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Samuel Milton Jones

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Title: Samuel Milton Jones  
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Subject: History of the United States Republican Party, List of Welsh inventors
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Samuel Milton Jones

Samuel Milton Jones (August 3, 1846[1] – July 12, 1904), a.k.a. "Golden Rule Jones", served as a Progressive Era Mayor of Toledo, Ohio from 1897 to 1904 (he died while still in office). He was ranked as the 5th best mayor in American history (1820-1993)[2] Jones is famous in Toledo for his advocacy of the Golden Rule, hence his nickname. He was an important part of American Progressivism. While often mistaken for a socialist, he was, rather, a "Single Taxer", as the followers of Henry George were often known.[3]

Birth and Immigration to U.S.

Born at TÅ·-mawr near Beddgelert in Caernarvonshire, Wales, Jones emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1849.


Jones had little education because he had to work in order to help his family survive economically. He held many jobs in his younger years, the most important of which was the position he accepted at the oil fields of Western Pennsylvania, where he gained a good deal of knowledge of the oil industry and was able to accumulate some modest sums. In 1870, Jones used his knowledge and savings to start his own oil firm. After the death of his wife in 1885, Jones moved to Lima, Ohio, in search of oil. He also helped established the Ohio Oil Company which was later bought by Standard Oil Company, making Jones a wealthy man. In 1892, Jones moved to Toledo, Ohio.

In 1894, he established the Acme Sucker Rod Company which manufactured tools, i.e., sucker rods, for the oil industry. Jones asked his workers to work hard, be honest, and follow the Golden Rule. Following his belief in the Golden Rule, in his factory Jones:

  • paid employees prevailing wages,
  • implemented an 8-hour work day,
  • gave employees a one-week paid vacation,
  • gave employees a Christmas bonus,
  • let employees keep their own time,
  • provided employees hot meals at cost,
  • allowed employees to participate in a profit-sharing plan,
  • created a park for employees outside the factory, and
  • paid for instruments for employees in the "Golden Rule Band"[4]

Mayor of Toledo

In 1897 Jones received the Republican nomination for mayor of Toledo. Workers liked his golden rule policy and united behind him, and he won the mayoral election. He strove to improve conditions for the working class of his community. Again based on his belief in the Golden Rule, Jones:

  • opened free kindergartens,
  • developed a park system,
  • established playgrounds for children,
  • established free public baths,
  • instituted an eight-hour day for city workers,
  • took away truncheons from the police,
  • refused to enforce blue laws, and
  • reformed the city government.[5]

These policies made Jones unpopular with the Toledo's business community and his tolerance of saloons caused him to lose the support of many moral reformers. When his term was over in 1899, Jones was not renominated by the Republicans. He ran as an independent instead under the slogan "Principle Before Party" winning a second term with 70 percent of the vote. Jones died suddenly during his second term as mayor on July 12, 1904. Citizens of Toledo lined the streets to view his funeral procession.[6] His successor, Brand Whitlock, continued Jones' reform efforts.


He was survived by his grandson Samuel Milton Jones III and several great-grand children, including Samuel Milton Jones IV, Nancy Robicheaw, James Whitlock Jones

Jones was referenced in Chapter 14 of "The Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace Wattles.


See also

List of mayors of Toledo, Ohio

External links

  • Samuel M. Jones at Ohio History Central online encyclopedia
  • Samuel Jones at Find-A-Grave
  • Article on Jones from Teaching Cleveland


Jones, Marnie (1998) "Holy Toledo - Religion and Politics in the Life of "Golden Rule" Jones". The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington, KY ISBN 0-8131-2062-4

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