William Jones (124th USCT)

William Jones was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, around 1803. Little is known about his pre-war life, except that he and his wife Marilda were owned by Newton Craig of Scott County, Kentucky. They had at least four children together: one daughter and three sons, who also served in the Union army. Both William and Marilda ran away from their master on March 11, 1865, and they were arrested by a nightwatchman named James Cannon the next day. Cannon took all of their money and sent them back by armed guard to their master.

William and Marilda successfully escaped soon afterward, and he enlisted in the Union army on March 21, 1865, at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. At the time, the self-described "farmer" stood 5 feet, 1 inch tall and had black hair, black eyes, and a black skin complexion. He mustered in to Company K of the 124th USCT Infantry Regiment in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 23. The regiment spent most of its time on garrison and guard duty around Kentucky. Jones, however, left his post on April 29, 1865, never to return. The army listed him as "absent without leave" until June 21, when officers officially classified him as a deserter. Jones never filed a pension, and his whereabouts after the war remain unknown.


Testimony of William Jones

Name:Jones, William
Alternative names:
  • Jones, Wm (alternative name)
  • Soldier
124th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored TroopsK
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1865-03-21Camp Nelson, KYaccepted62Slave
Muster In1865-03-24Lexington, KY
Muster Out1865-06-21Camp Nelson, KYDesertion
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Jones, Williamnoneapplication-invalid
Jones, Williamnoneapplication-minor
Jones, Williamnoneapplication-parent
Jones, Williamnoneapplication-widow
Birth date:1803
Birth date certainty:About
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:
Death place:
Causes of death:
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Craig, Newtonowner ofJones, William
Jones, Marildawife ofJones, William

Compiled Service Records for William Jones, RG94, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Frederick A. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. 3 (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Company, 1908); Ira Berlin, Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series II, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 276-277.