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Japheth F. Jones

Japheth F. Jones came to Arkansas from either Alabama or Mississippi, where he was born November 1863. It is not known when he arrived in Arkansas. He apparently was practicing law in 1891, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), although his name and attorney designation first appear in a 1906 publication. Jones was listed as a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black attorney’s group, in 1901. He was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on June 4, 1917. Jones appeared regularly as an attorney in city directories from 1910 to 1936, and in census reports for 1900 and 1920. In 1936, he is listed as practicing as “Jones & Jones,” when his son, Theodore, joined the practice. Japheth Jones’ name does not appear in any published reports of appellate cases.

He was married about 1895 to Carrie, a native Arkansan. At that time, he owned his own home. In the 1920 census, Jones is recorded as divorced, with three children residing with him: Farland J., Theodore, and Alta. A widowed servant also lived in the house. He apparently remarried, to a woman named Eliza, who is listed with him in the 1922-23 Pine Bluff City Directory. She is not listed with him in the 1925-26 Directory. Japheth Jones died on September 4, 1937.

Sources: Judith Kilpatrick, “(EXTRA)Ordinary Men: African-American Lawyers and Civil Rights in Arkansas Before 1950,” 53 Ark. Law Rev. 299, 303 n7, 339, 345 n341, 374, 380 n626, 394 (2000); The Colored Lawyers, Arkansas Gazette, 7/31/1901; “Colored Section,” Henderson’s Illustrated Industrial Souvenir (1906); 1910 Pine Bluff City Directory; Arkansas Supreme Court Admission Records; 1900, 1920 U.S. Census for Arkansas; Papers of the NAACP, Part I, G13, Branch Files, Pine Bluff, 1924-28, 1929-31, 1932-34, 1935-36  (Membership Reports dtd 1/14/1928, 6/14/1930, and 10/25/1934 and Correspondence from Dr. W.E. Watson to Mrs. Mary White Ovington, treasurer of N.A.A.C.P. dated 6/5/1934); e-mail from Gary W. Paris at on July 26, 2000;

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