Effie McCollum Jones was born Mar. 29, 1869, in Redfield, Kansas. She grew up on a frontier farm, attended country schools, and taught school for four years before entering Ryder Divinity School of Lombard College at the age of 19. She graduated in 1892 and married Ben Wallace Jones, a classmate at Ryder. On June 28, 1892, they were ordained together in Dubuque, Iowa. They were co-ministers in Waterloo, Iowa, for almost two years, and in Barre, Vermont, for four years. Their daughters Eleanor and Benona were born in Barre. Her husband died in 1898, and she continued to serve the church in Barre for another six years. She was called back to the church in Waterloo, which she served for another 12 years. In 1916 she became field director for the National Woman Suffrage Association for one year. From 1917 to 1919, she supplied at St. Paul's Universalist Church in Webster City, Iowa, while its minister served as an army chaplain. For the next six years she traveled and lectured. In 1925, she returned to Webster City and served as minister there for the next 21 years. She was granted an honorary DD from Ryder in 1907. In 1910 she addressed the International Congress of Religious Liberals in Berlin, Germany. She was active in suffrage causes and in the Iowa Universalist Convention. At the time of her death on July 6, 1952, in Webster City, she was compiling biographical information on Universalist women ministers.
For more information, see Catherine F. Hitchings, Universalist and Unitarian Women Ministers, 2nd ed., Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, 1985. Jones's Berlin address was published in The Universalist Leader, v. 13, no. 53 (Dec. 31, 1910), p. 1516-1517. [Photo from cabinet card dated 1887 (credit: Loomis, Galesburg, Ill.): bMS 900/24 (11)]