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Jones Museum And Civil War Prison Camp Announce Summer Hours

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After years of planning, restoration and countless volunteer hours, two Elmira history attractions are happy to welcome the public with regular summer hours.

The John W. Jones Museum is now open Friday - Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Jones was born into slavery in Virginia in 1817 and eventually traveled more than 300 miles along the Underground Railroad before making Elmira his adopted home and becoming the sexton at First Baptist Church. While in Elmira, Jones became an active agent on the Underground Railroad, successfully aiding in the escape of 860 runaway slaves.

Jones also buried 2,973 Confederate soldiers who died at the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp at Woodlawn Cemetery, keeping such precise records that in 1877 the federal government declared the burial site a national cemetery. More information about Jones and the museum is available at www.johnwjonesmuseum.org.

The Elmira Civil War Prison Camp is open on Saturdays from 10:30 – 4:00 p.m. through September 1. Dubbed “Hellmira” due to its high death rate, 2,973 of the 12,100 Confederate prisoners housed there from July 1894 – July 1895 died from disease, malnutrition and harsh winter conditions. e deceased were buried by John W. Jones at what is now Woodlawn National Cemetery.

Although the camp site was disassembled after its closing, an original outbuilding survived and has been reconstructed, along with a recently built barracks that was created with the aid of original drawings and photos. For more information, go to www.elmiraprisoncamp.com.

Both attractions are offering free admission, but donations are appreciated.

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