Algernon Roberts, nephew and
administrator of Jacob's will,
described Jacob's life in the
Minute Book of the Academy Trustees as follows:
"On the twenty second day of the
third Month/March One thousand
Eight hundred and ten departed this
life in the Ninety Seventh year of his age the afforenamed Jacob Jones by
birth a Member of the Religious Society of Friends and an active usefull
Member thereof through his long life which he closed in unity with them and
was much Respected by his Neighbours as a Honourable and Charilable Man and
whose Memory will justly be held in deserved estimation as long as Science
shall record virtue and Benevolance for by his
Christian Phylanthophy and Munificance was founded the Lower Merion
Jacob Jones' birth was recorded in the Merion Meeting book of births and
deaths for 1682-1806 as "Jacob, son of Joriathan & Gainor
Jones...Born...Day, 14; Month, 5;
Year, 1713." (This date is from the
Julian Calendar). Jonathan was the son of Dr. Edward Jones, one of the
founders of the "Welsh Tract," and one of the original patent holders of
Little has been found about Jacob's early life. His name begins to appear
in the Radnor Monthly Meeting Minutes around March 14, 1752 when he and
Mary Lawrence declared intentions [to marry] at Merion Meeting House, and
Robert Roberts and Richard George were to inquire.
By June 11, 1752, Jacob and Mary were married. Merion Meeting proposed in
1759 a certificate for them to Philadelphia. Their three years in the city
are unknown at this time since no evidence was found in city records or
When Jacob did return, he became active in the Merion Meeting starting in
1763. That year he became an Overseer of the Meeting and held
many positions from visiting wayward Friends (hoping they would return to
Meeting), to membership on education committees, to Treasurer (January,
In March 1776, Jacob even counselled his nephew, Algernon
Roberts, for his "military appearance" and reminded him of "our ancient and
Peaceable Testimony." Jacob was also confronted with difficult decisions
such as expelling Algernon and others from Meeting since they persisted in
"...the Practice of Bearing Arms" (May 10, 1776).
Jacob was part of the Committee of Suffering which helped those Quakers who
refused to serve in the Revolutionary War by paying the fines that were
levied against them (August 8, 1777).
He was also active in Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Meetings in the 1790s.
When Jacob died, Joseph Price in his diary (March 25, 1810) mentions
Jacob's passing, building his coffin and
"Geard up and went to Burial, arivd
at our yd. about 11 OC- & had a Great
Meeting 3 Preachers..."
(Price will later build the Academy.)
One feels compelled to call Jacob Jones a Quakers' Quaker and a person who
acted on his principles while finding the spirit of good in all.
From the tax records of 1786, 1788, 1793, 1795, Jacob was listed as a
fanner with 200 acres, a dwelling, 1-2 horses, and 2-3 cows. He did not pay
an occupation tax because he is listed as either "infirmed" or "ancient."
Jacob and Mary, apparently, had no children since none are listed in the
wills or birth records.
Knowing this, and his continued interest in education, it is easy to
understand his gift and his generosity to future generations of children