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Bill Thayer

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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Fifty-First Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 14th, 1920.

[image ALT: A head-and-shoulders photograph, left profile, of a man in early middle age with a pleasant but somewhat serious and intense expression. He has a moustache and sideburns, but no beard, and is wearing a forage cap. He is James Henry Jones, the subject of this webpage.]

James H. Jones

 p92  James Henry Jones
No. 2250. Class of 1868.
Died, October 29, 1919, at Lakeland, Fla., aged 73 years.

James Henry Jones was the son of James I. Jones, a veteran of the war of 1812, and for some time a Major General in the New York militia. His mother was Elisabeth Schermerhorn of an old New York family.

Mr. Jones was born in New York City on February 14, 1846. He was educated at private schools and studied for some time in Paris. In his boyhood he was always interested in sport and military affairs. He belonged to a drill class, known as the Junior National Guard, and at the age of fifteen shot big game in the West. The following year he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in a New York Volunteer regiment commanded by Colonel Lockman. This regiment was, however, consolidated with another and Mr. Jones was not mustered into the Federal service.

 p93  He thereupon asked for a commission in the regular army, but Secretary Stanton informed him that that was impossible, but offered him an appointment to the Military Academy. This he accepted, hoping for an early graduation. In this he was again disappointed, for his class graduated in 1868, after the full course. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 4th Cavalry and served in the Modoc campaign and went with the first expedition through the interior of Japan. He became First Lieutenant in the same regiment and served as A. D. C. to Major General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McDowell.

In 1874 he resigned from the Army and later built a country house at Pelham, N. Y. Here he was nominated by the Republicans for the Assembly, but was not elected. He accepted a commission as Major in the 12th Infantry, N. G., N. Y., and was successively promoted Lieut.‑Colonel and Colonel. He brought the regiment to a superior standard and by his efforts secured the present armory.

During this time he had a ranch in Wyoming and a salmon river in Canada, and also played polo. He built and endowed one of the Children's Aid Society Schools in New York which is doing a remarkable work. In 1889 he resigned from the National Guard and sold his various properties and left for Mexico where he spent two years studying archaeology and Spanish. This was followed by a two years' study of entomology in France. He then visited the Polar Sea north of Alaska, tried to climb Mount St. Elias, and explored the Yukon. For some time after this he lived in the State of Washington growing roses, of which he was very fond, and the last ten years of his life he spent quietly on a fruit farm in Florida.

At the outbreak of the Spanish War he asked for a commission and was offered the Colonelcy of a New York regiment, but was taken ill and was unable to appear as he was in the far West. He was once offered, but declined, the office of Adjutant General of New York.

He was a very retiring man of the widest culture; extremely liberal, spending nine-tenths of his income in charity or on public objects; a good linguist, a keen sportsman and a crack shot, and a good horseman; had visited nearly every country in the world and had warm friends everywhere. He died suddenly on October 29th, 1919. He never married. Pursuant to his request, his funeral was private and he lies in the family vault at Greenwood.

Newbold Morris

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Page updated: 18 Feb 14