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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Carroll N. Jones III -- New Jersey Artist--Family History

Carroll Jones III was born in 1944 to Carroll and Lucy Barnes Jones in Palm Springs, California.      His father was a talented artist from New Hampshire who attended Yale School of Fine Art and there met and fell in love with his future wife, an artist herself and daughter of brilliant chemical engineer and business person, Blakeslee Barnes IV. A child of war, from a father who served, Jones has never lost his love of America.  A framed American flag, forty-five stars, hangs in his living room today.

Photo attributed to Palms Springs Historical Society
  "I was born in Palm Springs, CA At the El Miradore Hotel. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth either. The El Miradore in 1944 was taken over as an army bass for WWII. My father was a captain. I was born in an army hospital and cost $25. bucks. Not a bad deal. Manhattan was only $24. (In case you were wondering, I've never used that before.) Today the hotel is rebuilt and is the El Miradore Hilton."

  He inherited his gift from both sides of his family.  His father was a medical artist for the first part of his career. His grandfather Jones' talent was made apparent in the bookmark he designed for Minnewawa Press.  As Mr. Jones described it, it was done "all with thread and no computers." Mr. Jones spoke of his grandfather Jones, Carroll Jones Sr.,and of his own childhood innocence.
"... Carroll Jones, Sr. was Welsh and an amateur painter. He was also head of the Minnewawa Press. (thread) They made labels in N.H. I went there when I was a child and it was just an ocean of spinning spools. I liked him immensely. He invented a little gadget that called birds. It made bird sounds. A small red wood funnel type thing with a metal twist piece. He was also in the 1939 World's Fair with a triptych that I only saw in the barn on his property. Carroll and his wife, Ann ran a boys camp on Swanzea Lake in NH from 1902 until 1933. The depression did them in. He was much more country than BBIV. More my type people. I loved both of them though. Carroll use to say things like "Turkey one day, feather's the next." Since we were both artists, that was true too. I once couldn't find something and he said "It's down the cellar behind the ax." That was funny to me then. Today Chris Rock can say nothing but "F**K!!!" and get a standing ovation. I saw that on HBO myself years ago. (when HBO was sent to my apartment by mistake.) The world is passing me by."
Three generations of artists on his father's side were matched by artists and scientists on his mother's side, His mother, Lucy Barnes Jones was an artist, and much of the color in Mr. Jones' life came from her side of the family. Lucy was an artist, her father a chemical engineer who worked with aluminum, and Carroll's great, great, great grandfather a tin smith.

  Photo courtesy 
Plate circa 1801-1809

Historical sources say five generations of the Blakeslee family were buried in Berlin, Connecticut.(1) The original Blakeslee Barnes was a tin-smith there, and later in Philadelphia. (2)   Four generations later, Blakeslee Barnes IV, father of Lucy Barnes, Jones'  mother, also worked in metals, as a chemical engineer, extracting aluminum from bauxite.  Later, during WWII, an unprecedented demand for aluminum caused the United States Government (through the National Academy of Sciences, the War Production Board and the Defense Plant Corporation) to take an active role in this problem. In April 1941, Barnes spearheaded a group of chemists, specifically through The Chemical Construction Corporation, to take on this endeavor, and they drafted a process to successfully remove aluminum from bauxite to be used in war materials.  This was 5 months before Pearl Harbor.(3)

Mr. Jones told me a bit about his grandfather Barnes, and although I had supposed he came from great wealth, his true story is more interesting:

"... My grandfather was ... a chemical engineer (I think I told you yesterday) He worked [among many other things] with Mussolini (pre-Hitler) to get Italy's industrial revolution going. My mother and her sister and his wife lived on Lake Como for a couple of years. He was decorated by M. but when Mussolini joined Hitler, my grandfather gave his metals to the army and they were attached to the first bomb that landed in Italy in the war. That story is worthy in a book, but it had nothing to do with me. I wasn't even born yet. I can't find anything out about him on the web except his grave site is pictured there. I sent a picture of him to put with the grave. I was 11 when he died and went to the funeral in NY State. He was a great man. I wish someone who really knew him would put up his life's story. I know he must have had some money but that was a mystery as to where it was. (my unconcerned mother told me much later.) His wife, Ginny, never mentioned it and I was a good friend to her  in her later life.
I wish my mother was alive now (she died in 1991) because she could tell you so much about her father. I would love to know now too. I didn't know him then....he was just 'Big Blake' who had come for a visit. I only remember him coming to the house once. I saw him only a couple of times more at there house in Smallwood, NY, the big log home he and Ginny lived in. That's how I knew him at that time.......a Bauxite Engineer. "
El Mirador Hotel photo: Courtesy