He was probably apprenticed and then worked for the architect and Denbighshire County Surveyor Thomas Penson between 1830 and 1843.
Little is known of his parents or his early education except that he was raised in Kentucky and Missouri and that he received a common school education. He married Frances T. Curtin in 1840. They had two sons and two daughters.
Jones was an Episcopalian and a Democrat. As a young man he entered the newspaper business and worked for many publishers. In 1841, he edited the Baltimore Saturday Visitor, where he wrote, printed, and distributed his first novel, Wild Western Scenes, a book that became a minor classic of frontier adventure.
In 1842, he was appointed editor of the Madisonian, the official Whig organ in Washington, D.C. During the Polk administration, he held the consulate at Naples, Italy. Jones wrote many novels during the 1850s. From 1857 to 1860, he published the weekly Southern Monitor in Philadelphia and attempted to explain the South to Northerners.
In 1859, he wrote an anti-secession novel about the ills of disunion entitled Wild Southern Scenes. When the Civil War broke out, he volunteered for duty in the Confederate government in Richmond. He obtained a clerkship in the Confederate War Department as aide to Secretary Leroy Pope Walker.
Jones was in charge of passports, a job from which he could scrutinize the workings of the Confederate bureaucracy. In February 1862, he raised a company for local defense and saw about a month of action at a battery near Richmond. He retired as captain on April 23, 1863, was later conscripted but did not serve, and held various minor posts in the government throughout the remainder of the war.
Jones kept a journal of his observations in Richmond, which was published as the Rebel War Clerk's Diary in 1866. His gossipy study also penetrated to the personalities and the performance of the Confederate leadership. He is remembered chiefly because of that study.
"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.
Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.
He came to prominence as a member of Cymdeithas y Cymreigyddion in London, and became its president in 1849.
Spouse Frances T.