Daily Republican, Monongahela, PA
Monday, March 18, 1912
Death of Pioneer Coal Man Sunday
Sunday marked the death of one of the oldest coal men in this section of the country and one whose movements were watched with much interest from Monongahela, his former home. James Jones, the veteran coal man and a member of Starkweather Post No. 6 G. A. R. of this city died Sunday afternoon at his home, 220 Trenton Avenue, Hazelwood. Death was due to paralysis and followed a stroke which he suffered early Sunday morning. He was 76 years of age.
Mr. Jones was stricken about (unclear) o'clock yesterday morning, but rallied toward noon, and his family and physicians had hopes of his recovery. He lost consciousness shortly after (unclear) o'clock, however, and the end came half an hour later.
At his bedside were his sons and daughters, with the exception of John H. Jones, president of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo company, who, following notification of his father's sudden illness, was unable to reach the parental roof before death came. His sons and daughters with him at his death were: Thomas P. Jones, vice president of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo company; David G. Jones, secretary-treasurer and general manager of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo company; Harry P. Jones, manager of the Marianna plant of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo company; Mrs. W. J. Holsing, Canonsburg; Mrs. J. H. Vitchestain, Mt. Washington and J. H. Vitchestain.
Mr. Jones was born in Wales 76 years ago and came to the United States in 1858 going to Mt. Savage, Md. He remained there but a short time and decided to come to Pittsburgh. He walked the 80 miles from Mt. Savage to Uniontown, where he expended all the money he possessed for a ticket to Pittsburgh. Arriving there he secured employment as a blacksmith and worked in a shop opposite the site of the present Union Station. Some time later he went to Elizabeth, where he received his first instruction in coal mining. Later he went to the South Side, Pittsburgh, where he worked as a miner until he enlisted in Company D, Sixth United States Cavalry, in 1861.
He served through the Civil War and on his return to Pittsburgh he married Miss Ann Agnes Ivill of Elizabeth, who bore him five sons and three daughters. She died in 1895. Five years later Mr. Jones married Margaret Thompson of near McKeesport, who survives.
In 1878 Mr. Jones leased the Osceola mine from Thomas Mellon, founder of the Mellon National Bank, and formed the Osceola Coal Company. He sold his interest in the Osceola Coal Company and formed a partnership with the late Congressman W. L. Scott of Erie, Pa. They leased the Grant mines at Carnegie from Judge Mellon and operated them for some time. Eventually he sold his interest to Mr. Scott and in 1882 purchased a large tract of land here and opened the Ivill mine, which was named for his wife. In 1889 he purchased a half interest in the Catsburg mine in the First ward and formed the Catsburg Coal Company. In 1890 he bought Rostraver mine at Lock No. 4 and formed Rostraver Coal Company.
In 1896 he took his five sons into partnership and formed the company known as James Jones & Sons. This company bought the local river business, the flats, coal boats and steamers of the T. M. Jenkins Company, making the Jones interest at that time the largest shippers of coal in the Pittsburgh district. At the formation of the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Company in 1899 a flattering offer was made for the Jones interests and it was eventually accepted. A special provision was placed in the contract at the suggestion of Mr. Jones that Jones and his sons were entitled to enter the shipping of coal by rail. Mr. Jones and his sons then formed the Pittsburgh-Buffalo Coal Company and Mr. Jones became chairman of the board of directors, John H. Jones, the oldest son, became president; Thomas P. Jones, vice president; David G. Jones, secretary and general manager and Harry P. Jones, superintendent of the mining interest in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
After selling his mining to the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Company, Mr. Jones purchased a large tract of land in Hazelwood and diverted a portion of his time from his interests to building homes for working people and at his death was one of the largest small house owners in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Jones was a member of the First Baptist Church of Hazelwood and was a liberal contributor to all the churches activities. In addition to his widow and four sons, he is survived by three daughters, Mrs. W. J. Holsing, Miss Rachel Jones and Mrs. J. H. Vitchestain. One son, W. I. Jones, died five years ago.
The funeral arrangements will be made later. The interment will be at Homewood.
Obituary and family plot submitted by Betty Lou Ivell. Thanks Betty.
Jones image from: History of Pittsburgh and Environs 1922 By George Thornton Fleming