Monday, March 17, 2014

Who Is Buried in Jones' Tomb?

A couple of weeks ago, Gossips shared an article, stumbled upon while searching the pages of the Hudson Daily Register for something else, that reported the remains of Fred W. Jones were missing from his mausoleum. On the trail of what happened, Gossips got distracted by the story of Elizabeth Doyle, the woman who spent five years in the House of Refuge for a crime she didn't commit. But today, Paul Barrett supplied the solution to the Fred W. Jones mystery. According to a news item that appeared in the Register on June 18, 1901, Fred W. Jones's body was "evicted" when the bank foreclosed on his mausoleum.

The rumors that have been current about the streets in reference to the alleged body snatching affair in our cemetery were such that the Register noticed them yesterday. It now develops that the remains were removed by order of the Farmer's National Bank. It is claimed by the bank that the mausoleum belongs to the institution, and that the remains were surreptitiously put therein, the lock being broken to do it. Finding that unlawful methods had been used, they had the body removed from their property and notified the Jones estate where the remains now are deposited.
A Register reporter interviewed members of the Jones family to-day. The family have received a letter from the counsel for the bank to-day stating that the casket and body had been removed to another vault, which was the first intimation they had received of its whereabouts. They are indignant, as they claim that the mausoleum is their property, and that the bank or its servants had no more business therein than would body snatchers. Both civil and criminal actions are to be instituted against the bank. The matter has been placed before the District Attorney.
So now we're left with new questions. Where did the bank deposit the remains of Fred W. Jones? And who, if anyone, is buried in Jones' tomb? To quote Paul Barrett on the topic, "You can't make this stuff up."


  1. I still say Jones is buried somewhere under the causeway and we should dig him up

  2. I wonder if the whole event wasn't somehow politically motivated? Mr. Jones appears to have died in January of 1901so he wasn't a mausoleum tenant for very long.

    He had been a Supervisor from Greenport and was successful in having the name Hudson Hose Co. No. 6 on Academy Hill (organized February 4, 1878) changed to Fred W. Jones Hose Co. No. 6 on July 28, 1881. The Hudson Common Council voteded on June 30, 1887 that "F.W. Jones Hose Co. No. 6 be disbanded for conduct unbecoming a fire company."

    Mr Jones appears to have been born about 1840 in England. His first wife Agnes died in Greenport 1881, second wife was Mabel.

    Article dated February 21, 1889" "The town of Greenport has never had the honor of having a post office within its borders, but in order to make up for lost time it in now reported to have two. One will be located at the office of fred W. Jones, near the quarries and will be known as "Jonesville." with Fred W. Jones as postmaster. The other will be located at the new hotel of James D. Blakeman, near Fountain Head, and will be known as Greenport Centre, with Jas. D. Blakeman as postmaster."

  3. oops, Mabel was the daughter of Fred, born about 1884 and married Harry Hoffman on January 1, 1914.

  4. More on Fred W. Jones from The Chatham Courier of Thursday, June 5, 1958: "Vandals Sacked Greenport Home, Do $10,000 Damage" Paintings Ripper, Burned.

    This is a report of the Jones home "One of the Town of Greenport's show places." Mentions that Fred "was a pioneer in Hudson's cement industry and at one time operated the Jonesburg Railroad. It states that daughter Mabel died four months prior and that the house had been unoccupied since her death. Mabel's husband Harry W. Hoffman was living in Buffalo.

  5. Never speak ill of the dead.
    Jones built the causeway through the South Bay, he's dead ! How nice.

  6. This might make for an interesting screenplay! Also interesting is that Fred was wanting to sell some of his land for a new prison to be in Greenport in about 1889/1890.

    We might have to look what construction, or land/property improvement was going on in 1901 in both Hudson and Greenport... the plot may thicken...

  7. In June 1900, Fred W. Jones reported on his census form that his house was mortgaged; by December we know he was bankrupt.

    He died a month later on January 7, 1901, two months after he turned 59.

    So if his daughter Mabel didn't lose the house, then did she also save the mausoleum? And if she did, then did the grave-robbing charge stick against the bank?

    A good lesson for all: never get involved with causeways.