Confederate 1st Lt William Thomas Jones

Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
Good research.

Do you have an image of the 1860 census? [The first link in the OP is from a reliable website and clearly stated "William became one of approximately 184 "free persons of color" in Moore County, NC, according to the 1860 census." The second link, on several occassions, refers to Williams as "African-American" or as a "black man".]

The reason the town kept quiet about his race, and the census recorder (probably at Jones' request) listed him as white, his 1st and 2nd wives were both white. Not a real popular thing during "Jim Crow" in the south! They were prominent people in Carthage, NC. They employed several people. Their business was important to the town. The people had reason to protect them. His white widow received a widow's pension after his death. Her father, a North Carolina Unionist, resigned from the Confederate Army and attempted to take North Carolina out of the war. He ran for Governor (and lost) as a Republican after the war. A very prominent family. Lot's of reasons for the town to protect Mr. Jones. Here's a link to some more detailed info. None of it will say he "passed as white". Honestly, does his photo look white to you? Union P.O.W. records describe his complexion as "ruddy". In the mid-19th century, the biblical definition would have been excepted "reddish-brown". By the way, Jones was listed on every census record and even his death certificate as white. Means nothing when you know the "rest of the story".

https://www.courier-tribune.com/article/20160127/NEWS/301279949
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Good research.

Do you have an image of the 1860 census? [The first link in the OP is from a reliable website and clearly stated "William became one of approximately 184 "free persons of color" in Moore County, NC, according to the 1860 census." The second link, on several occassions, refers to Williams as "African-American" or as a "black man".]
Here is the 1860 census with Jones. But the the race box appears to be blank for all of the residents of Carthage (the box after gender). I'm wondering about the census taker. It was usually the county sheriff, I believe. And the county sheriff, named Kelly, was a business co-owner with Jones. There's no evidence that I see that it was widely known throughout the community that Jones was black. It seems more likely to have been a secret among a few people.

William jones 1860.png
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
The reason the town kept quiet about his race, and the census recorder (probably at Jones' request) listed him as white, his 1st and 2nd wives were both white. Not a real popular thing during "Jim Crow" in the south! They were prominent people in Carthage, NC. They employed several people. Their business was important to the town. The people had reason to protect them. His white widow received a widow's pension after his death. Her father, a North Carolina Unionist, resigned from the Confederate Army and attempted to take North Carolina out of the war. He ran for Governor (and lost) as a Republican after the war. A very prominent family. Lot's of reasons for the town to protect Mr. Jones. Here's a link to some more detailed info. None of it will say he "passed as white". Honestly, does his photo look white to you? Union P.O.W. records describe his complexion as "ruddy". In the mid-19th century, the biblical definition would have been excepted "reddish-brown". By the way, Jones was listed on every census record and even his death certificate as white. Means nothing when you know the "rest of the story".

https://www.courier-tribune.com/article/20160127/NEWS/301279949
How do you know the whole town knew and kept quiet about his race? The modern news articles quoting Motz-Frazier seem like speculation.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
The reason the town kept quiet about his race, and the census recorder (probably at Jones' request) listed him as white, his 1st and 2nd wives were both white. Not a real popular thing during "Jim Crow" in the south! They were prominent people in Carthage, NC. They employed several people. Their business was important to the town. The people had reason to protect them. His white widow received a widow's pension after his death. Her father, a North Carolina Unionist, resigned from the Confederate Army and attempted to take North Carolina out of the war. He ran for Governor (and lost) as a Republican after the war. A very prominent family. Lot's of reasons for the town to protect Mr. Jones. Here's a link to some more detailed info. None of it will say he "passed as white". Honestly, does his photo look white to you? Union P.O.W. records describe his complexion as "ruddy". In the mid-19th century, the biblical definition would have been excepted "reddish-brown". By the way, Jones was listed on every census record and even his death certificate as white. Means nothing when you know the "rest of the story".

https://www.courier-tribune.com/article/20160127/NEWS/301279949

Good research.

Do you have an image of the 1860 census? [The first link in the OP is from a reliable website and clearly stated "William became one of approximately 184 "free persons of color" in Moore County, NC, according to the 1860 census." The second link, on several occassions, refers to Williams as "African-American" or as a "black man".]

The following link will allow you to see the Confederate service of three other "free men of color" that served under Lieutenant Jones in Company C. You'll see a service file card along with census info that lists them as "mulatto". Scroll down to posts, 147, 148, and 149. These men obviously didn't "pass as white". Neither did their Lieutenant, except in convoluted theories and personal opinions.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/co...ck-and-mulatto-men.142783/page-8#post-1759015
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
It should be noted as well that the other business co-owner, Tyson, was married to a white woman but he impregnated his black female slave and had a child.

So there seems to be a number of white slave-owning males having mixed-race offspring in this story. That may add an additional factor to the secrecy and cover-up.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
The following link will allow you to see the Confederate service of three other "free men of color" that served under Lieutenant Jones in Company C. You'll see a service file card along with census info that lists them as "mulatto". Scroll down to posts, 147, 148, and 149. These men obviously didn't "pass as white". Neither did their Lieutenant, except in convoluted theories and personal opinions.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/co...ck-and-mulatto-men.142783/page-8#post-1759015
You say that these three were classified as mulatto's in the 1850 census. What was their race in the 1860 and later census?

How do you know that they didn't pass as white?
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
It should be noted as well that the other business co-owner, Tyson, was married to a white woman but he impregnated his black female slave and had a child.

So there seems to be a number of white slave-owning males having mixed-race offspring in this story. That may add an additional factor to the secrecy and cover-up.
Where does the article say that?
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
From the above I'm satisfied that William Thomas Jones was a black soldier and deserved inclusion in the thread Black Soldier Civil War Images (from whence this thread emerged). After all, Jones had been a slave. That Jones' father was white (and his mother a black slave) is neither here nor there because once you start to quibble about percentages you begin to exclude many soldiers on both sides from being recognised as 'black'.

That his military record lists his complexion as 'ruddy' is, to me, recognition that he stood out among his fellows and I doubt that it could have gone unnoticed in his home town. That it was unlawful for a black man to enlist is a straw man argument because the records show he was enlisted in the Confederate army and he had been a slave and therefore recognised as black earlier in his life. Jones did not change: the records simply failed to show the full story [I'm sure it would have also been unlawful for Kelly (Jones' business partner and county Sheriff) to omit or falsify census records yet the record shows no notation even though we know Jones was considered black by his State because he had been a slave until freed by his father].
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
That it was unlawful for a black man to enlist is a straw man argument because the records show he was enlisted in the Confederate army and he had been a slave and therefore recognised as black earlier in his life.
It's not a strawman. The Confederates specifically only enlisted whites as soldiers until the very end of the war. So he would have had to have been considered white to enlist.

I think it is obvious that Jones kept his race quiet, and passed as white in the military and in society.
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
Of course Jones "kept his race quiet" but he was what he was and he enlisted of his own free will.

He was black and he circumvented laws and attitudes that existed at the time so he could fight for his country. That is why a law prohibiting a black man to enlist is a straw man argument when it is argued that the simple existence of the law meant there were no black confederate soldiers. [I do not think Jones was able to do this without the knowledge of anyone else either. This is why he was placed in charge of other black, and not white, men and why the 1860 census records are strangely silent as to his race.]
 
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