THOMAS T. JONES
was born on his father's farm in Coles county, Illinois, in the year 1853, and there he was reared and passed the best part of his life until in recent years he located in Lawrenceville. For many years a prominent and successful farmer in Coles county, he has been not less prosperous or prominent in his business in Lawrenceville, where he has carried on a thriving real estate business for a number of years. An honest citizen, faithful in every detail to the duties of citizenship and a kind and indulgent husband and father. Mr. Jones has lived a life in every way worthy of his better self, and is held in the high esteem of all who come within the sphere of his influence.
Mr. Jones is the son of William R. Jones, a Kentuckian born and bred, who was ushered into this world on a Kentucky farm in Harrison county, on the 14th of August, 1808. Half his life was spent on the farm whereon he was born. In 1831 Mr. Jones came to Illinois on a tour of inspection, making the entire journey on horseback. In the
same year he returned to his Kentucky home, making his way back to Coles county, Illinois, in the following year, where he farmed for the season. In the autumn he returned to Kentucky and remained there until 1837, when he again turned his face towards Coles county. His brother had become interested with him by this time, and the two engaged in the stock-raising business, which meant, in those days, more trading than outright selling. William Jones made fifteen trips on horseback from Harrison county, Kentucky, to Coles county, Illinois, and always with the same horse. By 1837 he reached the conclusion that from the viewpoint of the success of his business the Coles county location would be preferable to the Kentucky location, and he accordingly moved his family from their Kentucky home to the new place in Coles county. In 1853 Mr. Jones married Miss Eliza P. Threkeld. In their new Illinois home they had a vast wooded prairie to themselves, with not a human habitation in gunshot, but Mr. Jones lived to see the day when that same barren prairie was a thickly settled region. On the last day of December, 1856, the young wife and mother passed away, leaving her husband with two small sons to mourn her untimely death. The elder of the children was Thomas T. Jones, and he was less than three years of age at the time. William, Jr., was a mere infant. Mr. Jones gave to the little ones the best a lonely man might offer and remained loyal to the memory of their sainted mother until 1862, when he married Elizabeth Ewing, of Coles county. She became the mother of one child, Lulu, who is now deceased. For twenty-five years William Jones pursued the quiet, even life of the well-to-do farmer and built up in Coles county a reputation for general stability and worthiness of character which was well in keeping with the blameless and upright life he led. He was a staunch Whig-Republican, and was in his early days a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, in the days when he was still giving his attention to rail-splitting in Illinois. Mr. Jones never had any ambitions to hold office, other than the minor offices of his township and county, and these he filled when occasion demanded, in the interests of unselfish citizenship. He was a man of deeds rather than words, and he made no religious professions, but lived a life of spotless integrity that surpassed in its purity that of many a man of more churchly pretensions. His death, which occurred on the sixth day of April, 1889, proved an inestimable loss to the community and to all who were privileged to share in his friendship and acquaintance.
Thomas T. Jones, his eldest son, was born on the Coles county farm, near Mattoon, and the greater part of his life was there spent. During his motherless childhood his father sent him to the district school near by the farm, and later gave him a year of training at Lee's Academy in the same county. For many years he worked with his father on the home land, but ultimately purchased a farm of his own. In 1888, seven months before his father, who had been his life-long companion, passed away, Thomas Jones married Rosa Clark, the daughter of Parker Clark, a neighboring farmer. They became the parents of nine children, namely:. Robert W., a clothing merchant of Mattoon; Stella, the wife of Ernest Howell, of Marshall; Carrie, who married L. R. Smith, of Lawrenceville; Samuel E., in the laundry business in Lawrenceville; Horace, Helen, Dumas W., Lulu and Richard, who are still in the family home. On May 21, 1902, the wife and mother passed away, leaving the younger daughters to make a home for their father. Life in the farm home where the presence of the mother had so brightened and cheered everything became unendurably lonely for all after her passing, and the family left . the old home, moving onto a tract of land adjoining Lawrenceville, which the father had but recently
purchased. This land was shortly incorporated into the city of Lawrenceville by Mr. Jones, who platted the farm and began selling it in the form of city lots, thus gaining his first interest in the real estate buainess. In 1908 he formed a partnership with W. S. Titus, one of the popular land dealers of the county, and he has since devoted his entire time to the business of real estate and building. Aside from this, he is a director and part owner of the Lawrenceville Steam Laundry. Mr. Jones has given good and true service to the city of Lawrenceville as a member of the city council, to which he was elected five years ago on the Improvement ticket, and on which body he has been ever active and enthusiastic in all work for the betterment and advancement of the community during the four years of his service. Mr. Jones is associated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and is an appreciative member of the order.