HISTORY OF MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS DESCRIPTIVE OF ITS SCENERY,
AND

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.

Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879



Page 170

WILLIAM JONES

Squire Jones is now one of the old settlers of Brighton township. He first came to Macoupin county in 1833. His birth- place was Llandegley, in Wales, May 14th, 1817. His ancestors had been residents of Wales for several generations, and were among a wealthy and substantial class of farmers. His grandmother on his mother's side had been a French woman, and thus French and Welsh blood are mingled in his veins. His father was named Thomas Jones, and his mother's name before she was married was Ellen Vale.

The subject of this sketch was the oldest of seven children. He went to school in Wales till he was twelve years of age, and was then sent to London and apprenticed to the grocery business. He never had an opportunity to go to school afterwards, and for his acquirements in the way of an education he is indebted mostly to his own efforts and to the chances he had now and then of picking up knowledge. His father emigrated with the family to America in 1831, and Mrs. Jones came with him. His father first settled in Dutchess county, New York, and lived there two years on a farm. In 1833 they concluded to come farther West, and consequently came on to Illinois, arriving at Alton, June 10th, 1833. At this time the family were in very moderate circumstances, and had but a scanty portion of this world's goods. His father, indeed, had nearly as many children as dollars, for the children were six in number and the dollars only ten. The subject of this sketch from that time on lived but little at home. He was sixteen years old when he came to Illinois. He was the oldest child, and he was obliged to work, while his earnings went to the support of the family. While this life was by no means an easy one, and it deprived him of the usual opportunities for getting an education, it had its advantages. It gave him habits of industry and economy, and made him accustomed to hard labor. He first came to Macoupin county in 1833, and was variously employed in Macoupin and Jersey till 1849, and in the spring of that year went to California.

The remarkable discoveries of gold on the Pacific slope had been made only a short time previously, and a strong fever broke out among the enterprising young men of Illinois and other states, each anxious to be on the ground as soon as possible and have a chance at the fabulous treasures of gold which, rumor stated, existed in the mining regions. Squire Jones caught this fever, as did many others in Macoupin county, and with H. C. Clark (now of Brighton) and William H. Loveland he fitted out a team and wagon, and joined a company bound for California, composed of fifteen wagons and drawn by ox teams. Elan Eldred, of Carrollton, was captain of this company. Mr. Loveland, one of his partners, afterward removed to Colorado, and was the founder of Golden City. Leaving Brighton on March 27th, 1849, they were fortunate in crossing the plains and mountains without serious accident and with little delay, and arrived at their destination on the 16th of August. This party was among the first from Illinois to reach the gold regions. He worked in the mines but little, but was mostly engaged in teaming in the Yuba and Nevada districts and in northern California. He was pecuniarily successful, and when he returned to Illinois in November, 1850, he had accumulated about four thousand dollars. He decided to settle down and go to farming, and with this money purchased 160 acres of land in Brighton township, which comprises part of his present farm.

He is now known as one of the wealthiest farmers of Brighton township. He is the owner of more than one thousand acres of land, all of which lies in Brighton township, with the exception of about three hundred in Chesterfield township. About five hundred acres he farms himself. His first marriage was on the 14th of May, 1851, to Eveline andridge, a native of the state of Alabama. Her death occurred in 1864. He was married again in 1870 to Margaret Force, who was born at Dresden, Muskingum county, Ohio. He has four children, whose names in the order of their births are as follows: Thomas A. Jones, who is farming in Brighton township; Susan Mary, Vale Force, and William. The last three are children by his second marriage. He has long been a member of the democratic party. His father was a Whig, and when Squire Jones became old enough to vote he followed in the paternal footsteps closely enough to vote for Gen. Harrison in the famous log-cabin and hard-cider campaign of 1840. The next time he voted the democratic ticket, and has been a democrat from that day to the present. He has not been ambitious to hold public office, and the cultivation of his farm and the management of his own private interests have engrossed his attention to the exclusion of any active participation in the field of politics. But for a number of years he filled the office of justice of the peace, and discharged its duties in an able, impartial, and satisfactory manner. Few men are living in Brighton township who were residing in it when he first came to the county. He has lived to see the old order of things pass away and Macoupin county develop into a rich, prosperous, and progressive part of the state. In this progress and improvement he himself has taken a part. His farm, a couple of miles east of Brighton, is a valuable tract of land, under a good state of cultivation, and his farm residence is a handsome, convenient, and substantial structure. He met with a serious accident in 1866; he was thrown from a load of hay, and his thigh was broken. Although he has never recovered entirely from this injury he still sticks closely to the farm.


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