Noble Wimberly Jones petition

Noble Wimberly Jones petition

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Howly, J.
Creator: Walton, George, 1749 or 50-1804
Title: Noble Wimberly Jones petition
Dates: 1778
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Coll. Number: ms2322

Biographical/Historical Note

Called the "Morning Star of Liberty," Noble W. Jones was prominent among Georgia's Whig leaders before and during the American Revolution (1775-83) serving in both the provicial and state legislatures and in the Continental Congress. The year he married, Jones began his political career with election to the Commons House of Assembly, the lower house of Georgia's provincial legislature, where he would serve until 1775. His most conspicuous service began in the mid-1760s, as controversies erupted over such British taxation measures as the Stamp Act and Sir James Wright, the royal governor, frequently dissolved the lower house. In 1768 Jones was first elected Speaker of the Commons House and was instrumental in the appointment of Benjamin Franklin to act as Georgia's colonial agent in London to convey Georgia's protests to Parliament. Governor Wright viewed Jones as a serious threat to royal authority and thereafter dissolved the Commons House whenever it elected Jones Speaker. Consequently, the defiant Commons House elected Jones repeatedly between 1771 and 1773.

The Intolerable Acts (1774) having increased resistance to the crown, Jones and other Whigs met in early 1775 to form Georgia's short-lived Provincial Congress. It named Jones and two others as delegates to the Second Continental Congress, but citing insufficient public support, they did not attend. In May 1775 news of the outbreak of fighting in Massachusetts electrified Georgia's Whigs, and Jones and several other revolutionaries (including Joseph Habersham, John Milledge, and Edward Telfair) broke into Savannah's royal magazine. They seized 600 pounds of gunpowder, some of which apparently made its way to the rebels in Boston. The next Provincial Congress met in July 1775 and again elected Jones a delegate to the Continental Congress, but his father's terminal illness kept him in Savannah, where by year's end he was serving on the Revolutionary Council of Safety. With the royal government's collapse in early 1776, Jones and the Whigs took control of Georgia. He was a member of the convention that created the state's Constitution of 1777, and when the Provincial Congress became the House of Assembly, Jones again was elected Speaker. As the British captured Savannah in 1778, Jones escaped to Charleston, South Carolina, where he worked as a physician until he was captured along with the city in 1780. After imprisonment in St. Augustine, Florida, Jones was transferred through a 1781 prisoner exchange to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he served as a Georgia delegate to the Continental Congress while practicing medicine as a protege of Dr. Benjamin Rush.

Back in Savannah by 1783, he was soon once more elected the Speaker of the House of Assembly, but the session proved quite disorderly. Having suffered a sword wound while attempting to quell a mob, Jones resigned his office and moved again to Charleston, where he worked as a doctor for five years. Returning to Savannah for good in 1788, Jones was on hand to help supervise the elaborate festivities welcoming President George Washington to Savannah in 1791. In 1795 he presided over the convention that met in Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789. This was Jones's last major political act, but he continued his medical practice.

In 1804 he helped organize the Georgia Medical Society and became its first president. Though increasingly ill in the early 1800s, Jones practiced medicine until his death. He entered his final illness, in his early eighties, after five consecutive nights of exhausting obstetric cases. In Savannah his death elicited general mourning as well as numerous eulogies, appropriate to both the last survivor of Georgia's original colonists and a principal leader in the colony's struggle for independence. Noble W. Jones (ca. 1723-1805) - New Georgia Encyclopedia (Retrieved Marhc 4. 2009)


George Walton was one of three Georgians to sign the Declaration of Independence. He served in numerous capacities for the state of Georgia after the American Revolution. The exact year of Walton's birth is unknown; it is believed that he was born in 1749 in Virginia. In 1769 he moved to Savannah, where he pursued a legal career. By the eve of the American Revolution he was one of the most successful lawyers in Georgia. Active in Georgia's Revolutionary government, he was elected to the Provincial Congress and then became president of the Council of Safety in 1775. In 1776 he served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, where on July 4 he signed the Declaration (along with Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall of Georgia). After the Revolution Walton served as chief justice of Georgia, as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1788 that ratified the new federal constitution, as a presidential elector in 1789, as governor that same year, as U.S. senator (appointed by the legislature when James Jackson stepped down to fight the Yazoo Land Act), and as a justice of the state superior court. He eventually retired in the 1780s to his Augusta home, where he died on February 2, 1804. Walton is buried in Augusta. Walton County is named for him.

George Walton (ca. 1749-1804) - New Georgia Encyclopedia (Retrieved March 4, 2009)

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of a printed form of petition of Noble Wimberly Jones, Georgia member of the Continental Congress. The petition is entirely filled in and signed by Jones' attorney, J. Howly. Jones petitions to be paid 117:2:5, amount due him for various goods by Thomas Gibbons, Sr., who had never paid him. He asks that a suit be brought against Gibbons. Governor George Walton signs at the bottom of the page.

Index Terms

Actions and defenses--Georgia.
Debtor and creditor--Georgia.
Gibbons, Thomas, 1720-1785 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Jones, Noble Wimberly, 1723-1805 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Legal documents.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Noble Wimberly Jones petition. MS 2322. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Petition, 1778