9/13/2019 0 Comments
What Happened to the Joneses?
The first child of Freelove and Thomas Jones was Sarah, born in 1695 and died in 1696. At the end of her short life (so common in the 1600s), she was buried in the Clifton Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island. Her burial site is noted in Newport cemetery records, but there is no headstone, and may never have been one, given her short life. She was, nevertheless, the first Jones family member born on American soil.
The last direct descendant of Freelove and Thomas was Mary Gardiner Jones, born in 1920 in New York City, where her father, Charles, worked as a lawyer. She grew up in Cold Spring Harbor and became uncomfortable with her family’s elevated social status and what she characterized as their constant fights over property in the Cold Spring Harbor area. Mary graduated from Wellesley College and worked for the Office of Strategic Services (later the CIA) during World War II. After the war she earned her degree from Yale Law School, graduating in the top 10% of her class. Despite her achievement, she interviewed with fifty law firms, several of whom explicitly said they would not hire a female attorney, before she found a staff position at the firm of Donovan Leisure in Washington, D. C., becoming the firm’s first female lawyer. Her way was eased by William (Wild Bill) Donovan, the head of the firm, who had founded the OSS and knew Mary Jones from her work there.
In 1953 she took a position with the Justice Department, working in its anti-trust division. She eventually attracted the attention of the Kennedy administration because of her consistently strong positions against unrestrained business activities. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson appointed her as the first female Federal Trade Commissioner. Her appointment came at an appropriate time, as the public was beginning to focus on consumer issues and had become receptive to the idea of government challenges to previously common pro-business practices. The climate was ripe for her to move the Federal Trade Commission in a different direction.
Mary Jones refocused its efforts on consumer education and protection. She succeeded in having all cigarette advertising banned from radio and television. Later on she enacted rules that required garment manufacturers to add care labels to their products. She also brought lawsuits against real estate groups that engaged in redlining, the then common practice of segregating neighborhoods so that they were unavailable to prospective black homebuyers. Throughout her tenure, she supported regulations that won praise from consumer advocacy groups.
After leaving the FTC, she taught law at the University of Illinois, founded the Consumer Interest Research Institute, and later established the D. C. Mental Health Organization, to assist children and senior citizens with mental health problems. She also published, in 2007, her very interesting autobiography Tearing Down Walls: A Woman’s Triumph.
Mary Gardiner Jones never married, and upon her death in 2009 became the last of Thomas Jones’s direct descendants. She is buried in the Memorial Cemetery of St. John’s Church in Laurel Hollow. Interestingly, she is buried in the family plot of her mother Anna Livingston Short Jones, rather than in the very large Jones plot in the same cemetery. Perhaps in death she wanted to underscore one final time her discomfort with her family’s status.
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