Frederick Mckinley Jones

Topics: Mechanics, Automobile, Mechanic Pages: 3 (873 words) Published: January 19, 2011
When Jones was seven years old, his father sent him to live and be educated at the local Catholic church. The elder Jones hoped that his son could receive a good education and find opportunities. At this time, there were no nearby orphanages that would admit an African American boy. Father Ryan, a Catholic priest, cared for Jones and encouraged his interest in mechanics. Jones helped around the church and rectory with cleaning, cooking, maintenance, and grounds work. Father Ryan informed Jones, at the age of nine, that his father had died. Jones exhibited an early passion for the mechanics of the automobile. He had an intuitive feeling that he could learn more on his own, through doing, than through traditional teaching methods. Jones would often spend as much time as he could tinkering with and cleaning the wealthy parishioners' cars when they came to church. The personal characteristics of Jones that were to serve him well later included his intellectual curiosity, his ability to ask for help when confounded with a mechanical problem, and his ability to understand the mechanical nature of any machine. Jones eventually rebelled against the structure and rules of Catholic school and never settled happily there, finding it repetitious and boring. He was 11 years old when he dropped out of school and ran away from the rectory. Jones crossed the river and went back to Cincinnati, immediately picking up employment at an auto garage. The young Jones had a love of the mechanics of cars, and strove to spend as much time learning about autos as possible. He was hired to keep the garage clean but soon demonstrated his natural capability as a mechanic. Jones worked full-time as a mechanic in the garage upon turning 14, the legal age of employment in that state. By the time he was 15, Jones supervised the garage as mechanic foreman. He also became passionately interested in racecar driving, and assisted the owner of the garage with building racing cars. His employer thought...
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