Thomas Jennings Cone
Coming from sturdy Scotch-Irish stock who were pioneers in Virginia, whose descendants removed to Georgia in the early days and were prominent in the politics of that State, his father a veteran of the Confederacy, who fought throughout the war between the States and on coming to Florida rendered conspicuous service to the State in assisting in its redemption from carpet bag misrule, Thomas Jennings Cone has engaged in merchandising and manufacturing, with highly gratifying success, and has not only accumulated a competence but has at the same time contributed in no small degree to the commercial growth and industrial development of his section.
Mr. Cone's first known ancestors in America were Scotch-Irish pioneers in Connecticut and North Carolina, and their descendants lived in North Carolina for several generations. The great great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch was a captain in the war of the Revolution, and before the beginning of that struggle located in Georgia, where Mr. Cone's grandfather was prominent in politics, serving from 1847 to 1850 in the Georgia Legislature, and afterwards being elected Judge of the Inferior Court of Dooly county.
Thomas Jennings Cone is the only child of Andrew Jackson Cone and Amila Gay (Pound) Cone. His father was born and reared in Dooly county, Georgia. When the war cloud burst in 1861 he was only sixteen years of age, but he promptly enlisted in the Eighteenth Georgia Regiment with his older brother Thos. Jefferson Cone, who was killed at Gainesville, Va., June 27, 1862, and served with that organization throughout the great unpleasantness. The last five months of the war he was a prisoner at Point Lookout, but was exchanged March 25, 1865 and formally paroled after the surrender. After the war he studied law under the direction of Judge A. C. Pate of Hawkinsville, Ga., and was duly admitted to the bar. In 1876 he removed with his family to Florida, locating in Orange county, and from the beginning taking an active part in politics. He was one of the leading spirits of his section in the movement which finally resulted in the overthrow of the administration which had given the people of the State an ample sufficiency of Republican misrule. He removed to Gainesville in 1884, and established himself in the practice of his profession. Both he and his excellent wife are still full of activity and appreciative of the pleasures of life.
Thomas Jennings Cone was born in Unadilla, Ga., December 19, 1867. In his early youth he attended the common country schools, and later had the advantage of a course at the Middle Georgia Agricultural and Military College. He first engaged in the mercantile business at Gainesville, Fla., in 1891, when he was eighteen years of age. He was industrious and frugal, but saw no opportunity for improving his condition and advancing his interests until 1900, when with the small capital of $1200 he embarked in the industry of manufacturing lumber and naval stores. He has continued in this business with ever-increasing success and by energy and enterprise has succeeded in accumulating a competence.
Mr. Cone now makes his home at Raleigh, in Levy county. He was married August 28, 1884 to Marie E. Tyson, a daughter of Joel Washington and Sarah Martha (Griner) Tyson, and they have three children, Albertus Jennings, Hobson Tyson Cone, and Frederick M. Cone, eight months old.
Mr. Cone is a Democrat, but has been too actively engaged in business to seek public office even if he had tastes of that nature. He is not a member of any church, but has a strong preference for the Baptist faith. He is prominent in two secret orders, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks and the Woodmen of the World. In his reading, he has always cared most for those periodicals which treated of special subjects in which he is interested.
Mr. Cone declares that unceasing work and strictest economy are essential to success. He believes that the best interests of the State and Nation will be served "by the election of honest men to office and enforcing the laws without favoritism, or in other words, give every man a square deal.
"In National affairs, the election of a Democrat is the only panacea for our political ills. There must be a thorough revision and reduction of the tariff, putting on the free list every article of commerce which is controlled by a trust. This will break up monopolies and restore competition in all trades giving every one an equal chance. To do this, the election of a Democrat to the Presidency is indispensable."
This Cone family has a very remarkable history. Its American progenitor was Daniel Cone, a Scotch-Irishman who settled at Haddam, Conn., in 1662. One of his descendants moved south and located on the Peedee river in North Carolina. There was born in 1745 William Cone, Revolutionary soldier and founder of the family in Georgia and Florida. This William Cone married Keziah Barber before leaving North Carolina. He was an ardent patriot and saw service in McLean's Regiment and under General Marion. After the Revolution, he was foreman of the first grand jury raised in Bulloch county, Ga., in 1796, and lived until 1815, dying at the age of seventy. He reared three sons and nine daughters. His son, Aaron Cone, remained in Bulloch county when the family scattered, and was the father of Gen. Peter Cone, one of the most noted men of Georgia in the ante-bellum days, was thirty years a member of the Georgia Legislature and senior Major-General of the militia when the Civil War broke out. Peter Cone lived until 1866, dying at age seventy-six. A son of the first William Cone, Capt. William Cone, the younger, inherited the reckless courage of his father, and was distinguished in the War of 1812 in various engagements. He settled in Camden county, Ga., and later moved to Florida, serving in the General Assembly of that State as late as 1842. He died in 1857, aged eighty.
William Cone, the younger, had five sons, all of whom were noted soldiers during the Indian and Civil wars. One of his grandsons, Hutch I. Cone, is now a member of the United States Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral. F. P. Cone, now a member of the Florida State Senate, is another grandson. Col. J. S. Cone, a great grandson of the elder William Cone, served with distinguished gallantry in the Confederate army from Georgia in the famous 47th Georgia.
Judge Wm. Burrows Cone, the grandfather of T. J. Cone, was born in Baldwin county, Ga., February 14, 1814, eldest of ten children born to John W. and Nancy (Wadsworth) Cone. The family removed to Dooly county in 1832, and his father soon dying young William became the mainstay of his widowed mother.
In 1835 he married Elizabeth Mobley, of Screven county, Ga., settled down to farming, and soon became a leading citizen of his county. In 1847 and 1850 he was in the General Assembly, where he met his relatives, General Peter and Judge Francis Cone. Returning home he was elected Judge of the Inferior Court of Dooly county, which office he held until the close of the Civil War. After the war he lived in retirement at his handsome country seat. He left behind the reputation of a capable and upright citizen, and devoted patriot.
This family is remarkable in several directions. All of the men have beennoted for good business capacity, sound legislative judgment, reckless courage and never-failing loyalty to the country.
Transcribed from the Florida Edition Makers of America VOL III Pg 63 published under patronage of The Florida Historical Society Jacksonville, Florida by A. B. Caldwell Atlanta Ga 1909
File contributed for use on the Official Alachua County FLGenWeb site, by Laverne Tornow (firstname.lastname@example.org)