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John Winston Jones
Portrait of Jones (c. 1835)
16th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 4, 1843 – March 4, 1845
Preceded byJohn White
Succeeded byJohn W. Davis
Leader of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
December 4, 1843 – March 4, 1845
Preceded byJames K. Polk
Succeeded byHowell Cobb
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1845
Preceded byWilliam S. Archer (3rd)
Walter Coles (6th)
Succeeded byWalter Coles (3rd)
James Seddon (6th)
Constituency3rd district (1835–43)
6th district (1843–45)
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1841
Preceded byChurchill C. Cambreleng
Succeeded byMillard Fillmore
22nd Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
January 4, 1847 – December 6, 1847
GovernorWilliam Smith
Preceded byWilliam Goode
Succeeded byJames F. Strother
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Chesterfield County
In office
December 7, 1846 – December 17, 1847
Preceded byWilliam Winfree
Succeeded byAlexander Jones
Personal details
BornNovember 22, 1791
Amelia County, Virginia
DiedJanuary 29, 1848 (aged 56)
Petersburg, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic
Other political
SpouseHarriet Boisseau
ChildrenMary Winston Jones
James Boisseau Jones
Alexander Jones
Alma materThe College of William & Mary

John Winston Jones (November 22, 1791 – January 29, 1848) was an American politician and lawyer. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1835 to 1845. He served as Speaker of the House in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1843–1845) and the Virginia House of Delegates (1847).

Early life and career

Born November 22, 1791, in Amelia County, Virginia, he graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1813. He practiced law in Chesterfield County, Virginia before being appointed Prosecuting Attorney for Virginia's 5th Judicial Circuit in 1818. He was a delegate to the 1829–1830 state constitutional convention.

Tenure in Congress

Further information: Presidency of Andrew Jackson, Presidency of Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison § Presidency (1841), Presidency of John Tyler, 19th United States Congress, 20th United States Congress, 21st United States Congress, 22nd United States Congress, and 23rd United States Congress

Jones was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1835 and served five terms. As he rose through the ranks of the House, he became chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, replacing future president Millard Fillmore, and House Democratic Leader, succeeding future president James K. Polk.

He was elected to serve as Speaker of the House during the 28th Congress, which convened in 1843 and adjourned in 1845.

Jones declined nomination for a sixth term in Congress and returned to Virginia in 1845.

Career after Congress

Upon his retirement from Congress, he returned to the practice of law in Virginia. Among his more prominent cases, he served as lead counsel for Thomas Ritchie Jr., who in 1846 faced trial for his involvement in the infamous duel in which John Hampden Pleasants was fatally wounded. Ritchie won acquittal on the grounds of self-defense.[1]

That same year, Jones was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and in 1847 was chosen as Speaker. He was elected to a second term in 1847, but did not attend the session due to illness. He resigned his seat on December 17. The vacant House seat was later filled by his son, Alexander.[2]

Private life

Jones married Harriet Boisseau in 1815 and together they had three children: Mary Winston, James Boisseau and Alexander. His son-in-law was George W.B. Towns, who was the 39th Governor of Georgia from 1847 to 1851.[3]

Jones died on January 29, 1848. He is buried in the family cemetery at his Dellwood Plantation northwest of Petersburg, Virginia.

Electoral history


  1. ^ "Biography of Virginia House Speaker J.W. Jones".
  2. ^ "Virginia House Biography for Jones".
  3. ^ "Virginia House Biography for Jones".
Political offices Preceded byJohn White Speaker of the United States House of Representatives 1843–1845 Succeeded byJohn Wesley Davis Preceded byWilliam O. Goode Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates 1847 Succeeded byJames F. Strother Preceded byChurchill C. CambrelengNew York Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee 1839–1841 Succeeded byMillard FillmoreNew York U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byWilliam S. Archer Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 3rd congressional district 1835–1843 Succeeded byWalter Coles Preceded byWalter Coles Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 6th congressional district 1843–1845 Succeeded byJames Seddon