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— Four women from northwest Arkansas are researching their ancestry in the Gentry and Springtown area and are planning a reunion of family members at the Fairmount Community Building this weekend.

Sisters and cousins Gloria Jones of Bentonville, Rebecca Smith of Pea Ridge and Pearl Williamson of Bella Vista, together with Williamson's daughter Valerie Coonfield of Garfield, have been researching their family roots by visiting old cemeteries and funeral homes, researching at the library and on the Internet and going through old newspapers in an attempt to piece together family histories which originated in England but made their way into the Gentry area.

Gloria Jones is the daughter of Carl Jones.

Pearl and Rebecca are daughters of Oscar Jones. Carl and Oscar were sons of George Jones.

Among the family names connected to their search are Bradshaw, Chastain, Collins, Couch, Goodwin, Fortenberry, Jones and Ward. And there may be others.

The foursome is planning a reunion at the Fairmount Community Building - across the road from Fairmount Cemetery - beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. They are inviting anyone related to the above family names to join them to share information and to help them fill in the gaps in their genealogical and family history research.

One person of interest to the women and an uncle to three of them was Leroy Jones - who died from a gunshot wound in 1944.

Leroy H. Jones was a brother to Carl and Oscar. The shooting was ruled an accident according to an article in the Dec. 21, 1944 issue of the Gentry Journal-Advance.

The newspaper account says the shooting was a hunting accident which occurred on the previous Sunday afternoon along a road in the Fairmount community when Joneswas talking with Allen Lee Burgess, Allen's brother Robert Burgess and brother-in-law Oscar Skaggs at their car. The three had been quail hunting near the Fred Ward home.

The accident allegedly occurred when Allen Burgess was entering the car and the hammer on his 12-gage shotgun caught the side of the door. The gun's discharge reportedly killed Jones instantly.

The newspaper account says that an inquest was conducted by Justice Tom Condrey of Springtown, with the assistance of Undertaker Leon Wasson of Siloam Springs, and the death was declared accidental.

Another person of interest to the four seeking their roots was Mina Goodwin, grandmother to the three of them and a former writer for the Siloam Springs newspaper. Her maiden name was Mina Bell Ward.

She married George Jones, and after his death remarried to Lloyd Goodwin.

"Milton, the grandfather of George Jones, died sometime between 1882 and 1888 - we cannot find a death certificate or grave site for him," wrote Williamson in an e-mail.

"George's mother's name was Samantha Jane (Patterson) Jones. After the death of Milton, she then married Andrew P. Whiteside in 1889. They all lived here in Gentry, Springtown, Felker area."

The women would appreciate any information local residents and family members in the area can provide them. They hope the reunion will give all in attendance the opportunity to meet and exchange family information.

"We'd like to fill in some gaps and find out about other family members," the women said.

They are inviting anyone with information on their family tree or desiring to exchange information on family members to contact them. They may be reached by email at seamoon@cox.net. For those not having e-mail access, they may be contacted by telephone at 426-9588 or 640-8537.

News, Pages 10 on 09/09/2009

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