Jonas, Abraham

Born: 1801-09-12 Exeter, England

Died: 1864-06-08 Quincy, Illinois

Jonas emigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1819 and worked in an auction business. He married Lucia Orah Seixas, who died in 1825. Sometime before his second marriage, he moved to Williamstown, Kentucky, where he married Louisa Block in 1829. Abraham and Louisa had ten children. Abraham Jonas served four terms in the Kentucky General Assembly between 1828 and 1833. He moved to Quincy, Illinois in 1838 and served one term in the Illinois General Assembly as a Whig representing Adams County from 1842 to 1844. He worked in the mercantile business, studied law with Orville H. Browning, and was admitted to the bar in 1843. He won an appointment as a postmaster at Quincy, Illinois on April 23, 1849, and he served until March 1853.

Jonas was active in Republican politics, serving as a presidential elector for John C. Fremont in 1856. He supported Lincoln in the 1858 campaign for the U.S. Senate and again for president in 1860. Lincoln reappointed Jonas as postmaster at Quincy on April 29, 1861, and Jonas held that post until a serious illness forced his resignation in 1864, when his daughter Anna carried out those duties for him. On June 2, 1864, Lincoln allowed for the temporary parole of Charles Jonas, who was a rebel prisoner of war, to visit his father on his deathbed. After Jonas's death in June 1864, Lincoln appointed his widow Louisa a deputy postmaster at Quincy.

Isaac Markens, Abraham Lincoln and the Jews (New York: Isaac Markens, 1909), 17-22; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1845-1855, 18:2, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; Leslie J. Perry, "Appeals to Lincoln's Clemency," The Century Magazine (December, 1895), 254; Robert N. Rosen, The Jewish Confederates (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000), 149-53; Gravestone, Valley of Peace Cemetery, Quincy, IL; George B. Jonas to Abraham Lincoln; Appointment of Louisa Jonas as Deputy Postmaster at Quincy, Illinois.