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First Baptist Church of Elmira

John W. Jones was a runaway slave from Leesburg, Virginia and he made Elmira his permanent home. After he secured his freedom, he became the main "agent" of the Underground Railroad in Elmira. Mr. Jones sheltered runaway slaves at his home on Church Street while he made arrangements for their safe passage to Canada. Mr. Jones' home was located next to the Elmira First Baptist Church where he was employed as the church sexton. In 1890, a new church was built and the church purchased Mr. Jones' home. The home was torn down to allow room for expansion. With the help of some of the most prominent citizens of Elmira, John W. Jones helped over 800 individuals in their flight to freedom. Some of the prominent individuals who assisted Mr. Jones were, Jervis Langdon, (Mark Twain's father-in-law), Simeon Benjamin, (founder and first president of the board of Elmira College), Reverened Thomas K. Beecher, (borhter of Harriet Beecher Stowe), and Ariel S. Thurston, a prominent judge.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 121 West Church Street, Elmira, 14901

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Paul Vincent

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: Ariel S. Thurston,Jervis Langdon,John W. Jones,Reverend Thomas K. Beecher,Simeon Benjamin

Religious Denominations: Baptist