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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Robert W. Jones ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Robert W. Jones
BORN: Abt 1844 DIED: 17 Mar 1888 BURIED: 9 Apr 1888
BIRTH PLACE:  England or Wales
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
IOOF - R. W. Jones, suicide - supposed to have jumped from the bridge across the Willamette;
The Bridge Suicide Identified, Robert W. Jones of Seattle, was the Man
--Found Below Salem--
The Inquest. As the little steamer Topsy was steaming up the Willamette river from Oregon City, Sunday afternoon, shortly after 1 o'clock, her captain, Chas. A. Carey, discovered the body of a man entangled in a clump of willows, at the lower end of Chitwood's island, off Kaiser's farm, 2½ miles below Salem. The "floater" was in a position not easily accessible, and Captain Carey came on to Salem, and notified Justice of the Peace O'Donald, acting coroner, of his discovery. Justice O'Donald immediately summoned a jury, and they with a crowd of twenty-five or thirty, who had learned that the "body of the unknown suicide had been found," boarded the Topsy, and proceeded to the scene of the captain's find. Here, owing to the shallowness of the water in proximity to the corpse, it was necessary to lowar a skiff, and in this Captain Carey, J. A. Rotan, and Granville Wagner succeeded, though not without considerable difficulty, owing to the velocity of the current, in fastening a rope about the limbs of the body, and, by swinging down about one hundred yards, landing it on the Polk county shore. Acting Coroner O'Donald then commenced the inquest, and the captain and mate of the Topsy were examined regarding their discovery of the corpse. The body was then examined. It was of ordinary height and build, and was clad in a suit of jeans, with blue flannel shirt, red underclothing, woolen socks, and lace shoes. The features of the deceased were so disfigured and the body so decomposed as to render identification very difficult, even if the features of the dead man were not those of a stranger. The face appeared to have been smooth-shaven, except a moustache, while the hair was almost entirely gone from the head. Upon the person were found a number of articles that establish the identity of the deceased beyond much doubt. They were a small note book with the inscription "R. W. Jones," a pass book of "Jones Bros." an open face silver watch, English lever, No. 22, 441, with its hands pointing to 22½ minutes till five; sixty-five cents in American money, and three Canadian half-pennies; a jack knife; a pocket medical work; and several minor articles. In one of the books was found a registry receipt given to R. W. Jones, Seattle, for a package mailed to Wm. Jones, England; and limited ticket, second class, issued by the Northern Pacific, with a coupon for a passage over the O. & C. from Portland to San Francisco. These were sufficient to render reasonable conclusive the fact that the deceased was R. W. Jones, of Seattle. Just as the examination was finished and the body was being placed in a coffin that had been brought along, it was discovered that a deep gash was in the dead man's throat, over four inches long, and on the right side, nearly horizontal in direction. It was decided to continue the examination in Salem. Upon her arrival at Salem, the Topsy was met by a great crowd of people eager to know if the mystery which had perplexed all Salem for three weeks had been cleared up. The body was taken to the barn behind Rotan's undertaking establishment, where the examination was continued. W. H. Matthews, the boarding-house keeper, testified that a man named Jones came to his place about March 4th, from Portland; he said he was from Seattle, where he had lived four years; he was a Welshman, and at times was seen praying fervently; he believed he was deranged in mind. The body he identified as that of Jones. Wm. Schroed, saloon keeper, testified that Jones came to his place about 3 p.m. on March 17th, the day of the suicide, and asked for a drink, waying it was the "last he should ever want." A. T. Gilbert stated that the railroad ticket was the same that had once been shown him by Jones. Dr. J. N. Smith gave it as his opinion that the throat wound was made by a sharp instrument, but was not necessarily immediately fatal. The jury therefore returned the following verdict: We, the jury empaneled by Justice of the Peace O'Donald, acting coroner for Marion county, state of Oregon, to examine into the cause of the death of a person found in the Willamette river at a point two and a half miles north of Salem, on Sunday, April 8, 1888, after having viewed and examined the body, and listened to the testimony of witnesses, fin: That the name of the deceased appears from papers found on the body, and from the evidence of witbnesses, to be Robert W. Jones, aged about 40 years, and that he came to his death by a wound in his throat inflicted with a sharp instrument, or by drowning; but we are unable to state whether he came to his death by his own act or not. Signed by B. F. Drake, A. J. Basey, J. A. Rotan, W. A. Benson, Granville C. Wagner, and Will H. Parry. The Probable Theory Speculation as to the manner in which the deceased met his death has been rife on the streets since the body was discovered. Most of people are of the opinion that it is a common case of suicide, but there are not wanting those who assert that a foul murder has been committed; but a careful examination of all the facts of case obtainable leaves little doubt that the belief of the majority is correct and that Jones suicided. The two boys who saw him take his leap to eternity, state that they first noticed him sanding on the outer iron bars of the bridge and that just before castimg himself into space, he made a motion as if throwing some thing from him. Again they declared on the day of the occurrence that the waters surrounding the stuggling man were tinged with blood. From this it would appear that, fully intent upon suicide. Jones climbed the bridge railing, and, to make assurance double sure, cut his own throat, threw away the razor, and then leaped into the waters below. The the fact that Jones disappeared on Saturday afternoon, that his watch stopped just a few minutes after the time of the suicide and his identification afterwards, leaves little room for any speculatiotive murder theories. The body was yesterday afternoon given a decent burial in potter's field, in the I.O.O.F. cemetery. 
Oregon Statesman 10 April 1888 3:2, 3.
IOOF Register of Burials 
OS 10 April 1888 3:2, 3 
OS 4 Jan 1889 (Necrological listing)
LOT: 285 SPACE:  LONGITUDE: N 44° 55.234' LATITUDE: W 123° 02.719'

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