According to the biographies, 1872 marked the start of Robert’s career as a quarry owner. That year, he was one of a group of five quarry workers who began to operate their own small quarry. They were successful and managed the quarry together for several years. The
"Selling out [to his partners] in 1879, he, in company with P. B. Shank, leased about twenty-five acres of slate land, and opened a new quarry about one-fourth mile from West Bangor, which was proved one of the most productive on the ridge. He manufactured, in 1883, with about twenty hands, 2,800 squares of roofing slate. [Slate is packed and sold in "squares", sufficient to cover a square 10 ft x 10 ft on a roof.] Since 1882 Mr. Jones has been sole owner, and his entire time is given to the management of the business." However, the
states that after selling out, Robert
"leased the old big quarry at Peach Bottom, and has since controlled its output." Robert definitely did acquire the "Big" quarry at some point and owned it until his death but I am not convinced that he did so this early since it was far from being a "new quarry", being perhaps the oldest in the area, and when he did acquire it, through neglect it had been flooded for a long time, a problem he did not properly address until the mid 1890s.
Be that as it may, in the 1880 census Robert was a "Quarry Man" (presumably a ‘Quarry Manager’, as opposed to others whose occupation was "works in quarry"), and the family was living in the village of West Bangor (maps).
Y Drych , 20 May 1875, reported:
"The Gwynedd Lodge, from this place, held its first festival, the 1st of this month. The fraternity met about half past three o'clock, when the procession formed in the following order. Firstly, the Seindorf (Band), then U. L. and I. L., carrying the Charter; after that the other officers, and following them the ordinary members in twos. The brotherhood was about 60. Approximately four miles were marched, through the communities of Dafydd, Chicken Town, Delta and Bangor. The parade was extremely organized and regular, and the Seindorf played the tunes excellently. We felt proud that we had such a Seindorf Gymreig [Welsh Band] in our area; and apart from five, they are all Ivorites." Robert L Jones was also mentioned in this report. 'Ivorites' were members of a philanthropic friendly society that had been founded in Wales to encourage the Welsh language and to preserve its members as far as possible from want.
By 1882 Robert's ownership of a quarry may have been in partnership with someone called "McLaughlin"; presumably this was W A McLaughlin and not Elizabeth McLaughlin (see next page).