The James Preservation Trust recently received the contribution of the obituary of Dr. John R. James.
For over a hundred years the obituary lay inside the family bible of Jesse Edward Smith, Dr. James’ grandson. Upon the death of Jesse Edwards Smith, the bible was passed to his daughter Agnes. Although Agnes married, she bore no children. Agnes left the bible to her favorite nephew Jesse Deets Smith.
The James Preservation Trust thanks Jesse Deets Smith and his cousin Sandy Kassen for this contribution. Both are descendants of Dr. John R. James, an uncle of Frank and Jesse James.
Doctor John. R. James was born in Logan County, near Russellville, Kentucky, February 5th, 1815, and fell on sleep October 25th, 1887, at Carthage, Missouri, aged seventy-two years, eight months, and twenty days. He was the son of Rev. John James, who was noted for his piety and fidelity in the early history of Kentucky.
The subject of this sketch was converted at Red Oak Grove Church, in Logan County, October, 1832, in a revival meeting conducted by Reverend Mr. Stephens. and joined the Methodist Church at once. His conversion took place in the time of the great revival which spread over that, part of the State—he was soundly and genuinely converted. Through his Christian life of about fifty five years, he continued to evidence the spirit of the Master, and to adorn the doctrine of Christ. During all this time he brought not a reproach upon the religion he professed, never faltering nor deviating from the path of duty; always cheerfully supporting the institutions of the church he loved so well. As he said to me, “I’ve stood by the Southern Methodist Church through all her history.”
He was happily married to Miss Amanda Williams, of Logan county, in 1836; she died in 1871. This union was blessed with three children, John. F., Robert. W., and Sue P., (now Mrs. Smith). He was again married in 1872, to Mrs. Bradley, who died in 1884.
Bro. James now felt that the charm of earth was broken, so he was only awaiting the summons. Two brothers and one sister were with him when called to go— Reverend William and Mr. T. M. James, and Mrs. Elizabeth West; also his immediate family, who did all that loving hands could do. I was with him before the end came and talked with him freely concerning the crisis. “I am willing and prepared to go.” For fifty years I’ve been preparing for this event.” Without fear he passed to the land of rest.
J. H. Todd