Charles Jesse Jones collection, 1872-1990 (bulk 1872-1936)

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Charles Jesse Jones collection, 1872-1990 (bulk 1872-1936)

MS 363

Collection Summary

Creator: University of Arizona.
; Guidon Books
; The Finney County Kansas Historical Society
Collection Name:Charles Jesse Jones collection,
Inclusive Dates: 1872-1990 (bulk 1872-1936)
Physical Description:.6 linear feet
Abstract:This collection consists of correspondence, photographs, publications, and articles detailing the life of quintessential pioneer cowboy Charles Jesse "Buffalo" Jones.
Collection Number:MS 363
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Charles Jesse Jones, known as "Buffalo" Jones, born January 31, 1844 in Tazewell County, Illinois to Noah and Jane Jones, lead the life of the quintessential pioneer cowboy. From his early childhood in Illinois where his father once hired Attorney Abraham Lincoln, to his experience as a buffalo hunter on the Great Plains in the 1870's, and later his friendship and rivalry with Theodore Roosevelt, Jones' life story serves as an allegory for the experience of American expansionism on the western frontier. Charles J. Jones' unique role in this westward movement was his effort to save the American Bison from extinction, and subsequently to hybridize them with domestic cattle.

His early experience as a buffalo hunter lead Jones to respect the rugged, adaptive qualities of bison, simultaneously lamenting their demise and his own role in their slaughter. In the process of trying to save the bison from extinction Jones became famous for the live capture of wild animals. His reputation lead him on a series of adventures including the live capture African big game, which was filmed with both still and moving photography; the live capture of the arctic musk ox, and the capture and "spanking" of bears in Yellowstone National Park after being appointed Park Warden by President Theodore Roosevelt. The writer Zane Grey, who became friends with Jones and had accompanied him on mountain lion captures, acknowledged that Jones was the inspiration for many of his fictional characters, as well as the subject of two non fiction books, The Last of the Plainsmen, 1911 and Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon, 1924.

Charles J. Jones married Martha J. Walton (a descendent of naturalist, Isaac Walton) on January 20, 1869. They had four children, two boys died in childhood. Throughout his life Jones maintained close correspondence with his daughters, Jessie and Olive. Suffering from a chronic illness contracted while in Africa, Jones died at his daughter Olive's house in Topeka, Kansas on March 18, 1919. He is buried alongside his wife Martha and their two sons in the Valley View Cemetery, Garden City, Kansas.

Scope and Content Note

The collection is contained in one manuscript box and one scrapbook.

The correspondence is mostly between family members from 1907 to 1928. The bulk of the correspondence is between C. J. Jones and his youngest daughter Olive Jones Whitmer. There is also correspondence between Olive Jones Whitmer and other family members as well as business partners of her father. There is some correspondence between C. J. Jones and business partners and others interested in his business ventures including, James Wilson, United States Secretary of Agriculture; John A. Dix, Governor of New York; and Charles Goodnight, livestock breeder.

The publications are mostly articles regarding C. J. Jones (often photocopies); broadsides and other advertising publications, some original copies; an old Yellowstone National Park brochure; an original copy of the American Bison Society Report, 1924-1926, and a dinner program for Canadian Camp, New York, 1911.

The financial and biographical records in this collection are limited to three stock certificates and a photocopy of Jones' death certificate. The scrapbook is comprised of photographic images from magazines and photocopies of articles regarding C. J. Jones' various activities.

The collection is an interesting glimpse into the personal life of C. J. Jones and his relationship with family members, and to a lesser degree his business and professional interactions.


The collection has been organized into the following subgroups:





It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Whitmer, Olive Jones.
Jones, Charles Jesse, 1844-1919.

Corporate Name(s)
American Bison Society.
Buffalo Jones Catalo Company.

American bison -- Hybridization.
American bison.
Bison farming -- Experiments.

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Charles Jesse Jones collection (MS 363). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Subgroup 1: Papers, 1881-1928 (Bulk)
Series 1: Correspondence, 1904-1928
Correspondence of Charles Jesse Jones and family, 1904 1928. Also correspondence with James Wilson, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; New York Governor John A. Dix; Lina Elise (Mrs. Zane) Grey; as well as business related correspondence.
Arrangement: By family, then general; thereafter, chronological.
Subseries: Correspondence, family. , 1904-1917
11 48 letters from C. J. Jones to Olive Jones Whitmer, 1904-1917
Subseries: Correspondence from C. J. Jones to Martha "Mattie" Walton Jones (wife), ca.1907
12 New York, January 21,1907
12 New York, January 10, ca.1907
12 Salt Lake City, June 24, 1907
Subseries: Correspondence from C. J. Jones to Jessie Phillips Jones: , 1910-1914
12 , October 25, 1910
12 , July 28, 1911
12 , February 24, 1914
Subseries: Correspondence, family, general, 1906-1936
13 Draft of legal agreement of Buffalo Jones Catalo Co. by C.J Jones and Martha J. Jones, September 16, 1906
13 To Mrs.Whitmer, from J. F. Jones [business partner of C. J. Jones?], September 18, 1914
13 Aunt K. to Jessie P. Jones, 1936
Subseries: Correspondence of Olive Jones Whitmer, ca.1911-1928
13 From J. F. Jones, November 19, 1911, March 28, 1914
13 From J. F. Jones, September 17, 1914
13 From J. F. Jones, January 22, 1916
13 From Lina Elise (Mrs. Zane) Grey, March 21, 1919
13 From Lenox Curtis of Canadian Camp, April 5, 1923
13 From J. D. Hand, February 4, 1927
13 Eight letters from Jim Owens (Uncle?) to Jessie Jones Phillips(?), 1923-1928
13 From "Katie" (sister) to C.J. Jones,
Subseries: Correspondence, photocopies of originals in folder 5, 1908-1918
14 [same as folder 5]
Subseries: Correspondence, originals [fragile], 1908-1918
15 From C. J. Jones to James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., regarding hybridized sheep and cattle, Fredonia, AZ. [6 pages], January 27, 1908
15 Letter to C. J. Jones from The American Bison Society President Edmund Seymour [2 pages], September 18, 1917
15 Letter to C. J. Jones from The American Bison Society Secretary M. S. Garretson [2 pages], January 19, 1918
Subseries: Correspondence, general. C. J. Jones, 1907-1917
16 From Frank Onstatt and James T. Owens (2) handwritten copies (written draft and final copy) recounting Zane Grey's Grand Canyon trip with C. J. Jones, Fredonia, AZ., 1907
16 From New York Governor John A, Dix, April 18, 1911
16 From C. J. Jones in France, April 1, 1914
16 From C. J. Jones [London], 1914
16 C. J. Jones, London (to whom?), September 20, 1914
16 From C. J. Jones(?) to James Coddington, September 5, 1916
16 From "Buffalo" Jones to Progressive Party, October 25, 1916
16 From Jim Owens, January 7, 1917
16 From C.T. Jones to Edmund Seymour, San Antonio, April 1, 1917
16 From C. Goodnight to C.T. Jones, Goodnight, Texas, April 9, 1917
16 From C.T. Jones to C. Goodnight, San Antonio, April 16, 1917
16 From J. F. Jones to Col. Jones, September 5, 1917
Series 2: Publications, 1901-1990
Includes articles about C. J. Jones, flyers regarding various events, advertising brochures, promotional materials for Jones' financial activities, and American Bison Society publications 1912, 1924 and 1926.
Subseries: Publications, ca.1901-1926
17 Report of the American Bison Society [in envelope], 1924-1926
17 Denver Post advertisement regarding "Buffalo,"
17 Jones show [2 photocopies], 1916
17 Glacier National Park brochure,
17 Kansas City Times article [photocopy], October 7, 1919
17 Lecture bulletin for "Buffalo" Jones, 1907
17 Article The Real Conquest of the West, 1907
17 C. J. Jones article The Capture of Mountain Sheep[photocopy], ca.1901
17 Advertising bulletin proof page,
17 Advertising bulletin for "Buffalo" Jones film of live animal captures in Africa, ca.1916
17 Book excerpt from Charles Goodnight : cowman and plainsman by J. Evetts Haley, page 453,
Subseries: Publications, ca.1911-1990
18 Advertising flyers(3) for Persiarino lamb from the Buffalo Jones Hybridizing Station, Las Vegas and Portales, New Mexico,
18 C. J. Jones (1) page biography from Arctic vol. 37, no. 2; , June, 1984
18 Full page magazine photo on reverse side (by Cherry Kearton), ca.191l
18 Canadian Camp Ninth Annual Dinner Announcement; drawing on cover of guest of honor, C. J. Jones, March 6, 1911
18 American Bison Society dinner announcement at Delmonico's, February 23, 1912
18 U.S. News and World Report, with cover photo of Buffalo Bill Cody, Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Jones, May 21, 1990
18 Arizona Highways Magazinearticle about C. J. Jones, with cover photo of Buffalo Bill Cody, Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Jones, September ,1978
Series 3: Certificates, 1905-1919
Three Stock Certificates, 1881-1916.
One Death Certificate, 1919.
Arrangement: Chronological.
Subseries: Financial Records, 1881-1916
19 Stock certificate of The McPherson Mining and Milling Co., Colorado, in the Name of Mrs. R.Whitmer, March 1881
19 Stock certificate of The Buffalo Jones Catalo Co. in the name of Jesse P. Jones, October 25, 1905
19 Stock certificate of The National Irrigation and Power Company in the name of Charles R. Whitmer, 1916
Subseries: Personal records, 1919-1958
19 Death Certificate for C. J. Jones, March 18, 1919
19 [photocopy of death certificate] , September 23, 1958
Subgroup 2: Photographs, ca.1872-1916
Photographs, ca.1872 1920's
Portraits of Charles Jones; Jesse Jones; Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Jones together; photographs of bison herds; sheep flocks; and African animal capture. Some original photographs, some copy photographs, and some photocopies of original photographs.
Arrangement: Dimension (small to large)
Subseries: Photographs , 1872-1941
110 C. J. Jones, 1872; 4x2" New York Gallery Print, St.Joseph MO., by W.T. Duer Buffalo herd with Cowboy, on 4x5" matte board,
110 Man with two "Persiarino Sheep,"
110 Three tents in woods,
110 C. J. Jones in Stetson hat, signed [photo from magazine],
110 Cowboy and five cattle,
110 Mountain Lion on chain in barn loft. Inscription: "Captured Mountain Lion Yellowstone Park"
110 Small Buffalo herd (20) on grassland,
110 C. J. Jones portrait with hat and necktie,
110 Buffalo along fence in gullied area, McCook, Nebraska ; inscription reads: "1881 Compliments R. E. Stotts 1941, " , 1881
110 C. J. Jones, montage of cutout photographs with inset of rhinoceros,
110 Jessie Jones Phillips [center], youngest daughter of C. J. Jones, in 1920's era clothes with Chief Turtle and Chief Eagle, both in Plains Indian (Blackfeet?) headdress, "She's an Indian Princess" written on back of photo,
110 Jim Owens next to a tree, "The Denver and Rio Grande Western R.R. Co." stamp on back of photograph,
110 Two lambs balanced on plank,
110 C. J. Jones photo, (2) signed copy photographs,
Subseries: Photograph / Postcard,
110 Persiarino Sheep Postcard advertising C. J. Jones breeding business,
Subseries: Photocopies of photographs, ca.1890-1920's
111 Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Jones; 2 different poses; 3 photocopies total,
111 Jessie Jones Phillips with Chief Turtle and Chief Eagle, ca.1920's
Subseries: Photocopies of photographs and etchings, ca.1902-1920's
111 C. J. Jones standing by irrigation flume
111 Child in stagecoach, man standing outside,
111 Cowboys (3) in woods by lake,
111 Pack trip w/ 15 people, trees in background,
111 Cowboys in mountains taking in scenic views,
111 Fred Harvey Corporation postcard of Indian farmers, [photocopy of etching],
111 Grand Canyon view [Detroit Photography Company], 1902
Subseries: Photocopies,
111 Persiarino Sheep on grassland
111 Two Buffalo in yolk pulling sled
111 Yellowstone Park stagecoach
111 Drawing of (2) Cowboys trying to lasso African lion
111 Man seated next to Gorilla
111 Three men holding Chimpanzee; [on same page] cartoon of C. J. Jones in Africa
111 Buffalo Jones Broadsides (2) advertising motion pictures of African live animal captures
Subgroup 3: Scrapbook, 1890-1979
Scrapbook with articles, correspondence and photographs regarding C. J. Jones activities ranging from buffalo raising; to Warden of Yellowstone; to African animal capture. Scrapbook photographs (from magazines) are thought to have been compiled by his daughter, Olive.
21 Scrapbook of C.J. Jones Activities and History, 1890-1979