, as the schoolhouse was the center of that area's gatherings; however, they began to realize the importance of a better education for their children. As long as he was in the banking business, he made it possible for young men and women to go to college so they would be better-trained teachers. To my knowledge not one of those to whom he loaned money failed to re-pay the loan. A few days after his death, a young man called saying he wanted to payoff his wife's note as she had borrowed from Mr. Jones. This touched the family as it was in the depression days.
Mr. J ones believed in Marion County and continued to buy .land. At one time he was the biggest taxpayer in the county. He had great faith in the county. Now, his faith has been realized.
Many people have said that "that man Jones was the best friend this county ever had." He has left a great heritage.
After a short illness, W. R. Jones died in 1930. People came from many parts of the state to pay their last respects to their friend and to his family.
With all his business affairs, W. R. had a hobby of writing and reading. He wrote many religious booklets; he was a Baptist and a Mason. He wrote about the old settlers in Wayne County, Illinois, and these were published in the ECHO. Since, they have been placed in the Archives of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. He wrote a book about his family that included John Paul Jones, which was published in Chicago. Several years ago a great-great-niece of his bought one of these books in a Chicago bookstore; wrote to the Marion County Librarian, Mrs. Dwyer, trying to find some of his family. They visited later in the summer in the home of Mrs. Ina J ones Duren. The niece's family had got away from the Jones family years before she knew of W. R. Jones, but because of her interest and visit, several cousins have visited in Marion County.
A history of the old settlers of Marion County has been placed in the the Marion County Library.
Mr. Jones' children are: Bertha, who married J. B. Ward of Yellville. They had one daughter, Marydell who married Sydney Watson and lives in Dallas, Texas; Ralph Jones, who died when he was 21; Ina, who married Sam Duren of Yellville and they have one son, Robert M. Duren, who lives in Reno, Nevada. Robert married Betty Jo Burns and they had three sons.
Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.