My essay this week in #52ancestors concerns my grandfather Barclay Gibbs Jones. I never met this man because he died before even my father was born. His legacy lives on, however, in both his name and his deep-set eyes. As I look through family photographs of the wedding trip taken by Barclay and Kathryn Prince Jones, I see aspects of my father, brother and nephews in the turn of his head, his smile and his eyes.
Barclay Gibbs Jones was born on 30 May 1901 to Arthur Wells and Anna Mary Wells Jones. He was their only child, which makes his early death all the more tragic. The family were active members of the Rosedale Baptist Church and Barclay appears often in the newspapers organizing young people’s events for the church, as well as other social gatherings. And young Kathryn Prince is present at most if not all of these parties. I do remember my father saying that my grandmother loved to go about socially and that as a youngster he was often dragged about as she did her visiting.
Barclay and Kathryn were married on 25 June 1924 at the home of George C. Prince (212 N. 38th Street, Rosedale. The newspaper articles describe in detail the quiet ceremony surrounded by snapdragons and carnations. The bride wore white Canton crepe with stockings and shoes to match. The honeymoon was in Niagara Falls, after which the bride and groom returned to 212 N. 38th St. while they waited for their own home on Scoville Ave. in Hillcrest to be finished. I don’t know if they ever even lived there, as Barclay died on Christmas eve.
I found among the family archives a little photo album that Kathryn Prince Jones made documenting their short life together. The wedding pictures appear to have been taken outside 212 N. 38th St. and, in particular show off some stunning concrete porch columns. I wonder if these are examples of the work Prince Concrete did, as I know they did a lot of porches and garages.
Barclay worked at Prince Concrete Co. and was apparently carrying cement blocks when he tripped over an oil can, the tip of which pierced his body. I remember my father once telling me that the injury developed into blood poisoning which was what caused his death. The final indignity of it all was to have his name so grossly misspelled in the paper that it took me ages to find it.
Barclay’s funeral took place in the same room he was married in seven months previously and he is buried under a simple marker at Bethel Memorial Park, Pennsauken.