On the roll of Idaho’s distinguished lawyers is the name of T. J. Jones, of Boise. Faithfulness to duty and strict adherence to a fixed purpose in life will do more to advance a man’s interests than wealth or adventitious circumstances. The successful men of the day arc they who have planned their own advancement and have accomplished it in spite of many obstacles and with a certainty that could have been attained only through their own efforts. This class of men has a worthy representative in T. J. Jones, who began life amid unfavoring circumstances in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.
Born in Montour County, Pennsylvania, in 1857, he is of Welsh lineage. His father, David Jones, was born in a little County of Wales, whence he emigrated to America, locating in the Keystone state, where he married Miss Anna Naughton. He was a Baptist minister, and served as an officer in the war with Mexico. He died in 1861, from injuries received in said war, leaving a wife and five children.
The subject of this review was only four years old at the time of his father’s death. He spent his childhood and youth in the state of his nativity, and when only eight years of age began earning his own livelihood by working in the coal mines. Thus he was employed for seven years, when he shipped before the mast, sailing for three years on the great lakes and on the ocean. He next engaged in railroading for a time, and subsequently emigrated to Nebraska, where he took up a claim of government land and engaged in raising horses and cattle. During these years his education had been sadly neglected. Being forced to provide for his own maintenance he had no opportunity of attending school, and feeling very much the need of mental training he determined to acquire an education. Accordingly, at the age of twenty-seven, having at that time never attended school, he became a student in the Hastings College, at Hastings, Nebraska: later he attended the Free Methodist College, at Orleans, in the same state, and then took a course in the Bryant Business College, of Republican City, Nebraska, and in 1888 was graduated in the Mallalieu University at Hartley, Nebraska. The latent powers of a naturally bright intellect were thus awakened, and he developed a strong intellectuality that colors all of his labors. In the mean time he began reading law, which he completed in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A sojourn in Florida was followed by a brief stay in Alabama, but he was driven from the latter state by the yellow fever, and returned to Nebraska, where he was admitted to the bar. His next place of residence was Burlington, Colorado, where he successfully practiced his profession. He was the first County attorney of Kit Carson County, Colorado, and the second mayor of Burlington. He served as attorney for the prosecution in the great Hatch case at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and during his practice in that state was connected with important litigation, his practice being very extensive.
In 1890 Mr. Jones came to Boise, Idaho, and has won an enviable position at the bar of this state. He has gained a large clientage, and, handling many intricate problems of law, has displayed great ability and a comprehensive imderstanding of the principles of jurisprudence. He has also figured prominently in public affairs in the city and state. While engaged in farming and stock-raising in Nebraska he became deeply interested in the Grange movement, and for three years served as deputy state lecturer of that organization, during which time he was instrumental in establishing many local granges in the state. In his political expression, for two years he voted with the Prohibition Party, and later became an advocate of the principles of the People’s Party. In 1892 he was the only one of two state speakers of that Party in Idaho, and conducted a powerful and effective campaign, he being recognized as one of the leading and able public speakers of the state. In 1893 he was a candidate for city attorney, on the People’s Party ticket, and was defeated although he received a large vote. In 1894 he was a candidate on the same ticket for district attorney and ran one thousand five hundred votes ahead of his ticket. In 1894-6 he again campaigned the state for his Party. During these campaigns he was especially noted for the masterly and clear manner in which he presented the issues before the people, his eloquence and logic being largely commented on by the people and press of the state. In 1898 he was a delegate to both meetings of the state central committee of the People’s Party, and in the absence of the regular chairman he was elected provisional chairman, and presided until the time of the state convention, which assembled in August, 1898. At that time he was the unanimous choice of the convention as the candidate for governor, but declined that nomination in favor of Hon. D. H. Andrews. He was then unanimously chosen as candidate for justice of the Supreme Court.
In addition to his general law practice, Mr. Jones has extensive mining interests, and is the attorney for several corporations, he having to a remarkable degree in his public and private affairs the confidence of both capital and labor.
In 1892 in Boise, Idaho, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Jones and Miss Winifred Cullen, a native of Missouri, and a daughter of Paul Cullen, a well-known pioneer of Utah. They have two children, Felix and Paul. Theirs is a delightful home, where the evidences of culture indicate the refined taste of the inmates. Beautiful grounds surround the house, which is located at the corner of Fifth and Myrtle streets, and many friends enjoy the hospitality which there reigns supreme. Both Mr. and Mrs. Jones hold membership in the Catholic Church, and their support is given many measures intended for the public good.