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William W. Jones – 26th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on February 2, 2012


COL. WILLIAM W. JONES, train dispatcher and yardmaster, Summit Branch railroad, Lykens, Pa. He was born at Llandilo, Caermarthenshire, Wales, August 22, 1827. His father, John J. Jones, was also born in Wales, where he spent his younger days as keeper for the estate of Lord De Never. In 1829 he embarked at Swansea on a sailing vessel for the United States. After a long voyage he landed at Millsvillage, Nova Scotia, where he spent one year. From there he came to Philadelphia, and after a year’s stay in that city removed to Pottsville and worked for a time at shoe making. He was also employed five years by the Brooks Coal Company. He taught school in Pottsville and died there in 1860. He was married, in Wales, to Mary Jenkins. They had nine children: John, died in Wales; Ann, William W., Jane, Eliza, Amelia, Benjamin Franklin, John (2), deceased, and two children that died in infancy. Mrs. Jones died in 1888. William W. Jones attended the common schools at Pottsville and worked as a gardener in his boyhood. When he was eleven years old he left home with all he owned tied up in a bandanna handkerchief. He found employment on the Schuylkill canal as a hand on a canal boat for three years. He then returned to Pottsville and obtained the position of “printer’s devil” with R. M. Palmer, editor of the Pottsville Emporium, and remained in that position until 1847. He learned carpentry in Schuylkill county and was employed for two years in building coal breakers. Mr. Jones was next employed by the Lykens Valley Coal Company at Lykens, in the capacity of carpenter and foreman in the car building and repair shops, for seven years. In 1852 he became brakeman on the Lykens Valley railroad and was promoted first to fireman and then to engineer on that road. In 1869 he was made a commissioner to construct a State road in Schuylkill and Dauphin counties, from Tower City to Keffers; and in 1872 was given the position of yardmaster and train dispatcher. In his long service of forty-four years with the company Colonel Jones has filled many positions, from the lowest to the highest. Colonel Jones enlisted at Harrisburg in June, 1863, in company D, Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers [26th Pennsylvania Infantry], Captain Pell and Colonel Jennings, for three months’ service. He was discharged in September, 1863, at Harrisburg. He was married, in 1852, to Annie Shannon, born in Palo Alto, Schuylkill county, in 1831, daughter of Philip Shannon. Their children are: Elsie, wife of D. W. Day, residing at Millersburg, has four children, two deceased; Katie, deceased; Georgiana, wife of Albert Yeader, Lykens, Pa.; Harriet, John E., and William Howard, all deceased; Benjamin Franklin; Victoria W7., deceased; Bertha Nevada, deceased, wife of William Lehman, also deceased. Colonel Jones has served as school director. Colonel Jones is the sole survivor of the charter members of Wiconisco Lodge, No. 535, I. O. O. F., at Lykens.


Records for William Jones are confusing in that he is sometimes referred to as William H. Jones.  One ancestry.com family tree indicates that his middle name was “Woodwill.”  There is no other person who served in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, who had the name William Jones, so the listing for “William W.” is most likely the “William H.” who appears in the records of that emergency regiment.  An “H” and a “W” could be easily confused in the handwriting of the records.

William H. Jones enrolled in the Emergency Militia of 1863 at Harrisburg on the 15 June 1863 and four days later was mustered into service in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a 1st Lieutenant.  The regiment ws sent to Gettysburg to help protect the homeland from Lee’s invasion.  The official records of the regiment indicate that he was discharged on 30 July 1863 (muster out date), and not the date of September 1863 that was given in the biographical sketch.

Lt. William H. Jones name appears on the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg on the special tablet for the Emergency Militia, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry.

Because he was a resident of Lykens, his name also appears on the G.A.R. Monument which is located in front of the G.A.R. Building on North Second Street in Lykens.

In 1890, William Jones reported to the census enumerator that he couldn’t recall his dates of service and that his “discharge papers burned when his house burned.”

At this time, it is not known how William H. Jones achieved the rank of “Colonel.”  It is believed that he died on 12 December 1906 (a date given in one ancestry.com tree), but his grave has not yet been located.  Information is sought on Col. Jones and can be added to this post as comments.

The portrait of William H. Jones was provided by Sally Reiner of the Lykens-Wiconisco Historical Society.  She also provided the transcription of the biography of Jones which appeared in a local history.  The Veterans’ Index Card is from the Pennsylvania Archives.  No Pension Index Card has been located, probably due to the fact that Jones’ service was less than three months and therefore he was not eligible to apply.



3 Responses to “William W. Jones – 26th Pennsylvania Infantry”

  1. E. Campos says:

    I’d like to correct some inaccuracies on your page. While I appreciate Col. Jones’ story, he did not serve in the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry which was the first 3-yr. Regiment from PA, organized in 1861. He was in the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, which was organized in June 1863 in response to Lee’s invasion. They served for a little over one month & were mustered out on July 30 1863. While you mention the ” 26th Emergency Militia”, you seem to use it interchangibly with “26th Penna. Infantry”. These are two totally different regiments and were not connected. The 26th Penna. Infantry served for 3 years from May 1861 – June 1864 and was involved in most of the major battles from Yorktown to Spotsylvania. The “26th Emergency Militia” should not be referred to as the “26th Pennsylvania Infantry” as these men had totally different experiences. Thank You.

  2. Norman Gasbarro Norman Gasbarro says:

    I agree with your statement that they were actually different regiments with different experiences. However, both the “militia” and “3-year” were “infantry” and both were “Pennsylvania.” The difficulty in reporting on the experiences of the men who served is that even in “official” reporting, the regimental name is “interchanged.” If you look at the 26th PA tablets on the Pennsylvania Monument, you’ll see that while the word “emergency” is used, the word “militia” is not. They are referred to as “infantry” in the text of the tablet. See my post: http://civilwar.gratzpa.org/2011/02/26th-pennsylvania-infantry-emergency-of-1863-pennsylvania-memorial-at-gettysburg/.
    I struggled with the “naming” issue and wrote a post on the multiple names that these regiments had. See: http://civilwar.gratzpa.org/2012/02/pennsylvania-regimental-designations-naming-and-numbering/.
    There is no easy way to handle the problems that result from the multiple names, so I’ve somewhat followed the “system” used by Steve Maczuga in his Pennsylvanians in the Civil War Database (Population Institute – Pennsylvania State University) – he groups the companies under the number of the regiment, and then indicates “within” the listing of companies, which ones were “emergency”.
    The Pennsylvania Archives also reports Jones’ service as ” D-26 I” followed by “Mil 63” – their abbreviation for “Company D, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry, Militia of 1863.”
    I haven’t located a Pension Index Card for William W. Jones, but if there is one, he service would most likely be noted as “D 26th PA”- without the words “militia” or “emergency.”
    Whenever I report on one of these “emergency-militia” groups, I try to give the dates of service so they can be clearly distinguished from the other Pennsylvania regiments/companies of the same name/number.
    None of this should take away from those who honorably served in the 3-year, 26th Pennsylvania Infantry. By describing their achievements and dates of service, they are justly recognized!

  3. ron thornton says:

    william jones died 6 dec 1906 and ann died 26 apr 1909. both obits on the front page of the lykens standard paper. also have copies of both death certificates. williams middle name is shown as woodwill. they are both buried in the odd fellows cemetary in lykens. am related to the family thru the shannon side. ann was a sister to my gr-gr-grandfather, thomas shannon.

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