THOMAS S. JONES
THOMAS S. JONES, one of the leading trial lawyers of the city of Utica, is a son of Samuel T. Jones, a well-known farmer and landscape gardener, and was born in Boonville, Oneida county, N. Y., August 23, 1840. He was educated in the public schools of his native village, at Whitestown Seminary, and at Fairfield Academy. At a comparatively early age he decided upon the law as a profession, for which he was well qualified by nature. He read law in the office of George W. Smith and later with H. R. Hadley, both of Boonville, and was graduated from the Albany Law School in 1862, being admitted to the bar of New York in the same year. Immediately after his graduation he commenced active practice in Forestport, Oneida county, but a few months afterward returned to Boonville, where he formed a co-partnership with Hon. Walter Ballou under the firm name of Jones & Ballou. This partnership was dissolved in 1872 and Mr. Jones became a partner of Hon. Henry W. Bentley, who was afterward elected to Congress and also surrogate of Oneida county. In January, 1887, Mr. Jones removed to Utica and associated himself in practice with William Townsend, under the firm name of Jones & Townsend, and on January 1, 1896, Joseph Rudd, jr., was admitted under the style of Jones, Townsend & Rudd.
Mr. Jones has been for many years an ardent and active Democrat, and has frequently been the standard bearer of his party. He represented his district on the Democratic State Committee during the years 1881, 1882, and 1883. He was twice elected district attorney of the strong Republican county of Oneida, first in the fall of 1886 by a majority of 73 and again in November, 1889, by the handsome majority of 2,200. He won the reputation of being a vigorous prosecuting officer and was conspicuous in a number of noted trials. During his two terms as district attorney he secured the conviction of two persons indicted for murder in the first degree, and both were executed. He also prosecuted and convicted the noted train robber, Chael Roark, who attacked and shot Express Messenger Leak on the West Shore Railroad. Roark received the maximum sentence for robbery in the first degree, which was twenty years. During this period Mr. Jones was also retained by the American Express Company to assist the district attorneys of Wayne and Herkimer counties in prosecuting another notorious train robber, Oliver Curtis Perry. In all these capacities as well as in the capacity of a lawyer Mr. Jones has demonstrated rare ability and a thorough knowledge of the law, and in every case his duties have been discharged with great credit and satisfaction. At present his time is devoted principally to the trial of cases and especially to the practice of fire insurance law. He is one of the recognized leaders of the Oneida county bar, and takes a keen interest in all public affairs. He is an Odd Fellow and a Royal Arch Mason.
October 7, 1874, Mr. Jones was married to Miss Mary Clarke, daughter of Fred and Mary (Taylor) Clarke, of Boonville. She died April 11, 1895, leaving son, Thomas S. Jones, jr., born November 6, 1882.