Jesse Holman Jones, son of William Hasque Jones and Laura Holman Jones, was born in Robertson County, TN, April 5, 1874. The family soon moved to Dallas, TX, where William Jones managed his brother's lumberyard in Terrell. Two years later the family moved to a farm on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, where after completing ninth grade, Jesse was put in charge of one of his father's tobacco factories. In 1891 Jesse entered Hill's Business College in Dallas and then in 1895 started work at his uncle's firm, the M.T. Jones Lumber Co. in Hillsboro, TX. He soon became manager of the Dallas lumberyard, and upon his uncle's death in 1898 became general manager of the Houston yard. He established his own company, the South Texas Lumber Company and expanded into real estate, banking, and commercial buildings and as the largest developer in the area was responsible for most of Houston's prewar construction of over 100 buildings in Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, New York City. Between 1908 and 1912 he bought part of Houston Chronicle, became chairman of the Texas Trust Company, president of National Bank of Commerce, an original stockholder in Humble Oil and Refining Company, and as chairman of the Houston harbor board, raised money for the Houston Ship Channel.
During World War I President Woodrow Wilson named him director general of military relief for the American Red Cross, he became sole owner of the Houston Chronicle in 1926, and in 1928 as director of finance for the Democratic National Convention, was instrumental in bringing the convention to Houston. President Herbert Hoover named him to the Reconstruction Finance Coporation, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him head of the RFC (1933-39) and Federal Loan Administrator (1939), and at the same time became Secretary of Commerce. Jones broke his ties with the Democratic party and returned to Houston in 1945 to concentrate on business ventures and philanthropy. Jones died on June 1, 1956.