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Frank Jones was born in New York State in 1855. His family moved to the midwest and settled in The Forks, Iowa in 1875.  A few years later the town was renamed Villisca.  In 1880 he married his wife Maude.  She bore him two children: Albert and Letha.  He began work life as a school teacher, but his interest in business led him to a partnership and then ownership in a hardware and farm implement company. His success with The Jones Store led him to form the Villisca National Bank with several partners.  In 1898 Jones built the largest house in town on stylish 5th Avenue.  It was only a matter of time before he heard the siren call of politics.   He began with Villisca's City Council and within seven years he was elected to the State Legislature.  He ran successfully for the State Senate in 1912, but lost his bid for reelection in 1916.  By then he was considered a suspect in the June 10, 1912 axe murder slayings of the Moore family and two visiting children.  Joe Moore was a nine-year former employee of Jones.  When they disagreed over wages, Moore left the Jones Store and opened a competing hardware store across the street.  John Deere also pulled its product from Jones and gave the line to Moore.  They were bitter business rivals and Jones would cross the street to avoid meeting his nemesis.  In addition, in the fall of 1911, Moore had engaged in an embarassing affair with the Senator's daughter-in-law.  In 1916 F.F. and his son, Albert, were openly accused of having hired William "Blackie" Mansfield to kill Joe Moore and his family.  Jones fired back with a slander suit against Detective James Newton Wilkerson, but lost.   The community was split for many years over the guilt or innocence of the former State Senator.  F.F. Jones was never brought to trial, but many in Villisca still believe he was behind the infamous crime.

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