Clay County

Biography - ROBERT S. JONES

The true American spirit of progress and enterprise, as exemplified in the career of Hon. Robert S. Jones, of Flora, gives him prestige among the representative citizens of Southern Illinois, and his career is a case in point that proves one of the reasons for the country's greatness the fact that all men are equal before the law and that all have an even opportunity in the struggle for advancement. He is essentially a self-made man, and his energetic nature and laudable ambition have enabled him to conquer many adverse circumstances, while he has so ordered his life as to gain and hold the esteem and confidence of his fellow men. Mr. Jones was born at Xenia, Clay county, Illinois, June 20, 1871, and is a son of Robert H. and Emily E. (Hammer) Jones.

Robert Jones, the paternal grandfather of Robert S., was a native of Virginia, from which state he moved to Kentucky, thence to Illinois in 1839. He was a blacksmith by occupation, participated in both the Black Hawk and Civil wars, attained advanced years, and died in Clay county, respected and esteemed by all who knew him. On the maternal side Mr. Jones' grandfather was Frederick Hammer, a native of Germany, who came to the United States in young manhood and spent the remainder of his life in Jasper county, Illinois, where he was the builder of the first mill in the county. Dr. Robert H. Jones, father of Robert S., was born in Warren county, Kentucky, in 1829, and when ten years of age was brought to Illinois. Reared in Randolph county and educated to the profession of physician, he was engaged in practice for thirty years and attained eminence in his calling. During the entire Civil war he served with distinction on Grant's staff in the Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, holding the rank of quartermaster-sergeant. On his return from the war he again engaged in practice, and from 1897 to 1900 was surgeon of the Soldiers and Sailors Home at Quincy. Being stricken with paralysis, he was for the last eleven years of his life an invalid, and his death occurred in 1909. Dr. Jones was a well known figure in Republican politics and in 1872 was chairman of the county committee. His wife was born in Marion county, Indiana, and came to Illinois with her parents, and she survives her husband and resides at Lebanon, Illinois.

Robert S. Jones obtained his education in the common schools of Flora, supplemented by attendance, at Fairfield, Illinois, in Hayward College, and he subsequently studied both law and medicine, but never took up either profession. During the early years of his business career he followed commercial traveling, but after spending about fifteen years on the road established himself in the real estate business in Flora, with Colonel Randolph Smith. Although he had started life with little beside ambition and a determination to win success, he had the native ability and enterprising spirit that goes to make the leaders in any field, and his operations have been of such an extensive nature to entitle him to a place among the prominent business men of his section. Mr. Jones is an expert on realty values, and although the firm does a small commission business the greater part of their operations are carried on with their own property, and at times they own vast tracts of valuable lands. Mr. Jones is a man of the highest honor and integrity in all the relations of life, and commands the confidence and esteem of the entire community, where the family enjoy a distinctive popularity. He is progressive in his methods, is public-spirited in his attitude, and is known as a man of wide information and sound judgment. He and his family are connected with the Christian church, and fraternally he is connected with the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. A stanch and stalwart Republican in a district strongly Democratic, Mr. Jones in 1908 was a candidate for a state senatorship, but owing to political conditions met with defeat, although he ran ahead of his ticket about 2,000 votes. In 1910, however, he was nominated and elected to the legislature of the state, and he is chairman of the committee on horticulture and a member of the following committees: Appropriation, corporation, fraternal and mutual insurance, judicial apportionment, mines and mining, penal and reform institutions, retrenchment, temperance and to visit state institutions. A strong and able speaker, Mr. Jones has been fearless in his support of those measures which he has deemed important to the welfare of his constituents, and he is esteemed by his fellow-legislators as an active and energetic member. All progressive movements in his home city have his earnest and hearty support, and he has just been elected secretary of the newly organized Fair Association. He is a stock-holder and director in the First National Bank of Flora, and contributes in various ways to the development of his community's industrial, commercial and civic resources.

In 1907 Representative Jones was united in marriage with Miss Delia Naney, daughter of Newton Naney, for more than thirty years a passenger conductor on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and two children have been born to this union: Leslie and Pauline, both attending school.

Extracted 09 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1541-1542.

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