Lillian E. Jones Museum
The Lillian E. Jones Museum opened in 1995 and offers exhibits that interpret the history of Jackson and surrounding communities. While the region is home to several museums that are open on a seasonal basis, this museum is open throughout the year. The museum is located in the former home of Lillian E. Jones, daughter of local businessman and philanthropist Edwin Jones. Lillian E. Jones passed away in 1991 and donated her home under the condition that it serve as a local history museum. Recognizing that similar efforts to create local history museums had stalled in the past, Jones added a proviso in her will that this home was to be demolished if it had not been converted into a local history museum within five years of her death. Civic leaders and local residents began collecting materials, and within four years the house was converted into the Lillian E. Jones Museum.
Backstory and Context
The Jones family was an extremely influential family in Jackson for more than a century. Lillian's great-grandfather, Thomas T. Jones immigrated from Wales in 1834 and was one of the founders and first president of Jefferson Furnace, established in 1854. In 1872, Thomas T. Jones purchased the Globe Iron and Fulton Furnaces in Jackson and established the Globe Iron Company. Globe Iron Furnace once stood where Eddie Jones Ball Field currently resides on West Main Street, and Fulton Furnace once stood on East Main Street across from the current location of Walgreen's Pharmacy.
Thomas T. Jones had four sons, including Lillian's grandfather Eben Jones. Eben Jones was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War and was involved in Jefferson Furnace. One of his sons was Lillian's father, Edwin Jones. The director of the Lillian E. Jones Museum, Megan Malone, has cited Edwin Jones as Jackson's first economic developer. Edwin Jones was involved in the local coal mining industry, the Jackson Mill and Lumber Company, the Diamond Flint Glass Company, Crown Pipe & Foundry, Globe Iron Company, and the DT&I Railroad Company.
Edwin Jones's younger brother was John Ellsworth Jones, who was one of the presidents of the Globe Iron Company. John E. Jones was the innovator of silvery pig iron, a form of pig iron with a high concentration of silicon. Silvery pig iron requires higher temperatures to produce than normal pig iron and has special applications that require a higher heat tolerance, such as in molds. Globe Iron Company became the world's leading producer of silvery pig iron until 1960 when an explosion permanently halted the foundry's production.