The family of a historic 20th century writer is keeping his legacy alive while embracing their roots.
Best selling author, James Jones is known for his iconic writings such as From Here To Eternity, The Thin Red Line , and Whistle.
In some of his novels he tells stories of people in his home town of Robinson, Illinois.
Although he passed away in 1977, his family has traveled across the country to visit the places he features in his writings and continue pursing his mission of helping others find their love for his craft.
Kaylie Jones is Jones’ daughter.
He passed away when she was 16. Now an adult and having lived in many states and countries,. She visits Robinson, Illinois where her father grew up.
“For me because we are sort of rootless, and not from one place this is a place of deep roots for our family and I wanted very much for Eryna to see where her grandfather came from,” says Kaylie Jones.
Her daughter, Eryna, never got to meet her grandfather.
She has read his writings and has heard stories of his character, but she needed to see for herself where it all started.
“I feel a connection to him here that I don’t get through just his writing which is very nice,” says Eryna Jones-Heisler, James Jones granddaughter.
During their visit, Eryna and Kaylie toured the house Jones was born in and the cemetery where many of the Jones family are buried.
“It is so important to remember where he came from because he never forgot where he came from. He never changed who he was. He never tried to be anything but a Midwesterner from Robinson, Illinois, and I think that was a big part of who he was and how he presented himself to the world,” says Kaylie.
Eryna was too young to remember Robinson when her mother brought her as a baby. So for her, this is the first time she is actually experiencing a large part of who she is. She says, “I was a little bit nervous. I think going back to any family root is kind of a little nerve racking because you don’t know what quite to expect. But mostly I was excited.”
For the Jones’, keeping the legacy of James alive is a tradition they plan to pass on for generations.
Eryna says, “I am just excited to be here when I am old enough to really understand and to see what he saw.”
Kaylie Jones followed in her fathers footsteps and is a writer in Long Island, New York.
Eryna is attending college in Texas and plans to pursue law. Her mother says, The Jones writing bug is in her blood.
Kaylie and Eryna visited Robinson while they were in town for the first launch of James Jones Writers Workshops held in New Harmony, Indiana.
A program they hope to make an annual event for young writers.