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BIOGRAPHIES






Samuel Sloan JACK

Editor and proprietor of the Decatur Review, is of Scotch-Irish descent. He was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, October seventeenth, 1836. His ancestors settled in North Carolina at a period previous to the Revolutionary war. John Jack, one of the early members of the family in this country, was president of the celebrated Mecklenburg Convention which met in North Carolina in 1775, and declared that the colonies ought to be independent of Great Britain. Mr. Jack's grandfather, John Jack, was an early resident of the Cumberland valley in Pennsylvania. He moved further westin 1768, settling in Westmoreland county, then the extreme frontier of that state.

The same year he received a patent for a piece of land situated forty miles from Pittsburg. This tract of land remained in the family one hundred years, and during that time was in the ownership of only two persons, Mr. Jack's father and grandfather. John Jack was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and was wounded in a skirmish near Philadelphia. Joseph Jack, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and was one of thirteen children, of whom all grew to maturity and with one exception, married and had families. Joseph Jack married Sarah Nealay Sloan, who was born in Adams county, Pennsylvania, on a farm which subsequently formed part of the battlefield of Gettysburg. He served in the war of the rebellion as colonel of the 168th Pennsylvania regiment.

Samuel Sloan Jack was raised in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. He attended Elder's Ridge Academy, in Indiana county, and Sewickley Academy in Westmoreland county, and also for a time was a student in Jefferson College. At the age of twenty he took charge of one of the common-schools in his native county, and subsequently was employed as a teacher in the Sewickley, Academy. When twenty-three years old he was elected superintendent of schools of Westmoreland county, and at that time of his election was the youngest person in the state who occupied that position. He had charge of about three hundred schools, and filled the office for six years. During the years 1867 and 1868 he was employed in doing county institute work under the direction of the state school department. In 1868 he was elected professor of the English language and literature, in the Keystone Normal School in Berks county, Pennsylvania. Rejecting an offer of the principalship of the California Normal School in Washington county, Pennsylvania, he came West in 1869, and in 1870 became principal of the Decatur high-school, which was under his care for a year.

For the last ten years he has performed considerable journalistic work for newspapers in Decatur. In 1876 he purchased the material used in the publication of the Magnet and Tribune, and established the Decatur Times, a daily and weekly journal. In July, 1880, he became the proprietor of the Decatur Review, the only Democratic paper published in Macon county, which he has conducted in a vigorous and popular manner. His marriage ocured in March, 1868, to Josephine McKee, of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He has four children, all boys.

In his politics he has always been a democrat. He has been unwavering and constant in his advocacy ofthe principles of democracy, and has been of no little service to the democratic organization in Macon county. In 1874 he was elected as a democrat on a Fusion ticket, to the twenty-ninth General Assembly, where he discharged his duties as representative, in so satisfactory a manner that in 1876 he was re-elected. The position he occupied in the Thirtieth General Assembly was peculiarly important. He exercised much influence in securing the election of David Davis to the United States Senate, to succeed John A. Logan. He was one of the original six who favored the election of Davis at the commencement of the contest, and had the great satisfaction of witnessing the final selection of his candidate. He was an efficient member of several important committees while serving in the legislature, and was the author of several important bills.

History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p. 140

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Edward A. JONES

Is a native of Madison county, Ohio, and was born February 20th, 1818. His ancestors settled at an early period on the eastern shore of Maryland, where they lived for several generations. His father, Thomas Jones, and his mother, whose name before marriage was Mary Dale Truitt, were both natives of Worcester county, Maryland. His maternal grandfather was a sea-captain. In the year 1816 his parents moved from Maryland to Ohio, and at first located in Ross county, and in 1818 settled in Madison county. The subject of this biography was the third of a family of seven children. The schools which he attended in his boyhood were held in log school-houses of rough external appearance; but it was his fortune to be under the instruction of thorough and capable teachers, among whom was a man named Miskey and one Peter Smith, who died recently in northern Illinois, both men of superior qualifications. In 1838 Mr. Jones came to Illinois with an elder brother for the purpose of buying cattle. He subsequently usually spent a part of each year in this state, and in 1854 made it his permant home.

On coming to Macon county he purchased land in Maroa and Austin townships and other parts of the county, and settled at his present location on the Bloomington road, north of Decatur. At that time the settlements in the county were along the timber. It was then thought that considerable portions of the prairie would always remain uncultivated, and Mr. Jones' purchases of land in the northern part of the county were made with the idea of securing a cattle ranch. He had altogether improved about three thousand acres of land in Macon county, and has been engaged in farming and dealing in land and stock. Mr. Jones has been interested in agricultural matters, and with the Macon County Agricultural Association he has been connected since its first organization. He was its second president, assisted in the purchase of the present grounds, and has subsequently been associated with it as a director or one of its general officers.

Mr. Jones began his political course as a member of the Whig organization, but became a Republican on the first formation of that party, and has acted with it ever since. He was married July 1st, 1852, to Margery F. Elkin, of Springfield, Illinois. Her father, William F. Elkin, was born in Clark county, Kentucky, came to Illinois in 1825, and settled in Sangamon county, on Fancy creek, eight miles north of Springfield, where Mrs. Jones was born.

History of Macon Co, IL, 1880 - p. 153

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Thomas V. JONES

Thomas V. Jones, who is a leading business man of Macon County, holds the position of Vice- President of the Decatur Lumber and Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1887, and which from the beginning has done a constantly increasing business, until it has now assumed extensive proportions. Our subject was born in Pottsville, Pa., on the 8th of July, 1855, and is the only child of Thomas V. and Catherine A. (Lafa) Jones. His mother had been married previous to her union with Mr. Jones, and by her first husband, Mr. Hiler, had several children. When Thomas, Jr. was a lad of eight summers his parents went to California, where his father died after three years. His mother then returned to the East with her son, who at that time was a lad of eleven. They located in Decatur in February, 1866, and here Mrs. Jones spent the remainder of her life, being called to her final rest on the 2d of March, 1893, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years.

At the age of thirteen our subject began work in the sash, door and blind factory of Elwood & Co., with whom he was to remain until he had attained his majority. After spending seven years with them the firm broke up. Although he had not completed his term, Mr. Jones had learned everything in connection with the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds. From the beginning he received seventy-five cents per day, and his wages were soon increased, so that from the age of eighteen years he supported his mother. The firm with which he was employed having failed, he then engaged in repairing cars for a year, and for one year was a brakeman on a local freight on the Wabash Railroad. Later he entered the factory of William Gibson, now deceased, who had been the foreman of the firm with which Mr. Jones was first employed and who had embarked in business for himself. There our subject learned stair-building and all the fine grades of work connected with it, spending seven years in the employ of Mr. Gibson.

On the 24th of December, 1879, Mr. Jones married Miss Florence Adams, who was born in Montezuma, Ind., and is a daughter of William Adams, of Decatur. They have a family of three sons; Harry, a lad of twelve years; Arthur, who has passed eight summers; and Clifford, a baby of a year.

It was in 1886 that Mr. Jones embarked in business for himself, forming a partnership with Henry Prescott, whom he had known from boyhood. They secured an interest in the Niagra Pump Company, investing about $2,000 in the same, and after increasing the business associated with them W. H. Acuff and James Wiswell. They also started a small planing-mill. After two years this business was amalgamated with that of Mr. Gaddis, who owned a lumber-yard, and the present Decatur Lumber and Manufacturing Company was incorporated. At the end of one year Mr. Wiswell retired and after two years Mr. Acuff withdrew. Mr. Prescott is still a director and stockholder in the company. Mr. Jones is Superintendent of the factory and has charge of all the mechanical work. He employs none but skilled workmen and his payroll calls for $525 per week for his men.

Mr. Jones began life for himself at the very early age of thirteen years. He may truly be called a self-made man, for he has steadily worked his way upward, unaided by friends or fortune. His example may serve to encourage others, and it is certainly well worthy of emulation. Mr. Jones supports the Democratic party on questions of national importance and at local elections votes independently. He is a member of and takes quite an active interest in Coeur de Lion Lodge No. 17, K.P., of which he is Past Chancellor.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co, IL, 1893 - p. 216, 219

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