Jones, Alexander H. Knocking At The Door. Alex H. Jones, Member-Elect To Congress: His Course Before the War, During the War, And After the War. Adventures and Escapes. (Washington: McGill and Witherow, Printers and Stereotypers, 1866)
Alexander H. Jones of North Carolina led such a colorful life that he completed his autobiography before he served in Congress
On this date, Alexander Hamilton Jones
of North Carolina began his service in the 40th Congress
(1867–1869). Born in Buncombe County, North Carolina, he was educated in local schools and colleges. During the Civil War, Jones edited a local newspaper that featured articles that criticized the Confederate war effort. In 1863, Jones enlisted in the Union Army. While raising a regiment of volunteers, he was captured and imprisoned by Confederates. In prison, Jones was conscripted into the Confederate Army, and he soon developed a cunning plan that enabled him to escape in November 1864. After returning to North Carolina in 1865, Jones became active in the state's reconstruction and edited a newspaper that promoted regional development and political equality for blacks. First elected to the 39th Congress
(1865–1867), Jones was initially denied his seat because North Carolina had not yet rejoined the Union. During his House career, he advocated for the rights of southern supporters of the Union. In a floor speech, the Congressman said, “the honest Union man of Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, or Texas is as much my neighbor as he in my immediate district. . . . I plead for the protection of the lives of all the citizens of the United States of every hue and color, no matter where and how they may shift their residences.” Jones served through the 41st Congress
(1869–1871), but was an unsuccessful candidate to the 42nd Congress
(1871–1873). Jones remained in Washington, D.C., until 1876 and then moved around the country until his death in January 1901.