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Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones Biography - Jones Beach NY - A Stan Klos Biography

JONES, Thomas, soldier, born in Strabane, Ulster County, Ireland, about 1665; died in Fort Neck, Queens County, L. I., 13 December, 1713. His family were originally from North Wales. Taking part in the civil war on the side of James II., he participated in the battles of the Borne in 1690, of Aghrim in 1691, and in the siege and capitulation of Limerick in 1691. Escaping to France, he embarked early in 1692 under one of the numerous letters of marque to participate in the Revolution, and was present at the great earthquake of Jamaica, 7 July, 1692, and in that year came to Long Island. He married Freelove, daughter of Thomas Townsend, who presented him with a tract of land at the confluence of the Massapequa river with the Great South bay. By subsequent purchases from the Indians and neighboring owners, he acquired an estate of 6,000 acres, and in 1696 built, near the river, the first brick house in that part of the island. On 2 March, 1699, he was admitted by deed an associate freeholder under the Oyster Bay patent of 1677. On 20 October, 1702, he was commissioned captain of militia in Queens county by Governor Cornbury. On 14 October, 1704, he was appointed high sheriff of Queens county, and on 3 April, 1706, He was made major of the Queens county regiment. He received the commission of "ranger-general of the island of Nassau" (then the legal name of Long Island) from Governor Hunter on 4 September, 1710, which office gave him the monopoly of the whale and other fisheries from the shores of the island, his jurisdiction ranging around the coast from Little Neck bay to Jamaica bay, and over all ungranted lands within its limits. He held this office until his death.

 David Jones, jurist, born in Fort Neck, L. I., 16 September, 1699; died there, 11 October, 1775, received an excellent private education and studied law, and practiced in New York city. He was appointed judge of Queens county in 1734, and in 1737 was elected to the colonial assembly, where he remained till 1758, serving as speaker for thirteen years. From 1758 till 1773 he was a judge of the supreme court. 

Thomas Jones, jurist, born in Fort Neck, L. I., 30 April, 1731; died in Hoddesdon, England, 25 July, 1792, was graduated at Yale in 1750, studied law, was licensed in 1755, and began his practice in New York. In 1757 he was appointed clerk of Queens county courts, and for many years he was the attorney for the governors of King's college, of which body he was a member, and also attorney for the corporation of New York city. In 1769 he became recorder of the city, which office he held till 1773, when He was appointed judge of the supreme court in place of his father, serving until the close of the Revolutionary war, and held the last court under the crown at White Plains in April, 1776. On 27 June, 1776, he was arrested at his house by an armed party by order of a committee of the New York Provincial congress on a charge of refusing to obey the summons of the committee to show why he "should be considered g friend of the American cause." He was brought to New York and discharged on giving his parole to appear when congress should direct. On 11 August he was seized by a body of riflemen, taken to New York and again arraigned before a board of officers, who told him the parole was void. He was then sent to Connecticut as a prisoner, remaining there under the charge of disaffection until December, when he signed a second parole and returned to his home in Fort Neck. On 6 November, 1779, his house was suddenly entered and robbed by a party of Whigs under the command of Captain Daniel Hawley, of Connecticut, who seized Jones, though under parole, and carried him to Connecticut, in order to effect an exchange for General Gold Selleek Silliman, who had been captured six months before in his house in Fairfield. Neither had any personal connection with the seizure, nor did it alter their friendship which had been formed in Yale. 

In April, 1780, they were exchanged. While in Connecticut Judge Jones's health failed owing to injuries received on being thrown from a sleigh. In 1781 Judge Jones sold his stock at auction, and went to England with his family. After living in Bath for his health for three years, he retired to Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. The negotiation of peace in 1782 prevented his return, as he was included in the New York act of attainder, by which his life was so facto forfeited and his estate confiscated. He married Anne de Lancey, daughter of James de Lancey, chief justice and lieutenant-governor of New York. She received about two acres of land from her brother James, between the Bowery and the East river, upon which site Jones erected a large house, surrounded with gardens. He named it "Mount Pitt," and it remained standing till the close of the last century. When General Charles Lee built fortifications around New York in 1776, he made this point the site of a large redoubt, which was called Jones's tiill Fort. The accompanying illustration of Fort Neck house represents his spacious residence, which is still (1887), in possession of the family. It was originally Tryon Hall, and was erected for Judge Thomas Jones by his father in 1770. It faces the Great South bay and has a frontage of ninety feet. His father entailed this estate upon him and his heirs and in default of the latter upon his daughters and their heirs, on condition that they should add to their name that of Jones. Hence David Floyd, son of Arabella Jones and Richard Floyd, of Suffolk county, New York, received the Fort Neck estate under the entail and became the first of the name of Floyd-Jones. Judge Jones was the author of "History of New York during the Revolutionary War," which was edited by Edward Floyd de Landey and printed for the New York historical society (New York, 1879). This work is a valuable contribution to American history. It is an account of the Revolution from a loyalist point of view, and is the only contemporary history written by one living at that time.

The first Thomas's grandson, Samuel Jones, son of William Jones, lawyer, born 26 July, 1734; died in Westneck, L. I., 21 November, 1819, studied law in the office of William Smith, the historian of New York, who was subsequently chief justice. During the Revolution he remained in the British lines, being a loyalist in principle, but took no part in the war. After peace was declared he became a strong Federalist. He held many offices of trust, political and legal, was often in the state assembly, and an active member of the convention at Poughkeepsie that adopted the constitution of the United States in 1788. In 1789, with Richard Varick, he revised the statutes of the state of New York, of which work he did the principal part. In the same year he was appointed recorder of the city of New York, an office he held for eight years, when he was succeeded by Chancellor Kent. At the request of John Jay in 1796 he drew up the law establishing the comptroller's office of New York state as it now (1887) exists, and was appointed in that year to this office, which he held for three years, after which he retired to his country-seat, Westneck, L. I. Dr. David Hosack said: "Common consent has indeed assigned him the highest attainments in jurisprudence, and the appellation of father of the New York bar." "No one," says Chancellor Kent, "surpassed him in clearness of intellect and in moderation and extreme simplicity of character; no one equalled him in his accurate knowledge of the technical rules and doctrines of real property, and his familiarity with the skilful and elaborate, but now obsolete and mysterious, black-letter learning of the common law." He published, with Richard Varick, "Laws of the State of New York" (2 vols., New York, 1789), and contributed valuable papers on the history of New York to the collections of the New York historical society.

--His second son, Samuel Jones, jurist, born 26 May, 1769; died in Cold Spring, New York, 9 August, 1853, was graduated at Columbia in 1790, and studied law in his father's office, having for his fellow-student De Witt Clinton. He held many important judicial offices, and at the outset of his career took an active part in politics. He was a member of the assembly in 1812-'14, recorder of New York city in 1823, chancellor of the state in 1826-'8, chief justice of the superior court of New York city in 1828-'47, and justice of the state supreme court in 1847-'9. At the age of eighty, on the expiration of his term, he resumed practice at the bar, and was actively engaged in professional life till within about two months of his death. He was active in the councils of the Protestant Episcopal church, and to his latest days remarkable for his interest in all matters of social and public importance. Judge Jones, like his father, was often called the "father of the New York bar."--Another son, David S., lawyer, born in Westneck, L. I., 3 November, 1777; died in New York city, 10 May, 1848, was graduated first in his class at Columbia in 1796. For a few years after leaving college he was secretary of Governor Jay, and for nearly half a century one of the most active and influential members of his profession. After residing for several years on his estate at Massapequa, L. I., he removed to New York. He was especially interested in the institutions of that city, Columbia college, the Society library, and the General theological seminary, and connected with each of them as trustee and legal adviser for an unusual term of years. He also took much interest in the affairs of the Protestant Episcopal church. He was first judge of his native county while a resident at Massapequa, and about 1840 received the title of LL. D. from Alleghany college, Meadville, Pennsylvania Mr. Jones was connected by his three marriages with the Livingston, LeRoy, and Clinton families. See "Memorial of the Hon. David S. Jones" (New York, 1849).--David S.'s son, William Alfred, author, born in New York city, 26 June, 1817, was graduated at Columbia in 1836, and studied law with Daniel Lord, but has never practiced. He resided in his native city till 1867, and since then has lived in retirement in Norwich, Connecticut He was librarian of Columbia college from 1851 till 1865. Mr. Jones has contributed many literary and critical essays to periodicals. His published volumes, which are principally collections of these essays, are "The Analyst, a Collection of Miscellaneous Papers" (New York, 1839); "Literary Studies" (2 vols., 1847); "Essays upon Authors and Books" (1849); "Memorial of Hon. David S. Jones," his father (1849); and "Characters and Criticisms" (2 vols., 1857). His pamphlets include "The Library of Columbia College" (New York, 1861); "The First Century of Columbia College" (1863); and "Long Island," an address before the Long Island historical society (1863).

--The first Samuel's grandson, Samuel William Jones, jurist, son of Major William Jones, of Cold Spring, born 6 July, 1791; died in New York city, 1 December, 1855, was graduated at Union in 1810. He studied law in the office of his uncle, Samuel Jones, and practiced in Schenectady, New York, of which city he was mayor many years. He was also surrogate, and first judge of Schenectady county.--The first Samuel's nephew, Walter Restored, marine underwriter, son of John Jones, born in Cold Spring, L.I., 15 April, 1793; died in New York city, 5 April, 1855, was the founder of the Atlantic mutual marine insurance company, of New York city. By his untiring energy and devotion, his accuracy and masterly management of its interests, he built up a comparatively weak corporation to a valuable institution, over which he presided for many years. Mr. Jones was largely interested also in manufacturing enterprises, and especially in whaling operations, at a day when that was a lucrative department of our national industries. He may be considered the founder of the Life saving association.--Walter Restored's nephew, John Divine, son of John H. Jones, born in Cold Spring, New York, 15 August, 1814, was placed in the office of his uncle, and under his guidance filled all the offices of the Atlantic company, of which he has been president since 1855. Mr. Jones has been a liberal benefactor of many public institutions, especially to the Protestant Episcopal church of New York city and Long Island, and to the Historical society of New York.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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