Pleasant Richard Jones was born at Kernsville, Georgia, February 22, 1840. He left there when quite small with his widowed mother, and lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, and later in Madison, N. C. In 1858 he came to Danville, being then 18 years of age. He secured a position in the drug store of J. H. Holcombe, located in the old Masonic Temple on the corner of Main and Union streets. After a few months there he entered the employment of Flinn & Fitzjames, who conducted a drug store two doors below in the same building. Here he stayed until he volunteered in the War between the-states and joined the 18th Virginia Regiment, Company B. He participated in all of the battles around Richmond and on the Peninsula, and was captured by the Federal army on the retreat from Gettysburg. He was confined at Point Lookout, near Baltimore, and also at Chambersburg, for nineteen months; was later exchanged, rejoined tris regiment and surrendered with General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.
On April 20, 1861, he joined Roman Eagle Lodge. While at Point Lookout a certain number of prisoners were to be exchanged, and the officer in charge had adopted the plan or selecting for exchange every other prisoner as they stood in line. Mr. Jones made the Masonic sign, and the officer, skipping the prisoner whose turn would have been next in the regular order, rested his hand on Pleasant Richard Jones, shoulder, and said, “You, sir.”
Very soon after the surrender of General Lee, and upon Mr. Jones’ return to Danville, he entered a partnership with Jordan Motley and Dr. James Green to conduct a drug business. This business grew and prospered and in a short while he purchased the interest of his two partners. This took hard work, but by industry and integrity he succeeded.
During his long residence in Danville, Mr. Jones held many positions of honor and trust. The public recognized in him a man of good business judgment and strict integrity. He was for some years City Treasurer, and at the time of his death [on October 10, 1899 at the age of 59] was president of the Bank of Danville. He was also president of the Danville street car company until a few weeks before his death, when he resigned.
In the notice of his death, the editor of The Danville Register said: “Pleasant Richard Jones died as he had lived, with clean hands and a pure heart.”
Taken from Historical Sketch of Roman Eagle Lodge, taken in turn from a sketch of Mr. Jones’ life by his widow, Mrs. Bettie Rison Jones.