Our Folk – Resource Materials
Index - Home Page -
Index of Names
A Patriarch of the Elmwood
himself, was not a well known figure in the Elmwood business community, but
this sketch will reveal the great influence that his sons and sons-in-law had
on Elmwood business in the late 1800’s. Miles Jones had an active
business life as a carpenter in
and moved to Elmwood only after he was 65 years old and no longer directly
involved in business. Contrarily, the members of his extended family were
involved in many of the early business enterprises in Elmwood, and formed
businesses and partnerships with the names of Jones, Douglas, VanSickle, Venn, and Vandervoort. These names were prominent on the
shop signs and newspaper advertisements in Elmwood from 1860 to 1900.
Here are some representative newspaper advertisements and
business directory notices from Elmwood in 1866 and 1870.
WM. DOUGLAS & Co.
- Carriage & Wagon Makers, Near the Depot, -
would respectively announce to the Farming community, and all others
interested, that they are now fully prepared to manufacture all kinds of
Carriages & Lumber Wagons. In a style which they warrant to give
satisfaction, in respect to both Workmanship and Materials, the work being done
under their immediate inspection, and, good iron and well-seasoned lumber only,
being used. Open and Caliche Top Buggies made in the most fashionable style.
Lumber Wagons with iron or Wooden Axles or Thimble Skeins, and fitted with
Seats and Patent Brakes. One Horse Wagons, etc., got up promptly to order.
Re-fitting, Repairing done to order.
JONES & VANDERVOORT
- Keep a full stock of Dry Goods, Furnishings, Boots, Shoes, Hats, Caps,
Carpeting, &. They also have in their employ a first-class Tailor, so that
persons can be accommodated with goods ready-made or unmade. They are among the
early settlers in the place, and are known to be gentlemen of enterprise and
reliability, identifying themselves with every progressive feature of the
CALDWELL & VENN
-- Manufacture Carriages, Wagons and Buggies, and they do General Blacksmithing
on call. They put up just as fine a Carriage as can be turned out of any shop
in the State; hence they should receive the patronage of the public, in their
line, instead of giving it to other rival shops of the town.
The Jones family has deep and interesting roots. Miles
Jones’s descendents can trace their family tree, through Miles’s
great grandmother, Joanna Abell, back
to King Edward III and other royals including Charlemagne and various emperors
. In May 1704, Miles’ great grandfather,
Benjamin Jones was the only survivor or the Pascomunch Indian Massacre
, during which his father and two brothers lost their lives.
Benjamin alone barely escaped with his life. Miles Jones, born on
6 Nov 1794
married Pamela Ketchum Turner in
in 1822. They lived for a while in Sydney Ontario and several of his sons and
daughters got married there. The families started moving to
in 1859. When Miles Jones died in 1885, at 90 years of age, he was the oldest
man living in Elmwood; thereafter that honor passed on to
Father Hiram Brown, then 88
Miles’s son, Luther
Franklin Jones was the first of the Jones family to come to Elmwood. He
and his brother-in-law, J. A. Vandervoort,
came to Elmwood in 1859 and went into the grocery and mercantile business as
Jones and Vandervoort. Back in
, Joseph Aikens Vandervoort
married Miles Jones’s daughter, Eleanor Eliza Jones, on
6 Nov 1849
and 10 years later the couple and three of their children came to Elmwood.
When J. A. Vandervoort and L. F. Jones arrived in Elmwood in
1859 there were only two business houses in the town. They decided to try the
grocery business and opened their first shop in the building opposite the
Elmwood house on the block of Magnolia just south of
. At the time, both families had to live over the store as there was
nary a house for rent in town. A couple of years later, J. A. Vandervoort
bought a small residence from Daniel Caverly for $600 and was very proud of it
as it was the first home he called his own.
A few years later, Vandervoort and Jones relocated onto the
next block of Magnolia and called their new larger store (twenty-four feet by
one hundred feet!), the Palace of Trade,
deeming it deserving of such a glorified name as it was one of the finest
business rooms in town. The firm was a going concern until Mr. Jones’
death in June 1871; thereafter the firms name changed to Vandervoort and Wyley, and remained so until June 1878 when J. A. Vandervoort
retired. His son and son-in-law took over his interest and the firm was renamed
Wyley, Vandervoort and Sloan. In 1897, the store was run by J.
A.’s son and known as W. M.
The success of the
didn’t keep the owners from exploring other businesses. In 1866, L. F. Jones and J. A. Vandervoort partnered
with J. J. Rose of Elmwood and
W. E. Phelps -- the son of W. J. Phelps, the founder of Elmwood -- and
formed W. E. Phelps & Co, a
stock company for the purpose of working in wood and iron. A machine shop,
foundry, wood shop and blacksmith shop were built and fitted with the necessary
machinery in addition to Rose's newly patented tin upsetter, punch and shears.
They ventured into various types of manufacturing, but the concern lost money,
and finally closed up business altogether. Ultimately W. E. Phelps bought out
the interests of the other partners.
The proceeds from that sale enabled J. A. Vandervoort and L. F. Jones to embark upon a new venture with
William Douglas forming Douglas
a mercantile business in Elmwood.
William Douglas joined the Jones family by espousing
Sarah Maria Jones in 1852 back in
. They started a family in
, and then moved with their three children to Elmwood in 1862. Wm.
Douglas had been a blacksmith in
and upon arriving in Elmwood he opened a carriage and wagon business on the
site where the Elmwood foundry and machine shops later stood.
Wm. Douglas continued in the carriage and wagon business until
the fall of 1866. He then engaged in the mercantile business with his
brother-in-law Harvey VanSickle as Douglas
and VanSickle. Harvey VanSickle
had married another Jones daughter, Maria Ann Jones, in Elmwood in 1861. After
his death in 1869, L. F. Jones and
J. A. Vandervoort purchased the VanSickle interest and the firm was renamed
In 1871, Wm. Douglas disposed of his interest in Douglas and
Co. and reentered the carriage and wagon business with his new brother-in-law,
James Venn. James Venn and Maria Ann
Jones had married the year before, after both had lost their spouses. Although
James Venn had been a competitor of Wm. Douglas in the carriage business, after
he joined the family, he and Wm. decided to become partners. Wm. Douglas bought
interest in Caldwell and Venn, and
the firm became known as Douglas and Venn.
In 1878, Wm. Douglas bought out Mr. Venn and the firm’s name changed
again, this time to Douglas & Son.
Two other Jones sons resided in Elmwood as well.
Darius Benjamin Jones came to Elmwood in 1862 and worked in the
mercantile business until 1872 when he moved to
and engaged in the same business. Washington
Winsor Jones was living in Elmwood by 1878 when his daughter Edith was
born. He moved to
about 1880, and then returned to
Today, we may well ask why the Jones sons and sons-in-law, who
were so prominent and successful in Elmwood in the late 1800’s, are no
longer represented in the town. There are a number of reasons. Wm.
Douglas’s son, William H. Douglas, for example, persevered in the wagon
business and eventually worked for the Brown Carriage Company in Elmwood.
However, when the automobile took the place of the horse and buggy, he could no
longer find suitable employment in Elmwood and was obliged to move to
where he worked for Aetna Insurance for 30 years. His family remained there
after his death. The Vandervoort family was very successful in Elmwood, but J.
A. Vandervoort’s son -- who was named after his grandfather as Winsor
Miles Jones Vandervoort -- moved to
and eventually died in
In the late 1800’s, many people were familiar with the
businesses and enterprises of the large Jones family, but, as time went on,
they tended to forget the family ties between the sons and sons-in-law of Miles
Jones which had facilitated their partnerships and helped hold these
partnerships together. Distance eventually broke those ties and over time the
memories of them faded from the minds of those who had once known or done
business with the descendants of Miles Jones.
(This sketch of Elmwood in the 1800’s was prepared in
March 2003 by Albert Douglass Hart, Jr. - a descendant of Miles Jones.)
Click on links below for more information on the Jones Family
Joseph Aikens Vandervoort
Hart Family Resource
Hart Family Genealogy Home Page
Hart Family Genealogy Index of Names
To report errors or
omissions, request information or share sources or photos, Please send us email.