In touching upon the history of Douglas County for the past sixty years, none have been more prominently connected with its growth and industrial expansion than the Hon. Malden Jones. He endured all the hardships incident to the rough pioneer life and has passed through a most honorable and enviable career. He is a native of Lee County, Virginia, and was born February 8, 1818 when a child he went with his parents to Kentucky, where he was reared and where, at about the age of seventeen, he entered a store as clerk and remained three years. In 1840 he came west, making the trip on horseback, settled with his brother, Alfred, five miles southwest of Arcola, and there engaged in farming and the live stock business. In 1848 he removed to his present locality and, in company with Mr. Gruelle, opened a general store about half a mile north of Bourbon, his store being the only one west of Charleston. He was engaged extensively in buying and selling cattle and horses, and drove them from his home to Wisconsin, which at that time was the only market worthy of the name in the west. They continued at this point about one year. Mr. Jones then built a store in Bourbon and laid out the town. He continued merchandising here about six years. In 1858 he was elected sheriff of the County of Coles, and removed to Charleston. There he resided for three years, returning to Bourbon in 1861. He was elected to the Legislature in 1864 and *re-elected in 1866, and was the first member elected from the new County of Douglas. In 1876 he was elected state senator and served four years. He was also a candidate for the senate in 1880, but was defeated by a few votes.
On coming to Coles, now Douglas County, he had but forty dollars and a pony. He now owns fifteen hundred acres of land and the finest residence in the Township, which cost over six thousand dollars. He was married in 1880 to Mary, daughter of Isaac Gruelle, who was one of the earliest settlers of this County. Eleven children have blessed this union, nine now living, four sons and five daughters. His wife died June 23, 1895, in her sixty-first year. Amongst Mr. Jones’ neighbors, when he first settled in the vicinity of Bourbon, might be mentioned the Abbots, Stovals, Ellises and the Chandlers. Mr. Jones and Lemuel Chandler, in the 186o days of old, were the leading stump speakers and authorities of the day, and being on opposite sides of the important political questions, made the old brick school house in Bourbon fairly ring with the eloquent pros and cons of political debate, the condiments of which were not a little personal feeling, which, to the knowing ones, lent an added zest to their enjoyment; but, happy to say, old time fixed them with his glittering eye at last and the foolishness of political animosity gracefully gave way to the sober philosophy of increasing years. In a public career of about forty-five years, Mr. Jones, while occupying positions of trust and responsibility, such as sheriff, representative and state senator, has retained his integrity and, consequently, the respect of his fellow citizens. His character has never been assailed and he stands before the world to-day retaining the reputation of an honest and influential man. Mr. Jones is universally respected. He has seen many changes in the County and at the sunset of life still takes an active and influential part in the political, social and industrial life of the day.