Daniel Seldon Jones
DANIEL SELDON JONES. One of Virginia’s most important centers of manufacturing and commercial enterprise, Newport News, is at the same time a young; city, forty years spanning its entire history. One of its very first men of affairs, though at the time in a very modest capacity, was Daniel Seldon Jones, whose career is significant because he has steadily built up the fortunes of this city as well as his own.
D. S. Jones was born at Spratley’s farm near Jamestown, on James Island, in James City County, J July 10, 1849, son of Henley T. and Mary A. H. (Jones) Jones. His parents were cousins, anti both were natives of James City County. Henley T. Jones owned a large amount of land, and acted as agent for the Confederate government during the war at Williamsburg, where he was one of the large real estate owners and where he was living :it the time of his death.
Seventh in a family of twelve children, Daniel S. Jones spent his boyhood on a farm. He attended public schools :and for a time was a student in William and Mary College. Though a mere boy, he did some service to the Confederate government in the Engineers Corps, acting as messenger in the office of Col. A. L. Reeves. In the disrupted industrial and economic situation following the war he and a brother took some contracts to log off tracts of timber, but lie soon engaged in the lumber business for himself in James City County.
When in 1885 S. Jones came to Newport News, that village consisted of only five houses on Washington Avenue. He brought very little money but an inexhaustible wealth of enterprise and initiative with him, and as one of the early manufacturers of the town he built up a business that in a few years lead extended its trade far beyond the normal territory. As a. lumberman his plant was one of the largest on the Peninsula. D. S. Jones sold his lumber business in 1900, but has had many large financial interests requiring his supervision. He took an active part in organizing and incorporating; the town of Newport News in 1896, was the first president of its Chamber of Commerce and for sixteen years president of the City Council. He was one of tile organizers and for several years cite president of the Citizens and Marine Bank, and is now chairman of its Board of Directors. He was also one of the organizers and is now chairman of the directors of the National Mechanics Bank. He is one of the largest stockholders in both these institutions.
During a quarter of a century while he was busy promoting his individual interests D. S. Jones never neglected an opportunity to do something for the upbuilding of Newport News. He is a large real estate owner there, has built several fine business blocks, and public spirit has been the dominating characteristic of his citizenship. He is a member of the Rotary Club, is a director of the Southern Shipyard Corporation, and is a member of tile Ragged Island Gun Club, an organization with which lie finds his favorite recreation. D. S. Jones rebuilt the farm of Beacondale, noted as one of the finest farms in the section. On this he raised standard bred horses and later developed one of the finest herds in Virginia of Holstein cattle. Breeding stock from his farm was shipped all over the South. He retired from stock raising in 1915.
A sharer in his work and Constant cooperator has been his good wife, whom he married at Seaboard, North Carolina, October 10, 1873. The maiden name of Mrs. Jones was Carrie Y. Powell. She was born at Williamsburg, Virginia, where her father, Peter C. Powell, was a merchant.