by Leo M. Jones, Jr.
Abraham Lincoln Jones was born in Greenup, Illinois, in 1860. He and Samantha Jane Hampsten, also born in Greenup in 1870, were married in 1891. The couple had six children, Leo Melvin, born 1892, Elizabeth Irene, born 1894, Ernest Elvin, born 1896, Myrtle E., born 1900, Charles Lawton, born 1902, and Arthur, born 1905.
Thomas Henly Ashby was born in Missouri in 1865. In 1884, Thomas Ashby and his brother O.W. (Oscar) Ashby left their pig farm in Missouri at the urging of Richard Harris. They arrived in Juneau on May 11 of that year, and worked at various enterprises, including the Treadwell Mine. Thomas was the rustic miner while Oscar was more involved in the business of mining. One of Thomas’ first prospecting trips was with Joe Juneau, to Glacier Bay.
In 1886, Thomas and Oscar went north, built a pole boat and mined the Stewart River area. They poled 240 miles up the Stewart River, then floated back to the Yukon and returned to Juneau in October that year. In 1887, Thomas went back up into the Forty Mile country to prospect.
Back in Juneau in 1891, the Ashby brothers and William Leak built a two story building on Front Street which started out as a saloon, known first as Ashby and Leek, and later the Missouri. Leased from the Ashbys, it became the Louvre Theater and Saloon, and in 1928, was sold to J.J. Stocker. Its site was where the Imperial Bar is now located. In 1894, Thomas and Oscar built a family home on Telephone Hill.
Thomas, one of the earliest stampeders to Dawson, arrived there in 1897. During that summer he mined on 31 Eldorado, 2 Below Bonanza, and other creeks. During these early years, he ventured all over Alaska and while in Holy Cross he met and married Mary Andreafsky, who was born in 1880 at Holy Cross. They had four children, Inez, born at Circle City, in 1897, Charles Thomas, born at San Francisco in 1899, Edward, born at Juneau and Dorothy Irene, born in 1905 at Tacoma.
In 1899, Mary joined her husband in Dawson and climbed the Chilkoot Pass carrying three month old Leo Sr. Dorothy Ashby Charles on her back while a friend carried two year old Inez. They later moved to Nome where Thomas and Oscar became partners in the famous Topkuk Ditch Company.
In 1898, Oscar traveled to Tacoma, Washington, and purchased a home for his wife and daughter. In 1900, while “Outside” he purchased the vessel Skookum and loaded it with 1,000,000 feet of lumber and livestock and took it to Nome to the new gold operations. After the cargo was unloaded, a storm swept the vessel ashore and it was wrecked. He remained in the Nome area acquiring mining interests and became general manager of the Topkuk Ditch Company. The ditch was completed in 1903, and brought water 22 miles to the gold-rich gravel deposits. Oscar left Alaska in 1905, returning to Tacoma. He died there in 1949.
Mary Andreafsky Ashby died in 1913. Thomas then continued to prospect the Juneau area, sometimes with his son Charles. He went up the Taku River with a pole boat and had claims staked in many locations north and south of Juneau. He died in Tacoma in 1951 of complications from surgery.
Thomas and Mary Ashby’s daughter Dorothy married Leo Melvin Jones in Juneau in 1920. They had six children: Leo Jr. born September 11, 1921; Dorothy Leona, born August 17, 1922, Myrtle E., born February 23, 1924, Mary Ann, born July 6, 1926, Charles E., born July 6, 1928 and Betty Jane, born August 9, 1930. All the children were born at Juneau except Dorothy who was born at Haines.
Leo Jones Sr. was stationed at Fort William Henry Seward (now Port Chilkoot), at Haines from 1914 to 1925, with the U.S. Army. From 1926 to 1932, he was maintenance foreman for the Bureau of Public Roads in Juneau. In 1935, he built the family home at Auke Lake and also built other homes in the Auke Lake and Auke Bay area. Dorothy was a stay at home mom.
Later, Leo Sr. and Dorothy separated. He moved to Palmer, and then to Copper Center, building homes in those areas, where he passed away at age 83. Dorothy died in 1988. Charles died in 1991 and Dorothy Leona died in 1996.
(L to R): Myrtle, Maryann, Dorothy, Bud, Betty Jane and Charles Jones at Lena Beach, July 4th, 1935.