Joseph Jones (Virginia politician)

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For other persons named Joseph Jones, see Joseph Jones
For other persons named Joey Jones, see Joey Jones
For other persons named Joe Jones, see Joe Jones

Joseph Jones (1727 – October 28, 1805) was an American lawyer and statesman from King George County, Virginia. He was an Anti-Federalist.[1]


Jones was born in King George County, Virginia, part of the Northern Neck, in 1727.[2][1] Jones was born to James and Hester Jones.[1] His father ran a country store and tavern and later became a successful merchant with many contacts to England.[1] Jones was educated nearby but went to England to continue his education; he went to the Inner Temple in London in 1749 and the Middle Temple in 1751, becoming a barrister.[1]

Jones then returned to Virginia and achieved success as a lawyer in the growing town of Fredericksburg.[1] In 1754, Jones become King's attorney for Fredericksburg.[1] In 1758, he married Mary Taliaferro, the daughter of Colonel John Taliaferro of Spotsylvania County.[1]

In 1772, Jones became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the colonial legislature.[2][1] Jones was a "cautious patriot" and served on the committee of safety in 1774-75.[2][1] In 1776, Jones was a supporter of the Revolution during Virginia's second state committee of safety.[1] Also in 1776, Jones was elected to the Fifth Virginia Convention, which produced the Virginia Declaration of Rights.[2][1]

Jones served as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1777 and 1778.[2][1] He was appointed to serve as judge of the Virginia General Court on January 23, 1778, and resigned in October 1779.[2][1] Jones then returned to the Continental Congress, serving as a Virginia delegate from 1780 to 1783.[1]

Jones was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson.[1] Jones served in the House of Burgesses in 1787, where he split with his longtime friend James Madison over the Constitution.[1] Jones wrote in an October 29, 1787 letter to Madison that he had "many objections" to the Constitution and wished to see a declaration of rights attached to it.[1]

Jones was a member of the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, which ratified the federal Constitution.[2][1] At the Convention, Jones was at first a supporter of the proposed constitution, but later turned against it, joining with Patrick Henry George Mason and others to draft proposed amendments to the Constitution.[1] Jones subsequently became "embittered over what he believed was Madison's betrayal of the rights of Virginians" and voted against ratification.[1]

Jones was then appointed once more as judge of the Virginia General Court, on November 19, 1789.[2][1] Jones served as a major general of the Virginia militia.[2]

During the presidency of George Washington, Jones was a supporter of the Jeffersonian faction.[1] He died at his home in Fredericksburg on October 28, 1805.[2][1] Jones was the uncle of James Monroe.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Jon L. Wakelyn, "Joseph Jones" in of the Bill of Rights: Encyclopedia of the Antifederalists, Vol. 1: Biographies (Greenwood, 2004), pp. 99-100.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jones, Joseph, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "Joseph Jones (id: J000241)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.