Joseph Jones (Virginia)
- For other persons named Joseph Jones, see Joseph Jones
- For other persons named Joey Jones, see Joey Jones
- For other persons named Joe Jones, see Joe Jones
Jones was born in King George County, Virginia, part of the Northern Neck, in 1727. Jones was born to James and Hester Jones. His father ran a country store and tavern and later became a successful merchant with many contacts to England. Jones was educated nearby but went to England to continue his education; he went to the Inner Temple in London in 1749 and the Middle Temple in 1751, becoming a barrister.
Jones then returned to Virginia and achieved success as a lawyer in the growing town of Fredericksburg. In 1754, Jones become King's attorney for Fredericksburg. In 1758, he married Mary Taliaferro, the daughter of Colonel John Taliaferro of Spotsylvania County.
In 1772, Jones became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the colonial legislature. Jones was a "cautious patriot" and served on the committee of safety in 1774-75. In 1776, Jones was a supporter of the Revolution during Virginia's second state committee of safety. Also in 1776, Jones was elected to the Fifth Virginia Convention, which produced the Virginia Declaration of Rights.
Jones served as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1777 and 1778. He was appointed to serve as judge of the Virginia General Court on January 23, 1778, and resigned in October 1779. Jones then returned to the Continental Congress, serving as a Virginia delegate from 1780 to 1783.
Jones was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Jones served in the House of Burgesses in 1787, where he split with his longtime friend James Madison over the Constitution. Jones wrote in an October 29, 1787 letter to Madison that he had "many objections" to the Constitution and wished to see a declaration of rights attached to it.
Jones was a member of the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, which ratified the Federal Constitution. At the Convention, Jones was at first a supporter of the proposed constitution, but later turned against it, joining with Patrick Henry and others to draft amendments to the Constitution. Jones was described as a "brilliant legal mind" and was part of the group that helped draft with Bill of Rights with George Mason. Jones subsequently became "embittered over what he believed was Madison's betrayal of the rights of Virginians" and voted against ratification.
- Jon L. Wakelyn, "Joseph Jones" in of the Bill of Rights: Encyclopedia of the Antifederalists, Vol. 1: Biographies (Greenwood, 2004), pp. 99-100.
- Jones, Joseph, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- United States Congress. "Joseph Jones (id: J000241)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.