Written by John N. Millner
Gabriel Jones was born in southern Virginia about 1799. He married Keziah Bishop of Tennessee. The family migrated west to Paducah, Kentucky where children, Elizabeth, Maurice and Lewis were born. Drawn by tales of land available in the Northwest, the Jones family traveled to Clay County, Missouri in 1844 to join a large Oregon trail wagon train headed by "Colonel" Gilliam, a former military officer.
As the trip west progressed, Jones and others in the train became disenchanted with the strict military disciplines imposed on them by Colonel Gilliam and shifted thier allegiances to Virginian, Michael T. Simmons. After spending a few months at Hudson's bay Company's Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, Gabriel and his family, along with Michael T. Simmons, James McAllister, David Kindred, George W. Bush, all with their families, and two single men, S. B. Crockett and Jesse Ferguson, made the tortuous journey from Vancouver to found the first American settlement north of the Columbia River. First called Newmarket, that settlement is now known as Tumwater.
Jones was one of the original stockholders in the sawmill built at the falls on the Deschutes River. He established a farm on Bush Prairie south of Newmarket. Daughter, Elizabeth Jones, married Joseph Broshears in 1852. Son, Maurice Jones, never married and is listed as "Farmer" on several subsequent census's. Son, Lewis Jones, disappeared from the census rolls soon after the family moved to Grand Prairie near what was to became the town of Winlock.
Gabriel Jones suffered a serious injury as the result of a hunting accident some time after moving to the Winlock area. The top part of his nose was shot off according to a census which described him as a county pauper, another census reporting him as blind. Family stories state, "He was out hunting, wearing a fur skin cap. Someone saw the cap and took a bead on it, shooting the top of Gabriel's head off. A silver plate was put in the top of his head and he was blind from them on." Several census's show him living with his granddaughter, Keziah Flesher's families and various farm families in the area. He died in 1885 and is thought by some to be buried in Winlock but his grave site has never been found. There is documentation in Olympia which states that he owned grave sites at the pioneer cemetery on Bush Prairie, so it is also possible he could have been buried there along side other family members.
Submitted by Alice Harrison, great-great-granddaughter of Gabriel Jones.
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