Rees JONES (1834-1905)



Mr. Rees Jones, a director of the Ocean Coal Company and commercial manager for the company at Cardiff, died suddenly at 9.10 this morning. Mr. Jones, who was 70 years of age. attended to business at the Docks yesterday, and his death, therefore, was quite sudden and unexpected. The deepest regret is felt throughout the town that one of the Pioneers of its commercial life has been removed.

It appears that Mr. Jones was in his usual health up to a few moments before his death, which took place at Finchley House, Newport Road, Cardiff. In fact, he appeared to the members of his family to be in a very cheerful mood. Between seven and eight o'clock this morning to partook of a light breakfast in bed, and was about to rise to take his morning bath, as he was in the habit of doing, when he fell back on the bed unconscious. There was no one with him in the room at the time, but his condition was discovered by one of the inmates, and Dr. Turner, his medical attendant, was sent for. He arrived promptly, followed by Dr. Cook and Dr. F. Barton. They soon discovered that Mr. Jones was suffering from cerebral haemorrhage, and that no medical skill could prevent the fatal result. Several members of the family were admitted to the room, and for one moment the deceased gentleman appeared to beckon to one of them. With that brief exception he remained totally unconscious until 0.10 a.m., when he passed peacefully away.

There were present at the bedside Mrs. D. W. Evans and the Misses Beatrice and Maud Rees Jones (daughters), Mr. Herbert Jones (son), and Mr. D. W. Evans (son-in-law).

Mr. Rees Jones leaves a widow, two sons, and five daughters. The sons are Mr. Herbert Jones and Mr. Cyril Jones, who is in India. Of the five daughters three are married, viz., Mrs. Lockett (wife of Mr. G. C. Lockett, of London, Mrs. Bertram (wife of Mr. Anton Bertram, the Attorney-General for the Bahama Islands, and Mrs. Evans (the wife of Mr. D. W. Evans, solicitor). The two remaining daughters - Miss Beatrice and Miss Maud Rees Jones - are living at home.


Mr. Jones was the son of the Rev. William Jones, a Baptist minister, who was known throughout Wales as a man of scholarly attainments and pulpit eloquence, and who from 1815 to 1855 uninterruptedly held the pastorate of Bethany Baptist Church, Cardiff. Mr. Rees Jones was born at Cardiff in 1834, and completed his education at Dumpton Hall, near Ramsgate. a private school, which was held in high repute in Nonconformist circles. In 1848 he commenced his commercial career in the counting-house of Messrs Parry, then the leading firm of ship-brokers at Cardiff, and few men have lived to witness more of the changes which have taken place in the development of the town and port, Mr. Jones has, with one or two exceptions, seen the start of every firm now carrying on business at the Bute Docks, in connection with coal and shipping. He became identified with colliery undertakings, and was a director of Harris's Navigation Coal Company. Subsequently he was appointed commercial manager at Cardiff of the Ocean Coal Company, and a few years after was placed on the board of management of that important company. He was also a director of the Cardiff Railway Company, of Wilson, Sons, and Company Limited, and chairman of the Deep Navigation Collieries, Limited. His business aptitude and strict integrity were recognised by all with whom he came into contact, and more than one of his contemporaries predicted for him, in the early days, a brilliant future.

Mr. Jones took an active part in public matters for a number of years. He was returned with the late Alderman Winstone as one of the representatives of the South Ward on the town council, a position which he held until 1832. when his demands of increasing business necessitated his withdrawal from this branch of public life. He was elected mayor in 1890, a year which was remarkable for its notable events in local history. One of note was the visit of Lord Roberts, on his return from his military campaign in Afghanistan, when a banquet, given in the general's honour, was presided over by Mr. Jones. The opening of the Fine Art Exhibition, held at the Drill-hall in aid of the free Library, was performed by him. In that year also the present Marquess of Bute was born, an event which was celebrated with great goodwill at Cardiff. Mr. Jones was later elected president of the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, a position which has always been filled by gentlemen whose names have been honourably connected with the trade and progress of the port.

In politics Mr. Jones was an advanced liberal, and a strong advocate all his lifetime of the disestablishment of the Church. He was for many years president of the Cardiff Liberal Association, and worked hard in the interests of his party at many Parliamentary and municipal contests.

Source: Evening Express 25th January 1905