D. M. JONES, one of the leading business men of Columbus, who operates the only granite and marble plant in the city, is one of the early settlers of Cherokee County. He was born at Troy, New York, in 1846, and is a son of J. A. and Mary (Smith) Jones.
Probably all the branches of the Jones family originated in Wales, and the subject of this sketch belongs to a branch that settled in Vermont where its members took prominent parts in early colonial affairs, and became especially notable in the Revolutionary War. The paternal grandfather served in that struggle with the rank of major, and later married a member of the wealthy and distinguished Jerome family in the vicinity of Troy, New York.
J. A. Jones was born in 1820, and died at Columbus, Kansas, in 1896, aged 76 years. His business was contracting and building, and during his residence of 12 years in Sandusky County, Ohio (from 1853 to 1865), he was engaged in furnishing wood, ties, etc., for railroad construction. In 1865 he removed to Missouri and bought a farm in the vicinity of Cameron, on which he resided until he removed to Cherokee County, Kansas, in 1869. Mr. Jones settled his family on a farm, but his time was mainly occupied at his trade. He erected many of the early buildings on the public square at Columbus, and built the first Court House. He became one of the representative men of the place, and for a long period served as a justice of the peace. His wife was born in 1821, and died at Columbus in 1900, at the ripe age of 80 years.
D. M. Jones was the eldest of the family of six children, the others being as follows: Helen M., deceased, who was the wife of W. S. King, of Chanute, Kansas; Charles B., who is a shoemaker of Columbus; Mary, widow of Ex-Probate Judge H. C. Purcell, who resides in Kansas City; Mrs. Josephine Meads, who is a resident of Greeley, Colorado; and John M., a contractor and builder, who was engaged for two and a half years on the magnificent structures of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, Missouri.
The subject of this sketch was schooled in Ohio, from which State he enlisted in 1861 in Company A, 72nd Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., and at the expiration of his first term of service re-enlisted in the First Ohio Heavy Artillery, in which he served until August 9, 1865. He then returned to Ohio, and afterward joined the other members of his family in Missouri. He remained at home until his marriage, engaged in farming and stock-raising. In November, 1869, he came to Cherokee County, Kansas, having started a month previously to drive the distance from Cameron, Missouri. He located on a claim four miles northeast of Columbus. On December 31, 1881, he removed to Columbus and embarked in his present granite and marble business, in which he has so greatly prospered.
This plant is located on Maple avenue, one and a half blocks east of the northeast corner of the square. The building, which was erected by Mr. Jones, is equipped with every modern kind of machinery known for the perfect and successful carrying on of this business. A gasoline engine of 10-horseponer is used, together with an air compressor having a capacity of 30 cubic feet a minute, for running the pneumatic tools, polishers, chain-hoist and swinging crane, and a large outside derrick. Mr. Jones has arranged a commodious display yard at the north side of the building, facing Maple avenue, while the workrooms and machinery are in the immediate rear of the office and display salesroom. This workroom is a very interesting place to visit, as about half a dozen skilled workmen are there employed, who produce artistic results of exceeding beauty. Mr. Jones uses Vermont marble and granite almost exclusively, which naturally acquire a high degree of polish. His two traveling salesmen cover portions of Kansas, Missouri and a part of Oklahoma, but Mr. Jones has placed monuments in various other localities,one in Pennsylvania, one in Indiana and several in Illinois. His interests here are so great that he devotes his exclusive attention to this plant.
Mr. Jones married Clara B. Hicks, who was born in Owen County, Indiana, and is a daughter of John T. Hicks, formerly a carpenter and farmer, and now living retired at Columbus. They have three children: Bertha, who is at home; Edgar A., associated with his father in the marble business; and Lawrence Raymond, a high school student.
Mr. Jones has always been identified with the Democratic party, has taken an active part in civic affairs, and has frequently served on the School Board. He stands as one of the representative business men of Columbus, and owns probably the best marble and granite plant in the State.
History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Lacey Myers, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 02/24/97.
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