Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
James H. Jones


JAMES H. JONES. It has often been observed that while our foreign-born residents do not always readily accommodate themselves to the genius of our country, that their descendants in the immediately following generation possess peculiar qualities of intellect and executive ability, which bring them into prominent places in our American civilization. It seems that the vigor acquired during many generations of quiet, settled life in the Old World, stimulated by the unprecedented activity of the American atmosphere and institutions, produced most valuable results. The subject of our sketch, who resides in Lowe Township, Moultrie County, has this peculiar advantage, as his father, William Jones, was a native of Wales, while he was born and reared in this country.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Martha Keyes and was a native of Virginia, although she was living in Highland County, Ohio, when she met and married William Jones. They spent together more than a golden half-century in wedded life, most of this time being passed in Fairfield County, whence they removed in their later years to Attica, Seneca County, Ohio. Eleven children blessed this happy union, five sons and six daughters, and our subject was the youngest son and ninth child, being born in Madison Township, Fairfield County, Ohio, December 5, 1836.

James H. Jones spent his early years much after the fashion of that day with farmer boys and received the best education which the advantages of the neighborhood afforded. His father owned and managed a small farm, although he was also a Presbyterian minister. His son grew to manhood in Fairfield County and remained there until the fall of 1856, when he decided to seek the Prairie State and came to Coles County, where he resided about a year and then returned to his old home in Ohio. One year later he returned to Coles County and was living there when the war broke out, and with him as with thousands of young men, this important epoch in our country's history changed the whole current of his life.

It seemed the most natural thing in the world to this young man, who had thoroughly enjoyed the blessings of freedom and who had been trained in a patriotic love for his country's flag and honor, that he should spring to defend that flag when rebellious hands had trailed it in the dust, and in August, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, Eighty-eighth Illinois Infantry, and served until June 9, 1865, when he was mustered out of the service. His record in the army is one of participation in numerous conflicts and weary marches and he saw the smoke of battle at Perryville, Ky., Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek and at Atlanta, besides others of less note. His army experience is a part of his life of which he has just reason to be proud and he cherishes the memory of those days with ardor and enthusiasm. He is prominently identified with Post No. 194, G. A. R., at Arthur.

When "the piping times of peace" returned this young man came again to Coles County and resided there for some two years, but in the spring of 1868 removed to Moultrie County and made his home on section 5, Lowe Township, where he has since been so useful and prominent a citizen. He had learned the carpenter's trade in Ohio when a young man and followed it in connection with farming for some time after coming to Moultrie County. Of late years he has given up his trade and devoted his attention entirely to farming, having the management of his farm, a tract of eighty acres.

Previous to the war Mr. Jones had been married to Miss Mary Ann Miller, who was born near Columbus, Ohio, January 27, 1842. Their wedding occurred in Moultrie County, May 9. 1859, and to them were granted eight children. Their firstborn, who bore the name of the martyred President, Lincoln, died in infancy and the following remained to them: Charles W., John N., Lucy C., James E., Sherman, Frank and Ida M. The mother of these sons and daughters died in Lowe Township, February 7, 1880.

The present Mrs. Jones, who is an earnest and active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a woman of sterling character and high intelligence, became the wife of our subject in Moultrie County, June 15, 1884, being at the time of her marriage to this gentleman the widow of Mr. John Rigg. Her maiden name was Diantha Brabham, being a daughter of John P. Brabham, whose biographical sketch will be found elsewhere in this Record. By her first marriage she became the mother of four children: Vesta J., Norton M., Arthur and one who died in infancy. She was born in Washington County, Ohio, March 13, 1842, and has made her home through life in Ohio and Illinois.

The high intelligence and genuine interest which Mr. Jones takes in matters of public importance have secured to him the confidence and esteem of the residents of this township and he has occupied the position of Supervisor of Lowe Township, first by appointment and afterward by election, for more than two terms. He has also served two terms as Township Assessor, and his twelve years of service as Highway Commissioner and School Director have been years of progress in the direction of education and convenience to the traveling public. He is well read on political themes and takes his stand with the Republican party, being active in its support and having great faith in its possibilities.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 665/666

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb