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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Jones, Allen

by Timothy L. Howerton, 1988

24 Dec. 1739–14 Nov. 1807

Photograph of a miniature portrait of Allen Jones. Image from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.Allen Jones, colonial and state official and Revolutionary War officer, was born in Edgecombe (now Halifax County), the son of Robert ("Robin") Jones, colonial attorney general, and his wife, Sarah Cobb. Like his father, Allen was educated at Eton College in England. He was clerk of Superior Court for the Halifax district and from 1773 to 1775 represented Northampton County in the Assembly. By 1775 he actively opposed royal power in the colonies as a member of the Committee of Safety for Halifax. The following year Jones served as vice-president of the Provincial Congress that met at Halifax on 4 Apr. 1776. In that body he presided over or participated on the committee to empower North Carolina delegates in the Continental Congress to concur with those of other colonies in declaring independence, the committee to provide for the national defense, and the committee to establish a temporary form of government.

In 1778 Jones presided over the North Carolina Senate as speaker. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress meeting at Philadelphia in 1779–80. In 1782 he served as a member of the North Carolina Council of State, and in the years 1783, 1784, and 1787 he again represented Northampton County in the state senate.

As a man of military acumen, Jones professed to know little about the role he played. In a letter to Governor Richard Caswell on 8 Sept. 1777, he wrote: "I do not know whether my return is proper, for I confess my ignorance in military affairs." Nevertheless, the Halifax Congress had seen fit to name him a brigadier general on 22 Apr. 1776. He did have some military experience, however, for in 1771 he had assisted in the suppression of the Regulators at the Battle of Alamance. During the American Revolution he saw action in the fall of 1780, when for a time his forces were combined with those of General Horatio Gates.

Allen Jones had an equally prominent brother, Willie, who also took part in the Revolution. Surprisingly, the political views of the two men diverged after the war. Allen became a staunch Federalist, whereas Willie advocated states' rights.

Jones was married first, on 21 June 1762, to Mary Haynes; his second wife, whom he married on 3 Sept. 1768, was Rebecca Edwards, the sister of Isaac Edwards, formerly secretary to Governor William Tryon; and his third wife was Mary Eaton. His son, Robin, died suddenly at age eight; his daughter, Sarah, married William R. Davie. Jones died and was buried at Mount Gallant, his plantation in Northampton County.


Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, vol. 4 (1906).

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Fairfax Braxton, "Patriots of North Carolina," National Republic (17 Apr. 1930).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851 (1851) and ed., Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (1884).

Who Was Who in America, vol. 1 (1963).

Additional Resources:

"Allen Jones." N.C. Highway Historical Marker E-29, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed July 26, 2013).

"Jones, Allen, (1739 - 1798)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed July 26, 2013).

"CSR Documents by Jones, Allen, 1739-1807." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed July 26, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Genl. Allen Jones." Photograph. Print Collection portrait file. New York Public Library Digital Gallery. (accessed July 26, 2013).