George Washington Jones

George Washington Jones was born into slavery in the United States around 1856 and escaped in a boxcar to Canada. He came to Woodstock in 1925 as part of a travelling carnival and decided to stay. Being friendly and outgoing, and with his huge smile, he became everyone’s friend. Wearing a top hat, a long coat with tails, striped pants, a sandwich board, and carrying a megaphone or bells, he appointed himself town crier. Business, theatre and restaurant owners purchased space on the board, and he advertised sales and events.

* * *

George Washington Jones supplemented his income with odd jobs, and was often seen washing windows or shining shoes. Walking around the downtown core, he would call all young boys “buster boy” and all young girls “honey chile.” As he got older, he became almost blind and the community came around him, helping him cross the street or assisting in other ways. When he died in 1951, many prominent people in Woodstock attended his funeral. The sidewalk in Museum Square is named after him in his honour.