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Jones, Gabriel

Born: 1790-XX-XX Loudoun County, Virginia

Died: 1861- Chester, Illinois

Flourished: Randolph County, Illinois

Jones emigrated from his native state to Adair County, Kentucky, in 1810. He was among the Kentucky troops that participated in the War of 1812, and was present at the Battle of the Thames. In November 1817, he moved to Randolph County, Illinois, settling on a farm one mile west of Georgetown (later known as Steeleville). He taught school for one winter, and from 1825 to 1828, he farmed land rented from Judge Nathaniel Pope. He took an interest in county and state politics, serving on the County Commissioners' Court from 1822 to 1824, and again from 1836 to 1838. In 1825, he won a special election to represent Randolph County in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1827, he became the first postmaster of Steeleville. In addition to farming and politics, Jones was involved in several mercantile ventures. In 1827-28, he opened a dry goods store in Steeleville for the firm of Mather, Lamb, & Co., the first in the region. He sold goods in Steeleville until 1830, when he was employed in the Mather, Lamb & Co. store in Chester, Illinois. During the Black Hawk War, Jones was captain of one of the three companies raised in Randolph County, and later received promotion to colonel commanding the Third Regiment. After the war, he entered into a partnership with Joseph B. Holmes and Francis Swanwick to open a store in Chester. He remained in the partnership until 1839. From 1838 to 1840, Jones represented Randolph County as a Whig in the Illinois House. In 1850, he was farming in Washington County, Illinois. In 1859, Chester voters elected him mayor and justice of the peace.

Gravestone, Evergreen Cemetery, Chester, IL; Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois(Philadelphia: J. L. McDonough, 1883), 285; E. J. Montague, A Directory, Business Mirror, and Historical Sketches of Randolph County (Alton, IL: Courier Steam Book and Job Printing House, 1859), 104, 135, 210, 239, 240, 245; Isaac H. Elliott, Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 (Springfield, IL: H. W. Rokker, 1882), 70; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:xxv, 358, 390; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 217, 317; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Washington County, IL, 182.