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Seeking Information/Help-- Black Confederate Officer
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Author Post
Tue Mar 06 2012, 04:42PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 2592
"Town Secret': Race of Famous Carthaginian Embraced at

I would like to have more information on the above William T. Jones. I have the book "Immortal Captives" by M. P. Joslyn and cannot find a reference to W. T. Jones's race. I looked up his service records and cannot find a reference to his race.

I cannot find this William T. Jones listed in the census* records found in, listed as anything but white. His occupation is listed as "Carriage Manufacture." This is Wt. T. Jones married to Florence Dockery Jones

*1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910

Listed in the census records* in the same same town is also a W. T. Jones married to Sophia Jones. His occupation is also listed as "Carriage Manufacture." I am unable to find this family in the 1880 or later census.

*1860, 1870
In the 1860 census may be read as James

If you have information regarding this man please post.


Note Added Oct 9, 2017.

From Joslyn's book "immortal 600--
Served Company C, 35th North Carolina Inf. Regt. Captured Petersburg, Va. !7 Jan. 1864.

Note added Oct. 18, 2017--
Widows pension found at --

[ Edited Wed Oct 18 2017, 01:33PM ]
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Sun Oct 01 2017, 01:08PM

Registered Member #1
Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 2592
Here is the full article and a new link

'The Town Secret'Race of Famous Carthaginian Embraced
May 6, 2012 (1)

This article is reprinted from the February 12, 2012, edition of The Pilot.
By John Chappell
Staff Writer

Every year with its Buggy Festival, Carthage celebrates the achievements of a former slave, though until recently few knew it.

William T. Jones - born a slave, and the son of a slave and her owner - ran the famed Tyson & Jones Buggy Co., the biggest business around.

Though he was an African-American described in census records as "a mulatto gentleman" and a former slave, Jones nevertheless became a leading businessman and industrialist, recognized and honored, his color the best kept secret in Carthage history.

His elaborate 1880s Queen Anne Victorian mansion stands at the entrance to the town's historic district. Now a bed-and-breakfast inn lovingly restored with wraparound porch and fanciful gingerbread trimmed in elegant Painted Lady fashion, the Jones house evokes the lavishness of a bygone era.

Few in Carthage today realize its builder and former owner was a black man of mixed race who lived openly with his white wife, operated one of the biggest factories in the South, taught Sunday School in the Methodist Church, served on national and local boards, and was admired and loved without any mention of race.

Today, the fact that Jones was an African-American is something the town history committee's present chairwoman, Carol Steed, thinks the town can take pride in - though for years nobody spoke of it.

"People on the committee - even long years ago - were not sure," she said. "We had nothing to verify it then, aside from his picture, and sometimes pictures fool you.
"I still think a lot of people outside of the museum have no idea. Now it is a source of pride."
That's the way Mayor Lee McGraw sees it.

"I think it's a neat thing," McGraw said. "When I joined the committee back in 1998, his picture was one of the first things I saw, and I said, 'Wow! African-American!' People have done a lot of research trying to find out as much as we can about him."

One of those people now owns the Jones house. Pat Motz-Frazier operates the restored mansion as The Old Buggy Inn. She's delved into historical records, collected memories from other townspeople, and tried to find out everything she can about the man who built her house.

'Regarded in All Aspects'

After his death in 1910 the local paper described Jones as "a citizen regarded in all respects as probably the peer of any, living or dead, in usefulness in accomplished purpose ... and withal in the example and model which he has left the present and future generations."

Jones was known nationwide as a pioneer of manufacturing techniques and business acumen. Yet over the century since his death, most people in Carthage seemed to forget he was black, a former slave, of mixed race and in an interracial marriage.

"His father owned a plantation, and his mother was a slave on the plantation," Motz-Frazier said. "His father was married and had three other children with his wife, all white. He had freed Mr. Jones. Census records in Raleigh showed it. Once we knew it, people started telling other things that they knew."

Bit by bit, she pieced together a remarkable story, wondering all the while how it was that people around Carthage - even on the town's Historical Committee - just assumed Jones was white. She found one reason after learning Jones and his wife had no children.

"He did have three white siblings," she said. "His father was married to a white woman, and they had three white children, two boys and a girl. His father owned a plantation, where his mother was a slave."

When Motz-Frazier started telling what she'd discovered, people thought she had it all wrong.

"Charles Prevost and his sister came down to tell me what I had been saying wasn't true," she said. "So, I gave Mr. Prevost copies of everything I had found. Then - it took him about a month - he went behind me, went to Raleigh, checked census records.

"He came back by himself about a month later and apologized and said that I was right. He felt really bad, because he felt for all these years that the committee had been misrepresenting the truth. Once he knew it, and I began telling it, people started coming out of the woodwork telling us that they knew."

Fought for Confederacy

Jones was born a slave near Elizabethtown on Aug. 8, 1833, and died Nov. 29, 1910, a free man - well-respected, well-known, and wealthy.

As a freed man, he had moved to Fayetteville, where his work as a carriage painter attracted the attention of two Carthage men: Thomas Bethune Tyson, and Alexander Kelly, the county sheriff. In 1857 they talked Jones into coming to Carthage to take charge of the painting department of their little buggy factory.

Two years later, Tyson, Kelly & Co. gave Jones entire charge of the vehicle part of their business. He enlarged the company and its trade grew, but with the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, production was suspended. Jones and many workers left to serve in the Confederate Army. Captured, they were interned at Fort Delaware.

"There were 12,000 men in Fort Delaware at the time," Motz-Frazier said. "During their time there, 600 were separated to be treated in retaliation for the way Union soldiers were being treated. They told them that they were going home, that they would be exchanged for Union prisoners."

That didn't happen. They segregated them from the normal population and put them on starvation rations. They were not given water.

"A lot of the time they had to catch water in their cap when it rained," she said. "One article said Mr. Jones was in prison a year, but I think it was longer."

While Jones remained at Fort Delaware, the 600 were moved about. At Fort Pulaski outside Savannah they were crowded into cold, damp quarters and fed only a meager "retaliation ration." The group came to be known as "The Immortal 600" for what they endured and their refusal to take oaths of allegiance to the Union.

"They were taken to other prison camps, then later marched - a hardship march - back to Fort Delaware," Motz-Frazier said. "Many died. When they got there, they were in bad shape, starving and dying."

Jones started picking up potato peelings off the ground and saving bread crusts, making moonshine for them to fill their bellies, warm them up. Union prison guards began buying his moonshine and paying him in Union currency.

"By the end of the war, a great many were no longer living because of the hardships they endured," Motz-Frazier said. "Matt Blue - you know, who had a homestead here in Carthage - was one of the 600. At the end of the war, when the war was over and they opened up the prison camp for men to come home, Matt Blue could not walk, he was so ill. Mr. Jones hired a carriage for him - and some other Carthage men - to come home."

'Town Secret'
Back in Moore County, Jones set about helping Tyson rebuild the business using his moonshine money as capital.

"When the war was over, and they came back to Carthage, that's how they reopened the buggy factory," Motz-Frazier said. "They reopened the company on this money he'd made selling moonshine."

She and Prevost spent a lot of time talking about how it could happen that a Southern town had a black man, married to a white woman - which was illegal - and living in one of the biggest houses in town, owning and being president of a company, yet not being persecuted.

"What Mr. Prevost and I kind of concluded was that it became the town secret," she said. "When they came back to Carthage, Sherman had marched through. There was devastation. People were starving. Here is a company that can reopen, can pay so that men can buy feed, plant crops, feed their families - and they can prosper. Other Southern towns weren't able to do that. So what if he was a black man - at that point who the hell cared?"

The former slave, former colonel of the Confederacy, former prisoner-of-war was back in Carthage with hard currency - U.S. dollars - at a time when hardly anyone in the state had anything but worthless Confederate paper.

"He came out of prison with considerable money earned while there, and brought it home with him, something that probably no other prisoner did during the whole course of that war," according to "A Short History of The Establishment and Growth Of the Vehicle Industry in Carthage, N.C.," as reprinted in 2009 by the Moore County Historical Association.

Jones bankrolled partners Tyson and Kelly in rebuilding their ruined buggy business.
On the first Monday of each month - the great sales day in Bennettsville, S.C. - they brought buggies down from Carthage in long strings, one hitched behind the other and pulled along by horses or mules over deep sand roads. The trip took about a week, down and back. Jones went down with buggies and came back with money.

In 1873, he and Tyson bought out Kelly, changing the name to Tyson & Jones. Jones - having visited Northern factories on trips - concluded it was necessary to use machinery. He bought a steam engine and boiler, circular saws, a planer, drills and other machines. He had it all shipped to Jonesboro, then hauled to Carthage on wagons.

In 1889, Jones and Tyson incorporated, with Jones as company president. In 1895 the company exhibited in Atlanta at the Cotton States Exposition and continued expanding. A 1902 Republican Party flier urged voters to support "Col. W.T. Jones of Carthage - one of the Captains of Industry of the State" for the state house. His campaign was unsuccessful.

Three years later, the wooden buildings at the factory began to be replaced by brick structures.

One remains.

The race of this Confederate colonel, beloved Methodist Sunday School teacher, town leader and prosperous industrialist apparently became the town secret. His photograph never appeared in any Tyson & Jones catalog.

[ Edited Sun Oct 01 2017, 01:21PM ]
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Thu Oct 12 2017, 01:02PM

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Joined: Tue Jul 17 2007, 02:46PM
Posts: 2592
From the find a grave website at ----

Submitted by Glenn Land---

William Thomas Jones

Apr. 8, 1833
Bladen County
North Carolina, USA
Nov. 22, 1910
Moore County
North Carolina, USA

1st Lt., Company C, 35th N.C. Infantry Regt.
One of the "Immortal 600".

From slave to industrialist, William T. Jones was Carthage, NC's best-kept secret:

"He was born the son of a slave and her white owner in 1833. By time time of his death in 1910, William T. Jones was one of the prominent business owners in Carthage. He rubbed elbows
with the elite, white, upper class in Moore County during the 1880s, dined with them, threw elaborate holiday parties where most of the guests were white, and even attended church with them.

Both of his wives, Sophia Isabella McLean and Florence Dockery were white. Dockery was the daughter of a well-to-do Apex family.

Yet, until a decade ago, few in this small Moore County town acknowledged out loud that
Jones was not a white man.

Then, Pat Motz-Frazier entered the scene in 2005. She purchased Jones home, built
in 1880 for his wife, Florence, and today runs it as a bed and breakfast, aptly
named “The Old Buggy Inn.”

“He built this huge elaborate house because he and his wife wanted to fill it
with children,” Motz-Frazier says. “Unfortunately, they never had any.”

Motz-Frazier ran into many brick walls while trying to research the history of her historic
Victorian home. Many of those she asked, declined to acknowledge that Jones, president
of the Tyson & Jones Buggy Company, was anything but a white man, she says. Slowly and
methodically, she finally put together the pieces of the puzzle of what was a remarkable
story of Jones, one man who, in the 19th century, never let the color of his skin define him.

At the age of 27, Jones (and many other buggy company workers) joined the
Confederate Army. By 1864, he had risen to the rank of first lieutenant. His unit was
eventually captured in Virginia and sent to Fort Delaware, where they spent the better
part of a year.

Ever the entrepreneur, Jones started picking up potato peelings and saving crusts
from bread, to make homemade moonshine. He sold his fiery concoction to the prison
guards and local townspeople. He was paid in Union currency for his product.
According to Motz-Frazier, he came back to North Carolina with an estimated
$3,000 in his pockets. Smart man.

“When the war was over, and they came back to Carthage, Sherman had marched
through. There was devastation. People were starving. They couldn’t reopen the
buggy company because all they had was Confederate money and it was
worthless,” Motz-Frazier says. “They reopened the company with Mr. Jones
moonshine money.”

The company was originally known as Tyson & Kelly, then Tyson, Kelly & Company.

Not to be deterred, Motz-Frazier continued her search for the secret to unlocking
Jones’ story. When she started sharing her information, she was told that she
“had it all wrong.”

“He was somewhat of a secret in town. Maybe it was because, after the Civil War,
there was a very active vigilante force in this area. He had two white wives back
when it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry, when blacks were persecuted
and when whites who supported those blacks were persecuted.”

The people of Carthage looked the other way, Motz-Frazier says, to protect Jones —
and themselves. Over time, any issues with Jones’ color eventually faded into
history. It was simply not discussed.

“I finally found a record of his death that says that he was mulatto. Once that
rock turned over, I got so excited! I ran all over town telling everyone. I was told that
it was not true and that I was disturbing the history of Carthage and was told to stop
spreading it around town.

“Charles Prevost and his sister told me that what I had been saying wasn’t true,” she

“So, I gave Mr. Prevost copies of everything I had found. Then he went to Raleigh and
checked census records. He came back by himself about a month later and apologized
and told me that I was right. Once he knew it, and I began telling it, people started
coming out of the woodwork telling us that they knew.”

She discovered that in 1873, the company was renamed the Tyson & Jones Buggy
Company. In 1876, it produced 400 buggies, and was incorporated in 1889. At its
maximum production, Tyson & Jones constructed 3,000 carriages/buggies a year.
The popularity of the automobile led to the closure of the company in 1925.

Motz-Frazier also discovered that the mysterious Mr. Jones was innovative — he
invented the solution used for waterproofing. While his 1902 campaign was
unsuccessful, Joneseven ran for the N.C. House of Representatives, representing
the Republican Party.

“I got the impression that he was a kind, gentle, intelligent, forward-thinking man,”
Motz-Frazier says. “Inspite of being black, I think he overlooked it. This is a story of an unbelievably remarkable man who married a white woman when black-white marriage
was illegal, and who was the president of what was then considered the Cadillac of buggy companies in the South.

“His can’t be the only story like this one, but it is a rare story. This is something that
happened in the midst of war — and needs to be known.”

In recording his death on November 29, 1910, history records, “Col. W.T. Jones,
president of the Tyson & Jones Buggy Company of Carthage, died this morning
after a gradual decline for the three years.”

After his death, the local newspaper reported that Jones was “a citizen regarded
in all respects as probably the peer of any, living or dead, in usefulness in
accomplished purpose … and withal in the example and model which he has
left the present and future generations.”

The race of this Confederate soldier, Methodist Sunday School teacher, town
leader and prosperous industrialist was almost erased from Carthage history.
His photograph never appeared in any Tyson & Jones catalog. In one history book
dated 1981, his faceis there in a photo, however, his name is not listed as the
owner of the buggy company.

Jones is buried at Cross Hill Cemetery, just down the road from his former home.
Today, the Carthage Buggy Festival proudly celebrates the achievements of
this former slave."

Family links: 
  Sophia Isabella McLean Jones (1833 - 1874)
  Florence Dockery Jones (1853 - 1939)
Cross Hill Cemetery
Moore County
North Carolina, USA
Maintained by: Amy Caddell
Originally Created by: Scott Hutchison
Record added: Jan 25, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10370746

Added by: Amy Caddell

Added by: Amy Caddell

Added by: Amy Caddell
There are 10 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Amy Caddell
 Added: Sep. 24, 2017
One of the Immortal Six Hundred. Thanks to William and all of the Confederate
soldiers for your faithful service in protecting and defending your homeland
from the northern invaders. He is mentioned in "Immortal Captives"
- John Battell
 Added: Jun. 22, 2015

 Added: May. 30, 2014

[ Edited Thu Oct 12 2017, 01:43PM ]
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