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JONES, HON. ROLLIN J. Zebulon Jones, the ancestor of the family in this country, was born on June 9, 1723, and was a son of Benjamin Jones, who died on February 5, 1754.
Zebulon Jones went to sea when a boy and rose to the command of a merchantman engaged in the East India trade. He was married on October 13, 1744, to Annie Kibbe, a daughter of Jacob and Grace Kibbe. Zebulon died on September 27, 1776. His son, Zebulon Jones, jr., was born in Somers, Conn., on March 19, 1747, and was married on October 7, 1767, to Mary Cooley, who was born on March 10, 1750. Their children were: Rufus, born October 4, 1768; Mary, born September 20, 1771; Zebulon, born July 6, 1774; Amzi, born March 5, 1777; Azuba, born October 13, 1779; Huldah, born May 1, 1782; Judah, born February 23, 1785; Reuben, born June 17, 1788, and died in infancy; Reuben (second) born on August 13, 1799; Jacob, born December 26, 1792; and Anner, born February 3, 1796.
Judah Jones, who was a brother of Zebulon Jones, jr., was killed on October 19, 1780, at a battle up the Mohawk River. Zebulon Jones, jr., died in Cornwall, Vt., on November 25, 1836, aged ninety years, and his wife, Mary, died on February 1, 1840, aged ninety-one years.
Zebulon, jr., was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and drew a pension, being wounded in that war. Soon after the close of the war he removed with his family from Hoosick, N. Y., to Cornwall, and settled there, just north of Lemon Fair Bridge. His son Amzi was married on March 14, 1799, to Hepzibah Harvey, a daughter of Nathaniel Harvey. She was born in East Greenwich, R. I., on September 13, 1779. They had a family of ten children. Of these, Hepzibah was born December 18, 1799, and died on August 7, 1803. Mary was born December 17, 1801, and died on August 15, 1803. Amzi, jr., born October 22, 1803, was twice married. His first wife was Maria Marsh, who died in Cornwall on February 1, 1835. His second wife was Mrs. Mary (Butler) Ramsey, by whom he had two children, Ahira and Butler. Amzi, jr., was graduated from the college at Middlebury, Vt., in 1828, and was a minister of the Baptist faith for forty years. He died on April 14, 1880, at the residence of his son Ahira, in Red Willow county, Neb. Butler resides near Cheyenne City, W. T. Their mother is now living at Tiskilwa., Ill. Jason, born January 23, 1806, married Lydia Hurlburt. Their children are: Alverton, Ashley, Harriet, Edwin, Victor, Marion, and Henry. Of these children, Edwin, Marion, and Henry now reside in Cornwall. Edwin married Harriet Buckman, of Crown Point. They have had one child born to them, Silas. Marion is the widow of Darwin Robinson, and Henry now resides with his parents. Anner, born March 24, 1808, married Ransom Miles, and died on November 5, 1854, in Michigan City, Ind. Ahira, born June 25, 1810, was twice married. His first wife was Sophia Gale, a daughter of General Somers Gale, of Cornwall. Their only son, Ahira, lives in Bethlehem, Pa. His second wife was Lucy McGregor. To this union were born two daughters, Annie and Agnes, who are now married and live in Arlington, Mass. Ahira was graduated from the Waterville College in Maine in 1836, and was a minister in the Baptist Society at the time of his death. He died in Cornwall on December 11, 1884. His widow now resides with her daughter Anna, now Mrs. McIntosh. Zebulon, born September 8, 1812, was a graduate of the Middlebury College in the class of 1836, and was also a minister of the Baptist Church. He was married three times. His first wife was a Miss Sherman, of Salem, N. Y. Their only child, Mary, married a Mr. Abernathy, and is now living in Minneapolis, Minn. His second wife was Mary Allison, of Peterboro, N. H., by whom he had a family of four children: William A., Maria, Nellie, and Frank. The sons are now dead. His third wife was Phebe Johnson, of Rutland, Vt., and is now living. Zebulon died on March 2, 1883. Lorenzo, born January 9, 1815, married Thankful Sherman, of Salem, N. Y., and to them were born two children, Beriah and Elizabeth; he died on December 19, 1851. Mary Beulah Harriett, born November 22, 1817, married S. S. Rockwell, of Cornwall. To them were born two daughters, Mary and Cornelia. The former is now the wife of Dr. E. O. Porter, and the latter is the wife of Harrison Sanford. Both are residents of Cornwall, Vt. Mrs. Rockwell died on March 10, 1869. Her father, Amzi Jones, died on October 8, 1856, and her mother, Hepzibah, died on May 17, 1860. Rollin J. Jones, the youngest of the family and the subject of this sketch, was born November 12, 1819, in Cornwall, Vt., on the farm now owned by him, and which has been in the family since the first settlement in the town. He received his education in the district school of the neighborhood, in the Hinesburg Academy, and at the high school at Saco, Me. He was married on September 15, 1842, to Flora Beecher, a daughter of Austin and Sarah (Stone) Beecher. She was born in Hinesburg, Vt., on June 9, 1822. They have no children living. Their daughter Martha Grace, was born June 19, 1848, and died June 17, 1865. Alice May was born April 23, 1852, and died May 1, 1855.
To the original home farm of 250 acres Mr. Jones has added 300 acres, making a farm of 550 acres, lying mainly in the rich Lemon Fair valley, and is considered one of the most productive farm properties in the State of Vermont. In the year 1844 Mr. Jones first engaged in the breeding of pure-bred Merino sheep. He began by the purchase of ewes from Isaac Allen and Abraham Melvin, of New Hampshire. To cross with them he bought the first highpriced ram ever sold by Mr. Edwin Hammond. He bred this flock for about eight years and then sold it, and bought two hundred imported French Merinos. In 1856 he laid the foundation of his present flock by purchasing forty Atwood ewes from R. P. Hall, who bought in connection with Mr. Hammond. He kept his best sheep during the time of low prices succeeding the war, and always discouraged the introduction of Paular blood into the Atwood flocks. From 1843 to 1863 Mr. Jones was the most extensive Merino sheep dealers in the United States. Since 1863 he has been engaged in improving his sheep, and now has one of the best Atwood flocks in the State. The rams ” All Right,” ” Reserve,” ” Reliance,” and ” Umpire” were bred in the flock. About the year 1843 the great business of exporting sheep into other localities was commenced by Mr. Jones and S. S. Rockwell, who began the trade in a small way by driving a few sheep into adjoining counties and disposing of them on the way. It was thence extended into the Western States, and in 1860 they, with S. B. Rockwell, crossed the Isthmus to California, where an immense trade soon sprang up. Mr. Jones remained in California for four years and six months. He again visited that state in 1869, and has been a leader in the sheep trade in the United States for twenty years, and has never slackened in interest in keeping up to the highest standard in sheep breeding. He received a medal and a certificate of award at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia for his exhibit in sheep, and a gold medal for the best flock of Merino sheep at the Vermont State Fair in 1876, and also in 1880. From early life Mr. Jones has taken an active part and interest in political affairs, and has been a leader in the Whig and Republican parties, with which he has been identified. He was elected a member of the House of Representatives for the State for the years 1849, 1850, 1867, and 1868, and was a member of the Senate in 1853, 1854, and 1869. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1857, and from 1870 to 1874 was the Collector of Internal Revenue for the First District of Vermont. It is simple justice to state that in all these several important public offices Mr. Jones has discharged the duties which have been put upon him, in an able manner and to the entire acceptance of his constituents.
In all domain of thought or action, like all men who think and act for themselves and who form their own conclusions, he is not easily moved from opinions once formed or positions once taken. A man of positive convictions, he is a powerful ally to any friend whose cause he espouses and a strong support to any measure he advocates, while men and measures that he does not favor find in him an equally strong opponent.
Having no children of his own to support and educate, he, in a quiet way, often assists young men who are worthy, but lack the means, to acquire an education. Mr. Jones has been a member of the Baptist Church since 1840, first of the Hinesburg, then of the Saco ; and since 1868 he has been a member of the church at Cornwall, and has been a liberal contributor to the building and support of neighboring churches of other denominations.