Title: Charles H. Jones 1848-1913 : editor and Progressive Democrat
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098374/00001
 Material Information
Title: Charles H. Jones 1848-1913 : editor and Progressive Democrat
Physical Description: vi, 339 leaves. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Graham, Thomas Sentell, 1943-
Copyright Date: 1973
Subject: History thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas S. Graham.
Thesis: Thesis -- University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 328-338.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00098374
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000580531
oclc - 14050378
notis - ADA8636


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Thomas S. Graham

Copyright by
Thomas 3. Craham




From 1869 until 1897 Charles H. Jones was, with few inter-

ruptions, editing one or more periodical publications. Between

1868 and 1907 he wrote or edited more than a dozen books and many

magazine articles. In addition to this he carried on a wide cor-

respondence with personal friends, relatives, and political or

business associates. As a result the present-day researcher is

confronted with a formidable amount of published and unpublished

information relating to his life and career.

I am indebted to.many individuals and institutions for

their help in locating and making available these materials. I

also owe a debt of thanks to the people who gave advice and encour-

agement in the preparation of this study. Mrs. Carl G. Freeman,

Bat Cave, North Carolina, granddaughter of Charles H. Jones,

graciously permitted me to use the Charles H. Jones Papers which

are in her possession. Mr. Richard A. Martin of Jacksonville

made available Xerox copies of most of the material in the Jones

Papers and helped to initiate this project. Professor Julian

Rammelkamp of Albion College pointed out several sources relat-

ing to Jones' career in Missouri journalism and offered many

suggestions relating to interpretation.

I wish to thank Miss Elizabeth Alexander and the staff of

the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, as well as the staff

of the University of Florida Research Library, for their assistance.

Mr. Sherman L. Butler, Interlibrary Loan Librarian, provided inval-

uable aid in locating and securing numerous rare published items

and a large number of microfilmed newspapers. I would also like

to thank the staffs of the following libraries: Haydon Burns

Library, Jacksonville; Florida State Library, Tallahassee; Joint

Universities Library, Nashville; Chicago Public Library; Washing-

ton University Library, St. Louis; Missouri Historical Society

Library, St. Louis; and St. Louis Public Library. Copies of the

St. Louis Mirror wdre made available by the Carol McDonald

Gardner Rare Book Room, St. Louis Public Library.

I am grateful to the members of my graduate committee,

Professor Samuel Proctor, E. A. Hammond, Lyle N. McAlister, Ancil

N. Payne, Claude C. Sturgill, and Manning J. Dauer for their sug-

gestions and evaluations. Ey committee.chairman Samuel Proctor

is due particular thanks for his counsel and criticism and for his

judicious editing of the manuscript.


ACKNOWLEDGNENTS. . . . . . . . . . . ii

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . v



NOTES TO CHAPTER I. . . . . . . . 19


NOTES TO CRAPTER II . . . . . . . 45


NOTES TO CKAPTER III. . . . . . . . 73

IV EDITOR AS POLITICIAN. . . . . . . . 79

NOTES TO CHAPTER IV . . . . . . . 115


NOTES TO CHAPTER V. . . . . . . . 175


NOTES TO CHATPER VI . . . . . . . 254


NOTES TO CHAPTER VII. . . . . . . . 312

VIII EPILOGUE. . . . . . . . . . . 323

NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII . . . . . . . 327

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . 328

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . . . . . . . . 339

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Thomas S. Graham

June, 1973

Chairman: Dr. Samuel Proctor
Major Department: History

The present study is an examination of the life and career

of Charles H. Jones. Born in Talbotton, Georgia, before the

Civil War, Jones went to New York after the end of that conflict

in 1865. He became a contributor to several popular magazines,

editor of the Eclectic and co-editor of Appleton's Journal, and

a writer and editor for D. Appleton Company and Henry Holt. He

came to Florida in 1881 and established the Jacksonville Florida

Daily Times, merging it with the Jacksonville Daily Florida Union

in 1883 to form the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union. He was

active in state and national politics and also took part in the

formation of the National Editorial Association and the American

Newspaper Publishers Association. In 1887 he became part-owner

and editor of the St, Louis Republic. He left the Republic in

1893, becoming editor of the New York World, and then, from 1895

to 1897, the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. During this

time he remained active in politics, both on the state and national

levels. He drafted the Democratic platforms of 1892, 1896, and

1900. He was a correspondent of both Grover Cleveland and William

Jennings Bryan.

This study is based on the publications written or edited

by Jones, other contemporary publications, and considerable

manuscript material, including the Charles H. Jones papers.

This study examines Jones' involvement in the intellect-

ual, social, political, and business questions of the second half

of the 19th century. It is particularly concerned with newspaper

history, partisan politics, and major political issues.



The town of Talbotton lies northeast of Columbus in the

clay hills of Georgia. In antebellum days it was a small but

bright and prosperous community of well kept homes surrounded

by vegetable and flower gardens. Being the county seat and the

only town in the area it was a center of social life and

education. It was there that Charles Henry Jones was born on

March 7, 1848. His mother Susan Eleanor Jones was the daughter

of Stephen Greene, a cousin of General Nathanael Greene, of

Revolutionary War fame, and a.cotton buyer in Savannah for a

New England mill. Charles's father was George washington Jones,

son of a Delaware farmer, who was a dentist and part-time

physician for a health resort at nearby Warm Springs. George W.

Jones was a dark and laconic man, aloof from his children and

.rigid in his ideas about family order.1 He had come to Savannah

where he met and married his wife. Later he moved to Albany,

where his first son James was born. In 1884 the family moved

to Talbotton where a daughter Mary was born, followed by Charles,

a daughter Sidonia, and another son George.2

Susan Jones was a serious, dbitutive woman of such poor

health that she was confined to her home for many years of

Charles Jones's childhood. She was intelligent and cultivated.

and was very active in the local Episcopal church. Of her

Jones would later write: "She was in many respects the most

remarkable woman I have known, and she was so much to me that

it is hard for me to analyze or discriminate. She trained my

mind and moulded my character. To her more than to all other

human beings, more than to all other influences combined, I am

indebted for what I am, for what I have been, and for what I

have done in the world."3

According to Jones's account of his education, he learned

to point out the twenty-six letters of the alphabet in his

father's prayer book before he could speak, and by the age of

four he was studying geography, arithmetic, grammar, and

history. Part of his lessons involved recitation of long

passages memorized verbatim from the text of school books. His

mother demanded that he master these lessons with perfection,

seldom offering encouragement or praise. At an age when most

children are just beginning to learn to read, he had a tutor,

first for Latin and then Greek. At the age of eleven he was

enrolled as a day student at Collingsworth Institute, a

boarding school for boys located in Talbotton. Because of the

thorough education that he had received at home the teachers

at Collingsworth set up a special course for him and one other

advanced student. Despite the demands of his studies, Jones

used his spare time to read every book that he could borrow.

Sir Walter Scott was the popular southern poet and novelist of

that day, but Jones also read Goldsmith, Bunyan, Defoe, and any

book of history or biography that he could lay his hands on.

"Drum and trumpet" histories were his favorite. An effort was

made to enroll him at the University of Georgia at age thirteen,

Jones recalled, but he was refused because of his youth.

The austere educational regime imposed by his mother,

combined with the absence of fatherly affection, had, as Jones

later realized, "a lasting influence upon my character, affect-

ing my conduct, my attitude towards others, even my views of

life. . One result of this attitude of both my parents has

been that during all my life it has been difficult for me to

give expression to my feelings in the customary ways. A reserve,

a reticence, a habit of self-repression has always held me back,

even when I was conscious of it and tried to overcome it."5

Whether from his family life or from the praise he gained

because of his early precociousness, Jones developed other

lasting traits of character. The "instinct of competition,"

the drive to excel at every undertaking was apparent in him

from his youth. Combined with this striving for success was

a desire that it be rewarded with recognition, and even in

childhood "gratification of vanity" became a primary motivating

force. Competition for success and thirst for praise were to

be the theme of his life.

Among Jones's classmates at Collingsworth were Isidore,

Nathan, and Oscar Straus, the sons of Lazarus Straus, a German

Jew who had recently immigrated to the United States after the

Revolution of 1848. Mr. Straus, who ran a dry goods store, was

a respected man in the community despite his religion and foreign

ways. The Straus family moved North after the Civil War

where they became wealthy in the china importing business and

then acquired part ownership of Macy Company in New York.

Oscar and Isidore Straus became active in politics, the former

being made a member of Theodore Roosevelt's cabinet and minister

to Turkey, and the latter becoming a Congressman from New York.

Both were friends of President Cleveland. Oscar Straus re-

mained a friend of Jones during their adult lives.

Although George Jones owned only one slave, slavery was

a prominent feature of life in Talbotton, and to young Charles

it seemed part of the natural order of things. He grew up near

a town where the evils of slavery were perhaps less conspicuous,

but visited large plantations and would later recall that the

slaves seemed the happiest laborers he ever knew. As he remem-

bered it, "the fields and plantation quarters of the old South

were melodious and cheerful with song and banter and careless

laughter, And the house servants, in particular, were treated

with a geniality, even with a familiarity, that is now unknown

in the South or elsewhere."* One incident, however, witnessed

as an eight-year-old, convinced him that slavery was somehow

wrong. Having been sent to the town square one day on an

errand, he chanced upon a slave auction being held on the court

house steps. There a slave woman and her child were separated

and sold apart. The anguish of the woman was terrifying to him,

although at the time he did not realize the full implications

of what he had seen. As he grew to manhood he became convinced

that slavery was a curse on slave and master alike. In later

years, Jones "came to the assured conviction that the Civil War

between the South and the North would have been worth all it

cost in money and wealth, in human life and in human anguish,

if it had accomplished nothing more than the overthrow of that

blighting institution."10

With the coming of the Civil War, life in Talbotton changed.

Although there was never real hunger there, some items such as

salt and coffee became scarce, and the town lost its prosperous

appearance.11 Nearly-all the town's able-bodied men, including

Jones's older brother James, enlisted in the Confederate forces.

Charles, only thirteen when the war broke out, remained behind.

According to family tradition, he once ran away to the war, was

returned home or was brought back by his father, and then en-

listed or re-enlisted during the last months of the conflict.12

Later references made by Jones seem to confirm this story. His

first enlistment may have come in late 1863 or early 1864, in

time for him to see action in the Battle of Atlanta.13 He was

home some time in 1864 and described himself as then "a soldier

who had been through the nerve-wracking scenes enacted on

battlefields."14 In the fall of 1864 he rejoined the army and

was with Hardee's troops when they evacuated Savannah, escaping

across pontoon bridges on the Savannah River in the face of

Sherman's army.15 As an old man he would recall to his grand-

daughter the depths to which the troops were brought during the

closing days of the war. At one time he said they were reduced

to eating vermin and chewing shoeleather, and when by chance,

he encountered his brother James in the field, he begged two

slices of bread from him, although James was hardly better off

than himself.16 At the war's and Jones was in Columbus, Georgia,

where he was paroled by federal officers in July, 1865. "Seeing

that the South was strewn with the wreckage of war and would

for a long time offer no career to its young men," Jones departed

for the North in August to join his older sister Mary, who was

living with her husband in New York.17

When Jones arrived in New York he was a slender, delicate

looking young man, seventeen years of age and only five feet

six inches tall.18 He had a gaunt, hollow-cheeked look, but a

firm mouth and chin.19 He accepted "a very lowly position"

with a dry goods store on Broadway, but worked his way into a

respectable clerking position within a year. However, he "had

no intentions of remaining in the dry goods business," and,

having saved some money, he embarked on a career as a "literary


In the winter of 1866-1867 he sent his first article to

ex-Confederate General D. H. Hill's magazine Land He Love, and,

much to his surprise, he received an acceptance notice and a

check.21 Land We Love (later to be called Southern Magazine)

carried stories of the recent war, agricultural articles, poetry,

literary reviews and travel accounts--all aimed at a southern

audience and bearing the stamp of southern views.22 Following

the custom of the day, many of the articles were unsigned, so

it is impossible to identify Jones's first modest literary


The first article which can definitely be attributed to

Jones appeared in Land He Love in the issue of October, 1868.

It was a description of Chicago, apparently written from an

eyewitness account. His comments were largely favorable. The

industriousness of the people impressed him; the stock yards

and their ancillary facilities seemed a remarkable little city

in themselves, but he decried the lack of an opera house and

the public taste which would demand one.23 In a companion

article, published in December, 1868, Jones looked at America's

second great interior city, St. Louis. He praised the appealing

southern atmosphere of the city, with its fine churches, great

hotels, and elegant library. St. Louis appeared to move at a

more leisurely pace than its northern neighbor. Its Roman

Catholic heritage he found to be a hindrance, but the river-

front merchants displayed an abundance of energy.24 Looking

into the future, Jones predicted that the current world-wide

trend toward urbanization would raise up great metropolises through-

out the vast expanses of the United States. He predicted that

either Chicago or St. Louis, the two major interior trade

centers, would become the nation's great city, and Jones

believed that it would be St. Louis: "We see her the seat of

Empire, and of Civilization on this continent--the imperial

metropolis of the West--the great grain emporium of the world."25

This vision of St. Louis's future would gain nationwide publicity

in 1881 with the publication of L. U. Reavis's St. Louis the

Future Great City of the World: and Its Impending Triumph.

Soon Jones was writing regularly for several popular

magazines. As he would later admit, most of his writing "was

of the 'pot-boiling' kind, for I had to live by my pen."26

His second article appeared in Putnam's Monthly Magazine, one

of the lively new periodicals carrying lighter reading matter

and using the latest illustrative techniques. Putnam's could

not pay top rates for its material, nor did it strive for the

highest standards of literary merit. Another magazine to which

he contributed was Round Table, a general interest magazine

edited by Charles G. Alpine and Henry Sedley which competed

with Nation. No signed articles by Jones appear in Round Table,

and it is likely that his contributions were in the form of

book reviews or items from the magazine's numerous correspondents.

Literary criticism was the magazine's speciality, which it did

with dash and in a censorious style.27

In 1868 Jones began to write book reviews for the

Eclectic Magazine, an old and respected journal which was

doing a thriving business in the post-war years. The Eclectic

procured its articles by clipping them from British magazines,

an accepted and legal practice in the absence of international

copyright laws. It published short stories, religious essays,

biographical sketches, articles on popular science, and travel

accounts to suit the tastes of middle class readers--mostly

women.28 In addition to feature articles, the Eclectic carried

several departments on art, science, and "varieties," which

were also edited by the scissors and glue pot method. About

the only areas for original writing were the literary notices,

comments in the "By the Editor" section, and the explanations

of the excellent frontispiece engravings. The quality of the

writing in thedepartments was very low, and even the book

notices were often purloined from other magazines.

The editor of the Eclectic was Walter Hilliard Bidwell,

a Yale-educated Congregational pastor who had turned to editing

religious journals when his voice failed. He had purchased

the Eclectic in 1846 and had edited it himself until the closing

months of the Civil War when failing health forced him to spend

much of his time traveling or resting. When he eventually

withdrew completely from editorial work on the Eclectic during

1868, Jones assumed editorial control. Although Bidwell's

name would remain on the magazine's title page until his death

in 1881, he spent most of his time living with relatives in

Ohio or in travels around the world.29 Jones changed the

character of the Eclectic only in one respect: he upgraded the

"Literary Notices" department, writing the reviews himself in

thesame caustic tone used by Round Table.

The publisher of the Eclectic was Edward R. Pelton, a

young man eight years Jones's senior who had worked for Bidwell

since before the war, and had become Bidwell's partner and

publisher in 1868.30 The Eclectic was published at 108 Fulton

Street until 1875 when its offices were moved to 25 Bond Street.

Pelton also published books, specializing in works on medicine,

and Jones did some editing for him.

In the early 1870's Jones became co-editor of Appleton's

Journal, a publication of D. Appleton Company noted for its

excellent art work. The magazine had begun as a weekly with a

scientific slant, but had evolved into a general literary

journal. It was not a popular success and was slowly dying.

In 1876 it would become a monthly, later it would lose its fine

illustrations, and finally it would expire in 1881.31 Its

editor was Oliver Bell Bunce, a pleasant man with a talent for

writing witty, sophisticated pieces for the magazine's "Table

Talk" section. Bunce would die a young man, but Jones continued

a regular correspondence with his widow for the rest of his

life. He recognized Bunce as one of the few individuals who

had ever helped him.32 Appleton's Journal had an editorial

viewpoint similar to that of the Eclectic. It was coldly

Spencerian on social questions, in favor of reforms to make

government more honest, and hostile to Reconstruction programs

in the South.

By 1871 Jones had developed into a handsome, confident-

looking gentleman, and had begun to cultivate a pair of long,

whispy sideburns which would ultimately develop into a full

beard.33 In February he married Eliza Cowperwaite of

Philadelphia, a woman two years his senior, who had been raised

by her uncle Andrew M. Erstwick, owner of the estate which had

once belonged to naturalist John Bartram.34 She bore the

couple's first child, a daughter who was named Dora, in November.

Fourteen months later Eliza gave birthto a son who was given

his father's name, but the child lived little more than a year,

dying late in the winter of 1874.35

Jones's literary efforts were by no means confined to his

magazines. He was a contributor to Appleton's Cyclopaedia UgLe]

and an editor of Appleton's numerous travel guides, specializing

in southern resorts. The first book bearing his name was the

1873 edition of Appleton's Handbook of American Travel. Southern

Tour. The following year he edited and abridged a book en-

titled Recent Art and Society for Henry Holt and Company. This

was followed by Vers de Socidtd, a collection of light poetry

published in an elegant gift style by Holt, and Africa, an

edited compilation of travel accounts. He also did an abridge-

ment of the debates of Congress and edited a version of

Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson for Holt. Jones contributed

three biographies--Gladstone, Dickens, and Macaulay---to

Appleton's New Handy Volume Series, all of which were published

in 1880. None of these bODks were of great literary merit, but

they demonstrate Jones's tremendous capacity for work. There

was almost certainly a great deal more writing of this sort

done by Jones, but exact titles cannot be authenticated. Jones

was well aware that most of his writing was ephemeral. He once

wrote a friend, commenting on a particularly bad book done by

a reputable writer: "I can imagine a man doing such work under

spur of necessity and consequently without blame--with ample

excuse, in fact, for the public condemns the professional

literary man to frequent pot-boiling, and he must bow to his

fate."36 In a subsequent letter he added, "I am sorry for any

one who has to do hack literary work under compulsion of


Jones's appetite for work was perhaps his greatest asset,

but it was also a weakness for it led to chronic health prob-

lems due to nervousness and fatigue. In the spring of 1876

when he was writing both during the day and in the evening he

suffered what he described as a "nervous collapse" or an "acute

brain attack" which prostrated him for three days. He seems

to have regarded such illnesses as part of the price of living

the literary life, for he doused himself with patent medicine

and whiskey and resumed work. He confided to a friend that had

suffered similar attacks for the past four years, and speculated

that they were inevitable, "I should not be surprised if they

become periodical, in a sense, until the candle has flickered


Probably the best treatment for his constitution was his

annual summer vacation at Middlebury, Vermont, in the Green

Mountains overlooking Lake Champlain. There he and his wife

occupied their time in hiking, attending parties, and "petty

competitions of croquet." Among his companions was Julian W.

Abernethy, a thin, curly haired college student who would

shortly receive a doctorate from Yale and assume a life as a

professor of English.40 Abernethy became one of Jones's

closest friends for the remainder of his life.

Some idea of Jones's views on the social questions which

would later play a part in his career as a newspaper editor can

be seen in the reviews he wrote for the Eclectic. Politics had

little attraction for Jones at the time, and he devoted little

space in the Eclectic on reviews of political books. E. R.

Pelton, his publisher, later testified that Jones was "strictly

a literary man" during his years in New York.41 Jones shared

a feeling common among intellectuals that politics was a

sordid affair, and he echoed Peter Cooper's advice that good

people ought to "overthrow the despotism of parties and

politicians."42 Yet reason and reform in politics seemed a

remote possibility to Jones because the general public appeared

impervious to reason on the subject of politics.43 Later when

Jones was very much involved in politics he claimed, no doubt

truthfully, that he had always maintained sympathy with the

Democratic party. He did admit to voting for the Republican

candidate Grant in 1868 out of a feeling that a military man

would be magnanimous to the South, and he declared that in

local elections he was one of the "young scratchers" who

opposed Tammany's methods.** The most Jones ever claimed for

his political action in New York was that he had been an early

advocate of civil service reform and a worker for Samuel Tilden

in the election of 1876.45

The most popular philosophical and social writer of the

day was Herbert Spencer, of whom Jones was at first an

enthusiastic proponent, although he later toned down his

enthusiasm without abandoning Spencerian habits of thought.

His early attraction to Spencer was based on the belief that

Spencer was dealing in pure "fact."46 He retreated some from

his position in the face of criticism leveled at Spencer, yet

defended Spencer's system as "one of the grandest scientific

generalizations of our times." Jones thought that the

application of Darwinian analogies to the social condition of

mankind was realistic, and he even considered the inheritance of

political institutions a possibility. He saw man as a

creature motivated by passion; the mass of mankind being

"constitutionally superior to reason."49 He sometimes expressed

the view that "this boasted modern civilization is indeed but

a thin veneer covering a barbarism the more frightful and de-

basing because of its contrast with the surrounding aspects of

civilized life.n50 In such a world liberty, equality, and

fraternity were impossible, and probably not desirable.51

The Eclectic had little sympathy with the efforts of

reformers or trade unions to ameliorate the condition of the

masses, indeed Jones was not sure that efforts to reduce the

gap between the rich and the poor were worthwhile, even if

possible. Differences between classes were natural, thus any

reform aimed at social equality was bound to be "spurious and

artificial."52 The laws governing labor and capital precluded

any substantial altering of the relative positions of capitalist

and worker, and efforts by unions to overthrow these laws had

done much harm, indeed, they were a "menaceto society.n53

Jones advised workers to inform themselves of the realities of

economics and "end their suicidal and hopeless battering with

social laws."54 Industry, economy, and education were the

working man's best hope for self-improvement. Employers ought

to be enlightened and aware of the moral obligations inherent

in their positions, yet Jones feared that generosity could not

realistically be expected.55 In any case, charity ought to be

a consideration separate from business.56

As his youthful infatuation with Spencer began to wane,

Jones modified his view of the human situation, becoming more

concerned with the problems of the working classes. He main-

tained his Spencerian concept of society, but tempered it with

a gradualist, evolutionary allowance for change, He speculated

that the discontent of the masses under capitalism would pro-

duce a tension which would force a modification of the social

order, and repression would simply make the final change more

explosive. His hope was that capital and labor could find

shared interests on which to found a new stability.57

On economic questions Jones followed the line of laissez

faire orthodoxy set down by william Graham Sumner, This included

low taxes, complete freedom of contract, hostility to labor

unions, and also low tariffs.58 This last tenant of economic

Liberalism had particular appeal to Jones. He argued that the

protective system which had been adopted during the war should

be abandoned and would be abandoned when the agricultural

populace of the nation was correctly informed on the issue.59

On the currency question, the Eclectic held that circulation of

money was guided by natural laws, and that these laws could not

be override by efforts at creating fiat money. Paper money

was not real money, and gold coin was preferable to silver.60

As a Southerner, Jones was of the opinion that the primary

problem facing the government and people was that of reuniting

a nation divided by the Civil War. He lamented in 1868 that

the election was an occasion for stirring up the embers of

sectional "passions and animosities" which should be allowed

to die and would subside but for what he felt was their crass

exploitation by politicians.61 Horace Greely, the Democratic

candidate that year, received his praise for advocating

universal amnesty for former Confederates.62 Greeley's pro-

gram was in line with Jones's belief that the South ought to

be left alone to settle its own problems in its own way. While

the abolition of slavery was a good and necessary thing,

approved by both North and South, relations between the Negro

and his former master were something to be resolved without

outside interference. One of Jones's northern friends dubbed

him "an unreconstructed rebel" for holding such views.63

Jones's most complete and unified statement of his

assessment of the sectional problem appeared in his extended

review of Albion W. Tourgee's, A Fool's Errand, published in

1880 as an article in Appleton's Journal. Jones condemned the

book because he felt it was designed to revive sectional

animosities which were once real because they were based on

actual differences, accentuated by war, but which were no

longer real. A Fool's Errand, he felt, exaggerated the South's

hostility to "Northern" ideas, yet a person so closed-mindedly

self-righteous in his beliefs as the book's protagonist ought

to expect violent opposition. Problems of society are complex,

he argued, and no simple answers are sufficient for them;

therefore toleration of divergent opinions is necessary. If

the North had a more tolerant attitude at present, it had not

always.been so and was so now only because Northern society

contained no "offensive" group comparable to the Negro. A far

better basis for forming opinion on the question could be

gained from James S. Pike's The Prostrate State, a book which

Jones had given an extensive review in the Eclectic years before.

The unchangeable fact was, as Jones saw it, that the Negro

could rule in the South only by force of numbers, for wealth,

intelligence, and political experience were on the side of the

whites. Such books as A Fool's Errand could do little good,

and would perpetuate passions that could only hinder settlement

of "the most difficult and baffling problem that American

statesmen have to face."65

In 1880 Jones and Abernethy began collaboration on a

"gazetteer" of some sort which would incorporate the latest

census returns. This project dragged on for months and

developed into a much larger project than originally anticipated,

a development which distressed Jones since his contract with

the publisher did not compensate him for the extra work.66 A

book on George Eliot which Jones was working on at the same

time came to an "ignominious end" in February, 1881, when Jones

discovered that Roberts Brothers publishers of Boston, seven

years earlier, had copyrighted and published much of the

material he wished to use. Jones sold the "biographical memoir"

to Roberts Brothers, who incorporated it into a new edition of

the book which was published in 1882.67 Such things led Jones

to curse the problems of life as a "Grub Street" writer.68 He

wrote Abernethy, "I shall yet flee away to the remotest wilder-

ness of the West in order to escape these books, magazines,

and newspapers."

The pressures of the literary work were not the only

discomforting aspect of life in New York. The weather during

the winter of 1880-1881 was very bad, and, in Jones's words,

"To go out of doors was literally to risk one's skin."70 Both

he and his wife were experiencing poor health.71 "I have been

in the habit of saying that I liked the Northern winters

better than the summers," Jones wrote in February, '%ut I shall

be cautious hereafter about expressing such an opinion."72

His spirits rose in the spring as he undertook a book on

which he would retain the copyright and which would be of

genuine worth, unlike the sort of work in which he had been

employed. The book was to be "an 'inside view' of the country's

history," and would deal with the great men and ideas which had

guided the nation. He wrote Abernethy telling him of his delight

in having full control over the book, but adding that he was

staggered by the "appalling amount of labor" which lay before

him.73 Despite his enthusiasm for it, the book was never

completed, although Jones kept it in mind for the rest of his

life and still planned to write it at the time of his death.


1Charles H. Jones, "Autobiography" (unpublished
autobiographical fragment, Charles H. Jones Papers). The Jones
Papers--letters, notebooks, photographs, manuscript drafts of
party platforms, and newspaper clippinge--are owned by Jones's
granddaughter Mrs, Carl G. Freeman, Bat Cave, North Carolina.
Xerox copies are in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Florida, Gainesville. The collection will herein-
after be referred to as JP; those things not in the Yonge
Library will be noted "original."

2Rowland H. Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, 2 vols. (Atlanta,
1902), II, 578.

3Jones, "Autobiography," 12.

Ibid., 45-59.

5Ibid., 31.

6Ibid., 79.

7Ibid., 81.

8Ibid., 25; Oscar S. Stratus, Under Four Administrations
(Boston, 1922), 4.

Jones, "Autobiography," 40.

10Ibid., 42.

11Straus, Four Administrations, 15.

12Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, December 27, 1964;
clipping, Springfield Sunday Union and Republican, November 17,
1929; interview with Mrs. Carl G. Freeman, Bat Cave, North
Carolina, September 17, 1972.

13Jones, "Autobiography," 56; Jacksonville Florida Times-
Ugaggy, February 9, 1888.
14Jones, "Autobiography," 38.

15Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, November 29, 1881;
Charles H. Jones, "Sketch of Life---1895"(unpublished autobiographical
note), JP.

NOTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)
Interview with Mrs. Carl G. Freeman.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, July 2, 1886; Jones,
"Sketch of Life."

18Charles H. Jones, passport, number 26498, issued
February 18, 1907, original, JP.

19Charles H. Jones, photograph, ca. 1886, original, JP.

20Jones, "Sketch of Life."

22Frank Luther Hott, A History of American Magazines,
1865-1885, 5 vols. (Cambridge, 1938), III, 46.

23[Charles H. Jones], "Chicago," Land We Love, V (OctDber,
1868), 469-476.

24Charles H. Jones, "St. Louis, Missouri," Ibid., VI
(December, 1868), 126-134.

25Ibid., 132.

26Jones, "Sketch of Life."

27rbid.; Mott, American Magazines, III, 319.

28Mott, American Magazines, III, 256.

29"Walter Hilliard Bidwell" (obit.), Eclectic, XXXIV
(November, 1881), 720.

30"Edward Richmond Pelton" (obit.), Eclectic Magazine and
Monthly Edition of the Living Age, series 3, I (January-June,
1899), bound in front of volume.

31Samuel C. Chew, ed., Fruit Among the Leaves (New York,
1950), 23-24; Mott, American Magazines, III, 90, 417-420.

32Jones to Julian W. Abernethy, May 26, 1889; Jones to
Dora Jones, November 1, 1908, original, JP.
Charles H. Jones, photograph, 1871, original, JP.

34Entry for Eliza Cowperwaite, "Geneological Record," JP,


36Jones to Abernethy, December 9, 1878. JP.

ROTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)

371bid., December 30, 1878, JP.

38Ibid., October 20, 1876; February 18, 1877, JP.

39Ibid., December 9, 1878, JP.

40Julian W. Abernethy (1853-1923) was a native of
Burlington, Vermont. He was professor of literature at Adelphi
Academy and principal of Berkeley Institute in Brooklyn. His
extensive library and collection of American first editions
was given to Niddlebury College, Vermont, on his death, New
York Times, July 4, 1923.

41Jacksonville FloridA Times-Union, November 10, 1887.

42Eclectic, XVII (May, 1873), 635.

43Eclectic, X (September, 1869), 369.

"Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, July 22, August 2, 1884.

45Ibid., December 15, 1885; August 21, 1887.

46Eclectic, XIX (June, 1874), 758.

47Ibid., XXII (July, 1875), 121.

Ibid., XVII (February, 1873), 248.

49Ibid., VIII (November, 1868), 1415.

50Ibid., XVII 0Karch, 1873), 372.

51Ibid., XVIII (July, 1873), 121.

52Ibid., XIII (May, 1871), 633.

53Ibid., XXI (March, 1875), 378.

54Ibid., XVII CRay, 1873), 634.

55Ibid., XXIV (December, 1876), 763; XIII OKay, 1871), 633.

56Ibid., XXVI (November, 1877), 637.

57Ibid., XXXI (June, 1880), 763; XXXIV (July, 1881), 138.

58Tbid., X (December, 1869), 759.

59Ibid., XXVI (October, 1877), 509.

60Ibid., XXIII (January, 1876), 121; XXIII (February,
1876), 249.

NOTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)

61Ibid., VIII (November, 1868), 1413.

62Ibid., XI (April, 1870), 497.

63Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, August 21, 1887.

64Eclectic, XIX (February, 1874), 247.

65charles H. Jones, "Sectional Fiction," Appleton's
Journal, IX (December, 1880), 564.

66Jones to Abernethy, April 6, 1881, JP.

67Ibid., February 7, 1881; Wit and Hisdom of George Eliot
with a Biographical Memoir (Boston, 1882),

68Jones to Abernethy, April 6, 1881, JP.

69Ibid., December 6, 1880, JP.

70Ibid., February 7, 1881. JP*

71Ibid., November 24, December 6, 1880, JP.

72Ibid., February 7, 1881, JP.

73Ibid., March 14, 25, April 6, 1881. JP.



Sometime in the winter of 1880-1881 Appleton received a

manuscript of a travel book on Florida from George M. Barbour,

a Chicago newspaperman who had been living in that state for

the past year. The manuscript was turned over to Jones, who

wrote a letter to Reverend Mr. T. W. Moore of Fruit Cove,

Florida, inquiring about some points in Barbour's work. Moore

had written a book Treatise and Handbook on Orange Culture in

Florida which had been published by Pelton. In his reply to

JonesMoore objected to some things Barbour had said, and

Jones decided to go to Florida to see for himself and gather

more material to supplement Barbour's document for publication

as a full-scale book by Appleton.1

On May 25, 1881, Jones wrote Abernethy telling him of his

pending journey to Florida. Primarily it would be a business

trip, but he hoped to enjoy a restful sea voyage to and from

Florida, recuperating from his editorial labors in New York.

The prospect of a mid-summer visit in the semi-tropics,

however, seemed much less pleasant. Collecting materials for

the Barbour book would be the immediate purpose of the visit,

but Jones appended a cryptic message to his letter: "I have a

special object in mind when I say to you, save every dollar

you can."2

Jones may have been considering purchase of a newspaper

in Florida at the time, but he also wanted his friend to join

him in a venture in citrus growing. During the summer, he,

Abernethy, and another northern friend combined to buy some

acreage in Orange County from John G. Sinclair, a New Hampshire

immigrant who did business in real estate and had plans for

establishing a plant for processing starch from cassava.3

Perhaps Jones was influenced in his decision to enter the field

of citrus growing by the claims of "fabulous" profits to be

made in oranges with only a modicum of effort, as described in

Moore's Treatise. Reality proved somewhat different than

Moore had pictured it, and Jones's investment never resulted

in any citrus production, although he continued to hold the

land until 1884.5

Jones arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, during the first

week in June. He set Moore and traveled with him looking at

the state and gathering materials for the Barbour book.6 But

he also talked to several individuals in Jacksonville about the

possibility of purchasing the Daily Florida Union, a journal

which had been established during the Civil War and was now

edited by Hugh B. McCallum, a man slowly dying of consumption.

Barbour had initiated negotiations for purchase of the paper

earlier, and had suggested that Jones resume conversations with

McCallum.? Jones talked to the Union's editor about the pro-

posal, and, according to Jones, it was agreed that McCallus

would discuss the matter with friends and set a price. When

Jones ventured that if the price were too high he would prefer

to start a new paper rather than purchase the Union, McCallum

took the statement as a threat and vowed that he would fight

to defend the Union field.

Jones returned to New York at the end of the month,

without having reached a decision on purchase of the paper,

but he was interested in going forward with plans to take it.

"When you come down, bring every dollar you can scrape together,"

he wrote Abernethy, promising to explain everything when they

met in New York.9 He also wrote his brother George, who he

hoped would join him in Florida, and received an encouraging

reply.10 Early in September he returned to Florida, after

being delayed at sea by storms off the Carolina coasts. Back

in Jacksonville Jones made some discoveries that convinced him

that he did not want the Union regardless of its sale price.11

A check of the county clerk's office by Barbour revealed that

the Union was heavily mortgaged, so Barbour was sent to tell

McCallum that if he and Jones entered the field it would be

with a new publication.12 Jones made an appointment to see

Assistant Commissioner of Immigration Samuel Fairbanks, and

in his office, Jones, Fairbanks, and former Republican Governor

Harrison Reed, who lived near Jacksonville, discussed the

possibilities of beginning a new paper. Reed's description of

the fractured state of Florida's Republican party convinced

Jones that a Republican paper could not survive, but an

independent-Democratic paper might attract support from both


Returning to New York early in October, Jones hurried

preparations for establishing a second Jacksonville daily

newspaper. He ordered a press and materials for the paper

from New York firms, had Barbour make preparations in

Jacksonville, and arranged to rent his New York home during

his absence.14 In spite of the confusion, Jones invited

Abernethy to visit him in New York and congratulated him on

securing a position on the faculty of Adelphi Academy.

Abernethy's coming to Adelphi was a great achievement, Jones

felt, "I wish the wisdom of my own step were as little open

to doubt."15 Leaving his wife in New York and admonishing

Abernethy to call on her, Jones departed again for Florida.16

November storms made the passage rough and kept him constantly

seasick during nest of the voyage.

Work on setting up the newspaper's plant and offices had

hardly begun when Jones arrived in Jacksonville, where he

immediately busied himself "evolving order out of the wildest

confusion."17 Despite the disorder, Jones found his enterprise

warmly encouraged by local people, and his attitude became

more confident.18 Delays caused by oversights in ordering of

materials or in their shipment set back the date for publication

at least a week and increased his anxiety. Not enough type had

been orderedgalley racks were ordered but not received, and an

essential part of the press could not be located. The delay cost

about $200, Jones estimated, but he confided to Abernethy that

the ultimate success of the paper was as sure as anything could

be.19 During the final push to get out the first edition, Jones

remained in the newspaper offices almost all the time,

emerging only briefly to eat and sleep.20

The newspaper's offices were located above Hughes' [sic.]

Drug Store on Bay Street at the Ocean Street intersection.

Jones provided himself with a handsomely furnished office that

impressed one resident Florida newspaperman as "the neatest

and best-appointed private sanctum in the South."21 The

paper would be printed on a hand powered Campbell press

designed for country newspapers. Jones and Barbour were

named in the prospectus as the paper's proprietore--Jones

providing the literary talent and Barbour the experience of

ten years' work with western newspapers. Jones would be editor

with responsibility for handling the Associated Press dispatches,

and Barbour would edit state and local news.22 Fred W. Hoyt,

a local man with experience on several Jacksonville and

Fernandina newspapers, was managing editor.23 The paper was

to be published daily, except Monday, an omission necessitated

by Jacksonville's ordinance against working on the sabbath.

The subscription rate of $10.00 per year, "strictly in advance,"

was .the same as the Union's.24

The first edition of the Florida Daily Times appeared on

November 29, 1881. It had four pages of eight columns each,

with only two front page columns devoted to advertisements.

The telegraphic dispatches which appeared on the front page

were short, and most dealt with crime, violence, or natural

disasters. About half the paper's space was given over to

advertisements, suggesting that patronage was not a problem,

although some questioned whether Jacksonville could support two

daily newspapers.25 Many of the local "news" stories were

covert advertisements designed to promote Florida, a hotel, a

steamship line, or a store. The Times claimed that it had more

advertisements than it could publish.26 Most telegraphic dis-

patches were short to save wire charges. Langer stories

usually concerned some matter of lasting importance since they

had to be sent by mail, The Guiteau trial was providing this

sort of material at the time. Moore's Orange Culture, Barbour's

Florida for Tourists, Invalids and settlers, and several of

Pelton's medical books were advertised prominently. The over-

all tone of the paper was light, full of "chit-chat," with a

flippant attitude toward politics and politicians. Editorials

dominated the second page--still the core of the newspaper--and

the expected "Farm, Garden, Household" column shared page three

with seven columns of advertisements.

After a week of publication Jones could write Abernethy

that the success of the paper, despite some expected difficulties,

was "unequivocal." The Times's new type and uncluttered format

made it, Jones declared, "the neatest paper south of Philadelphia,"

Moreover, the paper was inundated with demands for advertising

space to an extent that amazed Jones.27 Abernethy wrote to

give the paper his approval, and Jones replied that it was

improving with every issue, while circulation was steadily

expanding. The success of the paper was beyond doubt, he

averred, but with success went the responsibility for getting

out the paper on schedule every day without relent. "The

curse of Sisyphus is upon me," lamented Jones.28

One of the first things Jones had done on arriving in

Florida was to write Abernethy asking him to arrange with a

friend at the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican for an

exchange. Jones thought the Raygg LLyyaywould want the Times

for news of Florida, and he believed that it was the one paper

he must have.29 His ambition was to model his paper after the

Republican, making it known for quality and editorial content,

even though small in circulation and located in a remote corner

of the republic.30 Jones watched for quotations from his

paper in the northern press and brought such notices to the

attention of the Times's readers.31 In his first editorial,

Jones outlined a policy of independent journalism which sup-

posedly would guide the policy of the paper. The Times would

be independent of political parties, not out of a spirit of

hostility, but in order to remain free of any obligations

except those owed its general readership. Thus members of both

parties could freely patronize the newspaper.32 After a year of

publication, Jones would write that many people were "watching

with interest the experiment of publishing an outspoken, fear-

less, and independent newspaper" in a section of the country

where, he said, the press had seldom dared stand on principle.

In the first issue of the Times Jones went on to say that,

contrary to the prevailing attitude, editorial comment was not

the primary function of a newspaper. Increasingly it was the

trend for newspapers to subordinate comment on the news to

printing of the news itself. At the same time, the concept of

news was changing to include more than just politics: any

area of human endeavor was the proper sphere of the journalist.

The sciences, literature, and art should receive attention,

and it should all be done in a style which would entertain as

well as enlighten the reader.34 Jones tried to practice the

philosophy he proclaimed. He induced Oliver Bell Bunce to do

a series of light essays on New York society for the Sunday

Times during the 1881-1882 season. On Sunday the usual

political editorials were supplanted by long essays on authors

or some aspect of literature. Jones also attempted to turn

the farm and garden column into a real vehicle for dispensing

information of use to agriculturalists in Florida's unique

climate. He solicited contributions from experts in various

departments of agriculture, and opened the column with a

series of articles by T. W. Moore.

Tariff reform and civil service reform constituted the

focal point of the Times's editorial stance on national politics,

and Jones continued to argue, as he had with the Eclectic, that

sectionalism and the emotional questions remaining from the

Civil War era were no longer real issues; they were sham issues

employed by politicians to avoid coming to grips with living

problems.35 The Times endorsed a tariff for revenue only,

arguing that the surplus was dangerous, taxes were too high,

government spending was too extravagant, and high prices

caused by the tariff actually retarded industrialization in the

South.36 During the fall election campaign of 1882 the Times

ran a series of essays designed to educate the public on the

fundamentals of the tariff question. In taking a low tariff

stance the Times was being closer to traditional Democratic

lines than were the New South protectionists, such as Henry

Grady of the Atlanta Constitution. Civil service reform,

Jones argued, should be of particular interest to the South

since it was there that the worst abuses. of the patronage

system had occurred.37 From the start, the Times endorsed

Pendleton's proposal for a merit system.38

In local affairs, the Times crusaded to make the city of

Jacksonville more attractive, and therefore more pleasing to

resort vacationers who expected plush surroundings. Some

changes, the Times suggested, could be made easily enough by

the people themselves. They could stop emptying their slop

buckets in the gutters, clean up the rubbish on the streets,

and sweep their sidewalks and keep them in good repair.

Another more challenging undertaking would be the construction

of shell roads along the riverfront so that winter guests

could enjoy the view and the fresh air. But the improvement

that Jones probably wished to see most was the paying of Bay

Street. Running parallel to the river one block inland, Bay

Street was the heart of the town's business district. Its

surface was a mixture of sand, sawdust, and horse manure, and

after every heavy rain it became a foul smelling series of mud

flats and ponds perfectly meriting its name. Jones pledged the

Times's support to any project for paying the street and

volunteered twenty-five dollars toward the enterprise.39

Before the end of 1881 the Times was claiming that it had

enough paid circulation to run at a profit, even though no

systematic canvass of the state had yet been made.40 9

January, 1882, it was claimed that issues of the Times were

being published in volumes matching the largest ever produced

in Florida, and on March 17, 1882, the Times published an out-

sized edition featuring a front page interview with Governor

William D. Blaxham taken from the New Orleans Times-Democrat.

The Times claimed that 5,000 copies of this edition were

printed, and that the press had run from midnight until two

o'clock the next afternoon in getting it out.41 By this time

Jones declared that the Times had as large a circulation as

any newspaper in Florida, that it had no debts, and that it

was making money at a rate which had enabled him to regain

one-quarter of his original investment.42 That the Times was

making money is virtually certain, and it also seems likely

that it was debt free. No records have been found detailing

the finances of the paper, but Jones later claimed that he had

financed the newspaper himself, using $16,000 saved from his

literary work.43 It appears unlikely that Abernethy or anyone

else had an interest in the newspaper.

Mrs. Jones and Dora arrived in Florida just in time for

the festivities of the winter season and were delighted by the

receptions and parties which highlighted Jacksonville's

brightest time of the year. Jones wrote Abernethy that

Mrs. Jones had proven to be "quite a belle."" However, her

life in Jacksonville would be quiet by comparison to that of

her husband. She seems to have involved herself with work in

the Episcopal Church and to have enjoyed an unobtrusive

association with a wide circle of friends.45 She and Dora

were frequently out of the city during the summers vacationing

in the North.

Having passed the crisis of establishment, Jones set out

to boom the Times as the state's coming newspaper. Every day

there were reports of the paper's increasing success: the

Times was sold out early at the hotels, newspapers in other

states were clamoring for exchanges with the Times, extra news-

print had to be purchased because of the unexpected demand. 7

The public was reminded that the Times was not a local paper,

but a journal for all the state. A morning train carried the

Times to subscribers in Fernandina/ Efforts were made to

secure regular correspondents in all sections of the state,

and canvassers were sent out to seek advertisements and sub-

scribers. Barbour went to South Florida in December and to

Middle Florida in January; others went up the St. Johns calling

at all the port stops. 9 Of course, there was the problem

common to all newspapers of the solicitor who absconded with

subscription money.50 Jones even announced the opening of a

New York office of the Times. It was at 25 Bond Street,

Pelton's address, and whether or not the Times got many

subscriptions there, the mere fact of a New York office looked

impressive.51 Another means of attracting subscribers was the

offer of a free copy of Florida for Tourists, Invalids, and

Settlers to those who agreed to take the paper for a half year

or more.52

The Times's relations with the Union were, at least on

the surface, friendly. On the advice of former Governor Reed,

Jones had written a letter to McCallum when he returned to

Florida, attempting to promote good will. McCallum wrote a

cold reply, but Jones went to the Union office and met with

McCallum and the staff.53 A brief feud broke out in December

when the Union published a complaint that Barbour had spread

a rumor in South Florida that the owners of the Times held a

mortgage on the Union which they intended to foreclose and

that Jones, as agent for the Associated Press, had obtained a

monopoly of the dispatches, sharing them with the Union only

out of kindness. Jones denied any part in spreading such

rumors, and Barbour published a denial under his name, but he

still maintained that the Union was, in fact, mortgaged.54

When the Union took issue with his denial, Barbour repeated

that he had not tried to spread misconceptions about the AT

dispatches, and he declared that within the past few days he

had been shown another mortgage covering nearly everything

owned by the Union.55 Jones closed the incident with a plea

for professional comity among editors; equating newspaper

disputes with cock fighting--amusing to the public but uselessly

On February 10 Jones made the unexpected announcement

that Barbour had ceased to be an "employee" of the Times, and

that, contrary to popular impression, he had never owned any

interest in the newspaper. Jones said that Barbour had

promised to finance the paper jointly with him, but had failed

to do so. Meanwhile he had borrowed money to pay for everything

from car fare to his laundry bills. On January 9 Jones had

made a new contract with Barbour under which he was supposed

to collect subscriptions and advertisements, but instead he

had worked "treacherously and insidiously" against the interests

of the paper.57 Later Jones would charge that Barbour had

allied himself to the Union and was telling potential patrons

of the Times that the paper was secretly Republican in sympathy.58

The day after the announcement of Barbour's severance from the

Times, Jones revealed that he had done much of the writing of

Florida for Tourists, Invalids, and Settlers, hoping to nullify

the benefit Barbour gained from his reputation as the book's


On the day that Jones announced Barbour's departure, the

Times office was visited by Eamuel H. Small, a writer for the

Atlanta Constitution who was in Jacksonville looking for a

cottage where he and his invalid wife might spend the winter.60

At the time, McCallum of the Union was confined to his home by

illness, while business manager Harrison Clark and chief editorial

writer John Temple Graves ran the daily affairs of the news-

paper.61 About the beginning of March, Small became a proprietor

of the Union, but within a month he had gone over to the Times,

purchasing an interest of that paper. Jones wrote a long

announcement of Small's coming to the Times, and changed the

paper's listed ownership to "Jones and Small.n62 Behind the

scenes an effort was being made to merge the two papers, but

the nature of that effort was soon to become a matter of

controversy. The Union charged that Jones and Small had been

working together in a conspiracy to ease McCallum out of con-

trol of the Union and to merge the two papers. As evidence,

a letter from Jones to Small was produced in which Jones wrote

about the conditions of a merger and the policy to be followed

until merger. McCallum was not mentioned in the letter. 63

Jones told a different story. He said that shortly after

the beginning of the Times he had been approached by McCallum's

friends with proposals for a merger, but no progress had been

made at the time. Small's appearance on the scene revived

interest in a merger. Jones had begun negotiations with Small

while Small was with the Union, and he wrote Abernethy on

March 5 announcing plans for a "grand combination," but en-

joining him to keep quiet for the moment.64 After the dispute

broke into the open, Jones claimed that Small and friends of

McCallum had told him that Small, backed by others, controlled

the Union. As it turned out, this was not true. For his part,

Small denied the charges of collusion with Jones and explained

that he had re-sold his interest in the Union to McCallum.65

Small remained at the Times, becoming night editor when

Charles A. Choate resigned to return to his farm near

Tallahassee.66 However, Jones soon found that Small was not the

asset to the paper he had expected. "Small, on whom I counted

so confidently, turned out to be the most consummate scoundrel

that it was ever my lot to be brought in contact with," Jones

wrote Abernethy. "He was drunk four fifths Isic] of the time

(never really sober), a spendthrift, a gambler, and a bully.

In his drunken wrath one night when we were alone in the office

he drew a revolver on me to enforce a claim which (he] pretended

to have."67 On April 12, 1882, Small's name was taken down from

the masthead, and four days later Jones announced that he had re-

acquired Small's interest in the paper, On the previous day a

suit which Small had brought against Jones was withdrawn from

circuit court.68 Jones told Abernethy that he had paid Small

'11ackmail to the tune of $250" in order to be rid of him. The

strain of running the newspaper and fighting a lawsuit with

Small had proven too much for him. "He had counted upon this

with devilish malignity," Jones explained.69

Whether Jones had, in fact, attempted to use Small to

gain control of the Union cannot be determined from existing

evidence. However, there seems to be little doubt that Small

was the rascal that Jones had described. John Varnum, who was

city editor of the Times during the dispute, would later

characterize Small as a "little fraud,"70 Small returned to

Georgia where he failed in a newspaper venture of his own. He

was then "converted" by revivalist Sam Jones and spent the

following years as a traveling evangelist, often appearing

with Sam Jones, before returning to his first vocation as a

writer for the Atlanta Constitution. Jones maintained that

both he and McCallum had been taken in by Small, and he pro-

fessed to be deeply hurt by the Union's attempt to cast him as

a sneak. "Not being of that temperament that enables a man to

remain calm and complacent under calumny and vituperation,"

Jones declared, "I resolved deliberately at the time of that

first attempt to make the Chion [sic] sorry for it and all sub-

sequent attempts."

After the Small affair Jones considered returning North.

Directing the affairs of a daily newspaper was a great strain

even under normal conditions. In February he had written

Abernethy, "I am on the treadmill all the time, and though

there is a wonderful fascination about it, I am about worn

out."72 By April he felt that he was verging on physical

collapse.73 Jones decided to sell the Times if he could find

a buyer, and sent his attorney to see McCallum and other

potential purchasers. McCallum declined to buy at Jones's

price, and may not have had the money to do so anyway. No

other purchaser being available, Jones, perhaps encouraged by

the support he received when word leaked out that he was

planning to leave, decided to keep his paper.

Part of Jones's problem from the start had been his

failure to secure competent, steady staff members.75 Hoyt and

Choate had done good work in establishing the paper, but now

both had left the Times. Jones set about reorganizing his

staff. His brother George and his city editor John Varnum,

who had both been with the paper from its inception, were

brought into partnership with him by selling them a little

less than half interest. Varnum had come to Florida during

Reconstruction when his father was a general in command of

federal troops stationed at Pensacola. He had tried orange

growing, was once a deputy United States marshall, and had

come to Jacksonville to practice law with Edward M. Cheney,

a former owner of the Union.77 After the establishment of

Jones, Varnum and Company, Jones was still one man short

because of Small's ouster. This difficulty was resolved in

June when Judge A. O. Wright of Pensacola was made city editor.

Varnum moved up to the position of managing editor with

general supervisory duties.78 when John Ransom, the paper's

Washington correspondent, came into the office as news editor

in December, the Times organization was complete and relatively


During the spring and summer Jones quarreled with the

Union and the city council over the method of awarding the

contract for printing city tax lists. He charged that the

chairman of the printing committee had given the contract to

his rival even though his own paper had sent in a bid only

one-tenth that of the Union.80 The Times blasted this as

"collusion, back-stairs methods, and betrayal of public

interests."81 At first the council decided to ignore the

action of the chairman of the printing committee and awarded

the contract to Jones. Having secured the city printing, Jones

proclaimed the Times "Official Paper of the City," but promised

that all profits from the contract above printing costs would

be donated to the public library to show that he had been

motivated only by a sense of fair play.82 Jones also asked

for competitive bidding on all future contracts.83 On May 17

the Union, which had printed the tax lists under authorization

of the printing committee chairman, presented a bill to the

council for $451.34, and the Times requested $46.66 for the

same work. When the council voted to pay the Union and took

no stand regarding bidding on future contracts, managing editor

Varnum ridiculed the decision and city attorney John Hartridge's

argument supported the decision.85

This sort of personal attack was an invitation to

retaliation, and Varnum was warned that he would be assaulted.

On July 1, as he was returning to the Times office from dinner,

he was confronted by Hartridge in front of a Bay Street store

and was hit in the face. After a scuffle Hartridge called off

the fight, proclaiming to the crowd which had gathered that he

had whipped his -defamer. The next day the Times ran a blow-by-

blow account of the episode and editorially decried the fact

that such ruffianism was tolerated by the law. Writing

privately to Abernethy, Jones said that Hartridge was one of

the "turbulent young bloods" who had been running the town.

Jones claimed that the assault on Varnum was intended to

intimidate the Tings, but, he wrote, they "didn't scare worth

a cent and served him up next morning in a style that probably

made his hair stand on end." Jones believed that Hartridge and

his friends were "cured" for the time being, but he confessed

that he seldom went on the streets without fear of being

assaulted.87 Hartridge was found guilty in the mayor's court

of disorderly conduct and was fined $5.00,88 The question of

city printing was resolved in October, when the Times outbid

the Union for the contract, and, once again, Jones titled his

journal the "Official Paper of the City."89

The city election passed quietly in the spring of 1882.

The Times did not give direct endorsement to either slate of

candidates, but it was clearly biased toward the predominantly

Democratic "Conservative" ticket. The "Citizens" slate was

backed by the Republicans, who the Times characterized as

largely propertyless Negroes. The Republican convention was

ridiculed in a long story, complete with Negro dialect.90

Morris A. Dzialynski, the "Conservative" candidate for mayor,

defeated former Mayor J. Ramsey Dey. The Times considered this

a victory for sound, businesslike government, but expressed

doubts about the quality of the board of aldermen elected since

they represented the class of party workers to which Hartridge


In April the steamboat City of Sanford burned on the

St. Johns above Jacksonville. Jones sent an artist to sketch

the wreckage, then scoured Jacksonville trying to find an

engraver who could produce a woodcut. The crude, small result

of this effort, the Times's first attempt at an original

illustration, was run on the front page with a story of the

accident. A second, larger illustration, probably done by a

Savannah engraver, carried several days later, was hardly

better. The Times was forced to admit that the engravings had

been badly handled, but it congratulated itself on what it

called one of the most lively feats of journalism ever

attempted in Florida.92 However, the attempt was not repeated.

Illustrations, other than cuts running with advertisements,

were scarce in the ]gges, although occasionally some small,

high quality portraits would accompany a feature story on an

author or other notable.93 Illustrations were equally rare

in the Union, but it did gain notice in January, 1882, by

running several front page pictures of various personalities

involved in the Guiteau trial.

The Times strengthened its reputation for controversial

editorializing by its handling of an incident which occurred

in May. A passenger on the Fernandina and Jacksonville Rail-

road was hit in the head and seriously injured following an

argument with a railroad employee named Bailey Smith. The

Times not only denounced the crime, but criticized Mayor

Dzialynski for signing Smith's bail bond and suggested that

city officials were trying to hush-up the matter in order to

protect the town's reputation.95 When two friends of Smith

came to Jacksonville in the avowed intent of punishing Jones

and Varnum, the Times declared that it would not be intimidated.

The question at issue, it maintained, was whether the tone of

the Jacksonville community would be set by the Baily Smith

types and the "bloods" or by the town's better citizens,96

One day it was rumored that the Times offices would be attacked

that night, and some police were sent to patrol Bay Street in

the vicinity of the office, while others watched Jones and

Varnum's homes. Jones left the Times offices at two in the

morning accompanied by the chief of police, and the night

passed without incident. Jones later wrote Abernethy that the

town had been "in a tempest of excitement. . They have

never had a paper before that would speak out fearlessly upon

such matters, and you would be amazed at the excitement it

aroused. If the violence had been attempted there would un-

questionably have been a lynching."97 Jones felt that he had

won the support of the community's leading citizens in the


As the summer "dull season" set in, Jones wrote a

retrospective letter to Abernethy enumerating the successes of

the past six months. The paper had been established on a

sound footing and had successfully passed through the trauma

of getting started. He felt that the Times had the support of

the "best citizens" and it was having an uplifting effect on

the moral climate of the community. He was pleased to see

his editorials were quoted in the northern press as frequently

as any other southern editor. And finally, there was no longer

a possibility of losing money in the venture, and he could

leave at any time without loss. His original outlay had been

covered by profits and by the sale of a substantial interest

to Varnum and his brother. He expected that the paper would

lose money by continuing publication during the summer, but

he anticipated that the next winter season would bring a clear

profit of $5,00098 It is possible that the summer season did

not turn out as badly as Jones had expected, for a month after

his letter to Abernethy he claimed that circulation had

declined only slightly and wrote that plans were underway to

buy a new press and begin publication of a weekly.99

Dn August 24 Jones embarked on the steamer Western Texas

for a trip to New York which he had been planning since April.

Pressures of work and the Small affair forced him to postpone

the trip, however, and shorten it from the two months he

originally contemplated to two weeks.100 Although he hoped

to visit with Abernethy while in New York, the main purpose

of the trip would be to purchase material for a weekly edition

of the Times which he hoped to start in September.101 While

in the North he would also arrange for better news service and

secure more "specials" for the coming season.102


Jacksonville Florida Di Times-nn, Julybe 3, 1887.

2Jones to AbernethyMy2, June 39 1881, JP.

31Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, Ncoveber 29, 1881.

JackonvlleFlorida al TimesUno,Juy3187


21Tallahassee Weekly Floridian, January 10, 1882.

22Jacksonville Florida _Daily Times, November 29, 1881.

231bid., January 14, 1882.

24Ibid., November 29, 1881,

25Savannah Morning News, December 2, 1881.

26Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, November 29, 1881,

27Jones to Abernethy, Decerber 4, 1881. JP*

28Ibid., December 11, 1881, JP.

29Jones to Abernethy, November 7, 1881, JP.

30Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, October 24 1882.


32Ibid., November 29, 1881.

33Ibid., October 22, 1882.

341bid., November 29, 1881.

35Ibid., December 12, 1881; June 27, 1882.

36Ibid., December 12, 1881; June 27, November 23, 1882.

37Ibid., November 23, 1882.

381bid., December 20, 1881.

39Ibid., December 4, 1881; January 4, February 12,
September 3, 1882.

40Ibid., December 29, 1881.

Allbid., January 27, March 18, 1882.

421bid., March 16, 1882.

43Jones, "Sketch of Life."

Jones to Abernethy, February 11, 1882, JP.

45St. Louis Republic, December 15, 1888.

Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.


7Jacksonville Florida Daily ~Times, January 22, 1882.

48lFernandina Exrss March 25, 1882.

Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, January 17, 1882.

50Ibid.,ll March d 23, l 1882.erur 1,182

51Ibid., ll Janury d 1, il 1882.erur 1,182

52Ibid.,sse Januay 25, idan 1882. 0,182

53Ibid.,ll Octobrid 20, 1882.ach2 1,182

6bd.Januryl 1, 1882.

70Jacksonville News-Herald, October 12, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, October 20, 1882.

72Jones to Abernethy, February 11, 1882, JP.

73Ibid., April 30, 1882, JP.

74Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, October 20, 1882;
Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.

75Jones to Abernethy, December 11, 1881, JP.

76Ibid., April 30, 1882, JP.

??Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, December 27, 1964.

78Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, June 7, 1882.

79Ibid., November 28, December 2, 1882.

80Ibid., February 5, 1882.

81Ibid., February 8, 1882.

82Ibid., February 9, 1882.

83Ibid., March 22, May 17, 19, 1882.

Ibid., March 18, 1882.

85Ibid., June 6, 21, 22, 1882.

86Ibid., July 2, 1882.

87Jones to Abernethy, July 10, 1882, JP.

88Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, July 6, 1882.

89Ibid., October 10, 1882.

90Ibid., March 30, 1882.

91Ibid., March 31, April 1, 5, 1882.

92Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, April 25, 30, May 3,

93Ibid., February 19, 1882.

94Tallahassee Weekly Floridian, February 7, 1882.


95Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, May 27, 28, 1882.

96Ibid., May 30, 1882.
Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.


Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, July 2, 1882.

100Jones.to Abernethy, April 30, June 4, August 8, 1882, JP;
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, August 25, 1882.

101The weekly Florida Times began publication in October,
1882. It sold for $1.00 per year and carried articles assembled
from the daily editions. It also contained special articles of
interest to farmers, since the weekly's readership was primarily

102Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, August 10, 1882.



On the day after Jones sailed for New York, two convicted

Negro murderers Charles Savage and Howard James were takeoff

a train in the Middle Florida town of Madison, east of

Tallahassee, and shot to death by a party of white men.1 The

Times, under Varnum's direction, condemned the crime, as did

virtually all the state's newspapers, but it went further and

demanded that the lynchers be brought to justice.2 Varnus

published an interview with several blacks who had come to

Jacksonville after the murders and claimed to have seen the

men who committed the crime. The story named names and gave

explicit details. Although the paper later accepted the denials

of those mentioned, Varnum continued to demand that a real

effort be made to bring the lynchers to trial.3 Jones sent a

signed editorial from New York saying that "indignation"

meetings and condemnatory editorials were pointless unless the

law was enforced, and he warned that settlers and northern

capital would be frightened away from the state if it became

established that the public tolerated such acts.4 Governor

Bloxham was requested to provide protection for witnesses

appearing at the trial.5 When witnesses to the lynchings

testified at a hearing that they saw only "strangers" in town

on the day of the murders, the Times remarked sarcastically:

"It seems that 'strangers' are such an attraction for the

people of Madison that not even a little disturbance like the

shooting down of a couple of prisoners can divert for one

moment the fixed concentration with which they are regarded."6

While the remainder of the state press was willing to

condemn the lynching, it reserved its harshest criticism for

the Times. The Tallahassee Floridian declared that the Times

had outdone even the worst Radical organs by trying to blacken

the character of a whole region for the crime of a few.? The

Tallahassee Land of Flowers accused the Times of attempting to

divert settlers away from Middle Florida to the benefit of East

Florida. The Pensacola Commerical said that Jones had no

sympathy for white people and that he was motivated by "pure,

selfish, grasping greed, allied with inborn hate and animosity

to the Southern people, developed under the hypocritical pre-

tence of obedience to law and love of peace and good order."9

The Times's answer to its critics was that if getting down to

particulars and trying to bring criminals to justice made

enemies for the paper among some people, it made friends among

others--and it sold newspapers.10

When Jones returned from his trip North, the fall

Congressional campaign was underway. Jones had hastened back

because he did not wish to leave the helm of the Times during

its first election. As an independent newspaper its course

would need careful charting. "We shall probably decide the

election," he told Abernethy, "but, on the other hand, any

blundering would wreck our enterprise, which has now become too

valuable to imperil."11 Jones's caution was justified, for

within weeks the Times would become a controversial point of

the campaign. Democratic partisans began to charge that Jones's

ostensibly independent newspaper was secretly the organ of the

Republican party and its candidate Horatio Bisbee.

The truth of this charge cannot be determined. Varnum

would later declare that Bisbee paid Jones "one thousand dollars,

lump amount" to promote his candidacy.12 But when Varnum made

the charge he had become a business competitor of Jones, and

thus his testimony is suspect. Clearly the Times gave more

space to Bisbee than to J. J. Finley, the Democratic nominee,

and it carried Republican advertisements on its editorial page

in a style that could easily have been taken as an endorsement,

while it ran few Democratic advertisements. But the absence of

Democratic material can be explained, and was explained by Jones

at the time, by the reluctance of Democrats to patronize the

Times. The Union and other Democratic newspapers made a con-

certed effort to discourage Democratic patronage of the Times.

The Gainesville Bee's remark was typical: "An open enemy--an

avowed Republican journal--may be respected, but a secret enemy

is to be dreaded and despised. The sooner the State press

forces the Times 'off the fence' the better for the Democracy;

or, if this can not be done, then let Democrats withdraw their

support from it, and let it seek it from a more congenial source--

the Republican party."l3

Whether by design or not, the Times's course worked to

promote Bisbee. In August Jones published a letter by

Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, founder of the town of Taveres and

a South Florida political leader, in which he charged that he

and other young men in the Democratic party had been thwarted

at the district Democratic convention by the "ring" control of

former Governor George F. Drew and his friends. St. Clair-

Abrams vowed to fight the "Drew ring" in future political

contests.14 While giving publicity to this division in the

Democratic ranks, the Times reported the Republican state con-

vention with fairness contrasting sharply with its biased

reporting of the local Republican convention during the spring

municipal election.15 However, the Times did attack Bisbee for

his high tariff views and on some other issues, and it did not

make any major criticism of Finley.16

The election itself did not arouse great excitement. In

fact, the general public seemed indifferent to the contest.

Later some Democrats were to blame the apathy of white voters

for Finley's defeatskice it was assumed that the Negores would

vote in every election, either because their votes were purchased

or because they had a special devotion to exercising their newly

won rights. The Times was inclined to agree that apathy had

played a part in the Democratic defeat, and said that the

Democratic press had lulled the voters into a false sense of

security by emphasizing Finley's supposed large majority in the

1880 race. But Jones was more willing to second St. Clair-Abrams's

explanation that many young Democrats had declined to support

the campaign.17

The sweeping Democratic victories on the national level

were labeled "revolutionary." The election of Grover Cleveland

as governor of New York was of particular note, said the Times,

for it meant that he would be elected President in 1884. .0aus

on November 9, 1882, Jones staked his claim to being the first

editor in the United States to endorse Cleveland for the


The Times had apparently prospered during the election,

and made the boast afterwards that its edition carrying the

returns was the largest single issue ever sold by any Florida .

newspaper.19 The Union, however, was nearing collapse. During

the campaign McCallum had sent John Temple Graves and other

agents around with General Finley to attend his rallies and

solicit subscriptions. The Times noted this practice and sug-

gested that perhaps the Union had slipped so far that it must

beg for charity as the party organ.20 By the middle of October

Jones was charging that the Union could not pay the wages of

its employees and that it was selling its editorial columns to

the Florida Central and Western Railroad in order to raise

noney.21 Such charges were common in a time when newspapers

were expected to collapse frequently. In this case they were

certainly based on truth. The Union had been in financial

trouble for a long while, and competition from the Times was

pushing it to bankruptcy. In April the owners of the Union had

reorganized and incorporated as the Union Printing Company,

purchasing new type and equipment to upgrade the paper, but to

no avail.22 In December Jones wrote to Abernethy asking him for

an advance payment on Jones's Brooklyn home, which Abernethy was

purchasing, explaining that he was trying to put his hands on as

much money as possible since all signs pointed to the Eminent

collapse of the Union, and he wanted to be in a position to

step in when the crash came.23 Three weeks later he informed

Abernethy that the Union's demise had been "postponed."24

The contest between the two Jacksonville dailies was not

always confined to the printed page. The issue of the Times

which appeared on the streets on the morning of October 17 con-

tained a small item reporting that W. W. Douglass of the Union

staff had stopped a Times press boy and tried to get information

regarding the Times's circulation.25 Douglass read the story

that morning, determined that he had been insulted, and set off

to find Jones. He did not encounter him until that evening when

they met outside a Bay Street restaurant. Douglass attempted to

strike Jones with a cane, but tripped or was knocked to the

ground as Jones retreated into the street. After a few blows

were exchanged the men were separated by the crowd which had

spilled out of the restaurant to witness the fight. Jones pro-

ceeded to Varnum's house where he washed up, and then he went to

the Times office to write a description of the fight and editorial

condemning street violence.26 when Mayor Dzialynski fined

Douglass only $10.00 in his court, Jones criticized the leniency

of the punishment.27

Jones's efforts to reform Jacksonville society encompassed

a broader front than denunciation of rowdyism and unsafe sidewalks.

He wished to see the intellectual life of the community en-

riched, and he wanted to make Jacksonville's residents see their

town as more than just a riverboat station, when some suggested

that the proposed new city hall be built at the lowest possible

cost, Jones dissented, declaring that the most imposing structure

possible should be erected in order to set a high standard for

the rest of the community.28 The Times also supported an improved

public library, and Jones promised to try to get books for it

from northern publishers.29 Metropolitan Hall, Jacksonville's

"wretched excuse for a theatre" drew nothing but scorn from the

Times. It was an upper story room whose walls were plastered

with advertisements, where the audience sat on wooden benches.

Jones declared that a more plush and comfortable facility would

be needed to please tourists and to attract something better than

the banjo pickers and migrant troupes that now visited Metropolitan

Hall. An ardent theatre goer himself, Jones applauded when plans

were announced for leasing another local hall and converting it

into a theatre to be called the Opera House.30

Two days before Christmas the staff of the Times surprised

Jones in his office with the gift of a table lamp. He made a

little speech thanking his men and praising their spirit; then

cigars and mutual congratulations were passed around as the next

day's edition was set up.31 The new season was bringing

unprecedented prosperity to the Times, and within a month Jones

was claiming that his paper had a larger circulation than that

of any paper ever published in the state of Florida.32 4

there was any doubt of this claim, it vanished on January 28

when a brief editorial in the Times recorded the fact that Jones,

Varnum and Company had bought the Union and all its property.

The sale had taken place in the parlor of McCallum's home the

day before.33 There was no triumphant boasting, just a matter-

of-fact statement that the two papers would be merged, and a

new paper, the Florida Times-Union, would be published in the

old Union offices at 56-1/2 West Bay Street.34 That same day

Jones penned a letter to Abernethy informing him of the con-

solidation: "If I can hold the field against all competitors

for a year or two I shall have one of the most valuable news-

paper properties in the South. As it is we have won a great

victory."35 He added that this turn of events had removed his

last thoughts of returning to Brooklyn. Two days later he

requested that Abernethy make as large a payment on his house

as possible since he would need all the money he could get for

some time to come.36 During the next two weeks Jones did little

else but labor on newspaper business. One of his most important

accomplishments was the securing of an exclusive franchise for

the Associated Press dispatches in East Florida. No other

newspaper in the region could obtain the dispatches without the

consent of the Times-Union, thus giving its owners a security

which would justify outlays of large sums of moneyin improving

the paper which might not have been profitable in a competitive


The first issue of the Florida Times-Union appeared on

February 4. Its circulation was less than the combined

circulation of the Times and the Union since some subscribers

had taken both, but the paper's readership was three times that

of the previous year.

The new paper was printed on the Union's water-driven

press, and the Times's Campbell press was moved into the job

office. Since the Union's old press was hardly capable of

handling the paper's increased volume, plans were made for

procuring a new press from the Hoe Company of New York.38

Many of the Union's employees were hired by the new paper,

including M. R. Bowden who joined Varnum in the city department.39

John Temple Graves did not join the staff for nearly two weeks

and then worked only briefly as a canvasser before leaving to

co-edit the Florida Herald, an evening paper begun by the

Ashmead Brothers. In the fall Graves and Harrison Clark, the

paper's business manager, would purchase the Herald. Although

the Herald would become the political enemy of the Times-Union,

it did not seriously rival it as a newspaper.40

With the consolidation of the papers, Jones thought it an

appropriate time to answer those who had been pressing the paper

to define its political position. He declared his belief that

a newspaper was a business, like any other commercial enterprise,

and should not be the organ of any political party. Newspaper

editors should speak for themselves--not for party leaders. The

editor should work with party leaders, not for them. Jones

declared that the paper had no "backers," and was free to chart

its own course. In politics, the paper would support government

by the people of property, education, and sobriety. Since the

Republican party in the South was largely the party of what he

termed the ignorant, propertyless, and irresponsible, the Times-

Union would be on the side of Democracy most of the Rme. In

local elections it would ignore political lines and stand for

fair play, equality under the law, and the promotion of educa-

tion for all citizens. On national issues the Times-Union

would stand for civil service reform, a tariff for revenue only,

lower taxes, economy in government, honest government, and aid

to education based on need.41

During the first weeks of the Times-Union's existence

Jones wrote several essays on his philosophy of journalism.

He felt that the idea of a newspaper as a purveyor of "news"

was gaining ground on the traditional view that newspapers

should be vehicles of opinion for editors and political parties.

The public's curiosity about the world around them was a sound

basis for a newspaper enterprise, he felt, and party politics

was not. The editorial page should reflect the honest convictions

of the editor, and if this evoked the hostility of some, it.would

at least be worthy of respect.

As the spring municipal election approached the Times-Union

began to give a great deal of attention to the incumbent

administration's seeming lack of interest in enforcing the

Sunday law or the laws against gambling. On March 3, 1883,

Jones ran an illustrated front page feature on a gang of bunko

artists operating in Jacksonville, apparently without police

intervention.43 Three days later the paper carried a story

describing the excursion of a reporter around town on Sunday

afternoon, detailing the bars he entered and the men he saw

there. As a gesture of obedience to the Sunday law the front

doors of the saloons were closed, but access by side doors was

easy and the traffic in and out obvious to policemen walking

their beats. The Times-Union had paid little attention to

the question since the last municipal election, but now resur-

rected it as the leading issue of the city campaign.

The agitation of the Sunday ordinance question was

evidently a means of preparing the ground for Jones's candidate

for mayor, John Q. Burbridge, who he said would unite the better

class of both parties and bring honest government to the town.

He warned that if respectable people wanted to have a better

government they would have to work for it by attending the ward

primaries where delegates to the convention would be selected

and the real decision made. But as he had feared, the profes-

sional politicians and their allies in the saloon and gambling

businesses controlled the primaries and elected their men to

the convention.45 Despite the Times-Union's warning that they

would be held accountable if they did not nominate decent

candidates, the Democrats nominated william M. Dancy for mayor

and a slate of party regulars for the remaining offices.46

Thereupon Jones announced that the Times-Union would support a

"citizens" ticket if any group of prominent men would place a

slate of good men in the race.47 On the next day Jones took

the initiative and named his own "Citizens Ticket," composed

of men selected from both the Democratic and Republican slates.

Patrick E. McMurray, the Republican nominee for mayor, headed

the "Citizens" list, with the only other Republicans being the

candidate for treasurer and a black man for assessor.48

The Times-Union campaigned hard for its slate, calling

Dancy the candidate of the gamblers and the rum dealers, and

before the campaign was over the paper had been sued twice.

James F. Rownsend, the Democratic nominee for treasurer, asked

for $5,000 damages for a story which suggested that he had

broken federal liquor laws. Manuel C. Jordan, a defeated

aspirant for the Republican nomination for mayor, brought

suit for $10,000 based on a story which alleged that he had

tried to purchase the nomination.50 When the entire Democratic

slate was elected, the Times-Union charged that the Democrats

had bought black voters "like swine." Although he had failed

to accomplish any goal he had set during the campaign, Jones

still attempted to claim a victory because Dancy had made a

promise of dubious value to enforce the Sunday law.51

A week after the city election Jacksonville was

confronted by a much more serious problem than municipal

politics. A Negro laborer from New Orleans brought small pox

into the town, and it had spread into the black community.

The threat of epidemic diseases to communities in the nineteenth

century was a very real and present danger, and the Times-Union

had made it a point to remind its readers that constant

vigilance be maintained to keep the town clean and healthful.S2

Now Jones was faced with the problem of deciding whether to

publish news that the disease was already within the city. If

the Times-Union publicized the fact that the disease was in

Jacksonville it would mean the immediate exodus of vacationers

lingering in the city, quarantining by the rest of the state,

and possible reprisals against the Times-Union for bringing

these calamities to pass. Jones hesitated and did not publish

the Jacksonville Board of Health's first report, but he did

print a short story on the last page of the Times-Union saying

that several Negroes had contracted something which might be

small pox, and they had been removed from the city.53 After

waiting two days he printed the Board of Health's report; at

the same time criticizing the "senseless panic" which had

overtaken tourist and citizen alike when rumors of the disease's

presence spread around town. He argued that there were no

grounds for serious apprehension and that a rail center such

as Jacksonville could expect to have small outbreaks from time

to time. Cities such as New York and Atlanta were never free

from such diseases, yet life there continued regardless.54

The Times-Union continued this low key approach to the problem

during the early days of the epidemic, advising vaccination of

children and the quarantining of homes where the disease was

present.55 As Jones had foreseen, the publishing of the small

pox report sent the tourists away weeks earlier than their

usual departure date, and towns on Jacksonville's communication

paths erected quarantines against the city. Jones declared

this not necessary; that the epidemic was under control and

would be stamped out within two or three weeks.56 "The

spectacle of the entire State gone wild with panic over a few

cases of small-pox, paralyzing trade and checking the tide of

immigration, is one of the most extraordinary manifestations

of human folly that it has ever been our fortune to witness,"

editorialized the Times-Union.57

As the epidemic went into its third week the paper's

tone became more critical, and it began to take the epidemic

more seriously. Jones criticized the Board of Health for con-

structing a poorly-built pest house for Negroes on low ground

where almost half the patients succumbed to the disease. This

treatment was contrasted to that afforded wealthy whites or

any white who could get a "prominent citizen" to intercede in

his behalf. Such kindness was not only unfair discrimination,

it tended to permit the disease to spread.58 This advice

caused some whites to accuse Jones of attempting to stir up

"race and caste prejudice," but Jones declared that that was

just what he was trying to prevent.59 By May 3, the Times-

Union reported that no new cases of small pox had been reported

for six days, and it advised that normal business be resumed

while the Board of Health watched over the convalescing.60

With that pronouncement, the Times-Union ceased to mention the


Although the epidemic was no longer alluded to in the

newspapers, this did not mean it had abated. The town's

leaders had decided to keep quiet about the small pox, hoping

that business would pick up as the panic subsided and that the

disease could be controlled in the meantime. Jones agreed to

cooperate with this new departure, and there was no mention of

the small pox for most of the month of May. Finally, however,

as the epidemic persisted and spread among the white population,

Jones decided to speak out. When word of his plan got around,

several leading citizens admonished and threatened him not to do

it. Ultimately Varnum (in Jones's absence), Mayor Dancy, and

Burbridge sat down to discuss a program of positive action.

Dn May 23 and 24 the Times-Union broke the news of the continuing

epidemic, and at the same time declared that Jacksonville

could rid itself of the disease in two months with concerted

effort. Recommendations included a new hospital for all white

patients, an improved black hospital, the supervised burning of

contaminated buildings, and the compulsory vaccination of the

town's entire populace.61

Quarantines which had been lifted were reimposed as

quickly as the railroads carried copies of the Times-Union to

neighboring towns.62 Having raised the alarm and promoted con-

structive action to end the epidemic, the Times-Union now

returned to the theme that there was no reason for panic and

that the quarantines against Jacksonville were unnecessary.63

Still, new cases were reported daily, and the arrival of

Dr. Bosso with his patent small pox cure was a sure sign that

word of the epidemic had spread far and wide.64 Dr. Bosso

placed full-page advertisements in the Times-Union and

attracted people in droves who visited his office to buy

"protection" in the form of "Dr. Bosso's Blessing to Mankind."

Dr. Bosso would meet a swift demise two months later in

Pensacola, reportedly from yellow fever, although he treated

himself with his own medicine and insisted down to the end

that he was not infected.65 In Jacksonville the disease was

brought under control toward the end of June.

The experience had been instructive for Jones. He had

been warned that his course in publicizing the epidemic might

ruin his newspaper, but, instead, his efforts promoted public

good without detrimental effects to the Times-Union. Also,

the haphazard, sometimes vindictive way in which the quaran-

tines against Jacksonville had been imposed convinced Jones

that Florida needed a state board of health, and he began to

lobby for its creation.66

Meanwhile Jones had become involved in a project to

construct a ship canal across the Florida peninsula. The idea

dated back to the days of Spanish Florida, but immediate

interest stemmed from a request made by United States Senator

Charles W. Jones in December, 1881, that the War Department

assemble all information gathered by previous canal planners.67

At the time, the project was endorsed by the Times as practical

and desirable.68 A year later in December, 1882, the Florida

Ship Canal Company was organized in New York. The Times noted

its impressive list of directors, but commented that it would

believe in the canal when it saw work underway.69 Tangible

evidence of the company's activity appeared shortly in the

form of two lobbyists who came to Jacksonville and Tallahassee

to promote the venture. They were asking the state for a one

mile right of way from the Atlantic to the Gulf and 6,000,000

acres of Internal Improvement Fund land to encourage investors

to put up the estimated $40 to $60 million needed to construct

the canal.70 The latter request was criticized as another

"land grab," but Jones defended the idea on the grounds that

the Internal Improvement Fund had been established for just

such purposes and that no land would be granted unless the

canal were completed.71

In January a bill to charter a trans-Florida ship canal

vent before the legislature, and a rival bill was introduced

by a barge canal company backed by George F. Drew, J. J. Finley,

and George P. Fairbanks, editor of the Fernandina Mirror. The

Times-Union suggested that it was time for the state to act on

the canal before all internal improvement lands had been given

away and no means of attracting capital remained.72 The canal

bill had no easy course in the legislature. When it emerged

there was no provision for a grant of Internal Improvement Fund

lands, and the company was required to pay for its right.of

way land.73 Even in this scaled-down form the Times-Union

urged its advancement, saying that the canal should be under-

taken while northern capitalists were still interested.74

In May the canal company was reorganized. Former

Tennessee Governor John C. Brown remained president, Ben Butler,

Senator William Mahone of Virginia, and State Senator Austin S.

Mann of Hernando County, Florida, were made directors.75 At

a board meetinga:month later Mann and Jones were named as a

Florida executive committee to promote the canal, Jones

becoming a director at the same time.76 By the summer engineers

were at work surveying possible routes for the canal and were

making confident predictions of initiating construction in

September. Jones declared that the venture was not a specu-

lative bubble and that while there were problems to be overcome

in construction of the canal they were much less formidable

than those faced in Suez.77

During the summer Jones, who attended the June meeting

of the directors in Washington, traveled around the southeast

promoting the canal. In an interview given to the New Orleans

Times-Democrat, he predicted that the Florida canal would divert

the flow of Midwestern agricultural produce from New York and

make New Orleans the chief market for European grain exports.

To those who doubted that the canal could be built he painted

the picture of giant dredges scooping out limestone rock with

ease.78 In July Charles P. Stone, chief engineer of the

company and an observer of the Suez Canal's construction while

in the service of the Khedive of Egypt, arrived in Jacksonville

and after a brief visit pronounced the project feasible and

possible of construction at a reasonable cost. Jones went to

New York for the next meeting of the board of directors where

Stone presented a report outlining plans for a 137.5 mile

canal which would be built at a cost of $46,000,000. The

highest elevation to be traversed would be 143 feet---somewhat

less than had been anticipated. According to Jones's dispatch

to the Times-Union, the only difficulty remaining was the

determination of means for financing the project.80 Fairbanks's

Fernandina Mirror said that such talk was overly optimistic,

but Jones attributed Fairbanks's criticism to his interest in

a barge canal.81

On December 1, 1883, Jones, Mann, Choate, and A. W. Jones

of Virginia were granted a charter by the state for the Florida

Ship and Transit Canal Company. The company was authorized to

construct a canal and to sell $40,000,000 worth of stock.82

Jones left for New York to confer with the directors later that

month. He sent back promising reports of impending sales of

stock, but in a private letter to Abernethy he suggested that

all was not well with the venture.83 Jones remained in the

North until the directors met in New York on January 9, 1884,

and, although it is not known what transpired there, when he

returned to Florida he dropped all connection with the canal

project and did not mention the canal again in the Times-Union

except to disassociate himself from it. The canal company

continued to exist for some years more, but no attempt was

made to begin construction of a canal.

In the fall of 1883 the question of the Sunday law

returned to the forefront, although the Times-Union had noted

earlier that Mayor Dancy was not enforcing Sunday closings.85

On a Sunday morning late in October George W. Jones received

word in newspaper headquarters that the police were shutting down

the news stands. He left the office and walked down Bay Street

to see for himself. He then visited Bettelini's restaurant

and Togin's saloon to have a few beers and verify that the

drinking establishments were not closed down.86 At the mayor's

court next morning it was revealed that not all the saloons

had remained unmolested. Several bar keepers were convicted

of violating the law and were fined, along with news stand

owners William H. Ashmead and Telfair Stockton.87 The mayor's

conversion to strict enforcement of the Sunday law was explained

by the Times-Union as an attempt to make the law so unpalatable

to the public that it would be repealed altogether. It was

pointed out that Dancy had been one of those who, a year

previously, had tried to "amend" the Sunday law to make it

more comprehensive, and it had been alleged then that his

ulterior motive was total repeal.88 When the mayor continued

to enforce the law rigidly against all Sunday enterprises, the

Times-Union threw its support behind a move by Burbridge to

modify the law so as to direct it explicitly against the liquor

dealers. Burbridge's proposal was voted down in the council

by a vote of two to five.89 Meanwhile, the question of

temperance, liquor license laws, and related subjects became

a major item of attention in the Times-Union, and Jones pre-

dicted that the question would increasingly force itself on

the public's consciousness and into politics.90

In October Jones announced that the weekly edition of

the newspaper, the Weekly Florida Times, had become the most

widely circulated newspaper in the state during its first year

of existence.91 Jones also was proud of the fact that it had

subscribers in most of the states.and.territories of the

country. Since its readers were largely rural agrarians,

there was more emphasis on farm and garden topics in the Weekly

Florida Times than in the Times-Union. J. G. Knapp was the

major contributor of articles on topics of special interest to

Florida farmers.92 In August George W. Jones had been sent to

the Southern Exposition at Louisville to open a booth at the

Florida exhibit and distribute some 50,000 special editions of

the weekly Florida Times, an effort which benefited both Florida

and the newspaper.93

The Times-Union itself had continued to prosper. After the

merger of the papers it had become apparent that the Times-Union

was outgrowing its plant facilities and in April it was announced

that a contract had been signed with Hoe Company of New York

for a $6,000 press capable of printing 3,500 copies per hour.

In May Jones and his head pressman went to New York to inspect

the press and to arrange for increased telegraphic news and

correspondence from northern cities.95 In that same month the

last of the kerosene lamps were taken out of the Times-Union

building and were replaced with gas lamps.96 The new Hoe

press, which arrived early in August, turned out a four-page,

seven-column paper, which by winter had been enlarged to eight

columns on week days and nine columns on Sunday, making room

for more Associated Press material and other "specials," The

faster press also facilitated the publication of late evening

telegraphic dispatches. During the season the paper featured

local society notes by a Mrs. Ingram, a decided innovation in

a male profession. By the end of 1883 Jones was claiming a

circulation twice that of the old Union or Times and five

times that of any other Florida daily. 7 Jones wrote

Abernethy: "The men and the staff seem to be working together

harmoniously, and business is booming to a degree far beyond

our most sanguine expectations."

The success of the Times-Union was not an unmixed

blessing for it meant that Jones's responsibilities grew

apace. In an effort to mitigate the stress of his habitual

dawn-to-midnight routine, Jones reorganized the staff of the

paper. John Ransom was made chief of staff with general

supervisory duties and responsibility for some editorial

writing. Howard Littlefield was given control of state and

telegraphic news, while Bowden and Wright handled local news.99

John Varnum sold his share of the paper to Jones and his

brother, and became secretary of the Jacksonville Board of


In an effort to improve his health and that of his wife,

Jones purchased a horse and buggy and made it a habit to take

time off from newspaper work for a daily drive around the town

and riverside.101 To save trips between the office and his

home, Jones had them connected by telephone.102 All this did


not mean that Jones's life became more tranquil. If anything,

the reverse was true. Perhaps the most significant development

in his affairs was his increasing involvement in the politics

of the city and state, which, he complained, was becoming a

burden itself.103


1Edward C. Williamson BakBl oiia rss

Th aaeJamkovles Lnching, 1882, Florid Hitria Quarterly,86

XLV (April, 1967), 402-409.3, 182

Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, August 26, 1882.

Ibid., August 28, Setebe 1 182

Ibid., September 89, 1882. 5,182

Tallhasee Weekl Florid DianTie, September 26, 1882.


Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, November 9, 1882.


Ibid., September 22, 1882,

Ibid., October 15, 1882.

Tallahassee Neekly Floridian, May 2, 1882.

Jones to Abernethy, December 10, 1882, JP.

Ibid., December 29,1882, JP.

Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, October 17, 1882.

Ibid., October 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 1882.

Ibid., October 21, 1882.

Ibid., November 26, 1882.

Ibid., February 12, December 7, 1882.

Ibid., December 12, 14, 15, 19, 1882.

31Ibid., December 24, 1882.

Ibid., January 21, 1883.

Ibid., January 31, 1882.

Ibid., January 28, 1883.

Jones to Abernethy, January 28, 1883, JP.

36Ibid., January 30, 1883, JP.


Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, February 14, 1883.

Ibid., February 4, 1883.

Ibid., February 4, 14, 1883.

James Esgate, Jacksonville The Metropolis of Florida
(Boston, 1885), 48; Tallahassee Weekly Floridian, October 23, 1883.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, February 4, 1883.

Ibid., February 16, 1883.

Ibid., March 3, 1883.

Ibid., March 6, 1883.

Ibid., March 9, 11, 14, 1883.

Ibid., March 16, 1883.

Ibid., March 17, 1883.

Ibid., March 18, 1883.

Ibid., March 24, 1885.

Ibid., March 27, 1883.

Ibid., April 2, 1883.

Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, April 20, September
20, 1882.



Ibid., April 8, 1883.

Ibid., April 12, 13, 1883.

Ibid., April 20, 1883.

Ibid., April 22, 1883.

Ibid., April 24, 25, 1883.


Ibid., May 3, 1883.

Ibid., May 23, 24, 1883.

Ibid., May 25, 26, 1883.

Ibid., May 25, 26, June 17, 1883.

Ibid., June 11, 1883.

Ibid., June 11, 14, 17, September 7, 1883.

Ibid., June 28, July 17, 1883; for another account of
the epidemic see Webster Merritt, A Century of Medicine in Jack-
sonville and Duval County (Gainesville, 1949), 131-146.

Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, December 11, 1881, Jan-
uary 3, 1882.
Ibid., July 12, 1882.

Ibid., December 27, 1882.

70Ibid., January 12, 1883.


Ibid., January 14, 1883; Pensacola Commercial, January
26, 1883.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, January 19, 1883.

Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of Florida
at its Twelfth Session, 1883 (Tallahassee, 1883), 93-100.

Ibid., February 20, 1883.

Ibid., May 10, 1883.

Ibid., June 9, 1883.

Ibid., June 15, 1883.

Ibid., June 23, 1883.

Ibid., July 22, 1883.

Ibid., August 21, 1883.

Fernandina Florida Mirror, September 29, 1883; Jackson-
ville Florida Times-Union, October 11, 1883.

Tallahassee Weekly Floridian, December 11, 1883.

Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, December 11, 1883, Jones
to Abernethy, December 29, 1883, JP.

Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, September 4, 1884.

85Ibid., May 20, 1883.

Ibid., October 23,1883.

NOTES 10 CHAPTER III (continued)


Ibid.; Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, May 2, 1882.

Ibid., November 21, 1883.

Ibid., October 13, 1883 .

91Ibid., October 24, 1883.

Ibid., May 12, 1883.

Ibid., August 17, 1883.

Ibid., February 24, April 8, 1883.

Ibid., May 20, 1883.

Ibid., May 18, 1883.
Ibid., November 4, 1883.

Jones to Abernethy, December 19, 1883, JP.

Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, April 16, 1884.
Ibid., March 21, 1884.

Jones to Abernethy, May 24, 1884, JP.

Ibid., February 24, 1884.




In 1884 the Times-Union was unusually restrained in its

comments on the city elections. Mayor Dancy and the entire

Democratic slate, with one exception, were elected to office,

and the Times-Union had only the mildest criticism to make of

"the boys." The reason, as Jones was candid to admit, was

that local elections influenced state and national elections,

and that the Times-Union did not wish to hurt the Democratic

party's chances by creating internal dissension. Dancy was

given credit for having the best interests of the town at

heart, and it was even admitted that the Sunday law as it was

presently written was impossible to enforce rationally.1 The

Republicans had placed themselves behind a reform "citizens"

ticket, which Jones called a sham, but he declared that if a

real reform slate were ever brought forward be would "set the

St. Johns River afire" in support of it.

In spite of Jones's renewed avowals that the Times-Union

was not abandoning enlightened independence for crass parti-

sanship, it was becoming, at least for a time, more and more

a Democratic party organ and less the champion of controversial

causes.3 But Jones had no intention of becoming merely the

servant of Democratic party leaders; he aspired to leadership

himself. Jones had great faith in the power of the press to

control public opinion and thus influence the behavior of

politicians. He observed that Charles E. Dyke, recently re-

tired editor of the Tallahassee Floridan, had never sought or

held public office but had often exerted more power than the

men who did. With Dyke's retirement, Jones predicted, the

Floridian would become just another newspaper. As editor of

the state's largest newspaper, Jones was in a position to

replace Dyke as the leading politician-editor of the state.

Before the 1884 election campaign was over, stories had begun

to circulate that party leaders objected to Jones's political

activity and resented his arrogant, know-it-all attitude about

state politics.5

The theme of party unity was not original to the Times-

Union in 1884, for the state Democracy was threatened by a

strong "Independent" movement.6 The movement had originated

among dissident elements in the Democratic party--disappointed

office seekers, ambitious young men, discontented cracker

farmers--but it had increasingly become a fusionist effort by

which the Republican party hoped to regain its lost power in

the state. When Jones came to Florida and established an

"independent" newspaper, some thought that he was in sympathy

with the movement, but Jones took care to explain that although

the Times was independent it was not in sympathy with the

"small body of office-seeking malcontents" calling themselves

Independents. Later Jones came to look more favorably on the

Independents, who were most active in Madison County. If these

men were not simply foreheadd office seekers," Jones wrote,

and really did stand for fair elections and social progress,

then they ought to be encouraged. It was only when efforts

were made to fuse Independents and Republicans that the Times

condemned the movement.

After the fall elections in 1882, J. Willis Menard,

Negro editor of the Key West News, wrote Republican national

chairman william E. Chandler saying that if the party wanted

to carry Florida in 1884 it must place men in the federal

offices who would work with the state's Negroes. He added

that all the black leaders favored the Independent movement.10

When Menard went to Washington in March,1883, to argue for a

Republican-Independent fusion, the Times-Union said that the

movement must be resisted because the Republicans would dominate

such a coalition and, if successful, would return Florida to

government by the lower classes. Jones admitted that if the

Independents could swing enough Democratic voters over to the

fusion ticket the Independents could win with the help of the

Republicans.11 The only hitch to the plan, Jones explained,

was that white Republicans holding federal offices would

resist the efforts of the blacks to undercut their leadership.

This would mean a split in the Republican ranks and the failure

of Independentism.12 Jones began at once to help make this

forecast a reality by publishing a letter from Republican state

executive committee chairman Edward M. Cheney denouncing the

proposed alliance with the Independents.13

The Negro revolt against the leadership of the white

Republican office-holders began to take concrete shape at a

meeting called by Menard in Gainesville on February 5, 1884,

where it was decided to enlist black support for the

Independents.14 When the Republican convention meeting at

Fernandina renominated Bisbee for Congress, Florida's black

Recontruction Congressman Josiah T. Walls bolted the convention

and had his own name placed in nomination. The Times-Union

printed Walls's accusation that Bisbee had packed the conven-

tion, and treated Halls's candidacy favorably since it was

expected that he had no chance of winning and would take votes

away from Bisbee.15 In general, however, the Times=Union

decried the attempt of the blacks to take control of the

Republican party away from "respectable white Republicans."16

The movement was described as a grab for spoils rather than

as a genuine party reform. This demand for more offices for

blacks meant, declared the Times-Union, "negro rule; and that

will never again be submitted to in any Southern State."17

The Independents were accused of inciting race hatred and of

spreading stories that the Democrats intended to take away

Negro rights.18 The Times-Union said that neither charge was

true: The Democratic party was the "best and truest friend"

of the Negro and was pledged to protect Negro rights, but

whites, Democrats and Republicans alike, would not vote to

place blacks in positions of power again.19

The restlessness of the Negroes under the leadership of

the federal office-holders had been noted by former Governor

Harrison Reed, who proposed to Henry S. Sanford, former American

diplomat who had become a major Florida developer, that they

prevent the impending desertion of the blacks to the Independents

by offering themselves as leaders. As a step La displacing the

leadership of the "ring," Reed proposed that he, Sanford, and

several railroad men combine to establish a Republican newspaper

themselves.20 Sanford did not agree to join this venture immedi-

ately, but Reed proceeded with his plans, fearful that Bisbee

and the "ring" would establish a newspaper themselves.21 It was

decided that S. A. Adams's Palatka Journal would be purchased

and moved to Jacksonville. Adams felt that the newspaper could

become success in Jacksonville since business and railroad

support was assured and because local merchants were unhappy

with the supposedly high rates they were forced to pay for

advertising in the Times-Union due to its monopoly of the

Jacksonville field.22 By April Sanford had been induced to

join the venture. He saw the Times-Union's monopoly of the

Associated Press dispatches as a problem, but felt that if

rights to the dispatches could not be purchased from Jones at

a reasonable price, the paper could begin as a bi-weekly with

a "breezy" format to attract readers. He would have preferred

someone other than Reed as editor, but felt he would be

adequate. Sanford went to Henry Plant and other railroad men

who promised their advertising patronage. The only holdouts

among Republicans were the "ring" office-holders, but Sanford
felt they would be forced to join or be left behind. The paper
was to be "racy, newsey, & aggressive against the democrats, and

with the promotion of the material interests of Florida, through

protection, at the fore." An understanding would be reached

with the Independents, and the Republicans would back their

ticket in the state.23

Sanford and Reed's Florida Journal began publication

in Jacksonville on May 26, appearing twice weekly on Mondays

and Thursdays. It had not secured the Associated Press dis-

patches and was plagued with a shortage of advertising patrons.

Part of its problems stemmed from the poor reputation

Republican newspapers had acquired over the years, many people

refusing to subscribe for fear that it would fold as soon as

the election campaign was over. 24 The hostility of the

Jacksonville "ring" also hurt the paper, and Adams complained

that Bisbee and his friends were steering friendly merchants

away from the newspaper.25 Because the Journal endorsed the

Independent movement the "ring" was doing its best to kill the

paper.26 However, the Times-Union's grasp on the Jacksonville

field was probably as great a handicap as any of the other

difficulties. The Journal aimed criticisms at Jones with

regularity, sarcastically referring to him as "the great

Florida journalist" and noting his airs of superiority.27

Jones could afford to overlook most of this criticism as the

chattering of an insignificant Radical organ, but the continued

personal abuse finally led him to blast the Journal as "the

most venomous, vindictive, and defamatory sheet that is issued

in the United States to-day," but this criticism was too harsh.28

While the Republicans were backing the Independents in

1884, there was also a substantial defection of white Democratic

voters as well. The accusation that Independents were dis-

appointed office seekers had some substance, for under the

constitution of 1868 few local offices were elective. The

idea of giving the governor power to appoint county officials

had originated as a Republican device to prevent the election

of Democrats and also to keep major state offices in the hands

of whites, but when state government returned to the hands of
the Democrats, it worked to prevent the election of Republicans.

However, many local Democrats, particularly in counties out-

side the black belt where there was no threat of blacks' being

elected, resented the centralization of power in Tallahassee.

Benjamin Harrison of Palatka wrote the Times-Union saying that

"young Democrats" felt the system was a failure and wanted a

constitutional revision to permit county elections.30

George Troup Maxwell, a Democrat-turned-Independent, wrote

that Independentism had its origins in 1879 when Governor

Bloxham refused to call a constitutional convention even after

the Democratic caucus had endorsed the idea.31 Charles Fildes,

editor of the Gainesville ygy((L) Bee and a convert to Indepen-

dentism, admitted that he and other South Floridians felt that

they had been denied positions in state government because of

favoritism for black belt, "Tallahassee Ring," men.32 There

were indications that farmers and working men resented the

B10xham administration's seeming preference for wealthy

investors and corporations. In June farmer elements withdrew

from a precinct caucus in Putnam County, vowing their intention

of holding a caucus of their own.33 Toward the close of the

campaign the Times-Union declared that a forged letter was

being circulated over the name of the Democratic nominee

saying that blacks and "poor whites" should be kept away from

the polls. It also published an apology from the Democratic

nominee to the Jacksonville Workingmen's Association for his

failure to make an address before them during the campaign.

The Independents held their convention at Live Oak on

June 18, with about a hundred white and Negro delegates in

attendance, watched by a curious crowd of Democrats and local

blacks. They adopted a platform denouncing the Democratic

party's alleged favoritism toward railroads, corporations, and

large land holders. The platform denounced Governor Bloxham's

sale of 4,000,000 acres of land to Philadelphia businessman

Hamilton Disston and land grants to the railroads. The Inde-

pendents called for a free ballot and a full count, a railroad

commission, the convening of a constitutional convention, local

option liquor laws, and an end of give-aways to big land

speculators. Frank Pope, a young lawyer of Madison County, was

nominated for governor and Jonathan C. Greeley of Jacksonville,

a Republican, for lieutenant governor.35 The Times-Union com-

mented editorially that it did not think the alliance between

Pope and the Republicans would succeed, and the movement would

therefore come to nothing.36 However, contrary to Jones's

expectations, the Republican convention did throw the weight

of the party behind the Independent candidates, although Pope

and Greely were "endorsed" rather than nominated outright.

This may have been a tactic to lessen the stigma of "Radical"

support which could be expected to scare away potential defectors

from the Democratic ranks.37

The Democrats faced the task of preserving party unity

under pressure from the Independents aimed at fracturing white

solidarity. The incumbent governor, William D. Bloxham, had

several solid achievements to his credit and would have been

the natural choice for renomination except that he was the

focus of Independent charges of "ring rule" and pro-carporation

favoritism. Moreover, he had announced that he would not be

a candidate due to grief over the recent death of his daughter.38

When Bloxham made his withdrawal announcement, Jones questioned

whether this might not be a passing sentiment, and Bloxham's

name remained among those mentioned for the position, but it is

probable that he sincerely did not want a second term. A

professor from the Lake City agricultural college who visited

Bloxham in the summer of 1884 described Bloxham as "broken down,"

stricken with grief, and determined to retire from politics.40

The Times-Union declared that Bloxham's retirement from the

field was in the best interest of the party since some of the

controversial actions of his administration had earned him

many enemies, and the party needed a candidate who would not

alienate any segment of the public.41

By April the men being mentioned most often for the

nomination by the Times-Union were Bloxham, Drew, and Mann.

Bloxham still maintained that he was not a candidate, but his

friends believed that he would accept the nomination if it

were offered him, and he sometimes encouraged this idea.42

Drew was seen by the Times-Union as a good candidate and a

man who could attract the votes of Northern immigrants and

Independents because of his identification with the progressive

wing of the party. Mann, a personal acquaintance of Jones,

was the candidate of South Florida.43 In May Drew openly

declared his candidacy.

During June rumors of a Bloxham-Drew feud began to

circulate. At the Putnam County convention it was stated by

some that Drew would not support Bloxham if he were the nominee
of the party, but this was denied at the time by Drew's friends.

To investigate these rumors a Times-Union reporter was sent to

interview Drew on June 10. The result was a bombshell: Drew

declared flatly that he would not support Bloxham because

Bloxham had taken the nomination away from him in 1880 after

having promised not to enter the contest. Drew stated that

this year Bloxham was playing the same game by publicly dis-

avowing interest in the nomination while permitting his friends

to seek it on his behalf.46 Bloxham sent a denial of the story

to the Times-Union and repeated his declaration that he would

not be a candidate.47

Privately Bloxham wrote Jones that he feared the Drew

interview would create "bitter feelings" and hurt the party's

chances in the election. Bloxham told Jones that he was

anxious to see a new man nominated, but he was reluctant to

make a final disavowal of his candidacy unless Drew would do


Dyke, one of the leaders in securing Bloxham's nomination

in 1880, gave an interview to the Tallahassee Floridian

saying that he had worked for Bloxham's nomination in 1880

without Bloxham's knowledge and that Drew could not have

secured renomination in 1880 in any event.49

The immediate reaction to the interview was that Drew

had knocked both himself and Bloxham out of the race, and that

the party should take advantage of the situation to nominate a

third man.50Some thought that Jones had maneuvered Drew and

Bloxham into a situation where they would kill each other off,

but this theory is flawed by the fact that Jones was returning

from the Republican national convention in Chicago when the

interview was made.51

The Democratic state convention was held in Pensacola,

the home town of Edward A. Perry, and its selection was viewed

as an indication of Perry's strength in the race for the

nomination.52 Jones was among those who advocated the selection

of Pensacola earlier, probably because he had decided that

Perry was the man to support for the nomination.53 Jones had

not been elected as a delegate to the convention, but a

Jacksonville delegate gave Jones authorization to attend as

his alternate. Jones went to Pensacola, a "straggling and

sleepy-looking" town, with forbodings of disaster because of

the Drew-Bloxham embroilment, but this threat evaporated when

both Bloxham and Drew refused to allow their names to be entered

in the contest.54

During the convention Jones telegraphed back to the Times-

Union that Bloxham had written a letter in behalf of Perry,

and, despite an "authorized" denial in the Tallahassee

Floridian, Bloxham was supporting Perry.55 During the early

balloting Perry, Comptroller H. D. Barnes, and Samuel Pasco of

Monticello divided the convention's votes fairly evenly. Pasco,

the chairman of the state executive committee, had a Harvard

education and may have been suspect in the eyes of black belt

conservatives. When Barnes withdrew after three ballots, Perry

was nominated.56 A veek later Bloxham wrote Perry that the

story of the endorsement letter had been devised to drive

Drew's friends to Pasco. He admitted that he had favored him

or Barnes for the nomination, but Bloxham suggested that Perry

try to stop press reports that he was responsible for the con-

vention's decision.57 Jones was almost certainly aware of

the circumstances behind Perry's nomination, but he supported

him vigorously during the campaign, denying that he was the

candidate of Blaxham, the "ring," the railroads, or the rich.58

At the convention Jones had been a member of the committee

on resolutions and the sub-committee on the platform. He read

the final draft of the platform to the convention, defending

its low tariff plank against Alexander St. Clare-Abrams,

Charles Dougherty, and other advocates of protection. After

a heated floor fight the tariff plank was altered to suit

the high-tariff men.59 The proposal to call a constitutional

convention was welcomed by delegates outside the black belt

and was accepted by the black belt as representative of the

overwhelming sentiment of the party. Anti-ring spokesmen felt

the platform was too complimentary of the Bloxham administration,

but were satisfied by the endorsement of a new constitutional

convention which presumably would end the centralization of

power in Tallahassee.60

The platform also contained an endorsement of

Grover Cleveland for the Democratic nomination. Later Jones

and Mann were to claim that they and the "progressive element"

maneuvered the convention into an instruction for Cleveland

over the opposition of the old-line Democrats, who backed

Thomas F. Bayard as a southern man.61 It is probable that

Jones and Mann led the move to endorse Cleveland, but several

newspapers representative of conservative Democrats had come

out for Cleveland before the convention, indicating that

Cleveland had supporters in both wings of the party.62 Jones,

despite his 1882 endorsement of Cleveland for the presidency,

was a late arrival on the New York governor's bandwagon. He

had favored Tilden's nomination until the summer of 1884

when it was apparent that Tilden could not make the race due

to a paralytic stroke, and it was not until June that the

Times-Union decided that Cleveland should be the nominee.63

The convention of the Second Congressional District to

nominate a candidate for Congress convened in Palatka a week

after the Pensacola convention. While a summer thunderstorm

drenched the town, the delegates labored through fourteen

indecisive ballots, and then recessed for dinner. During the

adjournment prior to the evening session Charles Fildes

attempted to assault Jones in a local hotel lobby. Files,

editor of the Gainesville Bee and brother-in-law of Frank Pope,

had been elected as a delegate, but had since come out with an

endorsement of the Independent movement. Jones had raised

the question in the Times-Union whether Fildes should be

allowed to sit in the Democratic convention. During the night

session Fildes, having declared that he was armed and would

fight to speak, entered the hall and attempted to address the

convention. He was shouted down and evicted from the premises

by the sergeants at arms. When the excitement of the

incident died down, the delegates proceeded to nominate

Charles Dougherty, an orange grower and member of the state

legislature from Volusia County.

Jones received the nomination of Dougherty, who had

fought him on the tariff plank a week earlier, with little

enthusiasm, but declared that he was the party's choice and

must be supported.65 Jones was not the only one dissatisfied

with Dougherty's nomination, and opposition to him within the

ranks threatened his chances of election. While Jones said

his nomination was secured by good organization, others

attributed it toward politics or wire pulling by the

"Tallahassee Ring." Despite his early antipathy toward the

Democratic nominee, Jones worked hard for his election,

appearing at Dougherty rallies and lending him the support of

his columns.67 As time passed, Dougherty appeared to be gaining

strength and proving wrong those who felt he would be an easy

mark for Bisbee.68

Although Jones was in the thick of state politics, he

wasif anything, more interested in the Presidential race.

In June he had gone to the Republican convention in Chicago

and had been invited on the floor as a guest of the national

committee. He talked to Whitelaw Reid, the politician-editor

of the New York Tribune, who accurately predicted that Blaine

would receive the nomination. Jones notedthe enthusiasm for

Blaine among the delegates, but said his nomination would

lead to Democratic victory in November because reform Republicans

would not vote for Blaine.69

A month later Jones again went to Chicago as a spectator

at the Democratic convention. Earlier he had expected to go

as a Florida delegate, and his name was entered as a candidate

for a spot on the delegation at the Pensacola convention, but

it had been removed on the request of some Middle Florida

delegates.70 His first reaction at the convention was one

of disappointment, for it appeared that the New York Democrats

were so divided between the Cleveland men and the Tammany men

that there was no hope of carrying the state in the fall.

His spirits revived as it became apparent that Cleveland would

have little difficulty in securing the nomination. He spent

a good deal of time observing the labors of the platform com-

mittee, and expressed admiration at its adroit handling of

sensitive issues. He was particularly interested in the

tariff plank, since he had predicted .that the 1DW tariff Stance

which had been rejected at Pensacola would be adopted by the

national convention. However, the plank adopted at Chicage

was equivocal and not squarely low tariff.71 Jones left Chicago

with a train load of Georgia delegates who sang and cheered

on their journey and congratulated Jones for the Florida

delegation's solid support for Cleveland.72

Early in August Jones received a letter from Cleveland

complimenting his labors for the party and expressing the hope

"that the work will be so well done, and the result so decisive,

that there will be no temptation to our opponents to attempt

to steal the State."73 This reference by the Democratic nominee

illustrated the lingering fear that the Republicans would

attempt to repeat their "steal" of 1876 in which Florida's

electoral votes had been decisive. Cleveland possibly invited

Jones to visit him for a conference and asked him to act as
his campaign representative in the state. Late in September

Jones traveled North to see Senator Arthur Gorman, Cleveland's

secretary Daniel Lamont, and other Democratic leaders, and he

was among the steady stream of callers who spoke with Cleveland

in his executive office in Albany on September 23.75 Cleveland

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