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About William Arthur Jones

William Arthur Jones
William Arthur Jones

William Arthur Jones was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, 27 September 1844, and immigrated in 1851 with his parents (John P. and Phoebe Davies Jones), who settled on a farm along the Pecatonica River in what was known as the "Welsh Settlement" about 5 miles from Mineral Point, Iowa County, in southwestern Wisconsin.

William graduated from Platteville Normal School (1872), taught school for several years, then studied law and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced. He was elected superintendent of schools for Iowa County (1877-1881).

In 1881, at the age of 37, he married schoolteacher Sarah C. Ansley; they had four children: Agnes, William A., Florence, and Marian. The family attended the Presbyterian Church and Jones was a member of the Masonic Order, serving as treasurer of the Mineral Point Commandery.

In 1881 William A. Jones also entered the banking business, and in 1884 was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Mineral Point, for which he was cashier and later secretary and vice-president for several years. A Republican, Jones was mayor of Mineral Point (1884) and a state assemblyman (1895-1898).

William Arthur Jones
William Arthur Jones

With his brothers, David Benton Jones and Thomas Davies Jones, both of whom were Princeton graduates and prominent Illinois attorneys, William purchased the Mineral Point Zinc Co. in 1883. The company was reorganized with David Jones as president, Thomas as vice-president, and William as secretary-treasurer, and soon was established on a paying basis. In 1897 the company became affiliated with the New Jersey Zinc Co., one of the largest zinc producers in the U.S., and made extensive land purchases in southwestern Wisconsin for mining purposes. Although William’s brothers moved to Chicago, he remained a resident of Mineral Point. He was secretary-treasurer of the Mineral Point Zinc Co. from 1887 to 1897.

In 1897 he was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs by President McKinley, and served in this capacity until January 1905. Then he was general manager of the Mineral Point Zinc Co. (1905-1912), served as western manager of the New Jersey Zinc Co., and was also superintendent and general manager of the Mineral Point and Northern R.R. (1905-1912).

Late in 1906 the family moved into a grand new home at 215 Ridge Street in Mineral Point. William A. Jones died there 17 September 1912 at age 68. After a few years his wife and children moved to Chicago, leaving the mansion unoccupied and well-maintained by a family trust until it was sold in 1985, in pristine condition. Today it is a popular Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center.

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