BRADFORD ELLIOT JONES, of Brockton, one of the best known merchants of southeastern Massachusetts, is also one of that city’s most enterprising and successful business men, and as a citizen has been prominently identified with the growth and development of its business and financial institutions. Mr. Jones was born Sept. 22, 1840, in North Bridgewater, now Brockton, son of Rosseter and Hannah (Marshall) Jones, and a descendant of several of New England’s earliest settled families. A record of that branch of the Jones family to which Mr. Bradford E. Jones belongs follows, the generations being given in chronological order.
Thomas Jones, of Hingham, England, with his wife, Ann, came to America in the ship “Confidence” in 1638., and settled in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Joseph Jones, son of Thomas, settled in that part of Taunton which subsequently became Raynham, the act setting off Raynham from Taunton bearing date of April, 1731. The first name on the petition for such act was Abraham Jones, who was the principal agent in bringing the separation about. His home was near the Leonard forge. According to probate record the children of Joseph Jones were:
- Submit (married a Partridge)
- Sarah, Lidia (married a Bosworth)
- Rebecca (married a Dyer)
The eldest son, Abraham, was the one referred to as principal agent in the separation of Raynham from Taunton. He was one of the thirty-two persons dismissed from the parent church in Taunton Oct. 19, 1731, to organize the First Church in the new town of Raynham. Abraham, Joseph and Mary Jones were all in full communion with this church when formed. Joseph Jones was one of the selectmen of the new town in 1733, and was a justice of the peace. Several of the daughters of Squire Jones married men of talent who became distinguished in the learned professions, namely:
- Mary Jones married Rev. John Wilder, of Charlestown
- Louisa Jones married Rev. Linus Shaw, of Sudbury
- A third daughter became the wife of Dr. Alden Hathaway
Capt. Asa Jones, son of Nathan, of Raynham, Mass., came to North Bridgewater, and was a farmer. He was an ensign in the State militia in 1803, 1809 and 1818, and was captain in 1809, and in the last named year served on the committee of North parish. He was one of the committee of the First Congregational Church in 1824, and was one of the advising committee at the time of the erection of the meeting-house in 1827. On Dec. 4, 1792, he married Rachel Beals, daughter of Capt. Jeremiah Beals, of Weymouth, Mass., who came to North Bridgewater in 1760. To Capt. Asa and Rachel (Beals) Jones were born children as follows:
- Nathan, born Aug. 19, 1794, married Lucia Howard
- Rosseter, born Sept. 16, 1797, married Hannah Marshall
- Sally, born Aug. 12, 1799, married John Thompson
- Augustus, born Oct. 12, 1801, married Almeda Torrey
- Asa Beals, born Sept. 21, 1803, married Huldah J. Noyes
The mother of these children died, and Captain Jones married (second) Nov. 27, 1806, Charity Perkins, daughter of Mark Perkins. Captain Jones died in North Bridgewater Dec. 6, 1840, and his widow passed away March 20, 1849.
Rosseter Jones, son of Capt. Asa, was born Sept. 16, 1797, in North Bridgewater, in a house which stood at the corner of North Main and Prospect streets. After attending the district schools of his native town he learned the carpenter’s trade, which he followed for several years, finally engaging in the contracting and building business on his own account, and for a number of years was successfully engaged in building in his native town, and in the surrounding towns, particularly in Randolph, Milton and Sharon. He lived the greater part of his life in the house on North Main street, just south of the present residence of his son, which he built and to which he removed shortly after his marriage. He was always interested in the affairs of his native town, but never cared for nor sought public office. He was an active and consistent member of the First Congregational Church, to which he gave liberal support. He was also a member of the State militia for several years. He married Jan. 1, 1824, Hannah Marshall, who was born Dec. 15, 1803, daughter of Hayward and Olive (Hayward) Marshall, of North Bridgewater, and this union was blessed with two children:
- Abigail Alice, born Jan. 8, 1827, who died Nov. 27, 1847
- Bradford Elliot, born Sept. 22, 1840, mentioned below
Rosseter Jones died in North Bridgewater July 3, 1842, and his widow died June 7, 1896, in the ninety-third year of her age.
Bradford Elliot Jones, son of Rosseter and Hannah (Marshall) Jones, was born Sept. 22, 1840, in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Mass., and there he has practically passed his entire life. He received his education in the public schools of his native town, and at the North Bridgewater Academy under the instruction of Prof. Sereno D. Hunt. In September, 1857, when seventeen years old, he took a position in the dry goods store of Charles Curtis, Jr., where he was employed for nearly four years. He then spent two years in the employ of Brett Brothers in the same line of business. In 1864 he commenced on his own account, opening a dry goods store in Provincetown, Mass., where he was located until 1867, in which year he sold out the business to one of his clerks, and returned to his native town. Upon returning to North Bridgewater he purchased the old established house of Brett Brothers, himself becoming the senior member of the newly organized partnership firm of Jones, Lovell & Sanford. After three years in this partnership, Mr. Sanford retired and the firm became Jones & Lovell, continuing as such until May, 1878, at which time Mr. Jones sold out his interest in the business to his partner. That year Mr. Jones purchased the dry goods business of the late Henry H. Packard, in Clark’s block, and continued to conduct this business very successfully for several years, when Robert Cook became a partner in the business, the firm name becoming B. E. Jones & Co. In 1901 the business was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts as the B. E. Jones Company, with a capital stock of $80,000. The officers are:
- Robert Cook, president
- Bradford E. Jones, treasurer
- The latter’s son, Stephen Rosseter Jones, of Boston, secretary.
This store, known as “The Sunlight Store,” has a floor space of 20,000 square feet, and gives employment to 125 salespeople. A complete line of dry goods, notions, etc., is carried, making it one of the largest and most up-to-date department stores in southeastern Massachusetts, such as would be expected of a modern, enterprising and progressive company of adequate capital and business ability, doing a business in a trade center of over 100,000 people. It was the first in the city to become a “union store.”
While Mr. Jones is, perhaps, best known as a leading dry goods merchant in Brockton, he has not confined his entire attention to that business. He has extensive real estate holdings in the city, and in company with Embert Howard, of Brockton, he built the Satucket block, on Main street, the Bay State block, on Centre street, and the Arcade, on Church street. He has also been prominently identified with the various financial institutions of his home city, having served as president for about twenty-five years of the Security Cooperative Bank, of which he was an original incorporator in 1877, and since then a member of the board of directors. He was one of the original incorporators of the Brockton Savings Bank in 1881, when he became a member of the board of trustees and of the investment committee, and has served in these capacities ever since, together with having been vice president of the same from 1884 to 1910, when he was elected president to succeed the late Baalis Sanford. He is a director of the Home National Bank, and has been such for some years. In his political faith he is a Republican, and he has always taken an active interest in public affairs. The first year Brockton was under city government, Mr. Jones represented Ward Seven as a member of the board of aldermen, and in 1890 and 1891 was again a member of that board, his service throughout being characterized by that unselfish public spirit which has marked all his participation in municipal affairs. He is now serving his third term, of seven years each, as justice of the peace, having received his first commission May 22, 1889, from Gov. Oliver Ames. He has never been active in party work, but any movement for the benefit of the city or locality, any enterprise designed to advance the public welfare or improve conditions of living, has received his hearty influence and support. He has long been a member of the Masonic fraternity, active in Paul Revere Lodge, A. F. & A. M. (of which he has been treasurer from 1875 to the present time), and Satucket Chapter, E. A. M., and was treasurer of the Masonic Benefit Association for several years, besides holding other offices of trust in the fraternity. He is a charter member of the Commercial Club, composed of the leading business and professional men of the city.
On Sept. 21, 1862, Mr. Jones was married, in Provincetown, Mass., to Kate Marie Paine, daughter of Dr. Stephen A. and Catherine M. W. (Bracket) Paine, and this union has been blessed with two children:
- Katherine Paine, born Aug. 8, 1863, was graduated from Wellesley College in 1884, and has since spent the greater part of her time in travel, having crossed the Atlantic twelve times, visiting many countries of the Old World. She was in Florence, Italy, during the great earthquake of 1909.
- Stephen Rosseter, born Nov. 6, 1866, graduated from the Brockton high school in 1885, Amherst College with the degree of A. B. in 1889, and Boston University School of Law with the degree of LL. B. in 1893. After being admitted to the bar he began the practice of his profession in Boston, where he is now successfully engaged as a member of the firm of Blodgett, Jones & Burnham. He resides in Boston, and is unmarried. He is a member of the Algonquin Club, University Club, of Boston, and the Oakley Country Club and University Club of’ Providence.
Mr. Jones and his family are prominently connected with Porter Congregational Church of Brockton, of which Mrs. Jones is an active member and worker, while Mr. Jones is a member of the Church Parish, of which he was for a number of years treasurer. In point of years in continuous business he is the oldest business man on Brockton’s leading business thorough-fare. Although kind and indulgent to his employees, he will not tolerate flagrant indifference; deception of customers is not permitted, and his straightforward and upright methods have been such as to make his commercial character a standard in the city. There is not a store in the State that more thoroughly holds and retains the confidence of its large number of patrons. Mr. Jones is the owner of a large orange plantation in Orange county, Fla., which he visits nearly every winter, and during his visits there he never fails to remember his workers in Brockton, each year sending several boxes of the fruit to be distributed among them. In manner Mr. Jones is genial and courteous, and he enjoys the respect and esteem of the community in which so much of his life has been spent, and where he has so long been one of the leading business men.
Mr. Jones’ children are descended from illustrious Pilgrim stock, being in the ninth generation from Francis Cooke, of the “Mayflower,” and in the eighth generation from Experience Mitchell, who came to Plymouth in the ship “Ann” in 1623.