William Jones was born at Llanfihangel, Anglesey (Wales) and died in London, on 3 July 1749. The son of smallholders, he worked as an accountant in London. He travelled in the West Indies and from 1702 taught navigation on board a man-of-war. He was taught mathematics probably by John Harris, with whom he lodged. The entries on navigation in Harris's Lexicon technicum (1704–10) are probably his. He established himself as a tutor and among his pupils were Thomas Parker, later Earl of Macclesfield, and his son George, who became President of the Royal Society. His association with the Parker family was particularly stable: he is said to have lived at Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, as a member of the family. Jones was in close contact with Isaac Newton, Roger Cotes, and Edmond Halley, who supported his (unsuccessful) 1709 application to teach at Christ's Hospital. In 1711 he was elected FRS and was later Vice-President. He married Maria Nix. They had two sons and a daughter. His son William Jones (d. 1794) distinguished himself as an Oriental scholar. At his death Jones left in Shirburn a mass of manuscripts and a rich library. Some of these papers went to his friend John Robertson and were later bought by Charles Hutton.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.