Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Anna/Ariana Brown (Mrs. Don P.) Jones, 1871-1956
By Anne M. Boylan, University of Delaware, Emerita
Auditor, Delaware Equal Suffrage Association
Born in Covington, Kentucky, in August, 1871, Anna E. Brown married Don P. Jones in Hamilton, Ohio, on June 5, 1894. The couple had a son, Don Percival [Percy], born in Ohio in 1895 and a daughter, Alfreda Emmeline (later Sproule), born in Delaware in 1904. Because of Don Jones's work as head of his own mercantile agency, the family moved several times before settling permanently in Los Angeles, California, in 1910. One of the moves brought them to Delaware, where they lived from 1901 until 1909 or 1910.
While residing in Wilmington, Anna Jones became a member of the New Century Club and the First Unitarian Society, both of them hives of activity for progressive-minded white women who sought to improve the city's social services and its cultural life. In each, she met and worked with individuals who were key figures in the Delaware Equal Suffrage Association (founded in 1895), including Emalea Pusey Warner, Margaret White Houston, Mary Clare Brassington, Ella Weldin Johnson, and Mary de Vou. In 1906, she was elected as one of the Association's two auditors, a position she held until leaving the city. When the Equal Suffrage Association participated in NAWSA's 1909-1910 national petition drive, Anna Jones and Mary de Vou took charge of collecting signatures for the city of Wilmington.
By 1910, the Jones family had moved to Los Angeles, California. No contemporary evidence suggests that Anna Jones became involved in the 1911 California suffrage referendum campaign. She did, however, join the "New Thought" and vaguely Unitarian Los Angeles Fellowship, led by a former Congregationalist minister and revivalist, Benjamin Fay Mills and his wife and co-adjutant Mary Russell Mills. Its only creed was "encouraging trustful and unselfish living." Through its Women's Alliance, she was exposed to the Millses' interests in vegetarianism, world religions, particularly Hinduism, and Christian socialism.
By 1920, she had changed her first name to Ariana, the designation she used for the rest of her life. Her son Don Percival, a musician, died in Los Angeles in January, 1919, leaving behind a widow and infant son, also named Don Percival Jones. Her husband Don P. Jones died in 1930 in Los Angeles. Ariana Jones continued living the city until moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, near her daughter, Alfreda J. Sproule. She died in 1956 at a Philadelphia-area nursing home; her remains were cremated at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Genealogical information on the Brown and Jones families can gleaned from the vital records, decennial censuses, and city directories found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Local newspapers digitized via ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov and Newspapers.com were crucial for tracing Anna/Ariana Brown Jones's suffrage work. A funeral notice for her son appeared in the Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1919, p. 20, under the title "For Young Musician"; a notice of her husband's death appeared in the Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1930, p. 20.
On Benjamin Fay Mills, see Daniel W. Nelson, "B. Fay Mills: Revivalist, Social Reformer and Advocate of Free Religion" (PhD diss., Syracuse University, 1964).
For the 1909-1910 national petition campaign and her participation, see "For Equal Suffrage; Mammoth Petition for a Sixteenth Amendment to Be Presented to Congress," Wilmington Every Evening, December 5, 1908, p. 2; and Mary R. de Vou, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Delaware," in Delaware: A History of the First State, ed. H. Clay Reed and Marion Bjornson Reed (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1947), I: 358.
See also the First Unitarian Society of Wilmington Records, and the Wilmington New Century Club Papers, both at the Delaware Historical Society, Wilmington, Delaware.
These secondary works provide context for her time in Delaware and her suffrage work: Gail Stanislow, "Domestic Feminism in Wilmington: The New Century Club, 1889-1917," Delaware History 22:4 (1987): 158-185; Carol E. Hoffecker, "Delaware's Woman Suffrage Campaign," Delaware History 20:3 (1983): 149-67; and Anne M. Boylan, Votes for Delaware Women (Newark: University of Delaware Press, forthcoming).