Elmira in Chemung County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
John W. Jones Museum
John W. Jones (1817-1900) was the courageous stationmaster of the Underground Railroad in Elmira. escaping from slavery in Virginia, he made the dangerous 300-mile journey to freedom on the Underground Railroad and arrived in Elmira in 1844. Working with local abolitionists, Jones guided over 800 freedom seekers on their way to the Canadian border. He managed this feat by befriending local train conductors and baggage handlers and guaranteeing their assistance. They used the 4 a.m. train so often it became known as the Freedom Baggage Car.
Jones was a man of great character and compassion. As sexton of the Woodlawn Cemetery, he supervised the burial of nearly 3,000 Confederate soldiers who died in the Elmira Prison Camp during the Civil War. Ironically, he buried with dignity the men who had fought to keep him enslaved, carefully recording their personal information. Woodlawn National Cemetery was created from his accurate burial records.
Erected by Underground Railroad Heritage Trail.
Location. 42° 6.465′ N, 76° 49.467′ W. Marker is in Elmira, New York, in Chemung County. Marker is at the intersection of Davis Street and Woodlawn Avenue, on the right on Davis Street. Click for map. Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Augustus W. Cowles (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mark Twain (about 600 feet away); Confederate Burials in the National Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Confederate Burials (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shohola Railroad Accident Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Confederate Soldiers Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Woodlawn National Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); A National Cemetery System (approx. ¼ mile away); Pulaski Park (approx. ¼ mile away); The Gettysburg Address (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elmira.
Also see . . .
1. John W. Jones Museum. (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. John W. Jones House. The John W. Jones House currently stands at 1250 Davis Street, Elmira, New York, across from a historic entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery. It is the former home of John W. Jones and current home of the John W. Jones Museum. (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. The John W. Jones Story. John W. Jones was born a slave June 21, 1817, on a plantation (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. John W. Jones. John W. Jones was born on June 21, 1817, on a plantation in Leesburg, Virginia, as a slave to the Ellzey family. Jones died on December 26, 1900 and is buried in Woodlawn National Cemetery, not far from Mark Twain. He was married to Rachel Jones (née Swails) in 1856, with whom he had three sons and one daughter. On June 3, 1844, fearing he would be sold to another plantation, as his owner grew old and near death, Jones and four others fled north. They survived a 300-mile trip and arrived in Elmira, New York in July 1844. (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
5. John Jones' Path to Freedom. According to the Elmira Advertiser newspaper of July 17, 1854, a "black rascal" came to Elmira, representing himself as a fugitive slave and asking for handouts. Jones -- who actually was an escaped slave -- encountered the man on Water Street and recognized (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
6. Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century enslaved people of African descent in the United States in efforts to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 122 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.