WRL-59: Benjamin Jones Memorial Plaques (2)

Photographed September 7, 2014
Missing Markers at two locations
Dedicated July 4, 1941 by Manitowoc County Historical Society

WRL-59: Benjamin Jones Memorial Plaques consists of two tablets honoring one Benjamin Jones, lauded as the father of the Manitowoc parks system. The tablets were dedicated in simultaneous ceremonies on July 4, 1941.  One tablet was placed at the bandstand at Washington Park (above). The second was placed at the bandstand at Union Park (below).

I visited both locations on September 14, 2014. The Washington Park bandstand, and the entire park were thoroughly searched; no Benjamin Jones tablet was found. At Union Park, the bandstand has been razed; no Benjamin Jones tablet was found anywhere else on the grounds.

The inscription on both tablets read:

The site of this park was
the gift of
founder of Manitowoc
Manitowoc County Historical Society

Both tablets were dedicated same day. Harry Kelley was the speaker at Washington park and Ralph Plumb at Union Park. John G. Johnson presided at each event. Benjamin Jones was lauded at the father of Manitowoc parks system.
Benjamin Jones was both in Massachusetts in 1795. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the War of 1812. He moved to Chicago in 1833 and became a successful merchant.

Mr. Jones began speculating in land and purchased about 2,000 acres of timber land at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. Upon his arrival in 1837, he set up lumber mills, shipping the product to Chicago. His was the first house erected in Manitowoc where his daughter was the first white child born in the county.

Benjamin Jones was a generous man donating sites for parks, schools and churches in Manitowoc. The present Washington and Union parks as well as the old Madison school grounds were his gifts.

His only son, Hon. A.D. Jones, was mayor of Manitowoc from 1872 to 1877; city clerk from 1878 to 1881; and served one term as county registrar of deeds in 1881-1882.

After a long and successful business career in Manitowoc dealing in real estate, millwork, and other business enterprises, "Uncle Ben", as he was affectionately known, died and was buried in Oakwood Cemeetery in Chicago in 1881.
Source: Manitowoc County Historical Markers & Memorials published by Manitowoc County Historical Society, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 1964 (and sold for "fifty cents per copy"). Used with permission of the Manitowoc County Historical Society.

This plauqes are included in the Wisconsin Registered Landmarks program (1964-1973).

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