top of page
  • Writer's pictureTyeal Howell

Charles Jones Sr one of the first people of color elected to public office in the Urbana, Ohio

This grand home located at 126 East Reynolds Street in Urbana was built in 1907-08. This Free Classic Queen Anne styled residence is from a Radford Architectural Plan book of the same era. Charles Jones Sr, his wife Jane, and their children (Charles Jr., John, Laura, William, and Carrie) occupied this spot of ground for decades beginning in the 19th century. Charles Sr. was among the first black educators in Urbana, and a highly respected scholar in the community. He was one of the first people of color elected to public office in the city in the late 19th century. Both he and his wife would die in 1902, and the original family home was moved from this location to make room for this residence to be constructed in its place for Charles Jones Jr. after his parent's deaths.

Like his father, Charles Jr. was a nationally prominent educator and served with the schools of Brooklyn (Lovejoy), Illinois (metro St. Louis) as Principal and Superintendent. He was also the Mayor of that community as well. He built this house as his "summer home".

During his absence, his brother John and sister Laura occupied the home year round. John Jones was one of the first employees of the Howard Paper Company although he really did not need the job. The Jones family had amassed a small fortune from Urbana and Champaign County real estate over the years. When Laura Jones (she inherited the house from her brother Charles Jr.) died here in 1927, she left an estate worth over $31,000. That's about $194,000 in today's value. By 1935, all of the original Jones siblings had passed away, and 126 East Reynolds passed out of the ownership of the family.

131 views0 comments


bottom of page