Former justices

Justice Burr W. Jones

Justice Burr W. Jones

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice: 1920–1926
Life: 1846–1935

"Justice Jones was one of the noblest and most useful citizens this state ever produced. He was without conceit. He was genuine. He had a capacity for friendships." – Judge Evan A. Evans, Jones' memorial service (1935)

Burr W. Jones was born March 9, 1846, in Evansville, Wisconsin. He lived and worked on a farm and was educated at the Evansville Seminary. Jones was encouraged early on, even by his first grade teacher, to pursue a career in law.

Jones saved money for college by teaching for two years. When he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, there were 250 students and room and board cost $1.25 per week.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1871, he entered the Madison law office of Col. Wiliam F. Vilas (who later became a U.S. Senator). Jones was elected district attorney of Dane County in 1872 and was re-elected in 1874.

After a single U.S. congressional term in 1882, Jones worked as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School for 30 years. At the same time, he returned to private law practice at the office of Lamb & Jones. Jones later formed a partnership with E. Ray Stevens (who later became a state Supreme Court justice).

Jones served as chair of the state Democratic Convention in 1892. In 1896, Jones published a three-volume treatise, Jones on Evidence, which was followed by several editions. In 1897, he was appointed to the first Wisconsin Tax Commission and was later elected chair. Jones served as president of the State Bar Association in 1906.

In 1920, upon the death of Chief Justice John B. Winslow, Governor Emanual L. Phillipp appointed Jones to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He was elected in 1922. As he was nearing 80 years old, he chose not to seek re-election and was succeeded by his former law partner, E. Ray Stevens.

Jones was married to Olive Hoyt. They had one daughter, Marion. After Olive died, he married Katherine MacDonald. Jones died on January 7, 1935.

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