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Drawing of Alice Virginia Bradford Tobey Jones, a woman with short hair wearing a pleated/ruffled top, earrings, and a floral wide-brimmed hat.

David Blanchette / Angela M. Dunham / Wareham Historical Society

Wareham philanthropist Alice Tobey Jones (1873-1922) funded the establishment of Tobey Hospital, an institution that has played a major role in the health and well-being of Wareham and South Coast residents. Alice also contributed to the original Wareham Free Library, gifting the library ceiling and fireplace in memory of her deceased brother. Her several endowments have benefited church, town and animal adoption agencies.

Philanthropist Alice Tobey Jones (1873-1922) was born in Augusta, Maine in 1873 to George Oakes Tobey and Blanche Henry Waterman Tobey. Alice’s generosity included funding for Wareham’s Tobey Hospital and donations to a New York City humane animal adoption organization.

She was the last direct descendant of Joshua and Susanna Keith Pratt Tobey, her paternal grandparents and founders of the Tobey fortune. At a young age, Alice moved to 60 High Street in Wareham. She married John Hall Jones of New York City on May 23, 1908 at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Upon the death of her brother George Oakes Tobey, Jr. in 1915, their mother Blanche funded the construction of the original Wareham Free Library on High Street in her son’s memory, and Alice gifted the library ceiling and fireplace in her brother’s memory. When her uncle Horace P. Tobey died on May 14, 1918, he left his fortune to Alice.

Upon Alice’s death in Wareham on September 26, 1922, her will left the Tobey Homestead on Main Street in Wareham to her husband John and her friend Edward Palmer Clark for the remainder of their lives. She set up a trust of $250,000 to maintain the Tobey Homestead and made provisions to allow several friends to visit as long as they wished. After the deaths of her husband and Edward P. Clark, the Tobey Homestead and land between High Street and Main Street was to be transferred to a corporation for the purpose of maintaining a hospital, called Tobey Hospital, through the Tobey Hospital Endowment Fund. Also in her will, Alice set up a Board of Trustees for Tobey Hospital by naming trustees from local churches, the Wareham National Bank or its successor, and town leaders to carry out her wishes to “establish, conduct and maintain a hospital at the Tobey Homestead.” Organizationally established in 1938, Tobey Hospital opened on May 25, 1940 with 40 inpatient beds, a newborn nursery, two operating rooms, X-ray facilities and a laboratory. A major provider of health services to the region, Tobey Hospital now treats 30,000 patients annually through its emergency care services. An ongoing emergency department expansion will quadruple space, increase number of treatment rooms, and accommodate 40,000 patients per year.

Alice’s benevolence extended to other groups, as well. She willed a large sum of money to Bide-A-Wee Home Association, Inc., a humane animal adoption organization founded in 1903 in New York City that continues to receive donations from Alice’s estate. She left endowment funds to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Wareham, the Episcopal Church Diocese of Massachusetts, the Town of Wareham for a new town house and for an Asylum and School for the support and education of destitute children of Wareham and Middleboro.

Buried at Centre Cemetery in Wareham, Alice’s stone reads, “Profoundly conscious of cruelty and suffering she devoted her large fortune to the relief of human and animal distress.”

Angela M. Dunham, Wareham Historical Society 

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