Jesse James Jones Jr. was born December 6, 1940, to Jesse James Jones Sr. and Jeanette (McKay) Jones. He was raised in the Upper McKay Creek area and attended school in Pilot Rock, Oregon. He graduated in 1959, participated and excelled in all sports for the Rockets, and was a member of the 1959 Class B Oregon State Champion High School basketball team and selected All State Tournament team. That same year, Jesse was asked to appear in Portland to perform war dances and explain Oregon’s Indian culture in honor of Oregon’s 100 birthday.
He married Merrily Brotherton and reared two boys, Jesse (Buck) James Jones III and Brooker Phillip Jones.
He was employed many years in the Pilot Rock lumber mill. In the late 1960s he learned the trade of a horseshoer from Hack Bloom. He worked for 7UP ranch for both Red and Terry Anderson doing various duties, but mainly around the cattle on horseback.
Jesse was a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and an avid horseman who also participated in wild horse races in the Northwest rodeo circuit, including the Pendleton Round-Up. He rode over 30 years in the Portland Grand Floral Parade on his horses Joe Buck, Tequila and Dinero.
Jesse was also an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed elk hunting in the Johnson Creek area. He taught many the land and how to hunt. He formed and coached Upper Mckay Creek youth Tribal basketball teams that played in many tournaments in the Northwest.
After the unfortunate death of his sister Josephine, he adopted James Anthony Jones, who became his third son.
As Cayuse chief he was a respected as knowledgeable man of Tribal history, customs and traditions. He was always there for his community and tribe with a smile, encouraging words, big hugs and a firm handshake! He was a wealth of information on lineage, able to remember families or relatives and their ancestry, both non-Tribal and Tribal.
Married Marvella Henry, who brought Jesse his fourth son, Gabriel Hawk Jones.
Jesse participated in Happy Canyon and Round-Up since his youth. For many years he rode the spotted horse in Happy Canyon and was in the silhouette, a raider of the wagon train and an elder on the floor. His roles in Round-Up were various as well, from shoeing horses to participating in Indian horse races, relays, wild cow milking and wild horse races. He also presided over the Indian dances in the arena on Saturday mornings, and was in the Dress-Up and Westward Ho! parades numerous times.
In 2004 Chief Jones was inducted into the Round-Up/Happy Canyon Hall of Fame with longtime family friend Dr. Richard Koch and rodeo great Casey Tibbs.
Jacob Jones became Jesse’s fifth son in 2008.
He was preceded in death by parents Jesse and Jeanette Jones Sr., and sisters Josephine and Mildred Nanegos.
Survivors include sister Juanita (Joe) Cox, Irrigon, Oregon; sons Jesse “Buck” (Nadja) Jones, Milwaukie, Oregon, Brooker, Gabriel and Jacob Jones, Pilot Rock, Oregon, and James Jones, Pendleton, Oregon; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
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