JONES, HIRAM KINNAIRD, M.D. (deceased), was an able practitioner of Jacksonville, Ill., for many years especially well known in literary circles, both East and West, and greatly admired for his public spirit and elevated personal character. He was born in Culpeper County, Va., August 5, 1818, the son of Stephen and Mildred (Kinnaird) Jones, both parents being natives of the county named. His father was both a merchant and farmer, and was married September 22, 1814, by the Rev. William Mason. Dr. Jones' paternal grandparents were natives of Wales and Scotland, the grandfather settling in Culpeper County in time to do loyal service in the Revolutionary War under the direct command of Washington.
Dr. Jones laid the foundation of his thorough education in the common schools of Missouri, whither his parents had removed when he was quite young. Later he pursued the higher branches at the Illinois College, Jacksonville, graduating from both its classical and medical courses and being honored, from his alma mater, with the degrees of A.M., M.D., and LL. D. The interim between his classical and medical courses was spent in teaching school, and after graduating in the latter he at once commenced practice at Troy, Mo. Illinois College also had a warm place in the Doctor's heart, and he evinced the feeling in such practical ways as his bestowal of a gift of $20,000 to it, for the library building erected as a memorial to his deceased wife, in 1897; the $10,000 donation of 1902, and contributions of smaller amounts of which no record exists.
In 1851 he was appointed Assistant Physician for the Illinois Hospital for the Insane, and located at Jacksonville. Later Dr. Jones succeeded Dr. Higgins as Acting Superintendent of that institution in 1855, resigning the position to open an office for the practice of his profession at No. 505 West College Avenue. From that year until the date of his death, June 16, 1903, he gave to his work the conscientious devotion and study characteristic of the true physician. In 1869 he formed a professional partnership with his brother, Dr. Comberland George Jones, which was only dissolved by the death of the latter in 1893.
Dr. Jones not only achieved prominence as a practitioner, but he was one of the most public spirited men in Jacksonville, being especially active with tongue, pen and purse in the movements which aimed to elevate the community, morally and intellectually. He was a lifelong Republican, an unflinching Abolitionist in the early days, and a member of the Congregational Church, of the liberal type. His mental attitude and caliber are explained by the fact of his membership in the famous Concord School of Philosophy, before which for ten years he read his literary papers and received high praise from such men as Emerson, Alcott and Thoreau. For a decade he also delivered philosophical addresses before the senior class of Illinois College, as well as lectures on anatomy and physiology in the Jacksonville Business College. In 1860 Dr. Jones organized the Plato Club and was prominently identified with it during the thirty-six years of its existence. He founded the Jacksonville Historical Society, in 1884, and was its first president; the Literary Union (still active) in 1865, and the American Akademe, in 1883, of which he was also the first President. In the midst of his ceaseless activity, intellectual and professional, he found time to take extensive tours abroad, both for recreation and self-improvement. Twice he traveled to Europe, also visiting Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Upon his return home, by request of his fellow-citizens, he delivered most interesting talks on what he had seen and thought. It will thus be seen that his life was remarkably fertile in useful and elevating work, and that his death left a void in the higher life of the community.
In 1844, Dr. Jones was untied in marriage with Elizabeth Orr, daughter of Judge Philip and Lucy Orr. Mrs. Jones was born December 24, 1824, and died August 30, 1891, being a woman of fine literary tastes and culture, and so perfectly adapted to her talented husband that their married life was very happy. They had no children. The beautiful library building of the Illinois College, already mentioned, stands as a touching memorial to his gifted wife.
One who was very close to the strong and warm life of the deceased gives the following epitome of his character: Doctor Jones stands in a class by himself, being a man fifty years ahead of his time. There are those who seek eagerly for notoriety and those who shrink from it. The wise are not conscious of the wisdom of their utterances, but are astonished when they hear them praised. It is well that both these classes exist. They are essential to the work of the world; the one influence in the doing of it properly. Doctor Jones was of this latter number. Though too diffident to cherish ambition for leadership, he was ever ready to further whatever would instruct or benefit others. Not satisfied with scientific and professional attainments, though excelling in them, he pushed inquiry beyond, that he might learn of the reasons and causes of what he saw; and so, when he could have achieved fame as a scientist, he was content with the modest pursuits of the philosopher. He took his place as a worker in his profession, as a neighbor and a citizen, everywhere doing faithfully everything that he undertook. He cared to be good, rather than great."