Keeping Up With the Joneses: The Family Behind the Popular Phrase

The ancestry of the Jones family of New York can be traced back to when King James the Second ruled. Several names appear in every generation, including Thomas, William, Elbert, David, John and Samuel. The Irish family of Major Thomas Jones intermarried with a family from Wales. Welsh characteristics are very prominent in family members. These characteristics include sociable, hospitable, independent, honorable, and a remarkable memory. Many of the elder family members have a fondness for genealogies, as well as having local and personal pride.

Major Thomas Jones: The Welsh Privateer

Major Thomas Jones was born around 1665. He fought at the Battle of the Boyne and served under William III of England at the capitulation of Limerick. Major Thomas Jones was in Rhode Island in 1692, where he met and married Freelove Townsend (born in 1674). Freelove was Thomas Townsend’s daughter. Her father gave her and Thomas Jones a tract of land on the south side of Long Island. Between 1702 and 1706, Major Thomas Jones was appointed captain of the militia in Queens County, high sheriff of Queens and major of the Queens County regiment. He died in 1713, leaving Freelove and seven children behind. The tract of land Freelove’s father gave to them, along with land purchased afterwards, is now known as Jones Beach State Park.

David Jones

David Jones was the oldest son of Thomas and Freelove Jones and was born in 1699. He married Anna Willet in 1722 and was a member of the General Assembly until 1758. He was the people’s champion against parliamentary encroachment. Anna died in 1759, leaving behind David and six children. David didn’t follow until 1775.

Ella Floyd-Jones Carscallen

Ella was a descendant of Thomas and Freelove Jones, born in 1892. She lived in Long Island and, in 1919, married John Dulmage Carscallen. Ella served during World War II as a Gray Lady and member of the Red Cross Motor Corps (Babylon chapter). Both her and her husband were members of New York yacht clubs and were well known for racing their motor boats. Races they participated in include the Gold Cup Regattas, the National Sweepstakes at Red Bank, NJ and the President’s Cup Regatta on the Potomac. Ella passed away in 1976 after a long illness.

Edith Wharton (Edith Newbold Jones)

Edith Wharton was born in New York in 1862 to George Frederic
Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander. Edith’s family had such wealth and
privilege in New York that they inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” She was an American writer, landscape architect and interior designer. Edith wrote humorous novels and short stories by combining her knowledge of privileged classes in New York with her natural wit. One of her well known novels is “The Age of Innocence.” She
married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton in New York in 1885 when she was 23
and he was 35. They got divorced in 1913 after he suffered a nervous breakdown.

She moved from New York to France after getting divorced and had a lover by the name of Walter Berry, who was the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Due to this connection, Edith was allowed to be on the front lines and worked at refugee charitable efforts during the war. Once the war was over, Edith came back to the U.S. only one time in 1923 to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Yale University. Edith died in 1937.

Albert Walker