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Biography For Granville Jones

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Bill Hart


Granville Jones was born in Harrisburg, Lewis County, NY on September 18, 1856 to Marcus Sylvester and Orpha (Allen) Jones.  His mother died when he was four years old and his father passed away when Granville was 15 years old.  He was raised in Harrisburg until age 13 when he came to Wisconsin to live with an uncle.  He went to high school in Fond du Lac County, then entered UW at Madison and graduated in 1882.


Mr. Jones entered the educational field, becoming principal of the high school in Grand Rapids (now Wisconsin Rapids). He came to Wausau in 1884, joining the law firm of Silverthorn, Hurley, Ryan and Jones as a student. He was admitted to the bar in 1886. 

He married Evelyn Amelia Jones of Fond du Lac, WI on July 13, 1887, and they had four daughters.  A member of the University of the Wisconsin Board of Regents, he insisted that each of his daughters attend Vassar. 


Mr. Jones detested both of his given names, so he resigned himself to a pair of initials, G.D.  Interestingly, he came to represent excellence in Wausau education.  A man of contradictions and deep devotion to youth, Jones was given credit for much of the progress in Wausau public schools during the turn of the century.  A self-made, self-educated, deep-thinking individual, Jones worked as a teacher to put himself through college.  Jones later served on the Wausau School Board.


In 1895 he was one of the organizers of the Wausau Telephone Company, for whom he was a legal advisor and counselor for many years. He was one of the founders of Employers Mutual Life Insurance, now Wausau Insurance Companies, and owned the G.D. Jones Land Company. His land company owned over 30,000 acres of rich farm lands in Marathon County and sold them on easy terms to the early settlers.  In addition, G.D. was involved with the Walter Alexander Timber Company, the Neal Brown Land Company, The First National Bank of Wausau, the Wausau Street Railroad Company, the Wausau Sulphate Fiber Company, the John Kiefer Furniture Company, Wausau Fixture & Furniture Company, Watab Pulp & Paper Company, and Peth Candy Company.


For nearly forty years, Granville Jones was one of Wausau’s most popular, energetic and wide-awake citizens. He passed away on September 12, 1924 at the Koehler in Rochester, MN. The Wausau Pilot wrote shortly after his death:  He was the most democratic of men.  Anybody could approach him, with a proposition of any kind, at any time, and nobody with the smallest matter worthy of consideration ever went away empty-handed.  His wants were few – a great reader, a great walker, steady worker.  He was a money-maker, but never with the idea in mind of merely piling up material wealth. 

Mr. Jones is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau, WI.

Other Information

Nickname: G. D.

Date of Birth: 9-18-1856

Place of Birth: New York

Date of Death: 9-12-1924

Place of Burial: Pine Grove Cemetery Wausau, WI

Race: W

Father's Birthplace: New York

Mother's Birthplace: New York

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