John O. Jones, conducting an extensive contracting business under the name of the Western Improvement Company, has built up a business of large and gratifying proportions in street paving, a business that extends over many adjoining states. Mr. Jones was born in Llanfairfechan, Wales, on the 23d of June, 1856, and is a son of Owen and Ann (Jones) Jones, both representatives of old families that have lived in that section of Wales for hundreds of years. The family on one side was farmers and on the other was granite quarrymen. The parents of John O. Jones spent their entire lives in Wales and in that country the son was reared and educated. He became a granite worker and was thus employed until 1883, when at the age of twenty-six years he left home and sailed for the United States.
Making his way at once to Wisconsin, Mr. Jones settled in Green Lake county and secured employment at a granite quarry, where he worked for about nine years. He then came to Racine and entered the business of street paving under his own name. Later he was joined by his sons under the style of John O. Jones & Sons and in 1908 the business was reorganized under the name of the Western Improvement Company, with John O. Jones as the first president and his son and namesake secretary and treasurer. This company operates in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and the Dakotas and confines their attention exclusively to street paving. This is the largest concern of the kind in Racine and the business has now reached gratifying proportions. Mr. Jones is a self-made man who started out empty handed but has steadily worked his way upward along progressive lines and is now doing a business of about three hundred thousand dollars per year.
In 1887 Mr. Jones was married to Miss Mary Jones, who was born in northern Wales in 1858, and they have become parents of tire children: Hugh, deceased: Anna, the wife of A. F. Donald, of Stockton. California: John O., who is secretary and treasurer of the Western Improvement Company; Susan, the wife of George W. Jones, cashier of the Western Improvement Company; and Beatrice, at home.
Mr. Jones and his family are all members of the Welsh Presbyterian church and for a number of years he has been chairman of its board of trustees. In 1911 he erected one of the finest homes of the city, so that his family is most comfortably located and their beautiful residence is attractive, not only by reason of its pleasing architecture and tasteful furnishings but also by reason of its warm-hearted hospitality. In his political views Mr. Jones is an earnest republican and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day although not ambitious to hold office. Fraternally he is a Mason of high rank, having attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and for twenty years he has been a loyal member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. From early manhood a resident of Wisconsin, he has throughout the entire period so directed his interests that success in large measure is his and at the same time his business methods may well set a standard for integrity as well as enterprise.