Hugh Andrew Jones
of Harford County, Maryland
“Raising a Family of Gentlemen”
Excerpt about his father from “Recollections” by Edward C. Jones, Sr.
“About the year 1906, Jim, Roy, and I had left the farm, and were meeting with fair success in other lines of work. Fred, my youngest brother, was still at home, and doing much of the hard, rough work. My father, having been born there, and being used to having his own way about all matters concerning the farm as he had been successful in it, had developed certain ideas, some of which were the same as he started with some forty-five years before. Naturally, there was certain conflict on some matters.
Fred, being one of the finest and best hearted boys who ever lived, rebelled at some of the requirements father exacted of him. Father had the opinion, as have many other parents, that the children never grow up, or have any worthwhile ideas of their own. Fred decided to leave home and engage in other work, as all his brothers had done. This would have left no one at home with father and mother, and as father was reaching advanced years, it became a serious question as to what was best to do. None of the other three sons was interested in farm work, as we were all doing well. My father finally tried to get Mr. E. Charles Wilson, who had a short time before married my sister, interested in taking over the farm and making a home with them. But this was impractical as Charles already had two farms of his own, and of course, had to decline the proposal.
At this time, in a farm country, to be called a gentleman was construed to mean that anyone so called was too lazy to work at farm work, or to soil his hands, with the duties involved. Really it always brought forth much amusement to the average farmer to hear of one being classed as a gentleman.
It was during this uncertain and perplexing period of my father’s that I stopped off on one of my New York buying trips to visit with my parents. Father was under much anxiety in realizing the disturbing situation in which he found himself placed. He reviewed with me fully his predicament. He stated the amount of money he had been able to put aside from operation of the farm alone; how he would like to keep the farm in the family, and rather favored the idea that farming was a good business in which to engage. I heard all this with interest, and finally told him that I could not afford as a business proposition to accept the farm as a gift with the idea of farming it, as I had produced in cash income during the past five years in my own mercantile business more than he had made in all his life at farming. My father held a great sense of pride in the fact that each of us three sons has made conspicuous success in his line of business. However, in order to carry out his point of argument with me, he finally said, “Yes, I’ve raised a family of gentlemen.”
After allowing time enough to gratify him, I finally said, Well, pop, that is a darn sight more than most men can say.” The conversation stopped there, and I felt he well knew what I meant, as he knew we were all exceptionally good boys of whom he was very proud.”
“Among the visitors who frequently came to our home, was Joseph James, who lived in a home which his father had owned, located about one mile from Darlington, but the location was in back of several farms and there was no highway nearer than a mile or more from the residence. Joe’s father died when he was a small boy, and his household consisted of an old colored woman cook and himself. He never married. Joe became intimately acquainted with our family about 1885. He had attended Darlington Academy in his youth, and his teacher had been William Cooley, to whom my father had gone to school. Joe was about six or eight years younger than my father. Both were readers and admirers of William Shakespeare and Robert Burns, and delighted to quote much of their works. Edwin Booth, the great actor in Shakespearian roles, who had become world famous, was born near Churchville, Harford County, some twelve miles from Darlington. Joe, for several years aspired to compete with the great tragedian in his roles, but with very poor success.
Joe was indeed a character who brought forth interest. We all admired him greatly. At times, we would see him driving in Sunday evening. We would not know whether he would go home the same evening or if he would stay three weeks, as he often did. Joe would help with any work we had to perform, but really was very little use, as he would at times be in a deep study of some important role in the scenes of Romeo and Juliet, or Othello, or perhaps Hamlet’s soliloquy, and, of course, the work at hand became secondary. My father thoroughly enjoyed some of his many moods, and Joe became almost like one of the family. Joe had an appetite that could scarcely be equaled by two men, and as my mother was not only a marvelous cook but provided most bountifully for all, it made Joe’s visits most enjoyable for him. I remember that my father and Joe accompanied me to Baltimore on September 17, 1894, and saw me embark on the train at Camden station, Baltimore, when I left home to come to West Virginia.”
Updated 11 April 2010