Burr W. Jones
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Burr W. Jones

The Honorable

Burr W. Jones
Congressman Burr W. Jones.png
Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court

September 6, 1920 - January 1, 1926
Emanuel L. Philipp
John B. Winslow
E. Ray Stevens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd district

March 4, 1883 - March 3, 1885
George Cochrane Hazelton
Robert M. La Follette, Sr.
District Attorney of Dane County

January 1, 1873 - January 1, 1877
J. C. McKinney
W. H. Rogers
Personal details
BornMarch 9, 1846
Union, Wisconsin Territory
DiedJanuary 7, 1935(1935-01-07) (aged 88)
Madison, Wisconsin
Resting placeForest Hill Cemetery
Madison, Wisconsin
Political partyDemocratic
  • Olive L. Hoyt
  • (m. 1873; died 1906)
  • Katharine McDonald
  • (died 1956)
  • Marion Burr (Smith)
  • (b. 1883; died 1967)
MotherSarah M. (Prentice) Jones
FatherWilliam Jones

Burr W. Jones (March 9, 1846 – January 7, 1935) was an American lawyer, politician, jurist, and law professor. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives in the 48th Congress, and a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


Born in the Town of Union, in Rock County, Wisconsin Territory.[1] His father and mother had migrated to the Wisconsin Territory from Western Pennsylvania and Western New York, respectively. His father, William Jones, died in 1855, and his mother then married Levi Leonard, a pioneer of Rock County.[2]

Jones was raised on a farm and attended the Evansville Seminary, in Evansville, Wisconsin. He then taught at the school for three years to pay for his university education. He graduated from the literary department of the University of Wisconsin in 1870, and then from the law department in 1871. After leaving the university, he studied law in the office of William Freeman Vilas and was admitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin that year. Near the end of 1871, he began practicing law in Portage, Wisconsin, but within a year moved to Madison. While in Madison, he went through a series of partnerships, with Alden Sprague Sanborn, A. C. Parkinson, F. J. Lamb, and E. Ray Stevens.[2]

In November 1872, Jones was elected district attorney for Dane County, Wisconsin. He was then re-elected in 1874. In 1882, he was elected to the 48th Congress (March 4, 1883 - March 3, 1885) on the Democratic Party ticket in Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district. He was defeated seeking re-election in 1884. In Congress, he served on the House Committee on War Claims, and served as acting Chairman when the chairman was unavailable with a long illness.[2]

Burr W. Jones in "The badger" (1916).jpg

Jones returned to Madison and became a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin for the next thirty years of his life. He remained involved in local affairs and government, serving as City Attorney in 1891, and as chairman of the first Wisconsin Tax Commission in 1897 and 1898.[1][2]

In 1894 he served as attorney for University of Wisconsin professor Richard T. Ely during the effort to remove Ely for discussing socialism and allegedly holding unpopular views, the controversy which led to the sifting and winnowing statement.

He also remained active with the Wisconsin Democratic Party. He was chairman of the Democratic State convention in 1892, and represented Wisconsin as a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention at Indianapolis, where he was chosen to nominate Edward S. Bragg for President.[2]

In 1920, he was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Governor Emanuel L. Philipp, to fill the vacancy created by the death of justice John B. Winslow. In April 1922, Jones was elected to fill the remainder of Winslow's term, which expired in 1926. He did not seek re-election in 1925, and in January 1926 he was replaced by his former law partner E. Ray Stevens.

Jones returned to the practice of law.

Personal life and family

Jones married Olive L. Hoyt in December 1873. They had one daughter together.[2] After the death of his first wife in 1906, he married Katharine McDonald, who survived him.

After thirty years as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, he was conferred a LL.D. in 1916. He was chairman of the Dane County Bar Association and, in 1908, was President of the State Bar Association. In 1896, he published a treatise on the law of evidence in civil cases, followed by two subsequent volumes.[1]

Jones died in a hospital in Madison, on January 7, 1935. He was interred at Madison's Forest Hill Cemetery.[3]


One of the Kronshage dormitories at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is named after him, as well as a Madison city park on the Yahara River.

The television series Profiles in Courage did an episode in 1964 titled "Richard T. Ely" about the "sifting and winnowing" incident. Jones was played by Leonard Nimoy.[4]

Electoral history

U.S. House (1882, 1884)

Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District Election, 1882[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, November 7, 1882
Democratic Burr W. Jones 13,035 45.98% +1.70%
Republican George C. Hazelton (incumbent) 7,924 27.95% -27.77%
Republican Elisha W. Keyes 3,791 13.37%
Prohibition Samuel D. Hastings 3,152 11.12%
Greenback Peter W. Matts 444 1.57%
Scattering 2 0.01%
Total votes '28,348' '100.0%' -3.01%
Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District Election, 1884[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, November 4, 1884
Republican Robert M. La Follette 17,433 48.06% +20.11%
Democratic Burr W. Jones (incumbent) 16,942 46.71% +0.73%
Prohibition John M. Olin 1,885 5.20% -5.92%
Scattering 11 0.03%
Total votes '36,271' '100.0%' +27.95%

Wisconsin Supreme Court (1922)

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, 1922[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, April 4, 1922
Nonpartisan Burr W. Jones (incumbent) 268,084 61.27%
Nonpartisan John C. Kleist 168,541 38.52%
Scattering 928 0.21%
Total votes '437,553' '100.0%'


  1. ^ a b c Holmes, Fred L., ed. (1925). "Biographical". The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1925 (Report). Madison, Wisconsin: State of Wisconsin. p. 643. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Berryman, John R., ed. (1898). History of the Bench and Bar of Wisconsin. vol. 2. Chicago: H. C. Cooper, Jr. pp. 362-365. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ 'Burr Jones, Beloved Justice, Dies as He Nears Milestone 89,' Wisconsin State Journal, January 7, 1935, pg. 1, 5
  4. ^ Profiles in Courage (tv series): "Richard T. Ely": Full Cast & Crew IMDb.com
  5. ^ Heg, J. E., ed. (1883). "Elections statistics". The Blue Book of the state of Wisconsin (Report). State of Wisconsin. p. 313. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Heg, James E., ed. (1885). "Elections statistics". The Blue Book of the state of Wisconsin (Report). State of Wisconsin. p. 252. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "Elections statistics". The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923 (Report). State of Wisconsin. 1923. p. 582. Retrieved 2020.

See also

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Cochrane Hazelton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1885
Succeeded by
Robert M. La Follette, Sr.
Legal offices
Preceded by
J. C. McKinney

January 1, 1873 – January 1, 1877
Succeeded by
W. H. Rogers
Preceded by
John B. Winslow
Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court
September 6, 1920 – January 1, 1926
Succeeded by
E. Ray Stevens

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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