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Biography of Elbert Orlando Jones

This biography appears on pages 223-224 in
"History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915)

Elbert Orlando Jones, a well known representative of the legal profession in Sioux Falls, engaged in the general practice of law in partnership with Benoni C. Matthews, was born on a farm in Allamakee county Iowa, June 9, 18, 2. He is a son of William J. and Susan R. (Smith) Jones, and is of Welsh and Yankee stock. His father, William Jones, was born on a farm near Brecon in Breconshire, Wales, December 14, 1838, and emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1842, making the passage of the Atlantic by sail boat, requiring six weeks in crossing to New York. From New York the family proceeded up tile Hudson by boat, through the Hudson canal into the Great Lakes and thence by boat to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they settled on a farm about ten miles southwest of Kenosha, at a place called Pleasant Prairie.

The father of our subject lived with his parents and attended the common schools until the spring of 1856, when he left home and started out to make his own way in the world. He worked on a farm in the summer and in the winter he went into the pine forest near Green Bay, Wisconsin, and did logging. In the summer of 1856 he removed to Allamakee county, Iowa, where he worked on a farm until the spring of 1859, when he went with the early rush of gold seekers to Pike's Peak, Colorado, making the entire trip on foot. He returned in the fall of the same year to Allamakee county, Iowa. In the spring of 1860 he worked his way down the Mississippi river on a raft as far as Clarinda, Page county, Iowa, v here he spent his time working on a farm until the spring of 1861, when he engaged to drive an ox team to Denver, Colorado, and return. On his return from this trip he enlisted in Company I, First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. His regiment did service in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky until the close of the war, when they were transferred to the plains of Kansas and Nebraska as a part of the cavalry branch of the service to fight against the Indians until July 1, 1866, when he was mustered out with the regiment as commissary sergeant at Omaha. He then went back to Allamakee county, Iowa, bought a farm and married Susan R. Smith. He commenced farming operations for himself in the fall of 1866, which he continued until 1873. In 1873 Mr. Jones came to Minnehaha county, South Dakota, and filed upon a homestead in Brandon township, and in the spring of 1875 he brought his family to the homestead, which was then fifty miles beyond the railway.

His wife, Susan R. (Smith) Jones, was born on a farm in Indiana, September 26, 1842, of Revolutionary stock, which had led in the westward march of civilization over the Daniel Boone trail through Kentucky.

In the acquirement of an education Elbert Orlando Jones attended country schools in Minnehaha county this state, and afterward was a student in the Normal School at Madison, South Dakota. He later entered the University of South Dakota at Vermilion and was graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1897, with the degree of B. L. Following the completion of his studies he returned to Sioux Falls and in August, 1897, engaged in the general practice of his profession in partnership with Benoni C. Matthews, with whom he graduated and is still associated. This is one of the prominent law firms of the city and it controls a large and growing patronage, for both partners are able, resourceful, vigorous and capable attorneys.

In Fremont, Nebraska, September 27, 1899, Mr. Jones v. as united in marriage to Miss Marietta Gray, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Enos F. Gray, of that city, and they have become the parents of a son, Enos F. Gray, born July 3, 1900.

Mr. Jones is interested in farming lands in Minnehaha county and elsewhere and has valuable holdings. He is well known in the Masonic order, holding membership in all the various bodies, including the Shrine. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and is interested in public affairs without being active as an office seeker. He is numbered among the leading representatives of the bar in Sioux Falls and holds a high place in professional and social circles.

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