Built on the edge of the Smallian Road, this bridge is the start of the Jones Road. The first kilometer of the Jones Road is a municipal road; the next two kilometers are private. This bridge crosses the Blanche River. It was named for George and Mary Jones who lived and farmed on the west side of the river. Mary was one of the daughters of Marshall French. Marshall divided his property in half, with his son Clifford getting the hilly and fertile farm on the north. George and Mary got the farm that was flat but had sandy soil on the south side. In the summer Mary often helped her sister, Laura, cook for tourists who were staying at Tom Roos’ camp on Blanche Lake. Tom Roos, married to Laura, ran one of many tourist places in Mulgrave that catered to fishermen, hunters and city folks who wanted to get away and relax for a weekend or longer.
George and Mary adopted a son, Billy, and they lived on the farm until the 1970s. There are still remnants of the old farm including some daffodils, asparagus, and several old apple trees. The house fell down several years ago. I believe Billy still owns the farm; however, the fields have returned to forest.
Bill had a brother, Fred Jerror, who was raised by Mary’s sister, Margaret. Margaret was not married so she could not officially adopt Fred. They lived on Smallian Road just past the bridge in a small addition built by Margaret on the front side of Clifford’s house. In the country most women worked hard supporting their family, both before and after getting married. Margaret, a single mother and a woman trailblazer in her day, owned a general store and took over the Blanche post office from her father Marshall. She continued as Postmaster until 1962 when the area received daily mail delivery to homes. The first Postmaster was John A. Cameron in 1873; the second was Marshall French and the third and last was Margaret French.
Margaret also sold gasoline. Rain or shine, night or day, gas was always available. The gas pump was manually operated. It had two 12-gallon bottles sitting about 10 feet high. The glass bottles were marked in one-gallon increments. A four-foot handle was used to pump gasoline from the buried storage tank into the glass bottles. Then gravity allowed the gasoline to flow into the car’s gas tank or gas can through a rubber hose and nozzle. The number of gallons was calculated by the marks on the tank. Using this method, Margaret would calculate the cost of the gas.
In 1966 Clifford sold his farm to the current owners, Carl and Lillian Miller. Margaret gave her part of the house to them in the late 1970s.
The Jones Bridge is the shortest bridge crossing the Blanche River. When the water level is high the current under the bridge is very swift. Occasionally the water will overflow the banks, flooding and closing the Smallian Road below the bridge, with the water up to the planks on the bridge.