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Posthumous Profile – Witcher Jones

by Jennifer Jones
Posthumous Profile - Witcher Jones

Today’s Posthumous Profile features Witcher Jones. What a name, right? I really wanted to know more about this man with the unusual name, so I started researching his life.

Witcher Jones was born on June 3rd, 1842 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. His father, Bartlett Jones, was a tobacconist. Witcher would initially follow in his father’s footsteps as would his brothers.

Posthumous Profile - Witcher Jones

So where did the unusual name come from? Witcher was a direct descendant of Major William Reuben Witcher. Major Witcher served during the Revolutionary War and the Witcher clan was very prominent in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

By 1881 Witcher Jones had moved to  San Francisco and incorporated the Seal Rock Tobacco Company. Things seemed to go south for Witcher and he soon found himself in a legal battle with his business partners. He would eventually win his suit, which was $100,000. To give you an idea of how much money was involved, $100,000 in 1884 is equivalent to almost $2.3 million in 2017.

Posthumous Profile - Witcher Jones

In 1890 with his legal battle behind him and a lot more money in his pocket, Witcher Jones landed in Utah with a plan to purchase the Provo Waterworks. People didn’t appreciate an outsider coming in to take over the waterworks and he faced an uphill battle.

Posthumous Profile - Witcher JonesDespite a strong PR campaign Witcher ultimately lost the deal for the Provo Waterworks and he moved on to another plan, iron mining in Utah.

Towards the end of January 1903, Witcher was in Denver trying to raise the capital needed to develop the iron deposits in southern Utah. Apparently, he was ill before he arrived in Denver, and shortly after he got there he knew he was much sicker than just a common cold. Despite being diagnosed with pneumonia, Witcher was determined to carry on with the meetings he had arranged.

By January 28th, Witcher was critically ill and the news was sent to his wife and daughter in Salt Lake City. They arrived in Denver on the morning of January 31st and rushed to his bedside. Shortly after noon his daughter and her husband left the room on an errand. Within 10 minutes of them leaving, Witcher Jones died in room 417 of the Brown Palace Hotel.

Posthumous Profile - Witcher Jones

His body was sent to Salt Lake City and his funeral was announced on February 4th, 1903 at the home of his daughter on Main Street. Following the funeral service, his casket was carried to Mt. Olivet and buried in the Walker family plot.

Posthumous Profile - Witcher JonesYou can find Witcher Jones’ grave at Mount Olivet Cemetery. He is in plot P-97, which is just south of the first mausoleum near the corner of Main & Cascade. ** If the map below is not showing, click underneath this line for it to open**

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Pamela Colander February 13, 2018 - 7:47 pm

You are right, what an unusual name! Poor man, seems there’s always someone trying to take advantage of an honest person. He certainly rests in a beautiful spot now.

Beckie June 6, 2018 - 1:26 pm

Just bouncing around your site, “sight-seeing” (great site!) and stumbled across this post for Witcher Jones. He is my 3rd cousin, 4 times removed. Our common ancestor is William Reuben Witcher, Sr. born 1724 Liverpool, England and died 8 Dec 1806 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Didn’t know I had family buried here in Utah… Thanks!


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