Jay Winston Johns, Jr. was a coal industrialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who moved to Virginia and became a leader in preserving homes of renowned Virginians. He married Helen Lambert (1881-1964). Johns became blind in the late 1950's.
He and his wife owned "Ash Lawn," Albemarle County, Virginia which had been the home of James Monroe and designed by Thomas Jefferson. Johns was founder of the Lee-Jackson Memorial, Inc., a foundation dedicated to preserving the memory of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson and the South's part in the Civil War; and a founder of the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation, an organization whose main purpose was that of purchasing, restoring, and maintaining for the public, homes of renowned men specifically, the Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria, Virginia.
Johns, himself was a strong Democrat and corresponded with and publicly supported all of the prominent Virginia political figures of his time. He was a spirited supporter of the Virginia Military Institute as a member of the Board of Visitors, and as an honorary member of the Alumni Association; a charter member, and later trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and a member of the Virginia Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati. He also received an honorary degree from the College of William and Mary in 1967.
From the guide to the Jay Johns Papers, 1918-1974., (Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary)