History of the County of Perth, 1825-1902
William Johnston, 1903
Robert Jones, for many years a prominent man in this county, was born at Wicklow, Ireland in 1828. He was a farmer's son, and obtained only such education as the country afforded at that period, which was very imperfect. He was endowed wit natural qualities, however, which education could never supply. During a busy life these were brought conspicuously forward, and faithfully applied in promoting the interests of his adopted country. Mr Jones was an ideal pioneer. He was a man of fine physique, robust, tall, and well formed; of marvellous energy, restless and continuous in pursuit of those affairs committed to his trust. In his management of public business in Logan he displayed great tact and judgment, honourable to himself and advantageous to his constituents. As a recognition of his ability he received a greater share of confidence from those whom he served than has ever been accorded to any other representative in Logan. This he retained to the end, when he laid down his harness, which on his part was a voluntary action -- he still maintained his popularity.
In 1849 he came to Canada, remaining a short time in Fredericksburg, then removing to Kingston, where he made the acquaintance of Sir John A Macdonald. In 1853 he settled in Logan, on lot 15, concession 4, where he resided the greater portion of his life. In 1850 he married Miss Susan Jones, who became the mother of a large family, all of whom survived her. To a person of Mr Jones' temperament, clearing land afforded no scope to his restless disposition. Other avenues had to be sought in which he could spend his energy, and these he soon found. In connection with his farm he entered into the business of shipping stock, and for many years was one of the largest operators west of Toronto. His great aptitude for business was soon observable to those with whom he came in contact, and in 1860 he entered on his municipal career, being elected councillor in Logan. In 1862 he was chosen reeve, retaining that position for seventeen years. During 1879 and 1880 Mr Coveney was reeve, when Mr Jones was again elected to the reeve's chair, which he retained till 1890, when he retired. Important events meantime had transpired in connection with our gravel roads, in which he played a conspicuous part. In this he was ably assisted by Mr Tom Coveney, then township clerk. As public men they were unlike, but admirably adapted to support each other. Mr Jones was impetuous in his conduct, fertile of resource, competent to formulate great schemes, but impatient in managing details. Mr Coveney, on the other hand, was patient and painstaking in everything he did, watchful of the smallest consideration, thus supplying exactly those qualities in which Mr Jones was deficient. These two men gave Logan an influence in this county only exceeded by Fullarton, whose municipal affairs were managed by Mr William Davidson. In the historical sketch of Logan will be found many proceedings which illustrates the life and conduct of this marvellous and energetic man.
During the period he sat at the county board he was honoured on three different occasions by being chosen warden, a record only excelled by two others during a long period of fifty years. He contested the North Riding of Perth for the Commons, but was defeated. Near the close of a busy and well spent life this old pioneer retired to Mitchell, where he died in 1895. Take him all in all Mr Jones was an extraordinary person, and like others of our pioneers, his character is worthy of emulation by our young men.
Meg Fuller Perth County Coordinator
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