University History

Rev. Tiberius Gracchus Jones

President, 1866-1869


Born in Powhatan County, Virginia, July 21, 1821, he was the third son of Wood Jones and Elizabeth Trent (Archer) Jones.

At the age of 13, Tiberius Gracchus Jones entered the office of William Sands of the Religious Herald and worked there for five years. In 1839, he entered the Virginia Baptist Seminary, where he studied for three years, including the time when the Seminary was chartered as Richmond College. He studied at the University of Virginia from 1842-1844. He attended William and Mary College during the session of 1844-1845 and graduated there at the end of this session as the valedictorian of his class. He spent the next two years in Alabama, teaching, preaching and studying theology.

Dr. Jones was vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention for several sessions (1874, 1877, and 1878) and Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the preacher of the introductory sermon before the Virginia General Association on three occasions. In 1873 he preached the introductory sermon before the Southern Baptist Convention. He was offered the presidency of Wake Forest College and also the presidency of Mercer University, but declined in both cases. He received the honorary degree of D.D. from Richmond College.

Jones was the author of the following books: The Great Misnomer, The Duties of Pastors to Churches, and Origin and Continuity of Baptist Churches and also wrote a number of articles for Baptist publications.

When Richmond College was reorganized after the Civil War, Dr. Jones became the second President of the College, being elected to that office on August 24, 1866. Along with the Presidency he held the Chair of Moral Science, and also taught English for two years. He was an excellent teacher – remembered by his students for his brilliant lectures and his striking presentation. He guided the College successfully through a critical period.

 His heart, however, was really in the pulpit, as he was, above all else, a preacher. During his third year as president, he received a call to return to the Freemason Church in Norfolk, where he was pastor when he accepted the position at Richmond College. He accepted the call on August 29, 1869. Dr. Jones was also a Trustee of Richmond College; was elected to the Board while he was President of the College, and continued to serve as a Trustee until he moved to Tennessee in 1871.

In 1919, Mr. Archer G. Jones established at the University of Richmond “The Tiberius Gracchus Jones Memorial Scholarship” in honor of his father.

He was married on November 7, 1848, to Miss Jane Chandler Reins of Richmond. He married as his second wife Miss Martha Ridley of Norfolk, Virginia. He died June 27, 1895, in Richmond at the home of his son-in-law, Mr. John B. Jeffress. Funeral services were held at the residence. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.

- Excerpted from Hackley, Woodford B., Faces on the Wall - Brief Sketches of the MEN and WOMEN whose PORTRAITS and BUSTS were on the campus of the University of Richmond in 1955, Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 1972.