James family members, long since lost to one another, are falling out of the heavens this week. For almost a decade I have tried to find the descendants of John Oliver James of Midland, Texas. The family photo of his father Edward Perry James and family appears on page 72 of Jesse James Soul Liberty.
I’ve visited Midland a couple of times, saw the home where John Oliver James lived, and visited his grave site. I learned a few years back that some of his descendants lived in Australia, and that family now includes descendants of Australia’s indigenous aboriginal people.
Search as I did, I found no results….until this week.
Suddenly, Casie Lea James-Spears, a great-granddaughter of John Oliver James, contacted me. Casie’s family includes her husband Jeff Spears and his two children Matthew Jeffrey & Amanda Grace Spears. Casie has two children of her own, Heather Michelle & Samantha Jo Wojahn. Casie’s family lives in Kansas City. Casie produced some leads about what she knew of her family, and a lot about what she didn’t know. I got back to work.
Following Casie’s clues, within a day I found Elizabeth Lee “Libby” James-Brown, another great-granddaughter, and her family – husband Craig Brown, and children Marlyn, Desmyn, LeeRoy, and Adina Brown. Libby and Casie had heard of each other, but had never met or knew anything about each other.
Casie wrote, “I cannot thank you enough for sharing all that you have with me. I’ve gone most of my life with little information about my father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I feel like I’m getting a new family.”
Libby’s first reaction to finding Casie was joy. She wrote, “Casie and I have really only got each other now.” At that point Libby hadn’t seen all the rest of the family and stray leaves she is about to inherit, now numbering about 5,000, and many of us still very much alive and living.
Libby’s husband, Craig Brown, posted to his Facebook page a bit of his philosophy about living one’s family integrity and historical culture:
“Cultural Integrity = maintaining a lifestyle based on our ancestors/elders dreams to insure the sustainability of our culture. Doing the things to the best of your ability within the boundaries of truth, respect, caring, sharing and utilizing the tools we have been gifted by God. Put these elements into a healthy environment and your children’s, children’s children, etc….will prosper = the most valuable inheritance you ever will leave your families.”
Edward Perry James & Elizabeth Langford, son of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May
. John Oliver “Jack” James & Dimple Hite
.. Virginia James & Unknown Worrell
… George William James & Beverly Ann Ham
…. Casie Lea James & Joshua Todd Wojahn
….. Heather Michelle Wojahn
….. Samantha Jo Wojahn
…. Casie Lea James & Jeffrey Thomas “Jeff” Spears
… Robert Lee “Bob” James & Susan Anne Syron
…. Elizabeth Lee “Libby” James & Craig Onan Brown
….. Marlyn Bruce Brown
….. Desmyn Francis Brown
….. Leeroy James Brown
….. Adina Susanne Brown