Dexter Wesley “Deck” Jones, son of Ransom Marion Jones (b. 1835 Blount Co., TN) and Susan Mary Smith (b. 1850 Clinton Co., KY), was born April 23, 1879 in Benton County, Arkansas (Rogers area). He said in a testimony dictated to Larry Briggs (in May 1960) that he moved with his family to a farm between Grove and Jay in Indian Territory from Benton County at age 8. In 1899 he repented in the Christian Union Church at Chelsea, I.T. He served as a deacon there for seven years. He married Lottie Agnes Huckaby in Chelsea in 1909. Lottie was born near Bolivar, MO in 1889. Sixteen children were born to this union, but three of them died as children. In 1917 Deck “saw the light” after hearing Rev. Theodore Smith, a Pentecostal preacher who held a revival in an old blacksmith shop in Chelsea. Six years later in 1923, Deck was baptized in Pryor Creek, north of Chelsea. Six months later, he received the Holy Ghost. His wife Lottie had received the Holy Ghost at home during the 1917 revival. Deck moved his family to several different farms in northeastern Oklahoma, including ones near Chelsea, Pryor, Nowata, Barnsdall and Sperry. He told about hearing Gene Autry play and sing at the Chelsea train station before Gene was discovered by Will Rogers. In 1943 Deck and his family moved from Barnsdall to Sperry, where daughters Ruth and Orpha had already found jobs. After farming the old Spybuck place one mile east of Sperry for three years, he purchased about sixty acres of land bordering the town of Sperry on the south side. He still owned fifteen acres of this tract when he died.
He was always a farmer, took great pride in his ability to break mules and horses, and was a tireless worker. He was seriously injured by a runaway team early in his marriage. He demanded hard work from his thirteen children, but loved them dearly. He was a family man, prayed often and always provided for his children, even during the meager Depression years. Deck was honest, hot tempered, plain spoken, and had a great sense of humor leading to frequent pranks. His many dozens of grandchildren were often the target of these pranks. He would sit for hours spinning stories of his youth to wide-eyed grandsons. John C. Jones, one of his boys, recounts a time when he was taking target practice. Unbeknownst to Johnny, Deck was inside the old out house. When Johnny fired through the door, Deck fell out the door moaning and carrying on. Of course he was faking it.
Deck served as deacon in 3 churches for a total of 22 years. In 1906 he had 2 major surgeries, and testified to being healed both times. In 1933 he testified to being healed of a severe bout of pneumonia. He was very active until his death, often walking nearly a mile to Sperry and back, and mowing his own lawn into his eighties. He raised hogs, cattle and row crops at the the old acreage on Osage Drive near the southwest edge of Sperry to the very last. Deck said in 1960 that he took no medicine of any kind after 1944. He and his wife Lottie were faithful members of the Sperry United Pentecostal Church until their deaths.
Note: Some interesting tidbits: Will Rogers was also born in 1879 near Oologah, OK, only 80 miles from Deck’s birthplace across the Arkansas line. Will’s wife, Mary America Schrimsher, was a quarter blood Cherokee from Blount County, TN, birthplace of Ransom Jones, Deck’s father. Clem Vann Rogers, Will’s father (a Cherokee Nation councilman) is buried near Ransom Jones in the Chelsea cemetery.
Lottie Agnes Huckaby (Wife of Dexter)
Lottie Agnes Huckaby was born in Polk County, Missouri October 13, 1889. Her father descended from the English Huckaby’s who immigrated to America in the mid-1700’s (see http://www.lon.huckaby.com/Huckaby.html for a historical summary of this specific lineage). At some point in time, part of the family relocated to Barren County, Kentucky.
In 1854 the family moved as a group from Kentucky to Polk County in central Missouri, where members of this huge clan established Hopewell Baptist church. They founded and lived in and around a community that was actually known as Huckaby, located about 13 miles east of Bolivar (north of Springfield). Huckaby and Fisher graves abound in the cemetery that is part of the church property (Lottie’s mother was Sarah Lucy Fisher). The church building itself is still standing, and is well maintained by some of our Huckaby relatives. The Huckaby families were usually large with lots of children. In 1893, Lottie moved with her family to Chelsea, I.T. from her home in Polk County. She married Dexter Wesley Jones there in 1909. Many of Lottie’s Huckaby and Fisher relatives, including her parents, are buried in the cemetery at Big Cabin, Oklahoma.
Lottie (Deck always affectionately called her “Mammy”) was a tireless worker and a talented homemaker. She endured childbirth sixteen times, and raised thirteen of those to adulthood. She was afflicted with a large goiter almost as large as a softball. She had tremendous faith in her Lord, and always abstained from medication during her illnesses. She died at home in Sperry, Oklahoma from a heart ailment on August 3, 1959.