Osceola County Historical Society Blog

Martha Jane "Bandanna Mammy" Jones

Posted by Anza Bast on Feb 10, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Christened Martha Jane on the day of her birth in 1819/1820 on the Carter Plantation in Virginia. Little is known of her life until she left Richmond, Virginia in 1839, bound for Florida with a shipload of slaves.  She was a servant for the wealthy, nursed the sick, and was sold over and over, finally gaining her freedom.Martha Jane Jones,  The Seminols of   FL.jpg

One of the more memorable times in Martha’s life was when she was brought from Mr. Watterson’s plantation, about four miles from Fort King (now Ocala) to cook the treaty dinner for Colonel William Jenkins Worth in 1842, during one of the Seminole Indian Wars.  She related the tale of the treaty meal and battles during those war times to Minnie Moore-Willson, who included them in her book, “The Seminoles of Florida”. 

In 1870, Martha Jones may have been a domestic servant in Jacksonville, Florida.  The 1900 and 1910 census records show her living in Kissimmee. In 1910, at age 100 she reported to the census taker she had fifteen children during her lifetime but only four were still living.  Martha's date of death and burial location are unknown.

The following link is for Martha’s version of the treaty dinner from “The Seminoles of Florida" for your reading pleasure.



Sources:  “The Seminoles of Florida” by Minnie Moore-Willson, 1914

                  “When Kissimmee Was Young” by Elizabeth Cantrell, 1948


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Topics: History, Osceola County History, Martha Jane Jones, Black History Month

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The Osceola County Historical Society is focused on preserving Osceola County’s rich, cultural history while sharing it with others. This blog is perfect for just that. 

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