Object Record

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Catalog Number 00076
Object Name Portrait
Description George Wallace Jones by W.L. McMaster. 1804-1896. Soldier, public official, diplomat. Born at Vincennes, Indiana, April 12, 1804. Drummer boy in War of 1812. Clerk of the United States Courts in Missouri, 1826. Removed to Michigan Territory, locating in Sinsinawa Mound, 1827. Aide-de-Camp to General Henry Dodge, 1832. Delegate to Congress from Michican Territory, serving from March 4, 1835 until the Territory of Wisconsin was formed, 1836. Delegate to Congress from Wisconsin Territory, 1837-1839. Introduced the bill for formation of Wisconsin Territory and later for the Iowa Territory. Appointed Surveyor-General of the Public Land Office for Iowa and Wisconson Territories, 1840-1841, 1846-1848.

United States Senator, 1848-1859. Minister to Colombia, 1859-1861 from the United States. He worked at various times as a farmer, country merchant, lead miner and smelter, clerk of court, judge, soldier, land speculator, politician, and diplomat. Died in Dubuque, Iowa, July 22, 1896.

--the following added 8/2014 by L. Landis and taken from the Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, online version, http://uipress.lib.uiowa.edu/bdi/DetailsPage.aspx?id=198, accessed 08/18/2014

While attending Kentucky's Transylvania University, he became acquainted with several Southerners, including Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. He moved to Dubuque in 1836.

In 1848 Iowa's Democratic legislature elected Jones one of the state's first U.S. senators. As a senator, his service to Iowa came primarily in terms of railroad development. He helped to bring the Illinois Central to Dubuque.
Jones was a free-state legislator who supported proslavery positions. Even while living in Iowa, Jones had owned several slaves. In 1850 he supported passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, which helped owners reclaim their escaped slaves. Then, in 1854, along with Senator Dodge, Jones supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which reopened the slavery controversy in the territory on Iowa's western border.
After serving as ambassador to New Granada, present day Columbia, Jones was arrested on his return to the United States was arrested in New York City by order of Secretary of State William Seward on the charge of disloyalty, based on Jones's correspondence with his friend Jefferson Davis. He was imprisoned for sixty-four days, when he was released by order of President Abraham Lincoln.

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