Thomas A. Jones, president of the village board of Brighton and vice-president of the Betsy Ann Picnic Association, was born in Brighton township, April 20, 1854, and has been a lifelong resident of this section. He is a son of William and Cassandra Jones, the former of whom was born in Wales, May 14, 1817, and the latter in Tennessee. The father was the eldest in a family of six children and came to America with his parents in 1831. They spent two years in Dutchess county, New York, and then arrived in Illinois, taking up their residence at Alton. William Jones settled in Macoupin county in 1833 and was prominent as one of the pioneers of this county. In 1849 he joined a party of gold seekers and crossed the plains to California, returning the next year with four thousand dollars, which he invested in one hundred and sixty acres of land in Brighton township. He was a man of good business judgment and acquired more than one thousand acres in this region. He was married in 1851 to Miss Cassandra E. Brown, who died in 1864, leaving one son, Thomas A., the subject of this review. In 1870 Mr. Jones was again married, the lady of his choice being Miss Margaret Force, who was born at Dresden, Muskingum county, Ohio, and to this union there were born three children, Susan M., Vale F. and William. Mr. Jones was an earnest adherent of the democratic party and for many years served as justice of the peace. He died in 1892 and will long be remembered as sone of the most efficient factors in the upbuilding of Macoupin county.
Thomas A. Jones acquired his preliminary education in the district schools, but he was ambitious to study the higher branches, believing that with good mental training he could better perform his part in the world. Accordingly, he continued his studies at Blackburn College and the Illinois State University at Urbana. Returning home, he applied himself to agriculture and stock-raising under his father and in 1875 associated with the latter in the purchase of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the home farm. He purchased his father's interest in this land in 1876 and made his home there during the next nineteen years. In 1895 he removed to Brighton and for thirteen years was actively connected with the lumber business, disposing of his interest to the Brighton Lumber Company. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Brighton and was elected a member of the board of directors, a position which he has ever since filled. Upon the organization of the Betsy Ann Picnic Association he was made vice-president and has served continuously in that capacity to the present time. He is also chief of the volunteer fire department of Brighton and takes great interest in everything pertaining to the advancement of the town.
In 1875 Mr. Jones was married to Miss Clara P. Clark, who was born in Brighton and who became the mother of two children: Oliver C., who was killed in 1904 in a collision upon the Big Four Railway, being an employee of that road; and Raymond C., who is now serving as cashier of the First National Bank of Golden, Illinois. The mother of these children died in 1896 and in 1898 Mr. Jones was married at Brighton to Miss Belle Weld, who was born in New Hampshire.
In political faith Mr. Jones adheres to the democratic party. He served for several years as member of the school board and as highway commissioner while a resident of the township. With the exception of one year he has served as president of the village board at Brighton since 1898. He is a member of Hibbard Lodge, No. 249, A.F. & A.M., and he and his wife are both charter members of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is also connected with Brighton Camp, No. 1688, M.W.A. He is not connected with any religious denomination, but is a liberal contributor to the Presbyterian church, in which his wife holds membership. He has been connected with the business interests of Macoupin county for over forty-five years and on account of his many admirable traits of character is recognized as one of its most useful citizens. Strictly honorable in all his dealings, he merits the confidence in which he is held and deserves prominent mention in a work devoted to the history of a section where the family of which he is a member has been known for over three-quarters of a century.