MCKINLEY JONES, who for many years was identified with farming interests in Menard county, is now living retired, a period of rest being vouchsafed to him in reward for his earnest and honorable labors in former years. He was born in Ohio county, West Virginia, on the 19th of August, 1827, his parents being Isaac and Sarah (Brown) Jones. The father was born in Virginia and was carried in his mother's arms on horseback to Vincennes, Indiana, where the family was located during the war of 1812. While yet a lad and orphan, Isaac Jones went to Louisville, Kentucky, where he learned the hatter's trade and was there located when the first steamboat went down the Ohio river. He afterward removed to Virginia, where he resided upon a farm and subsequently he took up his abode in the state of New York, where he resided until called to his final rest. He died March 3, 1879, at the age of eighty-one years, his birth having occurred February 14, 1798, and his wife died in Virginia, April 17, 1866, her birth having occurred September 9, 1805.
McKinley Jones, the second in order of birth in a family of ten children, pursued his early education in a log building in West Virginia, the school being conducted on the subscription plan. He afterward attended an academy at West Alexander, Pennsylvania, and when twenty years of age he began teaching school, which profession he followed in both Pennsylvania and Virginia ere his removal to the west. In 1849 he came to Illinois, establishing his home in Peoria, and for a year he engaged in teaching near that city. He afterward accepted a clerical position in connection with a lumber business, serving in that capacity for two years. In 1852 he came to Menard county, where he taught school for four months and then returned to Peoria county, where he was engaged in farming until 1869. In the latter year he again came to Menard county and followed farming here upon a tract of land eight miles north of Athens. In 1876 he removed to a farm near Sweetwater, where he resided continuously until 1894, when he took up his abode in Athens, where he has since lived retired. As a farmer he was diligent, enterprising and progressive, carrying on his work along modern lines and as the years passed by he was enabled to add annually to his income.
On the 5th of December, 1854, Mr. Jones was united in marriage to Miss Arminda Priscilla Riggin, a daughter of Harry and Marian B. (Rogers) Riggin, both representatives of early families of the county. The father went from Tennessee to St. Louis in an early day and was there engaged in teaching school. Subsequently he removed to Troy, Madison county, Illinois, and came to Menard county about 1819. Mrs. Riggin was a resident of New York prior to the time when she located in Illinois. Both parents are now deceased. Mr. Riggin, who was born September 2, 1793, passed away March 23, 1875; and his wife, who was born August 7, 1794, died April 25, 1883. They lived in Menard county during the period of its early pioneer development and Mr. Riggin conducted a store in Athens, one of the first commercial enterprises of this part of the state. In payment for goods sold he accepted a note which was to be paid in deer skins at the commercial price and this note is now in possession of Mr. Jones. Mrs. Jones was born July 26, 1825, on the farm which her father had entered from the government, and by her marriage became the mother of five children: Harry Riggin, who was born November 8, 1855, and now resides two miles north of Athens; Isaac, who was born March 31, 1858, and resides in Iowa; Augustus Kerr, who was born January 24, 1859, and is now residing upon the home farm; Sarah Miriam, who was born February 19, 1862, and is the wife of Dr. Edward M. Northcott, of Portland, Maine, medical director of the Mutual Life Insurance Company; and Josiah, who was born February 27, 1864, and is now a practicing physician in the state of Washington. All of the children were born in Peoria county.
The parents are members of the Presbyterian church and are among the most highly esteemed citizens of Menard county, where they have so long resided. Mr. Jones has led a most honorable and useful life and his activity in business has been crowned with success that now enables him to live retired. His strong native intelligence has prompted him to keep well informed on all the questions and issues of the day and he yet manifests an active and public-spirited interest in the affairs of his community, state and nation.