FRANCIS M. JONES. One of the most prominent farmers and stock-raisers
in McLean County is the gentleman whose name heads this notice. He is the owner of 636 acres of productive and
valuable land, is extensively engaged in stock-raising, and is pleasantly located on his fine farm on section 15,
Towanda Township. The parents of Mr. Jones were Abraham R. and Matilda (Noel) Jones, the former a native of Cayuga
County, New York State, and the latter of Kentucky. He was of Welch origin, and she of German ancestry. The father's
boyhood years were passed in the State of New York, and in 1808 he came to Champaign County, Ohio, with his parents,
whence he accompanied them to Clarke County [ed., Clark County], same State, where he lived until he came to this
Matilda Noel was born in 1795. Her parents soon after her birth removed to Maryland, where, after a residence of seven years, they sold their interests there and removed to Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio. It was there that she became acquainted with the father of our subject; there they were married, and there lived until coming to this county, in 1856. In the spring of that year they made the journey overland to this county, and settled on section 10, Towanda Township, where the father continued to follow the vocation of his life, that of farming, until his death, which occurred Feb. 11, 1865. After his death, his good wife took up her residence in the village of Towanda, and there died March 7, 1880.
They had a family of ten children, viz: John, Levi, William W., Eliza A., Cyrus, Abraham R., Jr., Nelson, Phebe, James and Francis M. John died in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, aged about thirty-eight years; Levi was a farmer of Clarke County; William W. resides in Towanda, as likewise does Eliza A.; Cyrus is a capitalist, and a resident of California; Abraham R., Jr., departed this life at Towanda, April 7, 1878; Nelson is a farmer on section 16, Towanda Township; Phebe is the wife of Martin Arthur, and they reside in Towanda Township; James died in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, when three years old, and Francis M. is our subject.
Francis M. Jones was born in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, March 8, 1833, where his early life was spent. He was reared on his father's farm, and received his education in the common schools. He also attended two terms at Wittenburg College, Springfield, Ohio. Thus far in life his years have been devoted to agricultural pursuits.
Living in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, until 1851, he came to this county on horseback, but remained only a short time when he returned to his home in Ohio. In the summer of 1852, he made another trip to this county, and entered a claim to eighty acres of land on section 11, Towanda Township, and also traded a three-year-old horse for another eighty acres, adjoining his claim, and which was entered by his brother. After entering his land he again returned to his old home in Ohio, and in the spring of 1853 he came back to this county, and during the summer of that year was engaged in herding cattle. During the fall of that year he assisted in driving a drove of cattle to Chicago, and then went back to Ohio, and remained there until the fall of 1855.
He then went to New Orleans, and from there to Texas, ostensibly for the purpose of looking at the country, and was absent until the spring of 1856. During the summer of that year he returned to this county, and broke prairie in Towanda Township, and in the fall of the same year formed a partnership with his father, for the purpose of farming and stock-raising, and which relation continued until the death of the latter, in 1865.
Mr. Jones made his settlement in Towanda Township in 1856, and has since made that his home. By labor and economy, together with good judgment, he has added to his landed interests, and is now the owner of 636 acres of valuable and productive land, on which he has a fine set of farm buildings. He keeps about ten head of horses and 150 head of cattle on his place, and fattens about fifty head of hogs for the market annually.
Our subject was married near Clinton, De Witt Co., Ill., Jan. 28, 1858, the ceremony being performed by Judge J. J. McGraw, to Miss Ann M. Hampleman, daughter of Daniel H. and Sarah (Fletcher) Hampleman. Her father was born in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, and she in Greene County, that State. There they passed their early life, and there at Xenia they were married, and soon afterward removed to Perry County, Ill., whence they returned to Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, and in the fall of 1851 emigrated to Montgomery County, Ind. Two years later they came to De Witt County, this State, and settled near Clinton, where the father engaged in farming.
The mother departed this life Nov. 13, 1867. The father is yet living, and engaged in his chosen calling in De Witt County. They had a family of nine children: Ann M., wife of our subject; Willis, Emily, Persy L., Marion, Albert, George and Elizabeth. Willis died in infancy; Emily became the wife of John White, and departed this life in DeWitt County, Ill., March 25, 1865; Persy L. was united in marriage with Charles Davis, and died at Le Roy, this county, Oct. 14,1876; Marion died in De Witt County, March 19, 1868; Albert departed this life in De Witt County, Aug. 10, 1880, while in the twenty-ninth year of his age; George died Oct. 27, 1854, when one year old; Elizabeth is the wife of J. H. Abbott, and they are living in Towanda Township.
Mrs. Jones, of this sketch, was born in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, Oct. 18, 1839. She lived at home until her marriage with our subject, and by him has become the mother of seven children—Price N., Edwin E., Lola, Maurice E., Cyrus G., Stella and Max. Price N. was born in Towanda Township, Oct. 28, 1858; he married Miss Emma Raridon, and they are living in Towanda Township; Edwin E. was born in Towanda Township, Aug. 18, 1860; he married Miss Josie Shaw, and is engaged in farming in Towanda Township; Lola was born July 28, 1862, and departed this life Dec. 6, 1866; Maurice E. was born Oct. 9, 1864; Cyrus G. first saw light July 31, 1869; Stella was born April 28, 1872, and Max, June 2, 1875, the latter dying Oct. 22, 1876.
Mr. Jones has never been an aspirant for office. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, holding fellowship with Lodge No. 542, of Towanda, and has presided over that body for seven years, as Worshipful Master. In politics our subject votes for the success of the Republican party. His farm is one of the best in McLean County, and during the dry season is made productive by Money Creek running through it from southeast to northwest. During the drought of 1886, our subject was enabled to raise a good crop upon his place, while others, not having the advantages of location that he has, suffered considerably. The value of his farm is greatly increased by four artesian wells which he has on the place, and from which are extended two-inch pipes over different parts of the farm, which are constantly filled with flowing water running into tanks for stock purposes.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 709. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.