Fannie Jones SFTD Queen-2004
Fannie Jones, the 2004 honoree as Santa Fe Trail Daze Queen, who will be crowned on Thursday night, June 4, traces her roots in Cimarron County to her great-grandparents moving first to Southwestern Baca County, Colorado in about 1886 and then on into Kenton to manage the local hotel.
Her paternal Grandfather came into the area in 1882 and worked as a cowhand and wagon boss at the ZH and 101 ranches.
Fannie whose parents were Harv and Zena Gillworth, was born in 1929 in what is now the Kenton Museum and known locally as the “1902 House”.
She attended “Cowboy College” a dugout school on a nearby ranch.
“It was located one mile west of the Brookhart Ranch,” Fannie explained.
She later changed schools and her teacher, Vera McBride, roomed in one of the ranch bunkhouses.
“I rode with Mrs. McBride to school as long as she taught me,” Fannie said.
Asked if she and her playmates enjoyed and used the area around Kenton as the playground many of the young people in the county consider it, Fannie shrugged.
“We didn't run around very much. My dad rode from daylight to dark.”
“We'd have parties like at Fourth of July at Hallock's Park. Sometimes I'd catch a ride from the ranch to Kenton with the mail carrier.”
“In Kenton was the Mercantile, a Drug Store and a garage, later a Ford dealership.
Along the river, (Cimarron) there were swimming holes that we'd swim in. They were usually pour-overs with rock-bottoms. The ones still there, are full of trash now. The river had more water in it then.”
“We'd get together, a bunch of us kids; and we'd have a wienee roast. But you see, we didn't know we weren't having fun,” she smiled.
Fannie married Asa in 1948, friends Junior and Bonnie Heppard stood up with them, and Fannie jokes that Junior wanted to tagalong on the honeymoon.
Times were hard during the dustbowl 1950s, Asa often rented 100 to 150 acres of land covered with cactus, just to burn off the needles and feed the sweet flesh of the plant to his cattle; in the meantime Fannie ran the telephone office from their home
The Jones' left in the middle sixties, selling their two ranches near Kenton and moved to south central Oklahoma near Ada, bought another ranch and sent their children to college.
“The biggest mistake I ever made was not going back to school with my kids,” Fannie said. Instead Fannie carved out her career with retail stores like J.C. Penny's.
“Then, you want to go back home; but how do you get there?” Fannie asked.
“It isn't easy,” she said in answer to her own question.
The Jones once more sold their property with the intention of building a log home on three lots in Kenton's south side; but fate stepped in, the property sold quickly and the Jones had to move. They set a double-wide on the lots and they were home.
They've been back 12 years and married for 56 years this September.
“Our kids still like to come back here. They think of this as home, and come as often as they can.”
“We, (she and Asa) find things to do; we work with the Black Mesa Club, Senior Citizens, the church and the Museum.
Although she is the museum's present Curator, Fannie , along with her friend the late Laverne Hanners decided the community needed the museum and that it needed to be in the “1902 house”.
But, sadly Hanner, the mother of Kenton columnist Kelly Collins, died before the museum was more than a dream.
“It belongs to the community and Lois Chaffe was the first Curator,” Fannie explained.
Through birth, by love of the Kenton area and with her actions, Fannie is indeed a Queen of the Santa Fe Trail. .
Boise City News