Stephen James Jones, Judge of the County Court of Brant, and Master in Chancery, dates his birth at Stoney Creek, County of Wentworth, December 21, 1821, his father being Stephen Jones, son of a United Empire Loyalist, and born in Duchess County, New York. A great-uncle of our subject, Augustus Jones, also a loyalist, was Government Land Surveyor in the old Niagara District his residence being at Stoney Creek. The mother of our subject was Mary Smith.
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He was educated in the district grammar school at Hamilton; studied law at first with Miles O’Reilly, of Hamilton, and afterwards with S. B. Freeman, Q.C., of the same city; was called to the Bar in February, 1846, and practiced with Mr. Freeman until 1853, when he received the appointment of County Judge. He is the only officer of the kind whom the separate County of Brant has ever had. The appointment of Master in Chancery was made in August, 1875.
Judge Jones is naturally of a judicial temperment; has a legal turn of mind; is not afraid of work, and is a growing man. He is considered, on the whole, outside of the county, as well as in it, one of the ablest and most satisfactory County Judges in the Province. During the earlier years that he was on the Bench, appeals were not unfrequently made from his decision, but rarely with success, and of late years, few, if any, appeals have been made.
While a resident of Hamilton, the Judge held the position of Adjutant of the 3rd Gore Militia, under Lieutenant Colonel Gourlay.
Judge Jones is a member of the Board of County Judges, which consists of five members, Messrs. Gowan, of Barrie; Jones, of Brantford; Hughes, of St. Thomas; McDonald, of Guelph, and Daniell, of L’Orignal; he being second in position, he has kept place with his rank.
He is a member of the Methodist Church of Canada, Recording steward, leader and trustee of the Brant Avenue Church, Brantford, and a man of the most solid Christian character. He has been a total abstainer from all intoxicating liquors from boyhood; has visited other counties in advocacy of the Scott and Duncan Acts, as the best laws that could be had at the time, and is a strong advocate of a general prohibitory law. On the bench, in private, everywhere, his temperance views are well known, and his influence is felt.
Judge Jones has always taken an active part in the general work of his church, especially in aid of its missionary operations and educational institutions. In 1879, he, with the Rev. ‘Thomas Stobbs, of Mount Pleasant, took the initiatory steps for forming a plan for raising district scholarships for Victoria College, a scheme which has now gone into successful operation. The church has appreciated and acknowledged his past services, by electing him in 1874, a Delegate to the first General Conference of the Church held at Toronto, and again in 1878, for the next General Conference held at Montreal, of which he was appointed one of the secretaries.
In 1847, the Judge married Miss Margaret Williamson, daughter of John Williamson, of Stoney Creek, and they have six children living, and have lost one son. John W., the eldest son, is a barrister, of the firm of Jones and McQuesten, Hamilton; Charles S. is also a barrister, of the firm of Hardy, Wilkes and Jones, of Brantford; Jennie is the wife of George Kerr, barrister, of the firm of Kerr, Akers and Bull, Toronto, The other three, all sons, are single.