Hon. Aquilla Jones, the son of Benjamin and Mary Jones, who were of Welsh extraction, was born in Stokes (now Forsyth) County, N. C, on the 8th of July, 1811. His father, being a farmer in limited circumstances, could afford his son but few advantages of education, and early required his assistance in the cultivation of the farm. In 1831 the family emigrated to Columbus, Bartholomew Co., Ind., to which point Elisha P. Jones, brother of the subject of this biographical sketch, had preceded them and engaged in mercantile pursuits. He also held the commission of postmaster of the place. Aquilla entered the store as clerk, and remained until August, 1836, when he removed to Missouri. The following year found him again a resident of Columbus, and engaged in the business of hotel-keeping. This venture was, however,of short duration, and his brother, Elisha P., having died, he succeeded him by purchase of the stock, and was by common consent made postmaster of the village.
He continued the business of a country merchant until 1856, first with his brother, Charles Jones, and later with B. F. Jones, another brother, and during much of this period held the office of postmaster. He was, in 1849, made president of the Columbus Bridge Company, which erected a bridge across the east branch of the White River at Columbus, and superintended its construction. He owned a controlling interest in the stock, which was later sold on his removal to Indianapolis. He was appointed by President Martin Van Buren to take the census, and again to the same office by President Millard Fillmore in 1850; was tendered the position of clerk of the court of Bartholomew County, and elected to the State Legislature for the sessions of 1842-43. Mr. Jones was honored with the appointment of Indian agent for Washington Territory by President Franklin Pierce, but declined, after which he was offered the same position in connection with New Mexico, and was constrained to decline this also. He received in 1856 the Democratic nomination for State treasurer, was elected, and renominated in 1858, which honor he declined. Having removed to Indianapolis, he was, in 1861, made treasurer of the Indianapolis Rolling-Mill, and continued thus officially connected with the enterprise until 1873, when he was made its president. He was also chosen president of the waterworks in 1873, but was influenced by circumstances to resign at the expiration of four months, his numerous business connections requiring all his time and attention. Mr. Jones for a period of half a century has been engaged in the active duties of life, and in his various enterprises has invariably been successful. This is largely due to his indefatigable industry, his keen intuitions, and his enterprise. He has ever manifested public spirit and a lively interest in matters pertaining to the State, county, and city of his residence. Mr. Jones has been twice married, in 1836 to Miss Sarah Ann, daughter of Evan Arnold, who died soon after; he was again married, in 1840, to Miss Harriet, daughter of Hon. John W. and Nancy Cox, of Morgan County, Ind. To this marriage were born children — Elisha P., John W., Emma (Mrs. Harry C. Holloway), Benjamin F., Charles, Aquilla Q., Edwin S., William M., Frederick, Harriet (deceased), and Mary (also deceased). Mr. aad Mrs. Jones are members of St. Paul's Cathedral, Indianapolis, in which the former is a vestryman.