Sheridan Jones was born on the prairies of South Dakota near Olivet on August 23, 1881 while that area was in territorial status and his father was a territorial legislator helping to divide the area into the states of North and South Dakota. His father also served in the Union Army during the Civil War and was wounded at Antietam and Gettysburg.
His pioneer background on the prairies no doubt contributed to his life-long interest in the natural sciences. He was widely known for his work in geology and biology, was the author of several books, and was a long-time editor and contributor to outdoor magazines such as “OutdoorRecreation.” He was particularly well known for his expertise on fishing for Black Bass. The Ellsworth College Foundation owns some of his original fishing equipment.
Professor Jones was a graduate of the University of South Dakota and subsequently received a master’s degree and took graduate work at the University of Michigan. He came to Ellsworth in 1908, the year that Ellsworth became a four-year liberal arts college. He served this college and its students faithfully for 50 years.
At Ellsworth “Prof” Jones, as he became known at one time or another was involved in almost every aspect of the college. He coached the first Ellsworth basketball team when practices were held on the stage of the old Metropolitan Theatre. He taught biology classes until just several days prior to his death, was one of the originators of the Annual Ellsworth Christmas Dinner and served the college as dean and/ or president during the period from 1908 to 1940. He also acquired the original Natural Science Collection, much of which is on display at the Calkins Nature Area today. Bullock-Jones Hall was named in his honor in 1961.
“Prof” Jones was married in 1906 to Miss Mae Freeman. She died in 1926. He then married Vivian Klemme Eller in 1928. She had two sons by a previous marriage, both now deceased. Her son, Donn, was a major in the U.S. Air Force and her son, Klemme, was a Naval architect. Vivian passed away on February 7, 1999 at the age of 105. Her support for Ellsworth continued as evidenced by her service as a member of the Ellsworth College Board of Trustees and her gift to the Trustees of her Des Moines home.
“Prof” Jones passed away on April 12, 1958 at the age of 76. He served Ellsworth College in many capacities, but his greatest contribution was in the classroom. Thousands of students came under his influence and thousands without exception praised his work. No greater tribute can be awarded.