Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This photo is courtesy of site reader Ray Jackson who found it in a set of photos he bought from ebay. The back of the CdV indicated the subject is one Horace Jones, who at the time of the photograph looks to have been in his early twenties. We can tell this is an 1860s vintage CdV because of the square corners of the card and the thin border lines. The photographer was C. Young of Arcade, NY.

Ray was able to find an Horace Jones on the 1870 census as living in Arcade, Wyoming County, New York. This is quite a complicated search because there were actually TWO Horace Joneses living in Arcade at the time. Both had the middle initial W. Horace W. D. had a mother named Sophorona. Horace W. had a mother named Sophoronia. Unbelievable!

The town of Arcade was originally founded as the Town of China in 1807. For some reason they changed the name to Arcade in 1866, and the Arcade & Attica Rail Road runs through it. On the census, the town name change was reflected but makes it look like the families moved from one city to the other.

Horace W. D. was born to Milan (Milon, Melan) and Sophorona Jones in 1840. Milan was born in 1807 and Sophorona in 1815. Horace had a sister named Mary who was born in 1850. One can only imagine there were some lost siblings during that ten year span. The family also had a boarder named Orissa Crary or Casey who was a “tailoress,” what we today would call a seamstress. Milan was a carpenter.

In 1860 the family situation had not changed but Horace listed himself as a farmer.

Horace W. was born to Levi and Sophoronia Jones in 1840. Levi was born in 1814 and Sophoronia in 1820. Levi was a farmer and in 1850 they had Horace W. (10), Elisha W. (8), Farley Y. (6), Wm Henry (5), Luther S (3), and Elliott M. (1). I couldn’t find more about this Horace.

In 1880, one of these two men is married to Elizabeth, born about 1829. She has identified her occupation as “tailoress” which is an interesting coincidence. Maybe she knew or worked with the one Jones family boarder? At this point Horace lists his occupation as a painter. After that, the trail goes cold.

To further complicate the search, Horace Jones was quite a popular name in the 1840s and no fewer than 3 Horace W Joneses served in the military during the Civil War and enlisted from New York, but I am not able to determine if any of them are the two Horace W’s we are tracking here. It is a mystery that feels like it has a solution, but even that is a greater mystery.

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments Intense Guy has added, there is some fascinating information including a connection to the Hatfields & McCoys.

29 thoughts on “Which Horace Jones?

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    Hmm… this is my kind of puzzler. :)

    I found a couple news items – which may be about one or the other Horaces.

    BY: F. W. BEERS, 1880

    Horace W. Jones was born at Sardinia, Erie Co., NY, in 1840. He came from Sardinia, NY to Arcade, Wyoming Co., NY, where he has since resided, except two years spent in Yorkshire. May 4th, 1861, he enlisted in the 21st N.Y. Volunteers. He participated in the 2nd battle of Bull Run, Antietam (where he was wounded), Fredericksburg, South Mountain and in other engagements. In 1864 he married Elizabeth Whitney, widow of Carleton Whitney, and daughter of Benjamin Town, who was born in Vermont, 1799, and has lived in Richfield, Otsego Co., NY and Centerville, Allegany Co., NY before coming to Arcade, NY, where he now resides (1880).

    And from the Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser dated 30 January 1900.

    Arcade, NY–The body of Horace Jones, aged 55 years, a veteran of the Civil War, was found in Cattaraugus creek yesterday. Jones had been missing since Wednesday. He is supposed to have fallen from a bridge.


  2. Mrs Marvel says:

    I knew you would love this one! I had seen the Sardinia Horace but couldn’t firmly place him in Arcade in the 1860s. I know you will have fun with this and I look forward to what you find! :-)


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    Sardina, NY is only 5 miles west of China/Arcade, NY with Yorkshire in between, so Horace didn’t move that far. The Horace that drowned in 1900 was the same one that was born in Sardina. His drowning in January of 1900 means he wasn’t listed in the 1900 US census (his wife, Elizabeth Jones, born Oct 1828 is listed as widowed and still working as a seamstress at the age of 71).


  4. IntenseGuy says:

    Horace was wounded in the leg while serving under Abner Doubleday (Gen. Hooker) at Antietam.

    A visit to Find-A-Grave uncovers a couple things:

    Elizabeth Jones died in 1902.

    A(rrisa?) S. Crary married a Jones – she wasn’t a boarder (for long) she was “family”.



  5. Mrs Marvel says:

    I was just rereading that newspaper piece about the drowning. In January 1900 it names his age as 55 years. Our Horace was born in 1840, so it is impossible for him to have been 55 years old in 1900. He would have been 60 years old. Was it an error at the newspaper or did he lie about his age to locals for some reason??


    1. IntenseGuy says:

      I noted the oddity of his age too – that is why I thought checking his gravestone would be … of interest. It is engraved in stone 1840 – 1900. Given he drowned in 1900 I’m 95% confident this is “him”.

      I can’t see 55 being a typo for 60… so would have to think someone goofed up and/or misrepresented his age. Peoples ages seemed to have been a bit fuzzy “back then”. I’ve seen ages/birthdays vary as much as 10 years for the same person, even in US Census records.


  6. Do you suppose he really fell? Or was he pushed? Or did he jump? Lots of questions concerning this Horace Jones.
    Nice follow up Iggy:):)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I was wondering if he fell while intoxicated. A man who lived through the war often had the demons that followed. There was a phenomenon called “old soldiers disease” which really was opiate addiction. They gave morphine for injuries (and really for everything including teething babies!) and they didn’t really understand its addictive properties as we do today. These fellows often wasted away because they were so hooked. Given that he was injured, it is a possibility that he was given morphine, and that could have lead to addiction. Total speculation of course!


  7. IntenseGuy says:

    Well, I’ve no luck with the which Horace W. this is – I would love to know what the middle initial stood for… I thought perhaps looking back their family tree I might uncover it – but found nothing.

    I did find an interesting sub-story. And while I think this is Milan’s son, Horace and Milan’s son Horace married Elizabeth (and had no children) – Milan also served in the Civil War as a Corporal and was also wounded. His gravestone reads, “Cpl. Milan Jones, Co. G. 102nd N.Y. Infantry, 1888” and his wife’s stone reads “A. Sophronia [nee] C/Grary, wife, died Aug. 23, 1872, 57 yrs. 3 mons. 18 ds” His son Horace W. and Elizabeth are buried in the same cemetary in Arcade.

    The interesting bit is this, the other Horace, Levi’s son. Levi was Levi Junior and his father (Levi Sr.) moved into the Arcade, NY area back in the 1820’s (into a nearby town called Freedom in Cattagarus County which is a very short distance to the southeast)

    “Levi JONES, Jr., born in Massachusetts was nine years old when his parents came to Freedom. He was a cooper and a mason, trades which he followed several years. He married Sophronia, daughter of William HATFIELD; children: Horace W., Elisha, Parley C., W. Henry, Elliott, Fayette, Mamie, Adelbert, Mary, Runy, and Luther.”

    Thinking I might find more on Horace, I invested each of his brothers – and not one of them had mention of being with Horace – Elisha, Elliott, Adelbert, Runy and Parley lived near each other in Castile (another little town near Arcade). Elisha came to a gruesome end –

    “Dec. 21, 1922
    Elisha Jones, aged 81 years; was struck by a B., R. & P. train near Fallon’s Crossing, Bliss, Tuesday of last week, about 1 p. m., and instantly killed. Mr. Jones made his home with his brother, Runah Jones, on the former Nichols farm. He was walking to the village on the railroad track and being deaf, didn’t hear the approaching train, the wind being so strong. His body was badly mutilated. The funeral was held from the home of his brother at 11 o’clock Thursday morning, Rev. McNinch officiating. The deceased was a brother of Elliott and Adelbert Jones of this place.”

    The reason there is a lot of items on the Internet for this family is this: Levi Jr’s wife was a Hatfield (of the Hatfield and McCoy feuders) so extensive geneological work has been done up (down?) to her branch in the tree – but frustratingly enough – the work stops there – and Levi’s son Horace simply disappears after being mentioned as Sophonia’s son a gazillion times and places.-


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      That is fascinating information! It makes you wonder if the Levi Jones Horace died in the war or something, since he really just dropped off the grid.

      Also interesting that in the case of Milan’s wife, her name is noted as A. S. Creary, which had been the name of the ‘boarder’ on one census I found…after Milan and Sophorona had married. Very confusing!!


  8. IntenseGuy says:

    I think I’ve found the Levi Horace Jones is listed in the 1880 United States Census as H_A_race Jones. He is shown working as a butcher and is with wife Esther Jones and child Agnes Jones in Sandusky, Cattaraugus, New York.

    He appears again in the 1892 New York State Census as Horace W Jones married to “Ester” Jones with daughter “Aggie”. The 1892 census shows them living in Yorkshire with Horace working as a butcher. Ester Jones is listed as “head of household” in 1905. so the “other” Horace appears to have also died between 1892 and 1905.

    So the two Horace’s crossed paths in Yorkshire and died about the same time. The two Horaces do not appear related (or not closely at any rate).

    So the mystery is no closer to solved… which Horace is the one in the picture? :)


  9. Ray Jackson says:

    Hello, this is my first comment and since I provided the picture, I guess I am due atleast one. I love history and even received my degree in history. I especially love the Civil War era, but am no expert. However, this is my observation. First off, I tend to lean towards this being the first Horace Jones I suspected. Why, well here is my thought. This person looks to have been single. I believe that it its post Civil War because of his looks and dress. I suspect that the young man hadn’t been back from the war very long, although he is not wearing military colthing of any type. Not much to go on, except having just returned from the war would mean he was trying to do something to impress the ladies. A photo would be a great way to advertise a handsome young lad. As for being the married Horace, I can not see this. If I understand correctly, he was married. Therefore, a family photo would have been more appropiate. Farmers loved to show off their family. They were his workforce and his pride. Another striking factor is that there is no ring on his left hand. I could be wrong, but would think that he would be proud of being married and show off his wedding band. This is my speculation, but as my wife would say, I am the historian and can make up stories of history to fit what I think! Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this. I have found it truly fascinating and very glad to forwarded the pictures. Perhaps I’ll try to come across some more. Ray J.


  10. IntenseGuy says:

    Hi Ray, I found your speculations most interesting.

    Levi’s Horace Jones, the farmer turned butcher, married Esther (by 1870) and had one daughter.

    Milan’s Horace Jones, the painter, married Elizabeth in 1864 and apparently had no children.

    If we assume that the man in the photo is post civil war and unmarried, it would appear that this would be Levi’s Horace Jones from Freedom, Cattaraugus County, NY. I wonder if the two Horace’s ever met – it would seem likely, being Civil War vets – and living in close proximity in a portion of NY that is, even today, sparsely settled. I can only imagine one saying, “Oh! You mean the other Horace Jones!”

    Thanks for sharing this photograph! I enjoyed it immensely.


  11. Ray Jackson says:

    Glad to be of service. I have enjoyed submitting these photos. I hope to come into more. I could get hooked on this. To me these are more than photos, they are pictures of people who use to be just like us. They were born, were children who played, learned life’s hard lessons, went venturing into the world, had families, had lives. I hope someday someone will do the same for us. May no one be forgotten.


  12. AHS says:

    I am with the Arcade Historical Society and have been in contact with a descendant of the Horace W. B. Jones in this photograph. I published this “mystery” in our newsletter and a descendant, one of our members, contacted me with her side of the story. She is not online, so I am conveying what I learned.

    This descendant can verify this is Milan’s and Sophronia’s son as she has several photographs of this, her great Uncle Horace. This Horace and his father both served in the Civil War and both were wounded in the knee at different battles. Milan was wounded July 3rd @ Gettysburg and sent to a York, PA hospital. He finished his war service working in hospitals. Horace did not like that his father joined the service. He felt he should have stayed home to mind the family.

    Horace’s buddy, Carleton Whitney, died in the Civil War and so Horace married his widow, Elizabeth Whitney, when he came home. Elizabeth’s grave is between Horace and Carlton at the Arcade Rural Cemetary.

    This family member can also confirm there was another Horace, son of Levi, with a mother Sophronia, but this family was no direct relation to her line of Jones.


    1. Ray Jackson says:

      Thank you for this information. It brings me much happiness this Christmas. I have found a entry on findagrave.com for a Private Horace Jones, Birth: 1840
      Death: 1900 Co. F 21 NY INF
      Burial: Arcade Rural Cemetery
      Arcade,Wyoming County
      New York, USA
      findagrave #40148301
      If you could verify this information pertains to him, I would like to post his picture on findagrave and my own personal note. This means alot to me. Thank you again.


  13. Wonderful end to a great search and unfolding story. Wonderful that the photo will be on find a grave:)


  14. IntenseGuy says:

    Ray, Horace’s wife is in the same cemetery. Find a grave #40148192. She is Elizabeth C Jones.

    Horace’s mother (I think) is #40148103. This is so cool! Many thanks to Horace’s niece (via Arcade Historical Society ) the for the information!


    1. Ray Jackson says:

      Yes, found them. I sent out message to memorial owner to make the connection.


    2. Ray Jackson says:

      Just when we solved the “Who was Horace Jones” mystery and thought that this case was closed, I found something of interest on Carlton Whitney, Elizabeth’s first husband. I found the following info at http://dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/78th_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf.
      This was not what I envisioned as to what actually happened to him. I actually envisioned two friends going off to war and only one came back and kept a promise to his best friend to take care of his spouse. My thoughts have now changed and a different event has come to mind.

      First some background thoughts, I am not sure that Horace Jones’ was Carlton’s best friend in true life as previously stated. Carlton was more Henry’s father’s (Milands’s) age. Carlton and Miland were also in the same outfit and Horace Jones was in a different one altogether.

      Now for the rest of the story:

      “Whitney, Carlton. – Age, 37 years. Enlisted, December 3, 1861, at Eagle, to serve three years; mustered in as a private, Co. G, December 11, 1861; died, April 9, 1862, at Buffalo, N.Y; supposed to have been murdered; body found in the canal, the head severed from the body.”

      This sounds like a story for “Cold Case” if you ask me. I think that this would make for a great murder mystery. Quite a shocker, wouldn’t you say?


  15. IntenseGuy says:

    Well! As they say, the plot thickens (or sickens).

    I wonder what he was doing in Buffalo? He served only a few short months – maybe he was in training or guarding a prison camp? If I can get some time later – I’ll want to check this out! :)


  16. IntenseGuy says:

    I think Carlton was mustered in to the unit in Camp Morgan, Buffalo, NY. Shortly after his death, on April 29, 1862, his unit moves south to Washington DC and then on to Harper’s Ferry.

    His family had some sad times –

    Elizabeth C. Town married Carlton Whitney, July, 5, 1845
    They had one daughter, Nellie M. Whitney was born 8 May, 1851.

    Carlton dies April 9, 1862 in suspicious circumstances.
    Elizabeth C. Whitney married Horace W. Jones Oct. 13, 1864, Arcade, N.Y.

    Nellie M. Whitney married W. W. Joslin, 4 July, 1868.
    Nellie Whitney, wife of Willington W. Joslin, died 29 July, 1868.

    She was married for only 25 days.


    1. Ray Jackson says:

      Where’s Jessica Fletcher when you need her? Does it stipulate anywhere as to how Nellie M. Whitney died. You once said that Horace died by falling off of a bridge. There are sure a lot of open ended questions here. Would be interesting to see if all of this is tied in together somehow. It all may be coincidental, but it sure is odd.


  17. IntenseGuy says:

    I found the daughter in Find A Grave – her “official” name was Helen.


    I was thinking some other one of Mrs. Marvel’s photo had a woman that died not long after being married. I think it was one of the ladies in the Mearn’s album.


  18. You guys have a big old mystery going on here. A very interesting one..:)


  19. This would make a great novel if one could change a few names and pull all the details together.


  20. Rosemary Dietrick says:

    I am a descendant of Levi Jones and as I was digging into the family I found the story of Horace falling off the bridge. My question is, have we established which Horace met his demise this way?
    I really enjoyed the on -going conversation and am glad that we established that the Horace pictured was not my ancestor before I pasted his picture to my tree.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Hi Rosemary, unfortunately I don’t think we have concluded which Horace fell off the bridge! It is certainly a twisted and convoluted story, isn’t it!?


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