As my loyal readers (both of you) will recall, I am going through a boxload of old pictures from my grandparent’s house in St. Croix. While many pictures are of family and friends (and I know who they are now!) many are of the island, the island people, and events. Some were sent to my family but most were taken by my grandfather, Ludvig Conrad. To date, I have scanned over 1,400 pictures from that box.
While I was going through them for initial edits and labeling I ran across this picture. Written on the back it clearly said “Gentlemen of Jones”.
In looking at the picture, from the people standing in the background, I surmised that this was an “event photo” and that the name, “Gentlemen of Jones”, was the name of this particular group of, well, dapper, men. So I did what any normal person would when faced by a name we don’t recognize. I Googled it!. I found this website: gentlemenofjones.com. It appears that the “Gentlemen” is a community activist/social group from St Croix.
Their website has a page on the history of the club. According to the website, the club was born from a group of friends who gathered at a local store to wax eloquent and discuss matters. (If you are familiar with St Croix you will know that discussions, with anyone and everyone, of deep matters and politics are somewhat of a national pastime there). One of their group, Minard Jones, opened a bar where the group frequently met. In 1952 the group marched in a parade in Top hats and Tails, and spontaneously dubbed themselves “Gentlemen of Jones”. This picture may be from that year, or it may be a few years later, but it is certainly close to the founding.
I browsed the website and found no pictures of the group from the 1950-era so I figured I’d send them mine. I sent it off with this email:
I am doing family research on my St Croix ancestors. While I was going through a box of old photos I came across this one, probably taken by my grandfather Ludvig Conrad. On the back of the photo he wrote “Gentlemen of Jones”. It probably dates to the earliest days of your group. Thought you’d like to see it.
Today I go this reply from the Gentlemen:
Hello David ,
Thank you for the photo you sent , we really appreciate it. A question was asked by the group in trying to determine who your grandfather is . Is your mothers name Juanita?
As a matter of fact, yes, my mother’s name is Juanita.
Mom, is there something you want to tell me?