Carl A. Jones Jr.


Induction Year:1999




Johnson City Press; Lebanon Democrat; Herald and Tribune

Erwin Record; The Tomahawk; The Covington Leader; The Hartsville Vidette


During a newspaper career that spanned almost 60 years, Carl A. Jones Jr. was never afraid to tackle seemingly impossible problems. Through his newspaper, he called for equalization of property assessments long before the state made equalization mandatory.


The Johnson City Press editorially pressed for reapportionment of the state Legislature years before the Supreme Court required it. And in the columns of his newspaper, Jones espoused legal control of whiskey, and later liquor by the drink, as a means of dealing with illegality that arose from liquor trade.


Jones adopted as a motto for the Johnson City Press-Chronicle (which later readopted the name Johnson City Press), "What the people DON'T know will hurt them." The motto still appears daily in the newspaper's masthead, and it has been used by other newspapers and the Tennessee Press Association. Because rural areas of Upper East Tennessee had a shortage of doctors, he vigorously supported the effort to establish a medical school at East Tennessee State University. That came to be--and a building at the medical complex is now named the Carl A. Jones Hall.


After graduating from Ohio State University in 1934, he married Kathryn Paxton and immediately joined the Johnson City Press, which had been established by his father and Charles Harkrader. He was business manager and then publisher--a position he held until his death. He was the father of four children, all of whom have had careers in newspaper management.

Jones was president of the Tennessee Press Association in 1956 after being active on its board of directors for many years. He was a member and chairman of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) from its inception in 1960, and he was particularly close to Tennessee governors Frank Clement and Buford Ellington.


His civic work was evident through his membership and leadership of the Johnson City Rotary Club, and then as district governor in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. He also was active in the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, the Community Chest and United Way. He was a long-time director of Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and the H. P. King Co. in Bristol, Va. and president of the Johnson City Cardinals and the Appalachian Professional Baseball League.


In 1987, he received the Appalachian Consortium's Laurel Leaves Award, which honors outstanding contributions to the Southern Appalachian region. Jones's Tennessee newspaper journalism included management and ownership of the Johnson City Press, the Lebanon Democrat, the Herald and Tribune in Jonesboro, the Erwin Record The Tomahawk in Mountain City, The Covington Leader and The Hartsville Vidette.


Because Jones published the only newspaper in Johnson City, he always insisted that the paper lean over backward to see that all sides of any issue had a voice. His community leadership was admired by colleagues and civic leaders across the region.