Friday, April 29, 2016

Celestino Moreno Jones (1865-1938)

Portrait from the Bench and Bar of Florida, 1935.

   A figure of distinction in Pensacola, Florida for over four decades, Celestino Moreno Jones was a native Texan who would hold a number of political offices in Florida, including service as assistant U.S. attorney, state representative and Mayor of the city of Pensacola. In 1917 he would be elected as Judge of the Escambia County Court of Record and would serve in that capacity until his death two decades later.
  Born in San Antonio, Texas on June 26, 1865, C. Moreno Jones (as most sources refer to him) was the son of Joseph Pickett (1833-1895) and Victoria Moreno Jones. A prominent figure in his own right, Joseph Pickett Jones was a Confederate veteran and lawyer who would serve as Mayor of Pensacola from 1875-76. C. Moreno Jones removed to Pensacola with his family while still a child and attended the public schools of that city. He would begin the study of law under the tutelage of his father and was admitted to the Florida bar in 1886. Jones began the practice of his profession in Pensacola soon after receiving his law degree. He married in Pensacola on June 15, 1898 to Rose May McHenry (1874-1968), with whom he would have three sons, Joseph Pickett (1899-1950), Lou Epler (died in infancy in 1902) and J. McHenry (1903-1996). 
  Described as a "staunch Democrat", C. Moreno Jones first entered Florida political life in the mid 1890s when he began service as assistant U.S. District Attorney for Florida. In 1900 he was elected as one of Escambia County's representatives in the Florida legislature. Jones' term extended from 1901-1903 and during this term pulled political "double duty" as it were, as he had taken office as Mayor of Pensacola in 1901! Jones served one two year term as mayor and in 1907 was boosted for a second term, even being the subject of a petition "urging him to run."  Jones would decline to be a candidate however, citing attention to his law practice.

                                                       Portrait from the Pensacola Journal, February 19, 1912.

   C. Moreno Jones returned to political life in 1912 when he announced his candidacy for State Attorney for Florida's 1st judicial circuit. Jones would lose that election to fellow Pensacola native John P. Stokes and continued to practice law in Pensacola until 1917, when he won election as Judge of the Escambia County Court of Record, a court responsible for hearing "civil, chancery and criminal cases." 
  Jones would serve on the bench until his death on July 5, 1938, shortly after his 73rd birthday. Acknowledged as a lawyer of "admirable record and achievement", he was survived by his two sons and wife Rose, who died in 1968 at the age of 93. Both Jones and his wife were interred at the St. Michael's Cemetery in Pensacola.

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