Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mrs. Fernando Jones - Maiden name of Grahame

Students of Chicago history will know the name Fernando Jones.  He founded an abstract company which after the great fire of 1871 became Chicago Title & Trust.  He arrived in Chicago with his father at the age of 15 in 1835, and became a prominent citizen.

Jane was a Scottish girls whose maiden name was Grahame and whose Clan Chief was James Grahame, Duke of Montrose.  She came to Chicago with her parents when she was ten years old and in 1853 married Fernando Jones.  They had two children.

For more than 50 years, she was identified with the progressive movement in Chicago, especially as it related to womens' rights.  She was one of the founders of the Twentieth Century Club and the Women and Children Hospital.  "Mrs. Jones had a personal friendship with many notable figures of the last century.  It is said to have been partly because of her appeals that General Grant wrote his memoirs."  She died, December 7, 1905.  Her husband died November 8, 1911.  They are buried in Oakwoods cemetery on the south side of Chicago.

Mr. &  Mrs. Jones lived in a three-story red-brick house at 1834 Prairie ave.  It was located directly across from the home of Marshall Field.  Both house are now gone.  It was included in Old Chicago Houses by John Drury, page 31.  They often lived abroad, but when they were home, the house became a gathering place for Chicago citizens who had attained wealth and status.  It was magnificently furnished. Their housekeeper was Jessie Smith.

Jessie Smith was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and came to Chicago as a young girl to join her brother John who was a stone cutter.  In 1869, Mrs. Jones employed her and she remained for 44 years. When Mr. & Mrs. Jones traveled abroad, she was entrusted with care of their home.  After Fernando Jones died in 1911, the family kept the home open and allowed Jessie Smith to live there for the rest of her life. . She died January 14, 1913, and now with her death, the family closed the home.

Several years before, Jessie Smith and her brother had bought a lot in Rosehill cemetery and she was laid to rest beside him.  It has been interesting to note how families treated their servants.  They were often considered members of the family, like Jessie Smith and were often given large gifts through wills and estates.  I doubt you would see that today, but who works 44 years in one place now?

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