Thomas Hoyt Jones, Sr. - The "Jones" in Jones Day
304 Corning Drive
Thomas Hoyt Jones Sr. was a noted college athlete and an outstanding member of the legal profession in Cleveland. In the 1920s and 1930s, Jones managed the corporate legal work for many of Cleveland’s business leaders. The law firm that he helped create is today known around the world. It still carries his name.
Thomas Hoyt Jones was born on August 11, 1887 in Jackson, Ohio, the son of Thomas A. Jones and Grace Hoyt Jones. His father’s ancestry was Welsh; his mother’s Irish-English. His paternal grandfather was Captain Eben Jones, president of the Globe Iron Company, located in Jackson, an iron manufacturing plant. Thomas Hoyt Jones would one day serve as a director of the same company. When Thomas Hoyt Jones was born, his father, a lawyer, had recently been elected Mayor of Jackson. Subsequently Thomas A. Jones was elected to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and, in November 1914, was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. Thomas A. Jones would serve as an Ohio Supreme Court justice for the rest of his life, serving 22 years, until his death on August 31, 1937.
Thomas Hoyt Jones attended public schools in Jackson, Ohio University and Ohio State University, where he was graduated in arts and law in 1911. At OSU Jones excelled in his classes, becoming a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and excelled as a member of the OSU football team. In 1909, he was selected as an all-Ohio quarterback. In 1910, he was captain and quarterback of the football team. In law school, Jones was a member of the Order of the Coif legal scholarship society and the Phi Delta Phi Society. He was admitted to the bar shortly after leaving college and entered practice in Cleveland with the law firm of Blandin, Rice & Ginn.
When Jones joined the law firm, Blandin, Rice & Ginn was rapidly expanding. Frank Hadley Ginn became Jones’ mentor at the firm. Together they excelled as corporate law specialists. By the 1920s Jones was serving as the corporate attorney for Cyrus E. Eton, Cleveland financier, as he collected utility corporations and small steel firms. For decades, Eaton was one of the most powerful financiers in America. Jones knew all of Eaton’s interconnected corporate structures. At the same time, he handled most of the corporate legal work for the Van Sweringen empire. He assisted in the incorporation of the Mid-America Corporation for George A. Ball, the Muncie Indiana glass jar magnate.
At the law firm, Frank Ginn developed the managing partner concept, employed at most large law firms today. Ginn believed that lawyers function best when able to focus on practicing law, rather than engaging in debates on such matters as office administration or allocation of income. Other successful lawyers joined the firm, including leading utilities lawyer, Sheldon Tolles, and leading railroad lawyer, Tom Hogsett. By 1920, with Cleveland a national center of business and industry, the firm was known as Tolles, Hogsett, Ginn & Morley.
Before Frank Ginn died in 1938, he designated by written instrument that Thomas Hoyt Jones become his successor as managing partner of the firm. Immensely popular with the firm’s clients and its lawyers, Jones, like Ginn, had their admiration and respect. He continued the strong leadership traditions that Frank Ginn had established and used the warmth of his personality to manage the law firm during a turbulent time.
In one of his first tasks, Jones engineered a merger of the corporate law-focused Tolles, Hogsett & Ginn, with the litigation-focused firm – Day, Young, Veach & LeFever. The leader of the latter firm, Luther Day (whose father had been a justice on the United States Supreme Court), was later described in a federal district court opinion as "possibly the greatest trial lawyer in Ohio's history." The resulting combined law firm, which was named Jones, Day, Cockley & Reavis, opened for business on January 1, 1939. Jones became the senior partner in the new organization.
In 1946, the firm opened its first office outside Cleveland in Washington, D.C. Today, the law firm has more than 40 offices worldwide, is known simply as Jones Day, and continues to carry Thomas Hoyt Jones’ name.
While still attending OSU, Jones met Katharine Allein Brooks, from a prominent family in Columbus. They were married on September 27, 1913. They had two sons. Brooks Jones followed his father's lead, becoming first a lawyer, then a partner at Jones Day. Thomas Hoyt Jones, Jr. was repeatedly described in the newspapers at the time as a “millionaire Bratenahl financier.” He founded T.H. Jones & Co., a bond investment business in the 1940s, and Scurry-Rainbow Oil Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, in 1950. He headed a syndicate that owned and developed large parcels of Canadian land.
On April 14, 1948, Tom Hoyt Jones' life was tragically cut short by a recurring heart ailment. He died of a heart attack in Fredericksburg, Virginia while traveling with his wife at the age of 60. The Cleveland Plain Dealer mourned his passing in a lead editorial stating: "Thomas Hoyt Jones was a splendid citizen, a brilliant lawyer, a good businessman, and above all, a fine friend. His passing leaves a void in the community."
At the time of his death, in addition to being the managing partner of the Jones Day law firm, Jones was secretary and director of the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore, of the Glenn L. Martin-Nebraska Co., and of the Murray-Ohio Manufacturing Co. of Cleveland. He was a director also of many Cleveland companies, including the Cleveland Trust Co., the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., the Richman Bros. Co., the Foote-Burt Co., Gray Drug Stores, Inc., the Electric Controller & Manufacturing Co., the Warner & Swasey Co. ad American Greeting Publishers, Inc., and of the Globe Iron Co. of Jackson , Ohio.
Members of the Jones family lived at various times in Bratenahl. Thomas and Katharine Jones lived at 304 Corning Drive in the late 1940s. They lived there at the time of Thomas Sr.’s death in 1948. Katharine Brooks Jones traveled extensively after her husband’s death. She was twice president of the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, a founder of the Gates Mills Garden Club and a member of the Garden Club of America and the Musical Arts Association. Late in life, Katharine returned to Bratenahl, living at Bratenahl Place. She regularly traveled between Bratenahl and an apartment in Delray Beach, Florida. She died in Florida on April 30, 1979. Following his mother’s death and his divorce, Thomas Jr. divided his time between his residence at Bratenahl Place and the cottage on Kelley’s Island until his death in 1984.
Thomas and Katharine Jones are buried at Gates Mills South Cemetery in Gates Mills, Ohio.