Biography of Mrs. Anna Marie Jones

Mrs. Anna Marie Jones. In the making of the worthy history of Champaign County, woman as well as man has played a most worthy part. But too often the part of woman has been overlooked or slighted and yet in those things of which Champaign County is most proud, its homes, the wives and mothers share on an equal scale with the husbands and fathers. It is therefore most appropriate that this sketch should begin with the name of a noble Champaign County woman who has done her part as a home maker and as a mother as well as in church and social affairs.

Mrs. Jones is a native of Champaign County, having been born here January, 23, 1866. She is a daughter of August and Anna Johanna (Burkhardt) Sperling. Her father, who is still living at the age, of seventy-eight, was born June 14, 1839, in Stabelberg, Prussia. He has made seven trips across the ocean. The first of these long journeys was made when he was about eighteen years old. At the age of twenty-one he came again to America and located in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. From there he went to Winona, Minnesota, and engaged in the grain business. About 1865 he came to Champaign County and turned his attention to agriculture on these rich and fertile acres. Subsequently for ten years he was again in the grain business and he finally retired and moved out to California about 1905 and has since lived retired at South Pasadena. He is still owner of 520 acres of the valuable Champaign County land. Politically he has been a Republican and is a Knight Templar Mason with membership at Gibson City, Illinois, and is also an Odd Fellow. He and his wife were reared as members of the Lutheran Church. His good wife, who was born at Rottenacher, Wurttemberg, Germany, not far from the city of Berlin, on October 30, 1842, passed away February 4, 1913, at Pasadena, California. She was a noble woman and did her part well by her children and family.

Altogether there were ten children, five sons and five daughters. Six are still living. Emma was educated in the common schools of Champaign County and is now living with her father at South Pasadena, California. J. A. F. Sperling is a well known citizen of Dewey, Champaign County, where he is serving as postmaster. He was a soldier in the Spanish-American War. In politics he is a Republican and is a member of Sangamon Lodge No. 801 of Masons and the Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Dewey. Next in age comes Mrs. Jones. Alwin H. is married and is successfully pursuing his business as a farmer in East Bend Township. Godfrey is a civil engineer by profession, having graduated from the University of Illinois with the class of 1895. He is now practicing his profession at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is married, is a Republican, and a member of the Christian Science Church. Johanna A. is the wife of William Burkhardt, who resides in Los Angeles, California, and is owner of a large ranch in that state.

Mrs. Jones was educated in the common schools of Champaign County and on March 7, 1888, at the age of twenty-two, was married in this county to John Morris Jones. To their marriage were born five children, four sons and one daughter all of whom are still living.

The oldest is J. Karl Jones, who attended the common schools, the Academy of the State University and spent three and a half years in the State University taking the civil engineering course. He followed his profession in the mountains of Idaho in 1910, and then returning to Champaign County entered his father’s store at Dewey as a salesman and is now senior member of the firm of Jones Brothers at Dewey. This is a business which in scope and importance deserves first rank among the mercantile firms of Champaign County. About $50,000 is invested in capital and stock and equipment, and the annual turnover of business amounts to about $300,000. The firm has a large and complete stock of general merchandise, and also buys and sells grain, coal, tile, automobile supplies and agricultural implements. During 1916 their sales ranged all the way from a package of pins to a threshing outfit. Mr. Karl Jones is a Republican and cast his first presidential vote for Theodore Roosevelt. He is a central committeeman of East Bend Township and is also a member of the road committee and is an enthusiast in the advocacy of good country roads for Champaign County. He is in line to pass all the offices in Sangamon Lodge No. 801, A. F. and A. M., at Fisher, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His home is at Dewey with his mother.

John M., the second son, was educated in the common schools, took two years of high school work at Champaign and finished his course in the South Pasadena High School in California, where he was graduated with the class of 1910. After that he was a student for two years in the University of Illinois. He is now associated with his brothers in the general mercantile business at Dewey and furnishes some of the enterprise and vigor by which that firm has steadily mounted to success. Fraternally he is affiliated with Sangamon Lodge of Masons at Fisher and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Dewey and has served as a delegate to the Grand Lodge. He is also a member of the local school board and belongs to the Methodist Church. He has traveled extensively over the western states and Canada and knows conditions not only at home but over a wide stretch of country. Both he and his brother Karl are members of the University fraternity Chi Phi at Champaign.

Emma Verna, the only daughter of Mrs. Jones, is the wife of Harry J. Hamm of Dewey. Mr. Hamm is associated with the banker C. E. Jackson in the automobile business. Mrs. Hamm was for three years a student in the Champaign High School and for one year was a student of instrumental music in the Von Stein Academy, at Los Angeles. Her musical course was taken during the year 1910-1911. She is an active member of the Christian Church at Rantoul, while Mr. Hamm is a Methodist. He is a graduate of the Champaign High School and by his good work won a scholarship in the University. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he and his wife are active in the Eebekahs at Dewey, Mrs. Hamm having served as a delegate to the Grand Lodge. Theirs is one of the comfortable homes of the village and is a hospitable social center.

Alwin A., the fourth child of the family, was graduated from the Rantoul High School in 1913 and afterwards entered the University of Illinois. He continued his studies there two years and early in 1917 resigned from the University to accept one of the numerous calls made upon the patriotic youth of this country and joined the agricultural service for the United States Government. He is one of a number of competent young men from the University who have been assigned to duty in Western Canada, his present location being at Regina. He left his home at Dewey, April 27, 1917. He is a young man, the joy and pride of his home and family, and when the appeal was made for young men to join in the cause of universal defense against autocracy he was first and foremost and did not hesitate a moment to assume the responsibilities placed upon him by the president and the government. He has membership in the Christian Church at Rantoul, is a member of Sangamon Lodge No. 801, A. F. and A. M., at Fisher, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and both he and his brother John have been through the Encampment degrees of Odd Fellowship and are also members of the Rebekahs.

Sperling D., the youngest of Mrs. Jones’ children, is now in the sixth grade of the public schools and is showing an unusual capacity for his studies. He has also taken instrumental music.

Mrs. Jones’ only daughter has always been an active factor in her church, her social community, and in everything that pertains to her home, ‘ and is a thoroughly cultured young woman.

Mrs. Jones has given the best years of her life to her children and her home. Her children have well repaid this affection and care, and throughout she has endeavored to teach them the truth of a clean and upright life and an honorable and straight-forward course in all things.

The late John Morris Jones was born in Carmarron, Wales, January 7, 1861, but when five years of age came with his parents to America. The journey was made on a sailing vessel from Liverpool, England, to New York City. It was a long and tedious voyage as compared with the speed of the ocean greyhounds of modern times. While the vessel was in New York harbor the boy narrowly escaped death. While reaching for an apple he lost his balance and almost providentially escaped falling into the ocean and perhaps losing his life. The Jones family came direct to Champaign County and located just north of Dewey, where his father bought a farm of 300 acres in East Bend Township. That was the home of Mr. Jones during his youth and until his marriage. With his wife he started a career as an agriculturist on a small place of forty acres. Later he bought forty acres more, and having steadily climbed to prosperity as a farmer he entered the grain and implement business about 1901. In 1912 he erected the present store building at Dewey and entered upon the still larger business activity which is now carried on by his sons under the name Jones Brothers. He had been in the store only two years when he was taken away by death. The late Mr. Jones made a signal success in business affairs and had the good will of all who knew him. His family and their welfare were uppermost in his mind always. An active Odd Fellow, he was a charter member of the lodge of the order at Dewey and a delegate to the Grand Lodge. He also belonged to the Court of Honor and the Modern Woodmen of America. When an infant he was christened in St. Horeb Church in England, and at the age of sixteen joined the Independent School Society in 1877, and in 1890 became a member of the Christian Church at Fisher. For a number of years he served as superintendent of the Sunday school at Dewey.

He also participated in the life of his community in an official way. He served as tax collector for a number of years and was a director of the schools and wherever possible supported and advocated better schools. At the time of his death he was serving as township treasurer. He was an active Republican and his death left vacant the position of central committeeman. Mr. Jones passed away May 12, 1914, and his remains were laid to rest in the cemetery at Fisher.

Mrs. Jones is still living at her old home in Dewey, surrounded by children and friends, and almost her lifetime has been spent in that one locality. Her choice of church is the Christian denomination, but she also attends the Methodist Church at Dewey.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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