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Thursday, March 13, 2014

James Addison Jones I: religious and civic activities

Religious Activities

Not only did the family get a beautiful home in Dilworth, but they also got a beautiful, new, large stone church-home, the Dilworth Methodist Church, built on the city block directly across from our home. The J. A. Jones Construction Company built this church, with Dad watching every step of its construction. He took as much pride in this new church as he did in his home and loved to show every part of it to visitors. The next year, 1927, he had the satisfaction of building a lovely two-story parsonage. In 1940, through his generosity and that of Edwin, the company was able to build for the church a large two-story educational building. The congregation showed their appreciation and esteem of my father by naming the building "The J. A. Jones Educational Building." Also, at that time the company built a lovely, little Memorial Chapel beside the church. Jim Jones and his third wife, Maude Boren Jones, gave the furnishings in this chapel and the beautiful stained-glass windows.


My father held many offices and honors in the Methodist Church. He was a charter member of the old Trinity Methodist Church and chairman of its Board of Stewards for many years, before he became one of the leaders in the development and growth of the large Dilworth Methodist Church, which had a membership of nearly fifteen hundred in 1942 and now has twenty-two hundred members. He served as chairman of the Board of Stewards of this church or chairman of its Finance Committee for many years. In honor of his more-than-forty years of service, he was made an honorary chairman of the Board of Stewards and Life Member by the Dilworth Methodist Church a few years before his death. Edwin recounts Dad's church activities as follows:
"He was sent as a delegate to the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church time and again. He was placed on the General Board of Church Extension of the Southern Methodist Church where he served with distinction for a long time. His knowledge of building and his interest in the church were very valuable to this Board of Church Extension. He was elected by the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church as a delegate time and again to its General Conference which meets every four years. He must have been a delegate to the General Conference six or seven times, or even more, and acquired vast knowledge of church-wide affairs, and was of great influence in many church-wide matters. He was a delegate to the United Conference of the Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1939, and to three Jurisdictional Conferences."

The family recognized the importance of these church conferences to Dad. I recall it was a standing joke that we could not plan any activity when these conferences were taking place, not even our marriages, because he would not let anything prevent him from attending them.

Dad and my brother, Edwin, were the main organizers of the Charlotte City Methodist Mission Society and donated generously to it's support. It was formed to establish new churches in the fast-growing areas in Charlotte, and Dad's efforts in this direction almost constituted personal sponsorship of the program (including Providence UMC). To him can be given the credit for the building of eight new churches during the last seven years of his life, according to the Reverend Dr. Howard P. Powell. These churches, started as chapels are now attractive, self-supporting churches.

Civic Activities

During a few of the early years of his marriage, Jim Jones was a member of the "Volunteer Fire Department" of Charlotte. As this was the only fire department the small town had, membership was greatly coveted and considered quite an honor. During the years his large family was growing up and some were finishing their education, getting married, and starting out on their own, Jim Jones found the time in his busy life, somehow, to be active in civic affairs as well as in his church and in his business. Even as far back as 1913, maybe earlier, he was called on to serve in the administrative affairs of Charlotte. He was first placed on a five-man "Water Board," where he served a number of years. When Charlotte experienced a prolonged drought in 1913, he had the foresight to see the growth of Charlotte and the need for a large, dependable source of water. Through the force of his personality and his honest convictions, backed by his known sound judgment, he was able to persuade the other members of the Water Board that the wisest course was to lay pipes to the Catawba River, instead of drilling artesian wells as the others at first wanted to do. This step has since proved a godsend to Charlotte, which now gets an ample amount of water from the river.

He next served several years as a member of the Executive Committee, appointed by the Board of Aldermen to look after the various departments of the city and see that they were run efficiently. When Charlotte adopted the council form of government, J. A. Jones was elected one of the first commissioners and served two, maybe three, terms in a creditable manner. He was a member of this Board of Commissioners in 1930, the year I married.

Dad was an active supporter of the Y. M. C. A. and a life-long member and trustee. He was a good citizen, whole-heartedly and constantly. His breadth of understanding and his keenness of judgment won him the public trust. In addition to these civic duties, he also found the time to serve on the Board of Trustees of three hospitals: The Charlotte Memorial Hospital, the North Carolina Orthopedic Hospital at Gastonia, and the Elkin Hospital at Elkin. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Methodist Home for the Aged and of Greensboro College, at Greensboro, North Carolina, a liberal arts college for women, supported by the Methodist Church.

He was an ardent and loyal member of Phalanx Lodge of Masonry, a 32nd degree Mason, and a Shriner. His love of people and his many friendships found a rewarding outlet in the Masonic Order.
Besides his business, his home, his church, and civic duties, James Addison Jones had interest in and held administrative offices in many industrial and commercial establishments in Charlotte and in the South. He served as president of the Addison Realty Company, president of the Skyland Hotel Company, president of the Highlands Hotel Company, director of the Bank of Commerce and of the Interstate Milling Company, and of the Citizens Hotel Company.


{this post continues with the text of Minnie B. Jones Ussery, who wrote this in 1960}

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