Samuel M. Jones
Samuel Milton Jones, often referred to as "Golden Rule" Jones, was born August 3, 1846 in North Wales. He and his family emigrated to Lewis County, New York, when he was three years old. He grew up in New York State until he moved to Titusville, Pennsylvania. When he was eighteen years old he worked in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Here he studied different methods of oil production and became a producer himself in 1870.[John Killits. Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, 1623-1933, vol. 1 (Toledo: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1923), p.307].
Depressed by the death of his first wife, he moved to Ohio seeking a change. In 1886, with his headquarters in Lima, Ohio, he operated oil fields. He made a big strike near Lima in 1886. That same year he met Helen W. Beach, a lady from a prominent Toledo family. In 1892 they married and settled in Toledo.[Morgan Barclay and Charles Glaab. Toledo: A Gateway to the Great Lakes (Tulsa: Continental Heritage Press, 1982), p.84].
In 1893 Jones invented the "sucker rod." This permitted deep-well drilling. He patented his invention and began to manufacture it. In 1894 he began Acme Sucker Rod Company. His factory was open during a time of depression and Toledoans sought work there. In his company he enforced the Golden Rule. He treated his employees well and paid them a fair wage. He also had workers keep their own time, gave employees paid vacations, had company insurance plans, and allowed employees to be active in profit sharing.(Ibid., pp.84-85).
Jones was elected mayor of Toledo on February 25, 1897, after having lived in Toledo for only five years. He was a progressive mayor who preached Christ's teachings, supported the idea of equality of men, and focused on establishing a uniform three-cent fare on streetcars, as well as solving problems of unemployment and poverty.(Ibid., p. 85). A campaign promise was to establish public parks and playgrounds. He believed this was important and, as an example, he purchased vacant ground that adjoined his factory and equipped it with everything necessary for a playground. This area, named Golden Rule Park, was created three years after he was elected mayor.(Killits, Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio, vol. 1, p.307).
Jones was elected again in 1899, 1901, and 1903. He died before his fourth term expired on July 12, 1904, at the age of fifty-seven. Fifty-five thousand people viewed his body and five thousand people from all walks of life attended his funeral. He was survived by his three sons, Percy, Paul and Mason, and his wife Helen.(Ibid). He rests in lot 14, section 39.
Percy C. Jones was born in Turkey City, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1878. He came to Toledo with his father in 1892. He was president of the S.M. Jones Co. and the Toledo Zoological Society. He died October 9, 1941 in Beaumont, Texas. His wife, the former Marion Cullen, was born in Boston and was a well-known actress before her marriage to Percy Jones in 1902. She died March 12, 1965.(The Blade, 10 October 1941).
Paul Jones, born in Duke Centre, Pennsylvania came to Toledo with his father when he was about ten. He was president of Malleable Casting Company and the S. M. Jones Company. He died on April 14, 1951, four years after he retired as president of the S.M. Jones Company.(Ibid., 14 April 1951).
Mason B. Jones joined his father's oil well equipment firm in 1935. He was president of the S.M. Jones Company until he retired in 1963. While the other two sons were from Samuel Jones's first wife, Mason's mother was Helen Beach Jones. He was a lifelong Toledo resident, attended Scott High School, and was active in the Toledo Boy's Club. He passed away in 1968.(Ibid)., 1968.
Helen Beach Jones, Samuel M. Jones's second wife, was born in Toledo on April 28, 1857. She was his helpmate during the years he made national history as the mayor of Toledo. She composed music, gave lessons, and was active in the Toledo Women's club, the Samagama Club, and laid the groundwork for Beach house, a homeless women's shelter named for her mother. She died October 6, 1940 at the age of 83.(The Toledo Times, 6 October 1940).
Samuel M. Jones's grave
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)