Edward Jones '26

Edward Jones was a missionary who was the first black American to graduate from Amherst College.  He was in the class of 1826.  He was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807.  In Charleston, he was a member of the mulatto elite–free slaves who had fought in the American Revolutionary War and were freed for their loyalty.  His father, Jehu Jones, was a wealthy hotel owner.


After attending Amherst, Jones converted to Episcopalism and enrolled at the Andover Theological Seminary from 1828 to 1830.  In 1830, he was ordained as one of the first black Episcopalian priest.  Jones immigrated to Liberia and then to Sierra Leone in 1831.  It was there that he became superintendent of the liberated African village of Kent.  He later dabbled in journalism, first assisting in editing a missionary newspaper called “The African and Sierra Leone Weekly Advertiser”.  In 1861, he started editing the “Sierra Leone Weekly Times and West African”.  Jones married three times and fathered six children.  He died in 1865.