Joshua Jones (1806-1888)

"Multi-Millionaire Hotel Recluse" of the New-York Hotel, N.Y.C.

He was born in New York City and was named for his uncle, Joshua Jones. On his mother's side, he was a nephew of John Mason, 2nd President of the Chemical Bank, and his brother John Quentin Jones became the 4th President of the Chemical Bank. Joshua entered Columbia College and studied law in the offices of Benjamin C. Ferris but never practiced and instead, "spent his life roaming about the world". For the last twenty-five years of his life he lived at the New-York Hotel where he developed a reputation as a "hotel recluse". When his brother, John, died in 1878, "the whole of the vast (family) fortune fell to Joshua". He was now a major shareholder in the Chemical Bank and the owner of considerable property on the west side of New York.

He never married and his closest relations were his cousins with whom he divided his $7-million fortune ($2-million of which was in property). Notable among them was Edith Wharton and the "Grande Dame of New York Society" Mary (Mason) Jones who built her storied chateau at 1 East 57th Street. At Joshua's death it was reported that, "very little is known of his personal affairs. He was eccentric in many ways, particularly in regard to his disposition to walk to whatever part of the city he had occasion to visit".


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 22/09/2022 and last updated on 22/09/2022.