Cary News: Opinion

Cary’s Heritage: Jones House has long history in Cary

The Jones House, which dates back more than a century, is now home to Belle, a restaurant that serves food from local farms.
The Jones House, which dates back more than a century, is now home to Belle, a restaurant that serves food from local farms.

The town of Cary bought the Wiley D. Jones house on the corner of Academy Street and Dry Avenue. Workers restored the house to make way for a new restaurant. Here, two cousins talk about the house that may have been built by their grandparents.

Virginia Jones: I read in the paper that the house is (more than 120) years old. My grandparents, Wiley D. and Era Stone Jones, may have built the house. They needed a big house for their nine children.

After they died, their grandson James and his family lived there. My cousin James was the last Jones to live in that house. Eventually it was sold to Carol Foy, who later sold it to the town.

After the house passed out of my family, there were a number of businesses in there. Wiley D. was in law enforcement in Raleigh. Then he had a meat market in downtown Cary.

Jean Ladd: Virginia’s daddy and my mother were brother and sister. My mother’s mother, Era Stone, married Wiley D. Jones and they had nine children. He had a general store and showed horses down on Cedar Street, which was the original business district in Cary.

I lived on Dry Avenue as a child, just around the corner from my grandparents’ house. I spent lots of time with them, sitting in the front room with the stove, the only heated room in the house. The only bathroom was on the ground floor, and was added long after it was built. There was a back porch as well as a wrap-around front porch. They probably enclosed part of that back porch and made the bathroom.

The cold, front parlor was on the right, then a central hallway, and the heated sitting room was on the left with the dining room behind where Grandma and Granddaddy had their beds. The light was just a string light bulb which was added to the house after it was built. The kitchen was in the back. My grandparents had a telephone in the hallway when I was a girl. Upstairs there were a few cold, dark bedrooms.

My grandfather, Wiley D., liked listening to baseball on the radio in the heated room. Granddaddy would call my mother to come and play rook with him. He liked to go to Sunset Lake, take his lunch and spend the day out on a little rowboat fishing.

My grandparents would sit out on that porch that was later enclosed. He chewed tobacco and Grandmother would dip snuff. They both died in that house when they were both 86.

Then the house was sold to their grandson, my cousin, James Jones. He lived there a long time with his wife Evelyn and their family, until James died. His father, Marvin, lived just down the street, in the house that was recently torn down by the First Baptist Church.

Cary’s Heritage is taken from the book “Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina,” first published in August 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel.