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John D. Jones

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John D. Jones

Huntington County Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 15 Feb 2000 5:00AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2001 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Jones, Ruse, Reveal, Lynn, Purviance, Adsit
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901

In tracing the personal history of the above named gentleman, the editor is led backward along the lines of history to the original founder of the town of Warren, Samuel Jones, a brief investigation of whose life will repay the student and prove interesting to every citizen of the present city, standing where he first cast his lot and where so many evidences of his handiwork and direction are still visible. Samuel Jones was born in the state of Pennsylvania, on the 20th of December, 1790, his parents being John and Jemimah Jones, who carried him when a lad to Highland county, Ohio, where he was married, January 5, 1812, to Miss Sarah Ruse, who died July 28, 1825. He then married Miss Nancy Reveal, and in the spring of 1833 moved to Huntington county, Indiana, his mind being set upon this section of the country from the time he first cast his eyes upon its beautiful landscape on passing through while in the sercice of his country during the war of 1812.

Before the hand of the white man had begun to remove the grand forests, this region must have presented a charming scene to the beholder, and the impression upon the minds of many of the young men who had traversed its ridges or fished in its waters was of that impressionable character which demanded greater familiarity when the time came for them to seek new homes. Samuel Jones secured from the government the land upon which the village of Warren now stands, and selecting a spot where the old Fort Wayne trail crossed the Salamonie he established himself and his little family, having but few neighbors and they widely scattered. As other settlers came around him he realized the importance of having a trading point near by, and on the 1st of January, 1837, offered lots for sale in the town of Jonesboro, though the name was soon after changed to Warren, another town claiming the first one chosen. For forty years Samuel Jones was the leading spirit of the place, his natural ability as a business man and his interest in all that made for the advancement of the community indicating an aptitude for the things of modern civilization second to none. The first school here was taught in a little house of his own, the teacher being employed for the instruction of his own children, though others were accorded the privileges of attendance. He had no desire to become a recluse, but rendered all the encouragement possible to others who gathered about him, and was instrumental in a thousand ways in the settlement of the region. He served in the state legislature of 1848, his district including Whitley and Huntington county, and we are informed he was an able and persistent advocate of all those laws essential to the government and regulation of the new state. His was not a narrow character, but, filled with a desire to be of use to his fellowmen, was ever found making some sacrifice to be of assistance to others. He welcomed the new comer to the neighborhood, helped him to erect a cabin, gave him employment if needed, and retained a kind of fatherly oversight, so that whenever sickness, disaster or other ills came he was never too busy or too much absorbed to be of help and comfort. He was liberal, as became the pioneer, his life being characterized by the desire to make as many friends as possible among those who were becoming the bulwark and strength of the county. He was entirely free from vindictiveness, being ready to take the first step to reconcile any difference that might exist, and never allowed rancor to darken and dwarf his existence. Every movement that was initiated to make a better community found in him a friend, and he was never happier than when doing some thing that would tend to the improvement of the region over which he seemed to feel a kind of paternal right on account of priority of coming, though never displayed in a manner offensive or distasteful, but in making every new resident to feel that here he had a friend who was glad to render assistance to him and to others in their efforts toward a more highly improved and cultivated condition. Reaching the allotted time, he passed to the ranks of those who had preceded him, no man ever going from this vicinity more deeply loved and highly respected than he.

John D. Jones was born on the 20th of May, 1830, his boyhood being passed upon the new home in the wilds of this county, rendering such assistance as a boy might in the improvements that were going on about him, until he had attained his nineteenth year. He then entered the store of Jacob Brown, and the following year was married to Miss Elizabeth Lynn, with whom he was not permitted to live but a few years, her death occurring in 1856. His second wife was Phoebe Purviance, who remained his companion until her death, April 14, 1880. Two years later Miss Amy Adsit became his wife, her kindly nature contributing in no small degree to the pleasure he derived from life during his later years. Besides this lady, three sons survive their father: James M., Samuel P., and John P. The Jones homestead is one of the most desirable in the entire region, and consists of some three hundred acres of fine soil which had been highly improved by its owner, who took the greatest pride in the conduct and management of the place. He was a leader in the matter of farm operations and especially in the breeding and handling of stock, no man in the county having a wider or more enviable reputation as a developer of the best strains of horse flesh, especially. Nearly thirty years ago he had secured at fancy prices some of the best bred animals to be found in Kentucky, among others being the famous Mambrino Mack, who acquired a great reputation throughout the horse world as the sire of many valuable and renowned animals. He took the initiative in the securing of the fair that was of so incalculable value to the farmers of this community, and was one of those whose interests reached beyond his own home, rendering valuable service to the cause of agriculture throughout this section of the country. He stood first and foremost for good roads, every effort toward the securing of them having his most cordial co-operation.

Trained in the old Jacksonian school of sound Democracy, he ever retained a deep and abiding interest in public matters, and was selected by the people as the treasurer of the county in 1862, after having served as a deputy in the office under his father-in-law, Joseph Purviance. For more than forty years he maintained active relations with the party, seldom failing in attendance at its various conventions, and rendering most substantial aid at critical times. From the first development of the oil field in this part of the state, he had expressed a desire to have the immediate vicinity tested, and was permitted to know the result of the sinking of several wells on his own farm, his belief as to the existence of the fluid in paying quantities being thoroughly verified.

Receiving a serious fall while attending to the farm duties, he was injured internally in a manner that baffled the knowledge of the physicians, who were able to offer only such temporary relief as made the passing from the scenes of his earthly efforts easier, death coming on the morning of October 22, 1900. His life being almost wholly passed in this vicinity, he had seen the development of every farm in a wide region; the forests transformed into fertile and productive fields, and a large population residing where only the wild men roamed in the freedom of nature, and in the many efforts toward development of the country was worthily proud that he had been one of the most active in the making.

He was an advocate of better schools, and a liberal contributor to the support of churches; and though not a communicant his life was shaped in accord with the divine teachings of the Master. As a citizen he was progressive and honest, holding largely the respect of his fellows. As a father he was indulgent and forbearing, rendering assistance to each of his children in getting established in life; and as a husband was courteous and obliging, his most enjoyable hours being spent by his own fireside where there was a pleasant communion of interest that ever had for him a sacred tenderness.

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