Samuel M. Jones

Samuel M. Jones (1846 - 1904) was a businessman and twice mayor of Toledo, Ohio. Jones was born in Wales and his family immigrated to the United States in 1849. In 1892 Jones moved to Toledo and established a successful business manufacturing tools for the oil industry. He became known as a benevolent employer who refused to pay his workers low wages. He expected employees to work hard and be honest and basically follow the "Golden Rule" and in return he would treat them fairly and pay them enough to support their families. This earned him the name Samuel "Golden Rule" Jones. Jones, a progressive Republican, ran for mayor of Toledo in 1897 and campaigned on the promise to implement the "Golden Rule" philosophy in his administration. Workers supported Jones and he won.

After being elected Jones worked to implement progressive reform. He improved the conditions for the laboring class such as an eight-hour work day for city workers, opened free kindergartens, built parks, and reformed city government. Jones believed political party loyalty divided people too much so he encouraged voters and politicians to renounce political parties. He believed that non-partisan politics would unite people. Jones was too progressive for some of the businessmen and wealthier citizens of Toledo and the Republican Party refused to nominate Jones for the mayor in 1899 but he ran anyway. With overwhelming support he won with seventy percent of the vote. Jones died in office on July 12, 1904. Brand Whitlock succeeded Jones and continued his reform efforts.

Brand Whitlock wrote a letter to Clarence Darrow in February 1903 in which he stated that he and Jones had frequently discussed Darrow running for mayor of Chicago and that Jones would come to Chicago to campaign for Darrow if he ran. Darrow declined to run to the great disappointment of many in Chicago.

Photo from Golden Rule Jones, Mayor of Toledo by Ernest Crosby (1906).