Home Digital Collections Special Collections and Archives Finding Aids

Calvin Jones Papers

Finding Aid & Inventory

Calvin Jones was an agriculturalist and enslaver, military leader, speculator, newspaper editor, politician, and physician who owned land called "the Forest of Wake," later becoming Wake Forest College. This collection contains correspondence, a copy of "General Calvin Jones Grand March" by J.F. Goneke, a family history with accompanying compact disks and transcript by James Miller Jones, and reproductions of a memo book and farming journal.

Biographical and Historical Note

Calvin Jones was an agriculturalist and enslaver, military leader, speculator, newspaper editor, politician and physician. Born April 2, 1775, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to Ebenezer and Susannah Blackmore Jones, Jones attended local schools, and by age 14 apprenticed himself with a local physician to begin learning medicine. In 1792, at age 17, Jones received a certificate from the United Medical Society and he began his work as a physician in Freehold, New York. He wrote a "Treatise on Scarlet Fever, or Canker-Rash" (1793), and in 1795 he left New York to relocate to Smithfield, N.C. He continued to practice medicine until the 1830s and was influential in the introduction of smallpox vaccinations in North Carolina.

Jones began broadening his life beyond medicine when he moved from Smithfield to Raleigh in 1803. He was elected to the State House of Commons in 1799, 1802, and 1807, serving a total of three years. He served as a Trustee for the University of North Carolina (1802-1832), Mayor of Raleigh (1807-1809), and Editor of the Raleigh Star as well as Grand Master of North Carolina Masons (1817-1819). He was appointed Adjunct General of North Carolina state militia (1808-1812) and when the War of 1812 began, he became a Major General of the Seventh North Carolina District of Militia.

Calvin Jones invested in large tracts of land in both N.C. and Tennessee, and in 1821 he moved his family out of Raleigh to a 615-acre plantation he had purchased, called "the Forest of Wake". Here, Jones practiced medicine, ran a corn plantation, and established the town's first post office, formally adopting "Wake Forest" as the location's name and address. The property included a Greek Revival style home (non to WF Historical Museum), seven cabins to house enslaved people, and "various outbuildings." Jones held 20 enslaved people captive in 1821, and by the time he moved to Tennessee, he was enslaving 40 men, women, and children. The Jones family moved again between 1832 and 1834 to another plantation in Bolivar, Tennessee. Jones was approached by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina to purchase Wake Forest and Jones enthusiastically supported the plans to build a school for training young men as Baptist ministers. Wake Forest College has since considered Calvin Jones among its founders.

Calvin Jones married Temperance Boddie, daughter of State senator Major William Williams, in 1819 and they had three children who lived to adulthood: Montezuma, Octavia Rowena, and Paul Tudor. Jones died September 20, 1846.

Collection Overview

This collection contains 1823 correspondence with W. Henry Wall, which describes the community of Jackson, Tennessee, which includes a hand drawn map and a photocopy of the "General Calvin Jones Grand March" sheet music by John F. Goneke. The collection also contains family histories, written in 2009 and 2014 with transcriptions of family letters with commentary by James Miller Jones. The family histories are accompanied by a compact disk with digital copies of the family histories. The collection also includes the reproduction of a memo book and farming journal, held in University of N.C. at Chapel Hill's Southern Historical Collection Calvin Jones Papers (#921).

Collection Inventory

  • Correspondence, Henry Wall  (1823 August 24) box 1 folder 1
  • Family Album: Letters and Documents of Calvin Jones  (2009) box 1 folder 2
  • Family Album: Letters and Documents of Calvin Jones  (2014) box 1 folder 3
  • Family Album: Letters and Documents of Calvin Jones transcription  (2009) box 1 folder 4
  • Family Album: Letters and Documents of Calvin Jones transcription  (2009) box 1 folder 5
  • Memo book (reproduction)  (1822-1823) box 1 folder 6
  • Memo book (reproduction)  (1828) box 1 folder 7
  • Farming journal (reproduction)  (1822-1825) box 1 folder 8

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Creator
Jones, Calvin
Title
Calvin Jones Papers
ID
MS60
Date [inclusive]
1823-2014
Quantity
1 document box
Extent
0.42  Linear Feet

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2005
Revision Description
Revised by Jenna McAllister, 2022 April
Access Restrictions
Collection is open for researchers. 
Copyright Notice
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. 
Preferred Citation
Calvin Jones Papers (MS60), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Digitized materials from the Calvin Jones Papers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Southern Historical Collections, are available in Z. Smith Reynolds Library Digital Collections.

‹ Staff view ›