Jones, William

Born: 1789-10-22 Franklin County, Massachusetts

Died: 1868-01-18 Chicago, Illinois

Born in Charlemont, Massachusetts, William Jones moved to Saratoga, New York with his parents when he was very young. At age nineteen he moved to Hanover, New York, where he worked as a farmer, then won election as constable, collector, and deputy sheriff. About this time, he married Anna Gregory, with whom he had ten children. In 1824, he moved to Buffalo, where he started a grocery business and later worked as a lighthouse keeper. He soon became heavily involved in public service again, serving as the city's first chief of police and later as a tax collector and harbor superintendent. In 1831, he began investing in Chicago real estate and helped develop the city. In 1834, he built a store in Chicago and founded Jones, King, & Company. He relocated to Chicago in 1835 and began investing in more businesses, including a foundry. He served as justice of the peace, city councilor, and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1838. A temperance advocate, he wanted to ban liquor in the city. Jones was a member of the Board of School Inspectors from 1840-1852 and a member of the University of Chicago board of trustees. In 1860, his primary occupation was banker, and he owned $350,000 in real property.

John Moses and Joseph Kirkland, eds., History of Chicago, Illinois (Chicago: Munsell, 1895), 1:592-94; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 65; Chicago Tribune (IL), 19 January 1868, 4:3.