Skip to main content

The Experience of Thomas Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years, 1854

 File — Box: 4250.001, Folder: 19

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a copy of the pamphlet The Experience of Thomas Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years, "written by a friend, as given to him by Brother Jones." It was printed by H. S. Taylor of Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1854. The pamphlet is forty-eight pages long and includes, in addition to Jones's narrative, testimonial letters from three New England clergymen.


  • 1854


Language of Materials

From the Collection: Materials are in English. One item is in German.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas H. Jones was born near Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1806, to parents who were enslaved. He lived on the plantation of John Hawes until 1815, when he was sold to a Mr. Jones, a storekeeper in Wilmington. While there, Thomas Jones married an enslaved woman named Lucilla, with whom he had three children. Some years later, Lucilla’s mistress moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Thomas Jones never saw Lucilla or their children again. After Mr. Jones died, Thomas Jones was sold again, to Owen Holmes of Wilmington. Years later, he remarried, to an enslaved woman named Mary R. Moore. In 1849, Jones sent Mary and most of their children north from Wilmington, and rejoined them after stowing away on a boat to New York a few months later. They moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where Jones became active in the abolitionist movement. He wrote the narrative of his life around 1854 in order to raise funds to purchase the freedom of his son Edward, who remained in slavery. A number of different versions of the narrative were issued between 1854 and 1885.


From the Collection: 0.4 Linear Feet


Formerly MSS.1745

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266