GREENCASTLE -- Anyone who has ever watched the PBS show Antiques Roadshow knows how important "provenance" is to the value of an antique.
Provenance is exactly what Stephen Jones and family have given the Putnam County Museum along with two etchings by the well-known Putnam County artist, L.O. Griffith.
Stephen's grandmother, Clara Lucy Sharp Jones, a Greencastle resident, owned a Griffith etching titled "Fall Echoes." She wrote the artist asking if he had an etching for sale that would match hers in size and style. On Nov. 11, 1951, Griffith answered her letter, stating he would be happy to have another of his etchings on display in her "lovely home."
Clara Jones received a second letter Feb. 9, 1952, in which Griffith said he had an etching titled "The Patrician," which would go nicely with the etching she owned. And, indeed, the second Griffith etching was added to her collection.
The Joneses have made gifts to the Putnam County Museum of both etchings in their original frames and the letters. Included are the two envelopes in which the letters were sent. Evidence of days gone by -- the envelopes are both addressed to Mrs. Clara Jones, Greencastle, Ind. (with R.R. 2 noted on the bottom) and on each a three cent stamp.
But Clara Jones was a remarkable woman in her own right -- in the 1930s she was appointed by the Republican governor to run the Putnam County license branch; when she won the race for Putnam County Auditor in 1944, she was the first woman elected to a countywide office in Putnam County; from 1955 to 1959 she was employed at DePauw University as invoice clerk in the office of comptroller.
Clara Sharp married Thad Jones in 1918 when he was home on leave from the service during World War I and Clara still had a year at DePauw before her graduation in 1919.
The Jones family was a prosperous farming family in Putnam County, and Thad continued in the family business when the war was over. Clara and Thad had one son, Charles, Steve's father.
"Because of the generosity of the Jones family the story of the Jones-Griffith connection, these two etchings by O. L. Griffith, and the provenance that has accompanied them are on display at the Putnam County Museum," said museum director Tanis Monday. "Don't miss it."