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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
William J. Jones has for thirty-three years been a resident of Livingston county and now lives on section 21, Blue Mound township, where he has a pleasant home in the midst of a well improved farm of two hundred and sixty acres. Its buildings in good repair, its well kept fences, its highly tilled fields and the good stock found in the pastures, all combine to make this one of the most attractive properties of the locality and evidence the spirit of progress and enterprise which characterize the owner in the management of his business affairs. Mr. Jones is in all essential respects a self-made man and the record of his career furnishes a splendid example of the power of honesty, indomitable energy and determination in the accomplishment of success. He was born in Angleshire, Wales, August 15, 1838, a son of Richard and Elisabeth (Davis) Jones, the former a prominent farmer in his native section. Both have passed away and are buried in Llanedon, Angleshire.
William J. Jones acquired his education in his native country but his advantages along this line were extremely limited. He was obliged on account of the poverty of his parents to begin his active life when he was only ten years of age. He worked at various occupations in Wales, accepting any position which would bring him an income until he was twenty-three years of age, at which time he came to America. He landed in New York and from there pushed on to Illinois, where for some time he worked upon a farm, abandoning this occupation in order to accept a position in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. There he remained for eight years, going at the end of that time to Iowa and engaging in farming in the employ of others. By the exercise of great thrift and intelligent economy in all these years he managed to save two thousand dollars and with this capital came in 1870 to Livingston county and purchased eighty acres in Blue Mound township, to which be added from time to time until he now owns two hundred and sixty acres. Mr. Jones fenced the property and built the comfortable residence in which he lives at the present time. He also erected barns, a silo and granaries and in other ways added to the value and attractive appearance of the place. All of the accessories and conveniences of a model farm are now found upon
the property and he annually gathers abundant harvests as a reward for the care and labor he bestows upon the fields. In addition he is extensively interested in stock raising. His business interests have always been ably managed and have resulted in a gratifying measure success.
Mr. Jones has been three times married. He wedded first on October 12, 1870, Miss Margaret Williams, who passed away in 1875, leaving a daughter, Elizabeth, who is the wife of Gomer Jones, a prominent farmer in this section. Mr. Jones' second marriage occurred on the 3d of July, 1876, when he wedded Mrs. Jane Owens, who died November 25, 1886, and who is buried in the Welsh cemetery. She left to mourn her loss a family of three children: John, who is a prominent farmer in this locality; Hannah, the wife of John Price, also well known in agricultural circles of this vicinity; and Jennie, who married Walter Vanstane, a well known farmer in Livingston county. Mr. Jones' third marriage occurred in Dawn, October 22, 1891, the lady of his choice being Miss Hannah Davis, a daughter of John H. and Mary (Williams) Davis, both of whom have passed away. The father of Mrs. Jones came from the south of Wales in 1866 and settled in Livingston county, where he followed farming until his death, which occurred on the 19th of January, 1892.
He had survived his wife since 1887 and was laid to rest by her side in the Welsh burial ground. They had a family of seven children: Sarah, who died in 1902 and is buried in the Welsh cemetery; John, a farmer in Oregon; Robert, a prominent agriculturist of Blue Mound township; Mary, the widow of James Greener, formerly a well known landowner in the same section; Elizabeth, the wife of Llewellen Davis, of Salt Lake City; Hannah, the wife of the subject of this review; and Katherine, who married William Edwards, a prominent farmer of Blue Mound township.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones are members of the Congregational church, of which Mr. Jones has served as trustee for many years. He is progressive in his political views but has given his time to his farming interests in preference to political activities, although he is never neglectful of the duties of citizenship. As the architect of his own fortune he has builded wisely and well, with the result that he stands today among the men who have been factors in the agricultural development of Livingston county.