Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Cowboy in the Family: Chisholm Trail Rider Frank Jones

Last week I asked my son what he was learning about in his Texas History class. "Cowboys," he said.

We do have a cowboy in the family and I told him about it.

Frank Wiley Jones (1859-1942) was a Chisholm Trail driver. My grandmother told me as much many times. She was quite proud of the fact.

Recently, I found mention of Frank in the book Chronicles of Oklahoma. He was interviewed for his knowledge of the original Chisholm Trail, as folks were trying to pinpoint its path decades later. This book is available in the digital library of Oklahoma State University. Frank's piece is on page 111 of volume 4, no. 1 (1936):

"Frank Jones is 74 years old, very active and knows the Chisholm Trail from the Red River Station to Caldwell, Kansas. He has driven herds of cattle over this trail in the years of 1878 to 1886 which was the last trip.

Mr. Jones was with me on the location of the trail just east of Comanche to Rush Creek south and east of Rush Springs where the country is solid cultivation the trail is very dim and cannot be easily located only in a general direction. A large portion of this distance was in a sandy hilly country, but Mr. Jones has a wonderful recollection as to the correct location of the trail...."

It's probably no coincidence that Frank's last ride was the same year he got married to Carrie Colbert. He established his own ranch once he took a bride.

My son didn't seem that excited to learn that he had a *real* cowboy in the family. Hopefully I captured enough interest for him to pay extra attention to the class unit.

As for my grandmother, she would be very proud to know her grandfather's days as a Chisholm Trail driver were recognized in a book that is available from her alma mater.

Someday I'd like to go to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Oklahoma and learn more about the drivers from back in the day. Do they have any information on Frank Jones? Do they know he's buried right there in Duncan? If they don't, I'll be sure to tell them. My grandma would want it that way.


  1. i love it when i find an ancestor quoted in a publication. lots of my family were in texas and oklahoma too.

  2. What a cool find! I love the Chronicles of Oklahoma, so much wonderful information there.

  3. Frank must have had a lot of stories of his time on the trail. Grandma was right to be proud. Thanks for sharing!

  4. It's cool you had that story to tell your son. Hopefully someday you get to visit the Heritage Center.

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  6. That's cool what a fun find I bet he actully perked up his ears and listened. Maybe even a little curious. Judgeing by my own here. maybe your son has more interest than mine. Now and then I strike the right