Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just Who is This Jones Guy?

At the request of one of my readers (thanks, Eric!), I’ve been digging to find out exactly who the “Jones” of Jones Creek in Jupiter, Florida, was and how he ended up with a creek named after him. The Town of Jupiter told me their information was that Jones was a squatter of unknown origin and they couldn't find anything more in their records. He could have been black, white or Indian as all three definitely lived in the area.

Jones Creek is the main tributary to the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter. In 1987, what is now known as the Jones Creek Hammock became the property of the town of Jupiter and was restored and opened to the public in 2007. The headwaters of the creek are considered historic and the cypress slough located there is home to 400 year old cypress trees. According to the Jupiter Parks and Recreation website,, in one twenty acre property, there are oaks, southern magnolia, wild olives, a mangrove swamp, pine flatwoods terrain and wetlands. If you can look beyond the well-tended paths, it’s a true peek back into the way Jupiter looked in the late 1800s.

        So that’s why the creek is an interesting bit of history. Here’s where I thought we might make this something more than just another story... I may have found out exactly who Jones was through a life-long native of Jupiter, but I don’t have the information in my hot little hands yet. While I’m waiting and hoping for an answer, I think we could have a lot of fun with this. Let’s hear some theories from you. I don’t care if your theory is serious, silly or even absolutely nuts!  Make something up. Who was Jones and why did the creek get his name? Post your theory under comments anytime between now and September 7, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. I’ll put all the entries in a hat and pick a winner!

           Not only could this be entertaining, but I’m even going to sweeten the pot and give the winner more than just applause. Since most of you who follow my blog have a thing for Florida history, I found a great book called “Forgotten Tales of Florida” by Bob Patterson. The review on says that it contains some “classic Florida tales…” and “capture(s) the wildness that still lurks in Florida’s more natural places.”  You win and I’ll ship it to your door. What do you say?  Up for a challenge?


  1. I believe that Jones Creek Hammock was named in honor of the Miccosukee warrior Chief Arpiucki. Who was Arpiuki you ask, and what’s the connection to Jones Creek?

    Arpiucki led a group of Creek and Miccosukee Indians in successfully defeating then Colonel Zachary Taylor’s soldiers on Christmas in 1837 at Taylor Creek on the north end of Lake Okeechobee. In what was Florida’s most significant and bloodiest battle of the Second Seminole war and a major Indian victory, Taylor ultimately had to retreat to the west coast after his boys got spanked. (It always struck me as ironic that Taylor Creek was named for the losing commander, but if you go on to become President, anything’s possible.)

    Anyway, less than a month later, as the US Navy started to explore the Loxahatchee River, nearly 200 US sailors inadvertently stumbled upon Arpiucki and company in the area real close to where Loxahatchee River Road and Center Street intersect. Surprised by the “explorers”, Arpiucki’s boys made an oncore performance. Needless to say, it was a bad day for the US sailors in what is now known as the Battle of Jupiter Inlet and the creek where the battle was fought was named in honor of the Great Warrior Chief Arpiucki.

    And Arpiucki’s English name: Sam Jones.

  2. I think he was a black man who was well known in the area at that time who lived on the property. But reading what Fred posted up above, that sounds more probable, yet how the name of, Miccosukee warrior Chief Arpiucki, turn into Jones?

  3. Jones was a hunter and he ventured into the creek to kill a crocodile, to make the best shoes for his lady.
    And there he found a crocodile with her baby. No, he thought, I can't kill that crocodile as they baby would be without its mum.
    So he went back next year, and the mother crocodile was thin and ailing, with the youngster - bigger now, by her side. No, he thought, I cannot kill the healthy crocodile because the mother might die without it.
    So he went back the next year, and saw the mother, old now, but with a tiny crocodile beside her and the other hunting in the water. No, he thought, I cannot kill the healthy crocodile because . . .
    His lady never got her shoes, but she loved him anyway.

  4. What a wonderful way of writing a story. Taking inspiration from the world around you. Now this Jones guy, he was a bad man. Kept himself to himself, but he couldn't stop the rumours. Why did he look so young? Why was he shipping all those exotic ingredients from overseas? And what were the strange shapes, young Adam saw down by the creek?

    Now when a group of citizens made their way there, insisted in coming in, the way you insist when you've got a bunch of your pals, the old man servant wouldn't say nothing, except that master had gone away. Not much sense out of that man, seemed liked his wits had been eaten away. (Connie Walters took him in, and cared for him. He died not six months later).

    Nasty things they found in the cellar. Things you don't want to write down, just incase some fool tries to copy them.

    But they named that creek after him, so that people would remember, and be sure to take care of him if he ever decided to show his undying face.

    Always remember Jones.

  5. Great answers! Thanks for posting so quickly! Good luck :)

  6. Mr. Jones was a hunter in the Palm Beach area, however, instead of hunting gators as some of your other readers may have suggested, he was a hunters of a very unique prey. Here is the true story of Mr. Jones and why Jones Creek Hammock was named in his honor.

    Many years ago there was a stir in the area on a reported creature being sited by the locals. The reports where of this big hairy bear looking animal that walked on two feet, and had a very unique smell to it . These reports where terrorizing the small community. People were so afraid of what they had saw and heard that they came together at a local church to make a decision on what they should do about this animal. Mr. Jones at the time was just walking by the church when he heard all the discussion, so he went into the church to see what was going on. After much debate the leaders of the community decided that they would hire someone to hunt down this animal and kill it.

    Now Mr. Jones being a man never to pass by an opportunity to make some money stood up and said he would hunt down this creature and take care of it for the community, all he asked was for $200 (a lot of money in those days) and some recognition for his duties once they where complete. Once again the leaders got together and decided that there was no one else who would do this, so they agreed to hire Mr. Jones at the amount he had requested.

    The very next day Mr. Jones went around the community and gathered all the information that he could and set off on the great hunt. The last reported siting was in this swampy woodland area outside the town, so that is where he decided to start. Well to keep a long story short, not after many days in the wilderness Mr. Jones comes face to face with the creature and was in total awe of him, after spending some time with this creature Mr. Jones finds himself in a very odd predicament, due the fact that he had already taken the $200 from the town leaders and the fact that he became a friend of this creature. There was no way that he was going to be able to kill this creature and so he came up with a plan. In the dark of the night he went a found a truck and trailer that would be able to hold his new friend, and they head off toward the West Coast of the United States, knowing he needed to find a place for him and his new friend to live in a quite place. They stopped in many states on their pilgrimage west but could never find the right place to spend the rest of their life’s together.

    Within a few weeks of traveling and many close calls of other people seeing the creature they ended up in Northern California, it was perfect great forest areas with a lot of seclusion, they had found their home. After weeks had passed the leaders of the community were satisfied that there where no more encounters with this animal, but the big question was what had happened to Mr. Jones, he just disappeared, fearing that he might have been injured or even killed they sent out a rescue team to find him, however there was no success. The leaders decided to honored their contract with Mr. Jones and named the land and swamp area after him because of what he did for the community. “Jones Creek Hammock”. Thus the story of how Mr. Jones has his name on this well-known destination.

    But what ever happened to Mr. Jones and the creature, well they both changed their names so that they would not be able to be found. The creature is well known in the North West as…. You got it BIG FOOT and Mr. Jones changed his name to Mr. Smith and is also well known in the Humboldt county area of California for growing a very special weed (for medical use of coarse). Mr. Jones aka Mr. Smith has long since passed and BIG FOOT started a family after meeting up with Rosie O’ donnell.

    And that is the story of how Mr. Jones had a creek and hammock named after him.

  7. The last comment was one e-mailed to me by my friend, Pete, who has been having trouble posting a comment here. If anyone else is still having trouble, please feel free to e-mail me your comment and I'll post it for you, too :)

  8. From Alicia:)

    Who is Jones? It is amazing such a colorful tale has faded away. Back when there were more Seminoles than white men in Florida, an adventurous young couple make there way down into Florida from the Plymouth colony. The story had it that they were some of the original offspring from our descendants on the Mayflower. Against the wishes of their parents, they wanted to strike out on their own. In the headstrong way of young folk all around, they just plowed ahead with their dream. When they arrived in South Florida, they choose a lovely hammock on a beautiful creek where no other white men could be found for miles and miles. Soon after arriving in what they had hoped to be their own Shangra La, the woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy. But the delivery was hard, and with no skills or assistance, she died a couple of days later. The young man was so distraught that after burying his wife he left the lovely hammock and wondered off in a daze never to be seen again.

    The local Seminole Indians had quietly watched from distance as this young couple erected a shelter and scratched out an existence in the abundant hammock. The watched and listened in agony as the woman went through a difficult labor with out the help of other women folk – so different from the birthing of babies by hardy squaws in their tribe. When the man left, the Indians kept an eye on the baby, protecting him from bugs and animals. It didn't take long for the baby to become very hungry and then he started crying at the top of his lungs. Quickly the Indians went and got a squaw who had recently delivered a baby and she nursed the little white baby along with her son. In case the white man came back, the squaw stayed close to the rustic lean too the the white couple had called home. After a moon cycle and no sight of the white man, the squaw returned to the tribe with her two sons. There was great discussion as to what to call the little white baby. An Indian name just didn't sound right to them- he was obviously white, not Indian They thought the name should match his heritage. Only one older brave had had dealings with white men in his youth and he didn't remember much of the foreign tongue, but he did recall that one of the men he had traded with had a name of “Jones”. So from then on, the baby was known as “Jones”. No first name, no last name, just Jones.

    Jones was a loner. He knew he didn't fit in with his Indian community. When he was around 16 years of age – a man by Indian standards – the tribe decided to move more southward, away from the hammock. Jones decided to stay in the hammock with its fish filled creek. Know one knows why, but that was his choice. Since he was not really one of theirs, the Indians let him stay behind. For forty years, no other humans made it into the area. Jones lived a quiet life alongside this natural preserve. Finally some white settlers made their way into his hammock. Jones protected his hammock and his creek and drove them away. The settlers didn't try hard to stay – there was plenty of room for everyone to have their own piece of paradise at this time. They did learn his name was Jones. And with raised eyebrows it became passed down for generations that this was Jones creek.

    And that, is the story of the naming of Jones Creek.