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Fruits Saga Continues & Karen Admits Jonathan is Her Favorite

When teaching, one of the hardest parts is not to have a favorite – fairly sure I didn’t play favs, but in a few classes I had a fav, and I have to admit right here, right now, that Jonathan is my favorite of the large Fruits clan of Alamo George and wife, Catherine (Stonebraker) Fruits. Of course, there were good things that happened to him but many sad.

He was their 11th child born here in Montgomery County (Ripley Township) on May 16th in 1833. Growing up on the farm, he married two days after Valentine’s Day in 1855 to Rebecca Adam Jones (who sadly passed away 1 Nov 1876 at just 47 years old). They farmed in the Ripley Township area and he was semi-active in Democratic politics. Sadly, three babies were born to them, dying at birth or shortly thereafter (Catherine, named for his mother, 1857-1857; Wallis 1860-1860 and George for father 1861-1861). Rebecca passed away 15 years afterwards, they never managing to get a child to grow. Sad, so very sad. In fact, it was with his second wife whom he married nine years after Rebecca passed when he finally had a son to grow to adulthood, Morton Linnis (mother was Elizabeth Keys) but sadly she passed as well. Jonathan married again to Mary Louise Keys in 1885 and they too had a son the very next year, Raymond Grant, Mary Louise outliving Jonathan many years, at times living with her son and other times her beloved stepson.

The family lived in the Smartsburg area where the boys mainly grew-up then on to Greenwood, PA for a few years where Jonathan owned a large farm. Making a good profit on that farm, the family moved back to Clinton County where he had just moved to a home at Kilmore, not even having their goods unpacked when he became sick. It wasn’t long before he was gone from lung fever and brought to the Masonic Cemetery (Oak Hill Grant Avenue) in Crawfordsville for burial. Mary Louise Keys would join him there almost 42 years later. He had been in the Masons for quite some time as were his sons.

“Linnis” born in Boone County according to his death record, was described as being 5’10” tall and weight 155# with gray eyes and gray hair in the WWII draft listing. An interesting job, he began at quite a young age was as a Pinkerton Detective Agent even managing the agency in Indianapolis, spending most of his life in that capacity or other watchman areas, as well as a few years operating a service station. He was a member of the Scottish Rite, a 45-year-member of the Masons, as well as active in the Lebanon Methodist Church. He married at age 62 to Minnie Smith Clark, having lost his first wife, Helen whom he was buried with in Lebanon’s Oak Hill Cemetery. No children by either wife. A fun little bleep about Morton Linnis is that he was bragging about his mother having raspberries on her farm near Lebanon. Thus, the Indianapolis Star 17 Nov 1931 p 13 showed proof dubbing the picture of him holding some as “Razzberries!” When he joined the Rotary club three others joined with him and a super article (Indy Star 6 May 1931) had another bit of a razz about them all chasing each other – one was a safecracker – “er, pardon, a locksmith,” one a florist, one a detective (Linnis) and the last the manager of the General Electric Company in Indianapolis.

Raymond Grant “Ray” was born in Montgomery County and served in not only WWI but for years in the Navy as an electrician. He also worked in the Frankfort City Light plant for several years. While in the service in Suffolk, Massachusetts he married Louisa (Park) Knobb. They were members of the Antioch Christian Church and he in the American Legion. At one point (1920) he was manager of a toy factory, sounds fun, and two children were with them, Ruth age 15 and Alma, 11. These were Louisa’s children, by William Knobb. Both their lives ended so sadly, Ruth marrying Roland Bogan and dying at age 23 (16 June 1927) due to a self-induced abortion. Her sister, Alma married Paul Michael and was killed in an auto accident two years later. Sadly, Ray lost his only two children, as both of the girls went by Fruits although I doubt were ever adopted. Both were born in Pennsylvania, but are buried in Frankfort. Jonathan lost three children of his own, had the two boys with two wives and so sadly, there were no more ‘lil Fruits in this family. Bless you all, especially my fav of all the Fruits children, Jonathan Fruits, son of Alamo George and Catherine (Stonebraker) Fruits.

– Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at [email protected]