Neva Elisa Jones was born 23 January 1880, near the small town of Rodman, Iowa; during a blizzard, it is said. Her mother, Eliza, died the next day. Her mother’s death colored all of Neva’s life. In later years, Neva often talked about her mother, how she had played the violin and been a wonderful muscian; how she had died because she had contracted the measles, and that is why she died. Neva was the youngest of at least twelve children, two of whom are known to have died before Neva was born. The two oldest living children, both boys, had already left home.
Neva’s father, George Jones, had had trouble supporting his family before his wife died. With Eliza gone, caring for a large family was beyond him. He found people to care for the youngest children: Lottie, three years old and Neva’s closest sister, was taken by friends of Eliza’s into already a blended family; Ona, five and next youngest, was taken in by an older couple who lived in neighboring Dickinson County; Reuben, six, eventually found a home with a near-by farmer. Likely Edward (ten) and Henry (twelve), also found homes with farmers either in Palo Alto or neighboring counties. Frank, at fourteen, was probably considered old enough for a full-time job, and may have accompanied his father to look for work. Anna, at fifteen the oldest still at home, apparently assumed responsibility for Neva, along with becoming a school teacher. Anna had help from her mother’s sister, Charlotte Bliss, whose family moved to Palo Alto about this time, providing a place for Anna and Neva to live.
In spite of their separation, Neva’s brother’s and sisters made an effort to stay in touch with each other, visiting when they could, writing when they couldn’t. Reuben, for example, had an autograph book, which he treasured for his entire life. It was signed by his brothers Dell and Stephen in 1895, his brother Henry in 1896, and his sisters Neva and Anna in 1901. Their father did return home at least once, but the visit was not remembered with any fondness by his children. Part of his reason for visitng was an effort to find financial assistance, at their expense if need be.
By 1900, when Neva was twelve, she, Anna, and Henry were living near Milford, in neighboring Dickinson County, where Henry farmed. Likely their brother Edward, newly married and living nearby, had lived with them for a time, as well. Many of Neva’s childhood memories seemed to center on her time around Milford. All her life she kept a cookbook published by Ladies Aid Society of the Milford Methodist Church, along with other mementos of the area. It is likely here, as well, that Neva and a friend worked for the Chautauqua, one of the highlights of her youth. Then Anna became ill, bed-ridden with tuberculosis. Her only hope of survival, she was told, was to move immediately to Colorado. By 1907, when Neva was nineteen, Anna was living in Denver.
At the time of Anna’s illness, three of Neva’s brothers had moved to North Dakota, presumably seeking land. Henry was in Wahpetan, in southeastern North Dakota, by 1902, accompanied or followed soon after by his brother Edward. Reuben, their younger brother, moved further north and west, arriving in Tioga, North Dakota in June of 1903. About three years later, he applied for a homestead grant, and received the patent in 1909 for land in Montrail County.
As for Neva’s other brothers, Frank, who had been fourteen when their mother died, was working as a coal miner in southern Iowa when he enlisted in the army in 1898 for the Spanish-American War. He probably felt that life in the army would be better than work in a coal mine. He did write home about life in boot camp, but like so many others, he never had an opportunity to experience the “glory” of war. Within three months of enlisting, still in boot camp, he died of typhoid fever.
Stephen, the next to oldest brother, away from home when their mother died, remained in Iowa, where he, too, died young. He was run over by a train in a snowstorm, leaving a pregnant widow and two young children, who stayed in Iowa where her family was. Dell, the oldest of the brothers and also away from home when their mother died, married in Iowa twice, both wives dying young. He eventually moved to Wyoming.
Neva’s other sisters, Ona and Lottie, both married, and both remained in contact with other family members, but they were not part of the initial North Dakota migration.
Neva most likely went with her brother Rueben to northwestern North Dakota, or perhaps joined him there. Like other single young women, she found work as a school teacher, and like many young school teachers at the time, her own education may not have been more than a few steps ahead of her students. Certainly, in later years, neither her handwriting nor her spelling would have been seen as models to emulate, and she herself was a strong advocate for education, feeling that her own was sadly lacking.
Being a young woman more or less on her own apparently didn’t worry Neva, though. It is said that she carried a pearl-handled derringer, and loved to ride, often seen racing the wind across the prairies, her long hair streaming behind her. And it was through her work as a teacher that Neva met her future husband, George Knott.
Marriage and Motherhood
Neva and George were married about 1909, spending the first years of their married lives in a sod house on George’s homestead near Powers Lake, North Dakota. In later years Neva had few good things to say about life in a sod house. Even with sheets up on the walls and ceilings, she said, there was always dirt, and it was impossible to keep the house clean. It did have one advantage: when one of her young sons had a temper tantrum, she simply poured a pitcher of water over him, knowing that the floor would dry by itself. Her subdued son was set on a rock in the yard to dry in the sun.
Neva’s approach to child rearing was practical. Farm wives were busy, their work an essential part of the family’s economy. Neva knew many ways of ensuring her boys were safe while she worked. A baby in a highchair would be given a feather after having his hands dabbed with molasses; a crawling child could be tethered to a table leg with a soft rope of rags to keep him out of danger.
Not her all strategies worked as intended. Once, when her youngest son was still in diapers, she put him in a rabbit hutch so that she could hoe the garden. After some time, she heard a loud scream and went running, fearing the rabbit had bitten her son. Instead, it was the rabbit screaming – her son had used a diaper pin to stick the rabbit’s ears together. Another time, when the boys were older, all in school, they had left their clothes strewn around the bedroom rather than hanging them up. So Neva threw them out the window, for the boys to retrieve when they came home. But it started to rain, and Neva had to bring the clothes in herself.
Marriage and motherhood did not automatically turn the derringer-carrying young woman into a sedate matron. Soon after her marriage, a friend was coming to visit. Neva’s husband, George, had a mustache, of which he was inordinately proud. Neva didn’t like it. The night before her friend was to arrive, Neva managed to shave off half the mustache while George slept, assuming that he would shave the other half the next morning. But they overselpt, and George dashed out of the house without looking in a mirror, drove to Minot and returned with Neva’s friend, all with half a mustache. After moving to Washington, Neva had a dog, a collie, “before they became over-bred”, a dog intensley loyal to her. At least one summer night she and the dog and her sons, “camped out”, sleeping outdoors. Another time, angry with her husband, she sicced the dog on him and had him dancing on the kitchen table.
Although not outspoken, Neva had opinions on many subjects. She believed strongly in family – and whatever her personal feelings towards an individual, if they were family, they were welcomed. Similarly, she usually felt that consideration and politeness were owed to most people she met. Except, perhaps, her father. And except her husband’s Uncle Charlie, who she felt was a scoundrel, and would not hear a good word said about him. She refused to refer to the cattle ranch where she and her husband lived after losing their homestead as a ranch – it was a stock farm, she insisted, and the men who worked there were not cowboys, they were hands. There were other subjects she negotiated by maintaining silence – having to work out of the home during the Depression, and the illness of one of her sons that led to the loss of the North Dakota homestead, for example. And she didn’t like mountains, in spite of having lived most of her adult life surrounded by them. They cut off the view, she explained.
When Neva’s husband retired, they moved from their farm to a home in Sedro Woolley, one that had electricity. Throughout her married life, from the sod house in North Dakota to the log house “up the hill “ from Clear Lake, Washington and it’s eventual replacement with a frame house, Neva had lived with kerosene lamps, wood cook stoves, and flat irons heated on the wood stove for ironing. Electricity was something she appreciated, so much so that when their farm house did receive electricity, she had to visit just so she could go from room to room flicking the switches.
One of the attractions of Sedro Woolley, other than electricity, was the nearness of her son Gordon and his family. When Gordon moved to Kennewick, Neva and George followed, and then again to Walla Walla. By then George was crippled with rhumatism in his knees and suffereing from Parkinson’s disease, for which there was no known treatment. Neva turned to charismatic Christian preachers for a cure, but to no avail. George died in January 1964. For a brief time in the latter half of the 1960s, Neva lived in Olympia Washington, near her youngest son Norman and his new family, but returned to Kennewick when Norman moved out of the country. There, with increasing senile dementia and Gordon as her caregiver, she turned to her Bible for solace, passing away on 3 May 1985. She is buried next to her husband George. There are no mountains to obscure her view.
Events and Facts
||Neva Elisa Jones
||23 Jan 1888
||Palo Alto, Iowa, United Statesin or near the community of Rodman
||Palo Alto, Iowa, United Stateswith sister Anna, in household of aunt Charlotte Liscum Bliss
||Dickinson, Iowa, United StatesOkoboji Township
||North Dakota, United Statesto George Henry Knott
||Burke, North Dakota, United StatesColville Township
||Burke, North Dakota, United StatesGarmes Township
||Sedro-Woolley, Skagit, Washington, United States
||Sedro-Woolley, Skagit, Washington, United Stateswrote letter regarding father's estate, included in his probate record
||Clear Lake, Skagit, Washington, United StatesEast Clear Lake Precinct
||Skagit, Washington, United Statesnamed in sister's obituary; signed deed of sale with husband
||Skagit, Washington, United States
||Kennewick, Benton, Washington, United States
||Walla Walla, Walla Walla, Washington, United Statesmentioned in brother's obituary in 1957
||Kennewick, Benton, Washington, United States
||3 May 1985
||Kennewick, Benton, Washington, United States
||5 May 1985
||Pasco, Franklin, Washington, United States
||7 May 1985
||College Place, Walla Walla, Washington, United StatesBlue Mountain Memorial Garden
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Application for Social Security, in United States. Social Security Records, United States Social Security Administration. (Baltimore, Maryland), Primary quality.
Name: Neva E. Knott, resident 1317 W. Kennewick Av., Kennewick, WA 99336, Benton County, born Jan. 23, 1888, Iowa; mother Lysa Lyscum, father Gorge [sic] Wash Jones; dated 1974
- ↑ George W. Jones Probate , in George Jones Documents.
Skagit County, Washington [day and month unreadable], 1920
Mrs. G. Knott, formerly Jones, of Sedro Woolie, Wash certify and state that George W. Jones who died in Crook County, Wyoming about three years ago was my father
- ↑ Palo Alto County, in Iowa, United States. State Census, 1895, Independence Township, HH 103, 1 January 1895.
Adelbert E. Bliss, age 52, married male, born Ohio, occupation unreadable, Methodist
Charlotte Bliss, age 44, married female, born Wisconsin, keeping house, Methodist
Alden Bliss, age 20, single male, born Wisconsin, teacher, Methodist
Harry Bliss, age 18, single male, born Wisconsin, [?]mth, Methodist
Lester Bliss, age 16, single male, born Wisconsin
Lottie Bliss, age 14, single female, born Wisconsin
Bart Bliss, age 12, single male, born Wisconsin
Anna Jones, age 21, single female, born Wisconsin, teacher, Methodist
Neva Jones, age 6, single female, born Palo Alto County
- ↑ Okoboji, Dickinson, Iowa, in United States. 1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T624), HH 110, Family 111, Primary quality.
Jones, Henry [J.], head, white, male, born November 1876, Wisconsin, age 23, single, both parents born Wisconsin, farmer, [owns?] farm [mortgage not recorded], farm schedule 49
, Anna S., sister, white female, born March 1873, Wisconsin, age 27, single, both parents born Wisconsin, school teacher, able to read and write, speak English
, Neva E., sister, white female, born January 1888, Iowa, age 12, single, both parents born Wisconsin, at school, able to read and write and speak English
- ↑ Colville, Burke, North Dakota, in United States. 1910 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T623), Family 158.
Knott, George H., head of household, male, white, age 24, married once for one year, born Illinois, father born Holland, mother born Germany, speaks English, works as bookkeeper in a bank, has not been unemployed in past year, able to read and write, owns farm - homestead
, Neva, wife, female, white, age 22, married once for one year, born in Iowa, father born in Wales, mother born in Wisconsin, speaks English, not employed, able to read and write
- ↑ Garmes Township, Burke County, in North Dakota. Assessor. North Dakota state census schedules, 1915. (Bismarck, North Dakota: State Historical Society, 19--), HH #7, Families 9-11.
Guel, John, native white male, age 29
Anderson, Carl, foreign born male, age 22
Knott, George H., native born male, age 29
Knott, Mrs. George H., native born female, age 26
Knott, Henry G., native born male, age 5
Knott, John Gordon, native born male, age 3
- ↑ Sedro Woolley City (Ward 2), Skagit County; FHL #1821935, in United States. Bureau of the Census. 14th census, 1920. Washington, 1920 federal census : soundex and population schedules. (Washington [District of Columbia]: The National Archives, 193-?), HH 92, Fam 94.
x Ferry Street [between 745 Ferry and 731 Ferry]
Knott, George H., head, owns home free of mortgage, white male, married, able to read and write, born Illinois, father born Holland (native tongue Dutch), mother born Germany (native tongue German), speaks English, laborer, condensor (industry/business), wage worker, Farm Schedule 234
, Neva E., wife, white female, age 33, married, able to read and write, born Iowa, both parents born Michigan, speaks English, no occupation
, Henry G., son, white male, age 9, single, attended school, born North Dakota, father born Illinois, mother born Iowa
, Gordon, son, white male, age 7, single, attended school, born North Dakota, father born Illinois, mother born Iowa
, Norman, son, white male, age 2 9/12, single, born North Dakota, father born Illinois, mother born Iowa
- ↑ East Clear Lake Precinct, Skagit, Washington, in United States. 1930 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T626), HH 25, Fam 25.
Knott, George H., head, owned home, lived on farm, white male, age 44, 1st married age 23, able to read and write, born IL, father born Holland, mother born Germany, able to speak English, laborer in logging camp, worked yesterday, not a veteran
, Neva E., wife, white female, age 43, 1st married age 21, able to read and write, born IA, father born Wales, mother born WI, able to speak English
, Henry G., son, white male, age 19, single, able to read and write, born ND
, Gordon J., son, white male, age 17, single, able to read and write, born ND
, Norman P., son, white male, age 13, single, able to read and write, born ND
- ↑ Lottie Woodmark, in Jones Family Obituaries, Secondary quality.
- ↑ Skagit County, Washington, John Day Creek Road, Skagit County, Washington Deeds Vol 154, p. 368, in George Knott (20) Deeds, Primary quality.
- ↑ Polk’s Pasco-Kennewick (Benton and Franklin Counties Washington) Directory, R. L. Polk & Co, Seattle, WA.
1952-53, p. 295 – Knott, Geo H. (Neva E.) h1228 W 1st av (K)
Knott, Gordon (Ada A.) const eng. USAE h1317 W Kennewick ave (K)
1954, p. 266 – Knott, Geo H. (Neva E), lab h1228 W 1st av (K)
Knott, Gordon (Ada A) eng h1317 W Kennewick av (K)
1955, p. 253 – Knott, Geo H. (Neva) h1228 W1st av (K)
Knott, Henry G. (Evalina) emp Arabian Am Oil, r1228 W 1st av (K)
- ↑ Polk’s Walla Walla (Walla Walla County, Washington) City Directory, R. L. Polk & Co., Seattle, WA .
Vol. XXXVIII 1956.
p. 212 – Knott, Geo A (Neva C.) h604 S Division
Vol. XXXX 1958.
p. 249 – Knott, Geo H (Neva E) h604 S Division
Knott, Gordon (Ada A) civ eng Army Engs h701 S Palouse
1962. R. L. Polk & Co., Monterey Park, CA
p. 160 – Knott, Geo H. (wid Niva E) h514 Sycamore [same address 1961]
- ↑ Walla Walla Residents and Business Registrations. Ted Hart Advertising, Walla Walla, WA.
1960, p. 195 – Knott, Geo. H. retired (Neva E.) 604 S. Division
Knott, Gordon, eng USCE (Ada A.) 701 S Palouse
1963, p. 216 - Knot, Gordon, emp by Air Force (overseas) (Ada A.) Rt 3 B343 A. Langdon Rd., Ja5-4084
Knott, Neva E Mrs. (widow George) 514 Sycamore, Ja5-5243
1964, p. 207 – Knott, Neva E. Mrs. (widow George) 514 Sycamore, [tel] 5-5243
Knott, Gordon, Air Force overseas (Ada A.) sales lady WW Realty, 162 E. Maple, 5-4084
1966, p. 215 – Knott, Gordon, air force overseas (Ada A.) 162 E. Maple, 5-4084
Knott, Neva E (wid George) 514 Sycamore 5-5243
[Note: The 1966 information, at least, appears to be based on old files, as Neva was actually living in or near Olympia, Washington at that time, having moved there about 1964-65.]]
- ↑ Reuben Jones, in Jones Family Obituaries, Secondary quality.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Washington State Death Certificate, Primary quality.
Neva Elisa Knott, female, died May 3, 1985
White, age 97, born Jan. 21, 1888, died Benton County
Died Kennewick, Kennewick General Hospital
Born Iowa; Widow of George Knott
Residence, 1317 W. Kennewick Avenue, Kennewick, Benton County, WA
Father's name: Unknown Jones; Mother's name: Unknown
Informant's Name: Gordon Knott (son), 1317 W. Kennewick Ave., Kennewick, WA 99336
Buried May 7, 1985, Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens, Walla Walla, Washington, signed James J. Poole, Director, Mueller Funeral Home, Inc., Kennewick, WA 99336
Date and Time of Death: 10:20 [am], May 3, 1985, signed Frank E. Cole, MD., 5219 West Clearwater Avenue, Kennewick, WA 99336
- ↑ Memorial# 38373772, in Find A Grave, Secondary quality.
Neva E Jones Knott [with photo]
Birth: Jan. 21, 1888, Milford, Dickinson County, Iowa, USA
Death: May 3, 1985, Kennewick, Benton County, Washington, USA
Survived by Sons Henry and Gordon Knott.
Preceded by Son Norman Knott in 1976.
Spouse: George H Knott (1885 - 1962)*
Children: Gordon Knott (1912 - 1998)*
Burial: Blue Mountain Memorial Garden, College Place, Walla Walla County, Washington, USA; Plot: LS 62-4
- ↑ Jones Family Obituaries.
- ↑ East Clear Lake, Skagit, Washington, in United States. 1940 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T627), ED 29-22, HH 159, Primary quality.
Day Creek Road, owned property worth $250
Knott, George H., head, 45, married, completed 2 years college, b. IL, living in same house in 1935, occupation - cutting shakes, self-employed, received income from sources other than wages, had a farm
, Neva (informant), wife, 42, married, completed 2 years college? [appears to be a question mark on page], b. IA, living in the same house in 1935, no job, does housework
, Henry, son, 29, single, complete 4 yrs high school, b. ND, living in same house in 1935, works for pay, 40 hrs/wek, cuttoff man in shingle mill, worked 39 weeks in 1939, income = $600, no other source of income
, Gordon, son, 26, single, completed 4 yrs of college, living in same house in 1935, had work [but may have been seeking work - unclear on page], cutting shakes, self-employed, earned $450 in 1939, no other income
- ↑ Another memento she kept was a mimographed history, “Dig A Flea”, by Agnes Doolittle, produced by the Chi Chapter of The Committee on Pioneer Women, Delta Kappa Gamma.1956. (Delta Kappa Gamma “promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Formed in 1929, its Founders believed that an organization of women teachers, selected from among the best in the profession and united by common purposes, would have an opportunity for rendering real service to education.” (LinkedIn, accessed 28 Sep 2015)). Although the history does not include information on her own family, it does contain accounts of families she would have known.