Tag Archives: A. J. James

The Sift – May 14, 2018

The Sift is a periodic omnibus of significant, but smaller, ingredients of history, genealogy, and news, received behind the scenes & sifted daily at Stray Leaves.

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Daniel Lewis James Movie “The Great Dictator” Banned by Thailand’s Ruling Junta

Blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Daniel Lewis James and first cousin of Jesse & Frank James, still makes news in the 21st century. Read “Thailand’s Junta Got Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ Blocked From YouTube.”

Dan James gave Charlie Chaplin the unique American verbiage the British actor required when Dan co-wrote The Great Dictator with Chaplin. His story is featured in the chapter “All For the Underdog” in Volume I of Jesse James Soul Liberty.

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Farewell Barbara Pierce Bush – James In-Law

Each time I must enter the passing of another James family member into the master genealogy database for Stray Leaves, I do so with a measure of sadness. On rare occasion, such as in recent minutes, I do so with difficulty.

Barbara Pierce Bush was not of James blood. She is an in-law to her Bush family who is our blood. Like many in-laws of our family, Barbara Bush was a stellar influence whose impact never will be under-measured but celebrated instead.

For those among our family who found themselves at odds with Bush politics, none that I know ever found themselves at odds with the political understanding and insights that Barbara provided. She connected the dots with effective savvy and sometimes necessary glue.

Barbara Bush is a unique American treasure. Prayers will be left for those she left behind. For each tear, there will be a smile, followed by the music of laughter. She is a person well worth remembering and celebrating.

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Phillip K. Smith III Exhibits in Milan

Phillip K. Smith III
Phillip K. Smith III, Artist

Phillip J. Smith III has a new installation, “Open Sky,” in Milan, Italy.

Smith denies he is a third great-grandson of Susan Prudence James & John Wesley Smith, despite bearing all the customary genetic physical features of James descendants, including the telltale ear formation.

Smith is not the first to deny his kinship. Nor will he probably be the last. His art is rather ironic since it is constructed around the use of mirrors and reflective imagery. On the other hand, outside of Stray Leaves research into Smith’s ancestry, his art may be his only reflection of his self-constructed identity.

Open Sky
Open Sky by Phillip K. Smith III, Milan Italy, 2018

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Think You’re Anglo-Saxon?

Think you are Anglo-Saxon? Read this story, then check your DNA & your knowledge of archeology.

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Beware Minnesota Historical Society & Good Riddance as Executive Director of Kentucky Historical Society Departs 

Kent Whitworth-Minnesota Historical Society
Kent Whitworth

 

BEWARE MINNESOTA!!!

Former Executive-Director Kent Whitworth is the fool who bamboozled the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Historical Society into filing a lawsuit against its own members! He charged me and other members with trying to create a shadow government. Really! After filing his frivolous lawsuit, he then failed to prosecute it.

God only knows what nonsense he has in mind at the Minnesota Historical Society for the history of the Younger brothers and the James Gang.

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Query from Logan County (KY) Public Library

This week Mark Griffin queried me. Mark is the reference specialist at the Logan County Public Library in Russellville, Kentucky. Mark questioned, “Have you come across any information saying Gov. Thomas Crittenden of Missouri ever met with Gov. Luke Blackburn of Kentucky in Louisville to discuss the matter of Jesse James?”
My answer was as follows:

“I don’t know of any specific meeting, however, the following is known. Thomas T. Crittenden was a close ally and supporter of the James family, the family relationship stretching back at least a couple of generations and closer, following the killing of Jesse James. Crittenden had put out the $10,000 reward for Jesse’s capture, not for his murder.

Luke Pryor Blackburn
The wicked Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn

“Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn, born in Woodford County, Kentucky, contained two epidemics in Natchez, Mississippi in 1848 and in1854, one of yellow fever and another pf cholera. He also was a physician to Gen. John Anthony Quitman. Next to Quitman’s plantation on St. Catherine St. was the Forks of the Road slave market, operated by three brothers of the James family – Thomas Green, David Daniel, & John Duke James. The father of the James brothers, Thomas James, was a charge d’affaires to the Spanish government. Later he retired to Hyde’s Landing in Nashville, Tennessee where Frank and Jesse visited and lived periodically. Blackburn and the James surely would have known one another in this period.

“During the Civil War, Blackburn served with Sterling Price together with A.J. James.  A.J. was attorney general under Gov. Beriah Magoffin when Magoffin refused to send four regiments to Lincoln for the war. During the war, Magoffin’s descendants are a first cousin of Blackburn.  A.J. James served under Preston Leslie, and it is said under Gen. Joseph Orville “Jo” Shelby, who is Blackburn’s nephew. After the war, James would become Secretary of State. In retirement, A.J. James was president of the Farmers Bank of Frankfort, with Blackburn’s cousin Edmund Haynes Taylor on its Board of Directors.

Andrew Jackson "A.J." James from The Sift at Stray Leaves
A.J. James

“In the Civil War period, Blackburn shipped infected clothing to the North and to Lincoln, in particular, intending to kill him. Months after the war ended, Quantrill and the James brothers rode through Kentucky en route to Washington. It is said they intended to assassinate Lincoln. They were halted by Maj. James Bridgewater. Quantrill was killed. Frank James surrendered. Blackburn’s nephew Jo Shelby testified at Frank’s trial and Frank was exonerated.

“Blackburn is related to a small number of James. He also is kin to Presidents George Washington, James Madison, and the Lee family of Virginia of Gen. Robert E. Lee, as well as V.P. Richard Mentor Johnson. He also is related to my second wife through her grandfather R. J. Reynolds. Most of these kinships are in the third to fifth cousin categories.

“Given all of these relationships, it is entirely possible that Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn talked with Gov. Crittenden.”

I referred Mark Griffin to Dr. Thomas J. Sabetta of the University of Kentucky, who recently was a panelist at the 2017 James-Younger Gang & Family conference. Dr. Sabetta currently is writing two books, one about Capt. Delos T. “Yankee” Bligh who pursued the James Gang, and another on “Dynamite” Dick Mitchel, a rider with John Hunt Morgan, Basil Duke, Sue Munday, and Sam Berry.

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Historic James Related Home For Sale

4090 Lexington Rd, Paris, KY 40361
4090 Lexington Rd, Paris, KY 40361. Childhood home of Elizabeth “Betsy” Wright, spouse of Justice John Thomas James

In this historic home in Paris, Kentucky grew up Elizabeth “Betsy” Wright, the spouse of Justice John Thomas James, a son of Capt. John James & Dinah Allen. Their long line of James descendants includes living family today. Notable among them is Richard “Dick” Overgard, who first contributed the data on this line to Stray Leaves almost 20 years ago.

Other notables in this line also include Sheriff John Payne Kelly Sr. of Kelly’s Ford in Culpeper County, VA., made famous in the Civil War. The Sheriff married Betsy’s daughter Margaret Wright James. Their son Granville James Kelly Sr. was postmaster at Kelly’ Ford and the father of Alexander Doniphan Kelly. At Kelly’s Ford, this family essentially knew everyone personally in and around Kelly’s Ford, including those associated with the escape of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincon’s assassin.

The home and property currently is for sale.

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Hite Family Reunion at Belle Grove

Hite Reunion logo
Hite Family Reunion 2018

This summer you can get a leg up on This Bloody Ground, Vol. II of Jesse James Soul Liberty.

Join the Hite Family Reunion 2018 at their historical, ancestral home, Belle Grove Plantation.

From this citadel, the Hite-Bowman family entered the frontier of Kentucky to inform, direct, and protect Frank & Jesse James’ pioneer grandfather John M. James in the wilderness. The keynote speaker is Richard Hite, whose book Sustainable Genealogy we have reviewed and recommended.

Hite Family at Belle Grove Plantation
Hite descendants visit Belle Grove Planatation

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Matrilineal  Ancestry Key to Choctaw & Chickasaw Descendants of the James Family

Susannah James from The Sift at Stray Leaves
Susannah James Colbert, matriarch of a line of James descendants of Chickasaw blood.

Our new and most recent research at Stray Leaves has taken a decided turn towards our James descendants of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood. Recently, we mounted a new searchable genealogy database, devoted to these two lines of unique James descendants.

A key thing to know when learning about the Choctaw and Chickasaw is how they differ fundamentally from our Anglo bloodlines.

In traditional Anglo bloodlines, power, family, and identity flow through the male paternal side of ancestry. Among those of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood, just the opposite is true. These Native-American tribes take their power, family, and identity from their female ancestry.

You can learn more about this matriarchal structure below where you will find a number of links and videos.

Matriarchs on chickasaw.tv
Stories of Chickasaw matriarchs can be viewed on the Chickasaw.tv video network.

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J. Mark Beamis – Photos from Exeter Reunion

J. Mark Beamis, son of Joan Malley Beamis and second great-grandson of Drury Woodson James, shares some photos from his recent 1973 class reunion at Exeter.

Exeter Class Reunion from The Sist at Stray Leaves

James Mark Beamis from The Sift at Stray Leaves
J. Mark Beamis, Class of 1973, Exeter College

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A. J. James Highlighted in Frankfort Cemetery Tour

A.J. James
Andrew Jackson “A.J. James, 1817-1883

Andrew Jackson “A. J.” James will be highlighted in the upcoming cemetery tour of historic Frankfort Cemetery. This cousin of Frank & Jesse James left his mark on Kentucky’s capitol city as a State Legislator, State Attorney General, Kentucky Secretary of State, elector for Martin VanBuren, a Democratic nominee for Governor, Mayor of Frankfort, and president of Frankfort’s Farmer’s Bank. Despite A.J.’s former inheritance and ownership of twenty enslaved people, and his passage of legislation governing enslaved populations prior to the Civil War, A. J. often brought cases late in his legal career after the war, representing blacks before the Franklin County court.

A.J. James burial plot
Family burial plot of A.J. James, Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, Kentucky

Frankfort Cemetery is the final resting place of many Kentucky founders and political elite. A. J.’s burial site is steps from the grave of Daniel Boone.

Russ Hatter will be hosting this cemetery tour. Hatter is a personal friend of the James family. Hatter also is an archivist at the Capital City Museum in Frankfort and a co-author of Frankfort Cemetery, the Westminster Abbey of Kentucky, and A Walking Tour of Historian Frankfort, among other books.

Russ Hatter
Russ Hatter, Assistant Curator of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky. Shown here in a visit with Eric F. James to the Cole Cemetery of the ancestors of Frank & Jesse James

This is the second year Hatter will be conducting his popular tour. This year’s tour will encompass 80 graveside presentations. Hatter’s tours of Frankfort are very popular attractions both for locals and tourists, as well as Hatter’s appearances in historical plays and re-enactments.  It is rumoured that the Jesse James family historian and genealogist Eric F. James will join Russ Hatter at the burial plot for A.J. James.

Rumour has it that the Jesse James family historian and genealogist Eric F. James may join Russ Hatter at the burial plot for A.J. James.

Eric F. James at Cole Cemetery
Jesse James family historian & genealogist Eric F. James visits Cole Cemetery near Midway, Woodford, County, Kentucky

Paul Sawyier Library Gathers Kentucky Authors & Some Jesse James Family History

I’ve accepted the invitation of the PAUL SAWYIER LIBRARY in Frankfort, Ky., to join its GATHERING OF AUTHORS.

Court house, Frankfort, Kentucky
Original Frankfort Courthouse on Wapping Street, Frankfort, Kentucky

The Sawyier Public Library building, on Wapping St., was the first courthouse built in the Kentucky capitol of Frankfort. In this building, Andrew Jackson James began his career as a country lawyer who became citified. His early success there soon led to his becoming the esteemed A. J. James, Kentucky’s attorney general, then secretary of state, and almost its governor of the Commonwealth.

Artist Paul Sawyier and Mayme Bull
Paul Sawyier & Mayme Bull

Paul Sawyier, the library’s namesake, was a local artist, whose art remains highly collectible today. Sawyier was a friend of A.J.’s son, Dr. Samuel Evans James. Dr. Sam kept a yacht, berthed in back of the courthouse on the Kentucky River. He often took Frankfort society aboard The Wanderer on river excursions. Once, he took Paul Sawyier aboard as his guest. They traveled upstream to the Drennon Springs resort. There, Paul met Mayme Bull. The Bull family worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort, where Dr. Sam was a deacon for 17 years.

Samuel Evans James
Dr. Samuel Evans James
First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort, Ky.
First Presbyterian Church of Frankfort, Kentucky

Paul was instantly attracted to Mayme. Together they set up housekeeping on a barge moored in the river, from which Paul proceeded to paint his sentimental landscapes. The women of Frankfort were outraged that Mayme would be forced to live on a river barge.

Mayme Bull painted by Paul Sawyier
Mayme Bull by Paul Sawyier

But society found much more about the couple to be enraged about. The couple said they were married, but without any witnesses, the attractive young couple became the scandal of Frankfort Society.

There will be a lot more of this scandalous history surrounding the James family to appear on Volume II of Jesse James Soul Liberty, This Bloody Ground, to be published later this year.

Wapping Street, Frankfort, Ky.
Wapping Street, Frankfort, Kentucky. The First Presbyterian Church on the left.

For now, come meet with me at the PAUL SAWYIER PUBLIC LIBRARY. Join us at its GATHERING OF AUTHORS on Saturday, August 24, 2013 from 10 am to 3 pm, and learn more of the James family’s history in Kentucky. I’ll be signing books, too.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone with whom you can create some scandal of your own.

Dr. Samuel Evans James’ Yacht “The Wanderer”

Russell Hatter, the assistant curator of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky, sent us this newspaper clipping from the Kentucky Journal of September 8, 1903. The story documents a day cruise on the Kentucky River aboard Dr. James’ yacht The Wanderer.

Kentucky Journal, September 8, 1903

Among the guests, the article identifies Sally Jouett Taylor, Dr. James’ wife. After Dr. James died, Sally married John Stout Cannon, whose father is the famed riverboat captain John W. Cannon, whose steamboat Robert E. Lee raced against the steamboat Natchez, thrilling all of America. Capt. Cannon is also on the guest list of the cruise.

Sarah Jouett Taylor James
Capt. John W. Cannon

Also aboard is Dr. James’ mother-in-law, Elizabeth Sarah Fall-Taylor, and brother-in-law Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. Edmund Taylor was raised in the home of President Zachary Taylor. He had been a Kentucky State Representative and a former Mayor of Frankfort, following the mayoralty of Dr. Evans’ father A.J. James. At the time of the cruise Taylor was manufacturing Old Taylor brand whiskey.

H. W. McChesney was a justice of the peace at the Frankfort court, who later relocated to Chicago. Other identities are unknown.

A bevy of your girls is also on the cruise. Among them is Annie Samuels whose identity is unknown. She is presumed to belong to the Samuels who lived in Frankfort, who were related to Dr. Reuben Samuels, the second husband of Zerelda Elizabeth Cole, with widow of Rev. Robert Sallee James.

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