Tag Archives: Annie

A Damaged but Heroic Life Is Worth Living

Our James family’s cousin, Bobby Brush, died this morning at age 53. His was an extraordinary life, in fact, an heroic life. Bobby lived in those recesses which most people never experience or will recognize. Bobby was born with what is called today a pre-condition. Bobby was born with Down Syndrome.

Bobby Brush
Bobby Brush 1961-2013

From birth, Bobby’s life was in peril. His only assurance was his life would not be long. He could expect 18 years at most, maybe a bit longer if he was lucky. Bobby beat his odds.

Had Bobby been born a decade earlier, society surely would have banished him to its darkest shadows, never to experience the things most people take for granted, like playing ball, having friends, living independently, or going to work.

Bobby Brush with parents Eleanor and Bobby Sr.
Robert Brush Sr. – Eleanor James-Brush – Bobby Brush Jr.

Had Bobby’s parents the means, they surely would have given all to make Bobby’s life, at best, an average one. But they were people of average means with limited resources. Still, they gave everything they had. When Bob & Eleanor James Brush died, Bobby’s sisters Anne and Elizabeth assumed his care with dedication and human compassion.

Siblings of Bobby Brush
Bobby’s siblings – Annie, Jim, Kathleen, & Elizabeth

Before Bobby entered his teens, another family entered Bobby’s life. The late Senator Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy family established programs to help those born with Down’s syndrome meet their challenges. With his family’s and the support of the Kennedy family, Bobby attended school, made friends, and played games. In time he got a job in a bank, went to work every day, and lived with friends. I recall Bobby in 2000 when he offered an elegant toast to “my favorite aunt,” Deanie James, at her funeral. Bobby’s afflicted life had developed heroically.

Anne Marie Brush
Bobby’s caregiver, his sister Anne Marie
Elizabeth Jane Brush
Bobby’s caregiver, his sister Elizabeth Jane

In recent years, Bobby encountered Alzheimer’s, not a pre-condition of life like his Down’s syndrome, but just as devastating. Bobby had been on my mind for a while recently, particularly as I watched those who were not born with Bobby’s pre-condition swarm mindlessly and with antagonism over issues of public health care, with a lack of human compassion that is far too loud.

I’m grateful for the compassion Bobby’s parents and sisters showed him. I’m grateful for the foresight of the Kennedy family. I’m grateful for each person who helped Bobby to live his life as the rest of us do. With their support, Robert Charles Brush lived a truly heroic life. May his life never be dishonored by those who would withhold what it takes to make heroes of those damaged through no fault of their own by life’s pre-conditions.

Born with Down's Syndrome, Bobby Brush was aided in his development by the family of Sen. Ted Kennedy os Masachusettes.
Born with Down’s Syndrome, Bobby Brush was aided in his development by the family of Sen. Ted Kennedy os Massachusetts.

UPDATED: March 24, 2018

In honor of Bobby and Eleanor Marie James Brush, Bobby’s mother, and others among our James family who live with Down Syndrome.

50 Moms, 50 Kids, 1 Extra Chromosome

Kit Carson, a James Family Relation

Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson 1809-1869

Previously unrecognized is the relationship of the James family to Kit Carson.

Christopher Houston Carson was born on Tate’s Creek in Madison County, Kentucky. His father Lindsay Carson Sr. was a first generation, American born, of William Carson, immigrant from Ireland.

Kit’s father, Lindsay, brought his family to Madison County from South Carolina in 1793. The family followed the Wilderness Trail, forged by Daniel Boone, Johannes Vardeman, & others, to settle on Tate’s Creek. Later, Johannes Vardeman’s son Rev. Jeremiah Vardeman and his father-in-law John M. James joined the Flat Lick Baptist Church with the Tate’s Creek Association.

Also living in Madison County at the time of Kit’s youth was Adam Hill, the grandfather of Annie Ralston, who married Frank James. Hill was a blacksmith, but later became a wagoner and guide into the Far West after he migrated with his family to the far western border of Missouri in January of 1834. Lindsay Carson departed Madison County for Missouri in 1811, when Kit was two years old.

Maria Josepha Jaramillo-Carson with Kit Carson Jr.

Kit’s father did not stay long at Cooper’s Fort in Missouri, before returning to Madison County, where his father was killed by the falling limb of a tree when Kit was nine years old. Kit returned to the West, where at age fourteen he apprenticed as a saddle maker. In 1826, Kit Carson left Missouri for Santa Fe, New Mexico, after which he married, started a family, and wrote himself into the history of the American West.

Ransom Carson, a stonemason who rebuilt Flat Lick Baptist Church after the original log church was destroyed in a fire, and who also built the stone house of the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James, appears not to be a relation of the James, nor of Kit Carson.



Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson 1809-1868 & Maria Josepha Jaramillo
. Lindsey Carson Sr. 1754-1818 & Rebecca Robinson 1778-Unk.
.. James Robinson Bef.1775-1818 & Agnes Boone
… Michael Robinson, the Younger 1751-1800 & Mary “Molly” James 1750-1808
…. Thomas James Sr. Bef.1729-1776 & Mary Bruce
… Joseph James, the Elder 1712-1782 & Mary Field
.. John M. James 1751-1823 & Clara Nall