Lee County Biography


W.C. Jones, who was the first telegraph messenger in Dixon, is now proprietor of a large general mercantile house and has won a measure of success that indicates how active he has been in the pursuit of his purposes. Dixon is proud of his record as that of one of her native sons, his birth having here occurred in 1859. His parents were William and Agnes Jones, who arrived in Dixon in the '40s when the town was little more than a village and gave but slight promise of becoming the enterprising center of trade which it is today. Here the father engaged in the transfer business until the time of his death and the mother is still living at the age of eighty-four years. They had a family of four sons and four daughters, who reached adult age.

W. C Jones was a public school pupil in Dixon and in early life started out to earn his living, becoming, as previously stated, the first telegraph messenger boy in the town. Some of his fellow townsmen today remember him in that service and have watched with interest his advancement along business lines. He learned telegraphy and was afterward appointed operator at Dimmick, Illinois, when but nineteen years of age. He did not hold the position, however, but jumping on the train as it started away, went to other fields, having changed his mind concerning telegraphy as a life work. He next obtained a position as clerk in the store of Stephens & Pankhurst, where he remained for a short time and subsequently he entered the draying business, which he followed for nine years, having the first double truck in Dixon. In 1887 he established a small grocery store upon a capital of four hundred dollars and in 1895 he erected a new building forty by ninety feet and two stories in height to accommodate his stock. As time passed on he extended the scope of his business and is proprietor of a large general store which is one of the leading mercantile establishments of the city. He has carefully watched all the details, noted the indications pointing to success and has followed the methods seeming to promise bright results. Studying the trade, maintaining honorable business methods and reasonable prices, his success has grown year by year and he is now one of the substantial merchants of the city. At one time he was also secretary of the Fletcher Manufacturing Company, from which he resigned. He was the first man authorized as post-master of a subpostal station to handle the parcel post.

On the 31st of October, 1883, Mr. Jones was united in marriage to Miss Gertrude Woolley, a daughter of W.C. Woolley, who was station agent at Dixon for the Illinois Central Railroad for thirty-seven years. He also helped build the road into the town and was one of the pioneer settlers here. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Jones have been born two sons and two daughters.

In his fraternal relations Mr. Jones is an Elk, while politically he is a republican. For six years he served as township supervisor and for a similar period was a member of the board of education, proving capable and loyal in both offices. His record as a business man and citizen is creditable and proves what may be accomplished when one has the will to dare and to do. While a telegraph messenger Mr. Jones delivered telegrams to Father Dixon, founder of the city. It is a far reach from service as telegraph messenger to the proprietorship of one of the leading mercantile establishments but determined purpose, unfaltering energy and straightforward methods have brought Mr. Jones to the position which he occupies and his record proves that prosperity and an honored name may be won simultaneously.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.


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