The honored subject of this sketch has lived to see Marion county develop
from the wild prairie and primeval forests inhabited by wild animals and a
few pioneer settlers to its present magnificent prosperity, its elegant
homes, comfortable public buildings, fertile farms and thriving cities; and
he has played no small part in this great work of transformation.
Eli W. Jones was born in Marion county, Illinois, April 20, 1839, the son of James and Laura (Luelen) Jones, the former having been born in October, 1795, in Georgia, near where Atlanta now stands. He came to Illinois in 1814 and was in the War of 1812, having served two short terms guarding the surveyors when the state was surveyed. He was in Captain Schurtz's company. He married in Bond county, Illinois, at Keysport, in 1823, and came to Marion county soon afterward, where he settled among the earliest pioneers and where he lived until his death, August 29, 1865. He devoted his life to farming. He was a very pious man, a member of the Methodist church and an exhorter. He entered government land in this county which he improved and put a part of it in cultivation. There were some Indians here at the time. He was a Democrat until the time of Franklin Pierce, when he turned Republican. He was always opposed to slavery. He never took much interest in politics, but devoted his time to the farm and the church. The mother of the subject was born in Kentucky, December 1, 1806, and died February 26, 1885.
Eli W. Jones spent his boyhood days much like the other boys of his time, in assisting with the work on his father's farm and attending school in the country district for a short time during the winter, receiving a meager education.
When the national government was in need of loyal supporters to defend its integrity it found no more willing patriot than our subject, who enlisted in 1861 at the beginning of hostilities in the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, being assigned to Company H, under command of Colonel Loomis and Capt. A. B. Morrison. He faithfully and gallantly served for four years when he had a leg shot off, having been shattered by a minie-ball in Sherman's last big fight, which fact causes him to wear an artificial leg. He never missed a battle or a march until losing his leg. He was in the famous march to the sea, in the battle of Corinth, the siege of Vicksburg, the battle of Missionary Ridge and out of fifty-seven smaller engagements was never defeated. He is remembered by his government for his gallantry with a pension of forty-six dollars. He was never in the hospital a day while in the army until he was wounded. He spent ten days in the ambulance beore finding a hospital.
Mr. Jones was united in marriage to Mary Rymon, August 28, 1860. When he went away to war he left a little baby, three months old. His wife was born December 31, 1839, the daughter of Justus R. Rymon, who was born November 14, 1808. The mother of the subject's wife was Martha Dickens in her maidenhood. She was born July 26, 1816. Mr. and Mrs. Rymon were married May 4, 1836. Mr. Rymon was a preacher and a doctor and was a prominent man in his community. He was called from his earthly labors February 24, 1878, and his wife passed to her rest January 1, 1881.
The following children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Jones: J. T., a well known physician of Salem, Illinois, who is at present unable to practice on account of failing health. He married Carrie E. Bennett and they are the parents of two children. Logan M., the subject's second child, was born November 1, 1864, and died in 1873; Flora was born May 10, 1868, and died November 9, 1873.
Our subject was for many years a breeder of fine horses and hogs and the owner of some high grade imported stallions and others of fine variety.
Mr. Jones has always been a loyal Republican, having cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. In 1872 he was elected Circuit Clerk of Marion county, being the first Republican clerk the county ever had. This shows Mr. Jones's great popularity in his own county. He faithfully served in this capacity, giving entire satisfaction to all concerned. He has also served his township as School Trustee, was the first Town Clerk of Foster and is at present Justice of the Peace. He is regarded as being entirely fair in his decisions. He served as Supervisor of Patoka township for one term of two years. He is well known politically, and he is held in high favor by all who know him.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 482-484.