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Sat, 11.14.1807

Edward Jones, a Missionary born

Edward Jones (1826)

*The birth of Edward Jones is celebrated on this date in 1807. He was a Black missionary.

Edward Jones was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and became part of the mulatto elite of that city. He was the brother of Jehu Jones, a black preacher. Many free mulattoes were freed enslaved people who had fought in the American Revolutionary War for the Patriots and then freed for their loyalty.

In 1798, Edward Jones's father, Jehu Jones Sr., had bought his freedom for $140 from his owner, a tailor who had taught him the craft, and bought freedom for his wife Abigail and children. Jones Sr. became wealthy from his investments in real estate and eventually became a hotel owner catering to white travelers. He bought his first slave in 1807. According to historian Bernard E. Powers, the senior Jones associated himself with elite white Charlestonians and "seldom kept the company of even light-complexioned free blacks and never of slaves."

Edward Jones was proud of his African heritage and was a member of the Brown Fellowship Society in Charleston. He immigrated to Liberia and then to the colony of Freetown, Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, Jones was a great leader and one of the patriarchs of a prominent Krio family. Jones was a superintendent of the liberated African village of Kent, Sierra Leone, where he met one of the Nova Scotian settlers, Hannah Nylander, and married her. Jones had married into another prominent family; his wife was of half Nova Scotian (Black Loyalist descent, making her ultimately of Black American descent) and half German through her missionary father, Gustav Nylander.

Jones married three times and buried all his wives in Sierra Leone. Jones also fathered six children, only one of whom lived to adulthood. Jones was also the first principal of Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. There, the only known portrait of Edward Jones was hung on the wall. Edward Jones died in England in 1865.

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