Colonial Gov. Willie Jones

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Willie Jones

Also Known As: "Wylie", "Willy", "Jones"
Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Halifax, Northampton, North Carolina
Death: June 18, 1801 (60)
Raleigh, Wake, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Raleigh, Wake, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert 'Robin' Jones, Jr. and Sarah Jones
Husband of Mary Elizabeth Jones
Father of Anna Marie Littlejohn; Martha Burkes Eppes; R. Jones; Sarah "Sallie" Welsh Burton and William Jones
Brother of General Allen Jones (Col. Militia); Martha Cobb Jones; Robert Allen Jones and Joshua Jones, Sr.

Occupation: planter, statesman, Statesman Friend of John Paul-Founder of Jonesboroughj, TN
Managed by: John Roger Tyler Moore
Last Updated:

About Colonial Gov. Willie Jones

Willie Jones (December 24, 1740 – June 18, 1801) was an American planter and statesman from Halifax County, North Carolina. He represented North Carolina as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1780. Allen Jones, his brother, was also a delegate to the congress. He was also known as Wylie Jones, and that is how his name was pronounced.

In 1774, 1775 and 1776, Jones was elected to represent either the county of Halifax or the town of Halifax in the North Carolina Provincial Congress. For a brief time in 1776, as the head of North Carolina's Council of Safety, he was the head of the state's revolutionary government, until Richard Caswell was elected as Governor.

Thereafter, Jones served in the North Carolina House of Commons and the North Carolina Senate and was elected to the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787 but declined to accept his seat. He led the faction that opposed North Carolina's ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Among his last public roles was helping to determine the location of Raleigh, the new state capital, in 1791. He moved to Raleigh and died there in 1801. He was buried in an unmarked grave on ground that is now occupied by St. Augustine’s College.

Jones County, North Carolina is named for him.


Willie Jones (pronounced Wylie Jones), revolutionary leader and ‘Father of Jeffersonian Democracy in North Carolina’ was born in Surry County, Virginia, May 25, 1741, the son of Robin, Jr., and Sarah Cobb Jones. Sometime prior to 1753, the Joneses moved to Northampton County, North Carolina, settling about six miles from the town of Halifax. Jones attended his father’s alma mater, Eton, from 1753 to 1758, after which he made the grand tour of the Continent. When he returned to Halifax, he was described as a ‘peculiarly thoughtful and eccentric man.’ His home, the Grove, which he built at the southern end of town, became the center of social life and political activity for the region. He had one of the finest stables in the south and in 1790 owned one hundred and twenty slaves. On June 22, 1776, forsaking his vow of celibacy, he married the charming Mary Montfort. The couple had thirteen children. Only five of them lived to maturity.


Continental Congressman, North Carolina Governor. His first name was pronounced "wily", and he was the son of Robin Jones, the agent and attorney of Lord Grenville, one of North Carolina's lord proprietors. He attended England's Eton College, and then returned to North Carolina where he owned a plantation. He served in North Carolina's Provincial Congress from 1774 to 1776. In 1776 he was appointed President of the state Committee of Safety and ex officio Governor. Jones served in the North Carolina House from 1776 to 1778, and the Continental Congress in 1780. He was chosen as a Delegate to the US Constitutional Convention in 1787 but declined to accept.

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Colonial Gov. Willie Jones's Timeline

December 24, 1740
Halifax, Northampton, North Carolina
Age 12
Age 38
February 14, 1790
Age 49
Grove, Halifax County, North Carolina, United States
Age 50
Halifax County North Carolina,
June 18, 1801
Age 60
Raleigh, Wake, North Carolina, United States
Age 60
Raleigh, Wake, North Carolina, United States