Related Surnames: Aiken | Jones | Stewart | VanZandt | York
Delphia Ann Jones is the grand daughter of James & Amanda Aiken. She is also grand daughter of William ‘Buck’ Jones & wife, Millberry Marlow. The daughter of Jesse Franklin Jones & Susan Ann Aiken.
The only photos I have of any one in this family is the handful of photos my great grandmother & her children. I consider myself lucky to have what I do have.
I met my great grandmother when I was a little girl. I don’t exactly remember the year, maybe 1972 or thereabouts. She was a woman with energy to spare even though she was old enough to be a great-grandma! She was caring for her daughter (my great aunt) Mable, who was sick at the time. I feel fortunate to have been able to travel with my parents and grandparents to Illinois that summer to meet my great grandmother though. I will remember the rest of my life, at the end of the day watching her take her hair down out of her bun, and running her brush through her hair. She was a 100 stroke kind of gal! In the morning, putting her hair back in the bun. She showed me how she saved her hair out of the hair brush so that she could put it in her bun and make it look like she had more hair! She was a good cook. A little rough around the edges in personality, as I remember it. But, one must consider the days she came up in. Think Al Capone! Think Bloody Williamson! Think Herrin Massacre. She was there! Not that she knew or even met Al Capone. That is not the point, she grew up and grew old in those brutal, bloody days of Illinois history. That had to make her one tough lady!
I know nothing, & yet I have volumes about her life. She was an orphan by a fairly young age. Her father died when she was two years of age, and her mother died when she was twelve. How she ended up with the VanZandt family I do not know. But, in the 1910 census at Blairsville, Williamson County, Illinios lists her as a servant in the home of Grant VanZandt. I took notice that Mr. VanZandt was 37, and had children, and a widowed mother in his household. My great grandmother was 22 years old, and listed both her parents as being born in Illinois as well. By the 1920 Census Mr. VanZandt & my gr-grandmother were married and had children of their own. Now, in the 1900 Census she lived with her mother, Susan who was listed as head of household. Her birth year there is listed as 1890, and I’m willing to bet it’s a more reliable date. If that is the case, she never knew her father, and her mother died when she was 10 yrs. old. And, she was actually 20, while living with Mr. VanZandt as a servant. I have mixed feelings about what I ‘see.’
I think that having had her parents die when she was so young, she was probably left to fill in a LOT of blanks about her family history. I would be willing to guess that she did a lot of that over her lifetime. Doing the best she could with what she had. For example, I was told that her full name was Philadelphia Ann Jones, named after the harbor she was born in while her parents were immigrating over from Ireland. It’s a great story! So far as I can tell this story has maybe one grain of truth to it. She was given the name Delphia Ann Jones and she and her parents were born in Illinois. And her true family history is actually kind of fun. I wish she had known it herself, I believe she’d been proud, for her Jones & Aiken fore bearers were some of the original settlers in the area, and Jones Corner is named for her family. With a name like Aiken, there is no doubt of Irish Ancestry. That is the grain of truth.
I’ve been told by family members to just leave her lay (in peace). Since I am not looking for skeletons, I will continue to seek out more information and photos about her and her family. It helps to explain who my family is.
I have no proof, but was told by a reliable family member that she actually shot & killed a man once. She was a cook and my grandmother, Hazel Lorine VanZandt was a waitress at the same restraunt. A truck driver came in for a meal and apparently was trying to flirt with my grandmother and maybe got a little too close with his hands. I was told that my great grandmother warned the man to leave her daughter alone. He did not heed the warning. The man was shot dead. I hope someday to find a newspaper clipping or something to verify this. For it would explain a few things if it really did happen. But, for now it’s part of what seems to be another piece of a “mythological past” of Delphia Ann Jones.
Kinda seems like I might have inherited that “pistol packin’ moma” mentality honestly! 🙂
Thankfully, along with photos and documents, I also have a few letters she wrote to my parents, & grandparents. (Thank you, mom, for thinking of me) I will scan them into digital forum and will put them here, somewhere for others to see. That along with a few documents is all that I have to ‘prove’ that this soul existed. Makes me sad actually. I know she made an imprint on those who were near her. There is no way that ball of energy could have done anything else!
Delphia’s (aka Dolly, Della) Obituary
Taken from The Southern Illinoisan, March 14, 1974
Delphia Ann Stewart, 85, Rt. 2, West Frankfort, died at 1:28 p.m. Wednesday in the Union Hospital, West Frankfort.
Mrs. Stewart was born May 16, 1888, in Philadelphia, PA., to Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Jones. She was married to Walter Stewart who died in 1951. Mrs. Stewart was a member of the Apostolic Faith Assembly, West Frankfort. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. James Swalls of West Frankfort, and Lorene Coop of Woodburn, Ore; six stepsons, Bert Stewart of West Frankfort, Albert Stewart of Mt. Vernon, William Stewart of Warren, Ohio, James Stewart of Milan, Arthur Stewart of Douglas, Ariz., and Charles Stewart of Bisbee, Ariz.; three stepdaughters, Mildred Bott of Danville, Freda Tolley of Mt. Vernon, and LuVera Rogers of Mason; six grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Friday in the First Apostolic Church, West Frankfort. The Rev. H. A. Hilderbrand will officiate. Burial will be in the Bethel Memorial Cemetery, Mt. Vernon. Friends may call after 5 p.m. today at the Union Funeral home, West Frankfort.
-One may wish to note that Mrs. Stewart was born in Illinois. 🙂
The following is a transcription of a letter written to me by my maternal grandmother, Hazel Lorine VanZandt Coop, circa 1978/79. I still have the letter in my possession.