Milton’s Hydraulic Engineer: I.W. Jones

By Muriel Bristol | May 5, 2020

Ira Wilbur Jones was born in Milton, June 10, 1854, son of George H. and Lucy J. (Varney) Jones.

IRA W. JONES, who has been established in his own business at Milton since 1900, is a designer of water power plants, a practical millwright and general engineer, having been specially trained for this line of work. He was born in South Milton, N.H., June 10, 1854, and is a son of George H. and Lucy Jane (Varney) Jones (Scales, 1914).

George H. Jones, a farmer, aged forty-four years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Lucy J. Jones, keeping house, aged forty-three years (b. NH), and his children, Addie J. Jones, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), Charles A. Jones, a farm laborer, aged eighteen years (b. NH), Ira W. Jones, a farm laborer, aged sixteen years (b. NH), and Nellie J. Jones, at school, aged seven years (b. NH). George H. Jones had real estate valued at $2,000 and personal estate valued at $455.

Scales’ History of Strafford County and other sources had Ira W. Jones attending the South Milton district or common school and, thereafter, the Milton High school. Of course, there would be no “Milton High School,” as such, for another generation. Ira W. Jones would have attended the Milton Classical Institute. (In 1940 he was said to have attended three years of high school).

Ira W. Jones attended the district schools in South Milton and the Milton High school. Recognizing his special talent he then entered the Starr King Drawing school at Boston, Mass., where he received his technical training as a draughtsman and afterward spent three years in Boston working at pattern and model making (Scales, 1914).

The Starr King school was a Boston district public school on Tennyson street. Its building was used also for an evening technical drawing school. The pattern maker for whom Jones worked in 1877-80 was Galen Coffin (1823-1895), whose office or shop was in 1878 at 8 Province Street, and his residence at 77 Worcester Street.

Coffin, Galen - Boston Directory, 1878
Boston Directory, 1878

Galen Coffin, a pattern maker, aged fifty-seven years (b. ME), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ellen S. [((Page) Wildes)] Coffin, keeps house, aged fifty-two years (b. MA), and his children, Ella P. Wildes, at home, aged twenty-eight years (b. MA), Josie P. Coffin, at school, aged eighteen years (b. MA), Harry G. Coffin, at school, aged thirteen years (b. MA), and Arthur W. Coffin, at school, aged ten years (b. MA). They resided at 24 Alexander Street.

(Galen Coffin and his son, Arthur W. Coffin, drowned in 1895 when their sailing dory was swamped in a sudden gale off the mouth of Marblehead harbor. A third member of their party survived).

Mr. Jones then learned the trade of millwright as a necessary adjunct to his chosen line of work and for four years devoted himself to practical effort as millwright, afterward for one year being employed with a machinery company at Worcester, Mass., as machinist and draughtsman (Scales, 1914).

Jones learned the adjunct trade of millwright while working for Lewis D. Sanborn (1829-1904). Sanborn’s first wife had divorced him in Dover, NH, February 20, 1877 (both then of Dover). Sanborn appeared in Boston, MA, at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. There he was listed (enumerated in error as Louis D. Sandler), as “puts in water wheels,” aged fifty years (b. NH), and one of Charles Huster’s thirteen lodgers at 50 Chambers Street. Lewis D. Sanborn appeared in the Boston directory of 1882, as a machinist, boarding at 35 Kneeland Street.

George H. Jones, a farmer, aged fifty-four years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Lucy J. Jones, keeping house, aged fifty-three years (b. NH), and his sons, Charles H. Jones, works on farm, aged twenty-seven years, and Ira W. Jones, sets water wheels, aged twenty-five years (b. NH).

For the twelve succeeding years he was a salesman through New England for a business firm of Dayton, O., and afterward for eighteen months was salesman for the Holyoke Machine Company of Worcester, Mass.

Jones, IW - 1902
Milton Business Directory, 1902

Ira W. Jones married in Milton, September 29, 1886, Lucia C. Wentworth. She was born in Milton, June 23, 1867, daughter of George C.S. and Mary C. (Hanson) Wentworth.

Mr. Jones married Miss Lucia C. Wentworth, a daughter of George C.S. Wentworth of Milton and they have two children: Nettie W., who is the wife of Ernest C. Lord of Dover, and Mary C., who lives at home. Mr. and Mrs. Jones reside at Lebanon, N.H. (Scales, 1914).

Holyoke Machine Company Letterhead
Holyoke Machine Company Letterhead, Featuring Its Hercules Turbine Water Wheel – 1895

I.W. Jones of Milton, NH, is here mentioned as being the water power contractor at Morrisville, VT, when he was not engaged in trout fishing. His fishing companions were Frederick M. Gould (1862-1936), a traveling shoe salesman (and president of the Commercial Travelers Association of Burlington, VT), Charles H. Nudd (1834-1905), an insurance agent, and his wife, Lydia J. (Weeks) Nudd.

MORRISVILLE. Fishermen Coming in from Abroad – Local Activities. Three Boston gentlemen spent Monday and Tuesday in these parts capturing some handsome specimens of speckled trout. F.M. Gould of Burlington, I.W. Jones of Milton, N.H., the water power contractor at the electric station, and Mr. Nudd of Manchester. N.H., representing the Granite State Provident association, accompanied by Mrs. Nudd, were among the. people in town Tuesday (Burlington Free Press (Burkington, VT), May 9, 1895).

I.W. Jones represented the Victor Water Wheel company of Dayton, OH, when surveying the intended site of an electric power plant. (One may note with some amusement that the manager of the electric power company happened to be named “Sparks”).

BOLTON FALLS POWER. Manager George H. Almon, of the Bolton Falls Electric company, was at the falls yesterday with Chief Engineer A.F. Sparks, of the James Leftell Water Wheel company, of Springfield, O., I.W. Jones, of the Victor Water Wheel company, of Dayton, O., and B.W. Johnson, of Newbury. The two first named desired to look the site over so as to bid on water wheels and pen stock, and Mr. Johnson to bid on the dam. The three representatives said the site was one of the finest they had ever seen for such a plant as intended (Montpelier Evening Argus (Montpelier, VT), May 14, 1898).

Water WheelsThe Victor Water Wheel was invented by Jones’ employer, Stilwell-Bierce Manufacturing Company (prior to its merger with the Smith-Vaile Company).

Ira W. Jones, Eng’r placed his name, and the date 1899-1900, on a bronze plaque set in the mill wheel masonry at the North Rochester, NH, fibre plant of J. Spaulding & Sons Co. From which it may be inferred that he was responsible for designing the dam, mill run, mill wheel, mill race, and, possibly, the mill building itself (Snyder, 2011).

Spaulding & Sons at North Rochester say that their mill at the above place will be completed about the last of this month. The great wheel is ready for operation, and the water could now be turned on. When business is good they expect to employ 200 hands (Farmington News, May 25, 1900).

Jones, IW - 1899-00
I.W. Jones, Eng’r Plaque at North Rochester, NH (per James M. Snyder)

Ira W. Jones, a hydraulic engineer, aged forty-five years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of thirteen years), Lucia C. Jones, aged thirty-two years (b. NH), and his daughters, Nettie Jones, at school, aged thirteen years (b. NH), and Mary Jones, at school, aged eight years (b. NH). Ira W. Jones owned their farm free-and-clear. Lucinda C. Jones was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living.

In 1900 he embarked in a general engineering business for himself, having his offices on Main street, Milton, employing from ten to fifteen trained designers and draughtsmen and having contracts all over New England, the southern states and Canada. Mr. Jones is an intelligent, wideawake and progressive citizen but not a politician. He votes with the Republican party (Scales, 1914). 

IRA W. JONES, appeared in the Milton directory of 1902, as a hydraulic engineer, on Main street, with his house on Bridge street, L.S. [Lebanon side, Milton].

BRATTLEBORO. The Brattleboro Gas Light company is practically ready to begin the work of construction of a dam across West river. I.W. Jones of Milton, N.H., the civil engineer who made the survey, was in Brattleboro last night and talked the matter over with some of the directors (Vermont Phoenix (Brattleboro, VT), April 11, 1902).

BRATTLEBORO. I.W. Jones of Wilton [Milton], N.H., the engineer who had charge of the survey and plans for the Brattleboro Gas Light company’s dam across West river, was in Brattleboro Wednesday to inspect the work of the contractors, Spence & Coombs. The work was found to be satisfactory, and, the dam having been completed, it was accepted by the engineer and the company and a settlement was made with the contractors by the company (Vermont Phoenix (Brattleboro, VT), May 8, 1903).

The Waldron Mill in Farmington, NH, was taken down in 1903 to make room for an electric power plant to supply power for the J.F. Cloutman Shoe Company factory.

The construction of the plant is under the supervision of Mr. Ira W. Jones of Milton, and is so nearly completed that power will be turned on January 1, 1904 (Farmington News, December 18, 1903).

The plant was constructed in charge of Ira W. Jones of Milton, and in spite of inclement weather during much of the work, the power was turned on according to contract, January 1, 1904, and the Cloutman factory is supplied from this station with light and motive power. And this was done at the instance of a man [John F. Cloutman] past seventy years. It was a great work (Farmington News, April 29, 1904).

Ira W. Jones was one of the “promoters” of the Milton & Lebanon Building Association, when it was incorporated in February 1904.

Maine Corporations. Milton & Lebanon Building Association, Lebanon – Capital, $10,000. Promoters, F.H. Thayer, Boston; Joseph H. Avery, B.B. Plummer, J. Gardner Alden, Milton; Ira W. Jones, Lebanon (Boston Globe, February 29, 1904).

Jones, IW, c1905
“I.W. Jones, Eng.” Employees, circa 1905

James M. Snyder identified some of I.W. Jones’ associates as having been Seth A. Moulton, a chief engineer (1900-09) [who married Hare Road teacher Elfrida M. Peacock, daughter of Nute Chapel minister Rev. Robert M. Peacock]; George L. Freeman, a draftsman (1903-04); Patrick E. McCarthy, a field engineer (1903-04); Robert C. Gammon, a consulting engineer (1904-08); Stephen E. Preble, an inspector (1904-20); Walter I. Barrows, a reinforced concrete design engineer (1909-20); Alexander H. Reid, a draftsman (1912); Edward A. Wright, a structural draftsman (1913); Stephen H. Smith, a chief engineer (1923-24); and Bryant H. Moore, a design engineer (1927).

MILTON. S.A. Moulton, draughtsman of the Holyoke machine works of Worcester, has opened an office in the Jones block (Farmington News, July 20, 1900).

LOCAL. The marriage of Miss Annie B. Kimball of Milton to George L. Freeman solemnized last Thursday by Rev. M.P. Dickey, is attended by the good wishes and congratulations of many Farmington friends. The bride is connected with numerous families of this town, and is well known as a fine violin player. The groom, draughtsman for Contractor Ira W. Jones for several years, is spoken of in high terms. The young couple will continue to reside in Milton (Farmington News, February 12, 1904).

MILTON. P. McCarty, who formerly worked in the office of Ira W. Jones, was in town over Sunday (Farmington News, September 9, 1904).

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute listed mechanical engineering graduate A.H. Reid as being “with” Ira W. Jones, i.e., employed by Ira W. Jones, in 1911 (Journal of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1911).

To whom one might add several other possibilities from Milton census records: Ralph Frobisher, a draughtsman for an engineering office, in 1910; Walter H. Webster, a draughtsman for an engineering office, in 1910; William Slingerland, an office draftsman, in 1920; and Natt E. Young, a draftsman, in 1920.

I.W. Jones appeared several times in the Milton business directory of 1905-06. He was listed as an architect and designer (of water power plants), on Main street, opposite the Lebanon bridge. He appeared also as a civil and hydraulic engineer; designer of water power plants; and engineer (civil).

I.W. Jones planned a flume and concrete mill building, for the Passumpsic Fibre Leather Company, in Passumpsic, VT, in 1905 (Snyder, 2011).

Will Rebuild. The Passumpsic Fibre Leather company at Passumpsic, whose plant was almost entirely destroyed by fire the morning of December 19, has begun to clear away the debris and will rebuild at once. The loss was reported at the time to be $45,000 above the insurance of $18,000, and considerably over half this loss fell upon the Chase Brothers, one of whom is manager and the other treasurer of the concern. The plant gave employment to 20 men and its output of leather board was about three tons a day (Middlebury Register (Middlebury, VT), March 31, 1905).

BUYS WATER POWER. St. Johnsbury Electric Company and E.T. & H.K. Ide to Build. The St. Johnsbury Electric company have acquired the E.T. & H.K. Ide water power at Passumpsic, 400 horse power, and will begin at once the erection of a modern electric light station. This move is made because of the company’s increasing business, and to save the expense of using steam in times of low water. When the new power house is completed steam will be used only in cases of an emergency. Plans are being drawn now for the power house, which will be erected on the site of the old grist mill. It will be of brick, and thoroughly modern in every respect. It will be direct connected, the dynamos fastened to the water wheels without belts. The wires will be brought up from Passumpsic to the Belknap station, which will be made the distributing station. I.W. Jones of Milton, N.H., hydraulic engineer, is drawing plans for the company and it is expected that the station will be completed by October. The company will then have three water power plants, one at the Center, the Belknap station and the new one. E.T. & H.K. Ide have bought 85 horsepower and will begin immediately to put up a grist mill. The mill will be a four or five story structure with heavy brick walls. It will be absolutely fire proof and will be fitted up with all modern machinery. The machinery contract has been placed with the Noye Manufacturing company, of Buffalo, N.Y. It is to be a roller mill and the power will be furnished by electricity. The building will adjoin the Ide elevator on Hay street (St. Johnsbury Republican (St. Johnsbury, VT), July 12, 1905).

PASSUMPSIC. The Passumpsic Fibre Leather Co. has a force of men engaged in making a new drying shed (St. Johnsbury Republican (St. Johnsbury, VT), October 31, 1906).

Ira W. Jones had a partnership for a time with the Spaulding Brothers, under the name Spaulding-Jones Company, which company sought in 1907 to build a “huge” hydroelectric dam on the Merrimac River.

Mr. [Roland H.] Spaulding’s first practical experience of political conditions in New Hampshire came about as a development of his business affairs. At the session of 1907, the Spaulding-Jones Company, a concern consisting of the three Spaulding brothers and their engineer, Ira W. Jones, came before the legislature with a request for permission to build a huge dam on the Merrimac River, near Reed’s Ferry, and thus to develop the water power there for electrical purposes, a development which would have meant great things for the business of the state. But the project was opposed by the united corporate interests of New Hampshire interests, which had at that time vastly more power in Concord than they have today (Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, MA), July 8, 1911 (also Hollis Times, July 31, 1914)).

I.W. Jones & Company planned a pulp factory building, for the Androscoggin Pulp Company, in South Windham, ME, in 1907 (Snyder, 2011).

SOUTH WINDHAM PULP. What is Doing at One of the Mills Near Portland. Portland, Me., April 12. – The Androscoggin Pulp company, which has an extensive pulp making plant at South Windham, has begun the work of increasing its plant by the erection of several other buildings. Among the buildings now in process of construction is a new two-story stock house, 78×200 feet, of brick and frame work; a new wood cooking room, 30×50, with brick walls and concrete roof; raising roof of beater room one story, which will make room for the installation of six new screens; adding one story to grinder room, which will be used for a wet machine room; will install one new Horne engine and new masherator and will also build a covered run 400 feet which will be used for conveying from the stock house to the beater room (Portsmouth Herald, April 12, 1910).

The elder Jones daughter, Miss Nettie Jones, then twenty years of age, had a very close call while in their house in August 1907.

NEWS OF THE STATE. A bullet crashing through a window struck Miss Nettie Jones of Milton in the shoulder and then imbedded itself in the wall. It is not known who fired the shot, but it is supposed that it came from the rifle of some hunter (Farmington News, August 9, 1907).

Ira W. Jones might have been away from home examining water possibilities on the Winooski River in Montpelier, VT, at the time his daughter was wounded.

MONTPELIER. I.W. Jones of Milford [Milton], N.H., a hydraulic engineer, has been making an examination this week of the water power possibilities of the rights owned by Messrs. Corry, Deavitt and Frost on the Winooskl river above Barre transfer. He will report later (Burlington Free Press (Burlington, VT), August 17, 1907).

ENGINEER’S REPORT. Hydraulic Expert Again Visits Kinney’s Mills. I.W. Jones, hydraulic engineer, of Milton, NH., went back to his home last night after making another inspection of the water privileges owned by Messrs. Corry, Deavltt and Frost at Kinney’s mills. A contour map has been prepared showing the various sources of water supply and the lowest points in that neighborhood where it would be possible to erect power plants. Mr. Jones has reported to the syndicate his observations of the various dam sites, the possibilities of each and the probable cost of construction. It Is reported that Mr. Jones is very favorably impressed with the water privileges owned by the syndicate. The Montpelier men have not yet decided how large a plant they will put in. They can do two things, the first build a plant that will supply their street railroad with possibly a small amount of juice for sale, or build a large plant with plenty of juice for sale. Such a development will involve the investment of a large amount of money (Montpelier Evening Argus (Montpelier, VT), August 28, 1907).

MONTPELIER CITY NOTES. I.W. Jones, a civil engineer from Newton [Milton], N.H., was in town yesterday in consultation with the officials of the electric railroad relative to plans for the dam for their new power plant to be erected at Kinney’s mills (Burlington Free Press (Burlington, VT), October 25, 1907).

I.W. Jones, of Milton, N.H., a hydraulic engineer, was in town today in conference with Messrs. Curry and Deavitt on their proposed dam at Kinnev’s mills (Montpelier Evening Argus (Montpelier, VT), June 17, 1908).

I.W. Jones appeared several times in the Milton business directory of 1909. He was listed as an architect and designer (of water power plants), on Main street, opposite the Lebanon bridge. He appeared also as a civil and hydraulic engineer; and designer of water power plants. Mrs. I.W. Jones appeared as a music teacher (piano), at Lebanon side, Milton. His daughter, Nettie W. Jones, appeared as a milliner, at I.W.J., at Lebanon side, Milton.

MILTON. The marriage of Miss Nettie Jones and Mr. Ernest Charles Lord of Dover took place at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Jones on Lebanon, Me., side Thursday, June 10, The young couple will reside in Dover after September 1 (Farmington News, June 18, 1909).

Ira W. Jones, a hydraulic engineer (own office), aged fifty-five years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-two years), Lucia C. Jones, aged forty-three years (b. NH), his daughter, Mary C. Jones, at school, aged eighteen years (b. NH), and his brother-in-law, Eugene H. Wentworth, a stove works foreman, aged thirty-five years. Ira W. Jones owned their farm free-and-clear. Lucia C. Jones was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living.

BURLINGTON MENS’ BIG VENTURE. … The power at Otter creek [at Vergennes, VT] is considered one of the steadiest in New England. The banks are low and marshy and hold the water, preventing the deluge which often puts many plants out of commission, in the wet times, and keeping the water for the dry times, when many plants are obliged to depend on steam. A set back of nearly eight miles makes unnecessary the building of an expensive dam. and with the other natural advantages there would appear little likelihood of a dam being washed out at those falls. For many months a crew of 75 men has been at work on the dam, which is now completed, and the machinery is on the way for the wheel pit and power house, which are now in process of construction. The engineer in charge of the construction of the dam is I.W. Jones, of Milton, N.H., and the Twitchell Lumber Co. of Maine, which has long been identified with hydraulic ventures, doing that part of the work The machinery was all ordered of the Westinghouse company of Pittsburg (St. Albans Daily Messenger (St. Albans, VT), March 30, 1911).

I.W. Jones appeared several times in the Milton business directory of 1912. He was listed as an architect and designer (of water power plants), on Main street, opposite the Lebanon bridge. He appeared also as a civil and hydraulic engineer; designer of water power plants; and engineer (civil). Mrs. I.W. Jones appeared as a music teacher (piano), at Lebanon side, Milton.

I.W. Jones designed the Milton Leatherboard Company replacement factory after the prior structure had been destroyed by fire in March 1912. Its concrete beater tubs were considered to be a daring innovation at the time.

I.W. Jones & Company planned a dam and concrete mill building, for the Cabot Manufacturing Company, in Topsham, ME, in 1912 (Snyder, 2011).

Jones, IW - 1912
Milton Business Directory, 1912

Village Meeting. There was a good attendance at the special village meeting last Wednesday evening to consider the question of an up-to-date electric plant. H.W. Lyster, one of the commissioners, made a few remarks in regard to the present condition of the plant thinking it time to have it renewed. At his request the chairman called upon I.W. Jones, an electrical engineer of Milton, N.H., who had made an investigation of the present plant and had a written report and who had prepared plans and estimates for a proposed new plant, these plans calling for erection of a new concrete and brick building and the installation of two new Francis type turbine wheels, and two new generators direct connected on the same shaft. The lowest reading of the measured flow-age of the river taken at Centervale by the U.S. geological survey in 1911 was 75 cubic feet per second. On this basis there was an estimated gain in efficiency of the new wheels and generators of more than 100 per cent over the present ones. His total estimate for the proposed new work complete was $31,200. W. Clark of the engineering department of the General Electric Co., gave a technical description of the proposed new generators and electrical equipment. Commissioner Graves spoke in regard to the faults of the plant, difficulty of getting repairs, etc., and the opportunities there would be for new business with a modern plant. W.I. Powers made a motion that the electric light commissioners be empowered to equip the electric light plant with new and modern equipment and building. This was seconded by N.A. Norton with an amendment that the work be commenced at once. The amendment was accepted and the motion was unanimously carried. It was moved by E.A. Cook that the commissioners be authorized to hire sufficient money to carry out the project just voted, and this motion was carried unanimously. Under head of other business F.C. Shonyo made a motion that the water commissioners be instructed to investigate the matter of purchasing the land included in the watershed of the present village water reservoir from which the owners propose to cut standing timber. It was voted to have this done. The commissioners have commenced making arrangement for the new work. As soon as the specifications for the foundation and concrete work of the new building are prepared the work will be begun (Vermont Union-Journal (Lyndonville, VT), October 14, 1914).

I.W. Jones & Company planned a dam, run, and mill building, for the Groton Leatherboard Company, in Groton, MA, in 1916. It also planned a dam and hydroelectric power station, for the Town of Swanton, VT, at the Highgate Fall on the Missisquoi River, in that same year (Snyder, 2011).

SWANTON. Estimate on Cost of Power Development to Be Secured. At the adjourned special meeting of the voters of Swanton village relative to development of electric power at Highgate, held Wednesday evening ln the town hall, it was voted to instruct the officers of the village to secure from I.W. Jones, of Milton, N.H., a competent engineer, an estimate of the cost of development below the present site, and the meeting was adjourned to Wednesday night, July 5 (St. Albans Daily Messenger (St. Albans, VT), June 23, 1916).

HOTEL ARRIVALS. Among the arrivals at the Grand Avenue the past week were: Frank Pierce, Rutland; I.W. Jones, Milton, N.H.; H.N. Long and wife, Louisville, Ky.; C.E. Severance, St. Johnsbury; J.H. Robinson, Palmer, Mass.; E.H. Martin, Burlington; E.D. Blackwell, Brandon; H. Eglee, Boston; Mr. and Mrs. Perry vanCamp, Wills River, Vt.; G.J. Riley, Plattsburg, N.Y.; H. Bean, Enosburg Falls; F.J. Dragoon, Plattsburg; Mrs. H.E. Townsend and Alma B. Townsend, Westbrook, Me. (Swanton Courier, June 29, 1916).

SWANTON. I.W. Jones, of Milton, N.H., with one of his expert engineers, was in Swanton June 28 going over the Highgate property of Swanton village and getting information on which he is to base his report and estimate to have ready for adjourned special meetings yesterday (St. Albans Daily Messenger (St. Albans, VT), July 6, 1916).

I.W. Jones appeared several times in the Milton business directory of 1917. He was listed as an architect and designer (of water power plants), at 28 Main street, opposite the Lebanon bridge. He appeared also as a civil and hydraulic engineer; designer of water power plants; engineer (civil); and surveyor for dams, paper and electric power plants. Mrs. I.W. Jones appeared as a music teacher (piano), at Lebanon side, Milton.

I.W. Jones & Company announced plans for a hydroelectric power plant, for the Lockwood Company, in Waterville, ME, in 1918 (Snyder, 2011).

NEW CONSTRUCTION. Proposed Work. Me., Waterville. The Lockwood Co. is having plans prepared by I.W. Jones, Arch., Milton, N.H., for the erection of a new hydroelectric power plant here (Hill Publishing, June 11, 1918).

Among New England Factories. BERWICK, ME. – The I.W. Jones & Co. has been incorporated to do general engineering and developing water powers with $10,000 capital by Ira W. Jones, M.C. Jones and L.C. Jones, Lebanon, Me. (Industry Week (Volume 63), 1918).

Ira W. Jones, a hydraulic engineer, aged sixty-three years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Lucia C. Jones, aged fifty-two years (b. NH), and his daughter, Mary Jones, aged twenty-eight years (b. NH). Ira W. Jones owned their farm free-and-clear. They resided on Prospect Hill Street.

Ira W. Jones planned an Androscoggin River dam for the Dummer Power Company, in Dummer, NH, in 1921. The proposed dam faced political opposition from other dam and mill owners, which occasioned Jones testifying several times over the course of a year before the NH Public Service Commission. The plans were approved in August 1922.

FIGHT AGAINST DUMMER DAM BEFORE COMMISSION. CONCORD, N.H., Oct. 19 – Hearings begun in Berlin were resumed by the Public Service Commission at its offices in the State House today on the petition of Ira W. Jones of Lebanon, Me., and the Dummer Power Company for the right to build a dam across the Androscoggin River in the town of Dummer for the development of electrical power. The Berlin Mills, the International and Umbagog Paper Companies and the Union Water Power Company oppose the petition. Chairman William T. Gunnison of the commission does not sit in the case, having been counsel for Mr. Jones, and his place is taken for this hearing by Dwight Hall of Dover, appointed by Gov. Brown (Boston Globe, October 20, 1921).

ATTEMPT TO SHOW BIG DAM PROJECT UNSAFE. CONCORD, N.H., March 23 – The State Public Service Commission today resumed its hearing upon the petition of the Dummer Power Company for permission to erect a dam across the Androscoggin River, eight miles above the city of Berlin, for the generation of electrical power. Ira W. Jones of Milton, engineer, who prepared the plans for the power company, was on the witness stand most of the day. testifying as to the probable cost of the project and the use which would be made of its product. Cross-examination was on the line of contention that his plans did not provide for a sufficiently strong structure to insure safety, if built at the place desired and according to his specifications (Boston Globe, March 24, 1922).

N.H. STATE NEWS. The public service commission has granted the right to Ira W. Jones and others to erect a dam in the Androscoggin river at Dummer. The petition has been before the board for a year. Commissioner Storrs opposed the move. The dam will be utilized to generate electrical power (Groton Times (Woodsville, NH), August 18, 1922).

President Ira W. Jones and Treasurer Fred B. Roberts published legal notices in the local papers regarding the intended dissolution of the Milton A.O.U.W. Building Association, which had been founded by them and others on December 8, 1890. Its original purpose had been to construct a three-story office block, and rent its space for the benefit of the A.O.U.W. The building was to be sold and the proceeds split among the shareholders (Farmington News, February 19, 1926; February 26, 1926; and March 5, 1926).

The following sketch of Ira W. Jones’ career appeared in a 1927 publication of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, of which he was a member.

JONES, IRA W., Lebanon, Me. (Age 72, b. Milton, N.H.) Educated in common and high schools, Milton, N.H.; one term in Starr King Evening Drawing School in Boston; 1877-80, with Galen Coffin, as pattern and model maker; 1880-84, as assistant to Lewis D. Sanborn as practical millwright and designer of hydraulic structures; 1884, with Holyoke Machine Company as erector of hydraulic machinery, pattern maker and draughtsman; 1885-86, private practice; 1887-99, salesman and engineer in New England territory; 1899-1900, engaged in design and supervision of plans and sale of hydraulic equipment; July 1900, established an engineering office in Milton, N.H.; 1918 to date [1927], president and general manager of I.W. Jones & Co. During past ten years has been consulting engineer for C.H. Tenney & Co.; inspector of dams for N.H. Public Service Commission; retired in 192[?] (Boston Society of Civil Engineers, 1927).

I.W. Jones & Company played some role at the Ambursen sawmill dam, for South Tamworth Industries, in Tamworth, NH, in 1929 (Snyder, 2011).

IRA W. JONES (Lucia) appeared in the Milton directory of 1930, as a hydraulic engineer, in Milton.

Ira W. Jones, a civil engineer, aged seventy-five years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of forty-three years), Lucia C. Jones, aged sixty-two years (b. NH), and his daughter, Mary C. Jones, a stenographer, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH). Ira W. Jones owned their farm free-and-clear, which was valued at $5,000. They did not have a radio set.

Ira W. Jones, a retired civil engineer, was one of several local people that gave their impressions of an earthquake that occurred on Friday evening, April 1, 1938.

Rochester Section Is Shaken by Earthquake. Trembling Felt Last Night Over Ten-Mile Area – Most Severe in East Rochester and Rochester and in South Lebanon, Me. Rochester, April 2. – Buildings were shaken and pictures were torn from the walls as this region experienced what was believed to have been an earthquake at about 9.30 o’clock last night. The earth-trembling was felt within a 10-mile area of Rochester, with reports of more severe movements received from East Rochester, North Rochester and South Lebanon, Me. The telephone exchanges in Milton and Rochester were flooded with calls from nearly every town in the area. Stories of shaken buildings and fallen pictures were received from Lebanon, Me., and East Rochester. In other sections residents told of how dishes had been smashed on the floor when shaken from cupboards. As near as anyone could determine the movement was first felt when a “loud rumbling sound” was heard and was followed by what several people described as an explosion. Mrs. Helen Piper, telephone operator at Milton, said there was a “rumbling sound and the building shook” It was followed by what seemed to be a “terrific explosion.” Residents of South Lebanon, Me., said the whole earth movement seemed to center along the banks of the Salmon Falls river which divided Maine and New Hampshire in this section. The shock was less severe in the center of Rochester. Ira. W. Jones, a retired civil engineer at Milton, expressed the opinion that a “meteor had fallen and exploded.” The Rev. Leland Maxfield, pastor of the Community church at Milton, said he at first thought a heavy object had rolled down the hill behind his home and struck the house. Basil Blake, Rochester newspaperman, reported his house shook perceptibly and he thought a heavy truck was passing on the nearby highway. According to the Associated Press, Harvard University seismographic officials that the earth movement lasted on 15 seconds and had been a “very weak” earthquake. The exact time of the movement was said to have been 19:15:24 o’clock. The Weston College machine timed the first impulse at 9:13.40 p.m. (Portsmouth Herald, [Saturday,] April 2, 1938).

Fred B. Roberts and Ira W. Jones marked the repositioned Milton Town Pound with a commemorative plaque in 1939.

Here and There. The Milton town pound, one of the few remaining In New Hampshire, which was removed and rebuilt two years ago to permit a change in the location of the highway, has just been marked with a commemorative tablet by Fred B. Roberts, veteran town meeting moderator, and Ira W. Jones. In the early days pounds were common in New England for the confinement of cows and other domestic animals caught running at large. Early records of the town show that in 1803, when Gilman Jewett was town clerk, it was voted that the “town build a pound as near the center of the town convenient.” The following year the pound was built, according to the records, “on land westerly opposite the town house, by Jonathan Pinkham.” The pound is circular and 30 feet in internal diameter. The walls are of field stone, about six feet high. A wooden gate adorns the front (Portsmouth Herald, July 3, 1939).

Ira W. Jones, aged eighty-five years (b. NH), headed a Lebanon, ME, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Lucia C. Jones, aged seventy-two years (b. NH), and his daughter, Mary C. Jones, a stenographer, aged forty-eight years (b. NH). Ira W. Jones owned their house free-and-clear, which was valued at $4,500. They had a lived in the “same house” in April 1935. Ira W. Jones had completed three years of high school, Lucia C. Jones had completed eight years of grammar school, and Mary C. Jones had completed one year of college.

Ira W. Jones died in Milton, April 10, 1946, aged ninety-one years. Lucia C. (Wentworth) Jones died in Milton, September 3, 1949, aged eighty-one years.

Recent Deaths and Funerals. Mrs. Lucia C. Jones. Milton, N.H., Sept. 4. – Funeral services for Mrs. Lucia C. Jones, 82, who resided across the river in Lebanon. Me., will be held Tuesday afternoon at the Community Church in Milton. The Rev. Ralph V. Townsend will officiate and burial will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Lebanon. Mrs. Jones, widow of Ira W. Jones, widely known engineer who died in 1946 at the age of 92, died Saturday night at the Jones Summer home at Milton [Three] Ponds. She was born in Milton, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Wentworth and was educated here. She was a member of the Community Church and the Mary Torr Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, in Rochester. Surviving relatives include two daughters. Mrs. Ernest Lord of Dover and Miss Mary Jones of Lebanon, two grandchildren and several great grandchildren (Portland Press Herald, September 5, 1949).


Find a Grave. (2011, February 26). Ira W. Jones. Retrieved from

Scales, John. (1914)  History of Strafford County, New Hampshire, and Representative Citizens. Retrieved from

Snyder, James M. (2011, August 27). A Partial Portfolio of I.W. Jones Engineers. Retrieved from

Wilipedia. (2020, April 28). Charles H. Tenney. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, November 13). Holyoke Machine Company. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, June 21). I.W. Jones, Eng’r. Retrieved from

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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