John Jones and His Wife Aid a Fugitive

Image of John Jones and his Wife Aid a Fugitive, oil painting, Alfred Jackson Tyler, 1963
by Alfred Jackson Tyler, oil painting, 1963

John Jones arrived in Chicago with his wife, Mary Richardson, in 1845. He was a self-made man with no formal education who went on to develop a thriving tailoring business, invest in real estate, and by 1860, become one of the nation's wealthiest African Americans. In 1871, Jones was elected the first African American Commissioner for Cook County. 
John and Mary Jones were tireless and outspoken critics of slavery and the Black Code. Their home in Chicago was a sanctuary on the Underground Railroad, a network of people who assisted escaped slaves in their flight to Canada.

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