Albert Owen (Pete) Jones
March 4, 1918-September 17, 1995
Albert Owen “Pete” Jones was born in Broken Bow, Nebraska to Andrew and Jessie (Haney) Jones on March 4, 1918. Pete had eight sisters: Evelyn, Berneice, Maxine, Ada Mae, Shirley, Joanne, Janet, and Edna. Pete had three brothers: Richard, Donnie and Billy. The first seven years of Pete’s life were spent close to Westerville on his Grandpa Haney’s farm. At the age of seven, they moved back to Hyannis where he went to work for Sibbitts, wrangling the draft horses for the hay crew and milking the cows. By the age of ten, he was promoted to driving a two-horse hitch on a hay mower. Thus, his love affair with draft horses began.
He graduated with the Class of 1935 from Hyannis High School. Being the oldest boy, he helped raise his younger siblings. Pete and his siblings were very close and they loved to play pranks on one another. His sister related this story at the Jones’ Roundup at Fort Robinson in September 1979: “Pete and Owen Moran told Edna when she was on her way to school that Heskitt (School Superintendent) had got drunk and thrown in jail the night before in Mullen and the Hyannis School Board had fired him. Of course, I spread the word fast to all the kids and when I got to school and walked into history class, there was Heskitt! All of the kids believed it was me who lied instead of the real culprits.”
Pete went to work for the Bill Manning Ranch out of high school and then Ross Hager, the Abbott Ranch, the Dumbbell Ranch, Bert Hayward, Carver Gentry, Monahan Cattle Company, the Burgesses, and Tom Egan in the next five years. At a young age, he liked to ride saddle broncs in rodeo. He soon started roping calves and he was always good for a matched race on “Spangles,” a mare he bought from Mose Rosseter. In January of 1940, he went to work at Fort Robinson as a groom for $75 a month. Very soon, Pete was asked to break and train the Cavalry horses. He met and made some of his closest lifetime friends while at Fort Robinson: the Trucks brothers, Bill and Ed; Glen Nutter; Jesse Ingrum; Dick and Wayne Loucks; Marv Rising; Charles Bert Hayward and the Crouse boys.
On May 31, 1941, Pete married Mable Mathews and they lived at the Fort until August 1941. He moved his wife to the Dumbbell Ranch where his daughter Alberta and son George were born. He went to work for Leo Egan in 1945 and then the Abbott Camp north of Mullen. All this time he was still breaking horses to ride. In 1947, he worked for his father-in-law Harry Mathews driving a gas truck. “Pete got caught once in one of his tales. He was driving an oil truck and stopped in Chet Johnson’s store at Mullen and told him they had just had a terrible wind in Seneca that below off the roof of the court house. Mable happened to stop in the store a while later and Chet told her they had a wind in Seneca that blew off the roof of the court house. Mable told him it sounded like Pete Jones had been at the feed store. Chet said that was who told him and Mable said, “Chet, don’t you know there isn’t even a court house in Seneca!?!”
Later he returned to the Dumbbell Ranch where son Charles and daughter Marijo were born. Pete loved the long cattle drives when the Dumbbell went to the Whitewater Ranch between Arthur and Tryon. They rode to the Whitewater in November and drove 500-600 head of weaned calves back to the Dumbbell.
In 1953, Pete became foreman of the Box T at Brownlee. Finally in 1956, he realized his dream of having his own ranch by leasing the Robinson Place south of Seneca for ten years. He then leased the Wayne Marshall Ranch for ten years. Finally, he purchased the Eckels Place, fulfilling his dream of owning a ranch. He mentored many a young man, promoting them and showing them they could attain anything they wanted to if they tried. Pete believed in making good ranch hands by teaching them at a young age everything he knew. He made hard work fun and believed you should always love your work.
In 1978, Pete sold his ranch so he could retire. He didn’t care much for retirement, so he went to work for Farrar Cattle Company, becoming the General Manager. He also owned and raced greyhounds at this time. In June of 1988, he suffered a brain injury in a horse accident on the Farrar Ranch. Pete was lucky to have Burton Anthony beside him that day. Burton was with him many days from the time he was about 11 years old, helping Pete get the work done. He lay in a coma for seven years, passing away September 17, 1995. Surviving him was his wife Mable, children Alberta Kramer, George Jones, Charles Jones and Marijo Jones and seven grandchildren.
His death left a big hole in his family’s life as they all had a deep love and relationship with Grandpa, Dad and Pete. In his lifetime, he made sure every grandchild had a horse and could ride. Pete thought that horseback riding in the Sandhills was a gift from God. “There’s not a feeling in the world like a horse between my legs,” was often heard at his dinner table. The taste of homegrown beef was right up there with watching a newborn foal run beside its mother, or playing a good game of cribbage. Pete loved the Sandhills and the people. He talked about always having lived all his life in Heaven.