Tag Archives: Confederacy

Troubled DNA of the Sam Walton, Lawrence, and James Families

David Ralph James

David Ralph James, and his son Christopher David James, know one thing for certain about their DNA. They don’t possess the Y-chromosome DNA proven to be that of their paternal James ancestors.

The problem rests with David’s great grandmother, Mary Ellen James, who was born in 1856. She also is Sam Walton’s grandmother. As most of America knows, Sam Walton founded Walmart.

Christopher David James

When Mary Ellen James left the home of her father Reverend Daniel Field James in Pulaski County, Kentucky, she took her only child with her. William Otho James was four years old when a history of Fayette County, Kentucky, reported in 1882 that his mother was unmarried and living in Missouri.

Mary Ellen James

Unknown is whether or not Mary Ellen James left her Kentucky home in disgrace. No marriage record can be found for her. Nor can any record be found to identify the father of Will Otho James. Mary Ellen made sure her son bore her own name of James.

Leaving home, Mary Ellen took Will Otho first to Joplin, Missouri. Shortly after the report in Kentucky appeared, she then moved to Johnson County, Kansas, east of Kansas City and Lee’s Summit. There Mary Ellen married Reuben Moore Lawrence. He, too, had been born in Pulaski County, two years before she was. Together, the couple then moved to Corbin, Kansas, south of Wichita, where they started a family.

William Otho James and wife Myrtle Mae Butt

After Mary Ellen bore Reuben Moore Lawrence the second of their four children, Will Otho James struck out for Indian Territory. It was 1892. He was only fourteen. He’d be twenty-one before Sam Walton’s mother, Nancy Lee Lawrence was born. It would be almost a decade before Will Otho married and started a family himself.

Otho Junior James, son of Will Otho James, and uncle of David Ralph James

Will Otho and his family lived in Kingfisher and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When his children were grown, he settled in Norman. He was a charter member of the Assembly of God church. He operated a hotel, and the Log Cabin Restaurant, where he became a local celebrity among school kids who called him Dad.

David Ralph James is the grandson of Will Otho James. His aunts and uncles visited occasionally with the Lawrence family, and knew Sam Walton personally.

DNA profile of David Ralph and Christopher David James

Knowing his DNA is not that of his James ancestry, David and his son Chris James cannot help but wonder if their DNA isn’t that of the Lawrence family, or even that of Sam Walton’s father, Thomas Gibson Walton.

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ANCESTRY OF SAM WALTON

Samuel Moore Walton, aka Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, is a great grandson of Mary Ellen James. His pedigree is as follows:

Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore
. Reuben Moore Lawrence Jr. and Mary Ellen James
.. Thomas Gibson Walton and Nance Lee Lawrence
… Samuel Moore Walton

From the family photo album of David Ralph James, Sam Walton visits his ailing aunt, Eva Mae Lawrence-Stock

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IS THE FATHER OF THIS LAWRENCE MAN THE UNKNOWN PARTNER OF MARY ELLEN JAMES ?

Robert H. Lawrence, aka Robert Edward Goff

Robert H. Lawrence shares a physical resemblance with Will Otho James, as well as with Will’s sons Otho Junior and Vern Reuben James, his nephew David Ralph James, and grandson Christoper James. Like theirs, his life has its own mysteries.

Sometime between 1886 and 1890, Lawrence killed a person in a family feud. He was convicted and sent to jail. Within a year, he escaped. He changed his name to Robert Edward Goff and fled to Oklahoma Indian Territory, where many migrants from Pulaski County, Kentucky had settled. He married, settled in Sapulpa, had six children who carried the Goff surname, after which he mysteriously died.

The grandparents of Robert H. Lawrence are Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore, the same as the great grandparents of Sam Walton. William T. Lawrence, who may be Mary Ellen James’ mystery man, is his father.

W. T. Lawrence was eighteen years older than Mary Ellen James. He had served the Confederacy in the Civil War. Right before the war started, W. T. married Almira Griffin, a very distant cousin of the James. When Almira died around 1884, W. T. promptly remarried to Elvira Cash by whom he had two more children, Gopher and Iona. A third child is known to have been born to W. T. Lawrence, but that child has never been able to be documented. The only information about the mystery child that the descendants of W. T. Lawrence know is that the child bore the name James.

For the Goff descendants of William T. Lawrence, knowing the DNA of the Lawrence family would be as helpful to them as it would be to the family of David Ralph and Christopher James.

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RELATED STORIES

Vern Reuben James, son of Will Otho James, and uncle of David Ralph James and brother of Otho Junior James

VISIT: The extraordinary military career of Vern Reuben James, uncle of David Ralph James and brother Otho Junior James.

Edmond Thompson James Serves the Confederacy

Edmond Thompson James
Edmond Thompson James, 1835-1920

The Civil War had begun to surround the old Virginia home that James Carter James once occupied at Plainview in Fauquier County before he died in 1842. His progeny occupied the place since.

Avoiding the war for the James family was impossible. On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 75,000 troops, authorizing the Union to launch an aggressive attack upon the Confederacy.

A series of assaults throughout January and February of 1862 culminated on February 25th in the capture of Nashville, the first Confederate capital to fall to the Union. Eight days later, Carter James youngest son, George Carter James, enlisted at age twenty in the army of the Confederate States of America. He joined Company A of the 9th Virginia Cavalry. His regiment was called Stafford’s Rangers.

George Carter James 1842-1890, brother of Sgt. Edmond Thompson James
George Carter James 1842-1890, brother of Sgt. Edmond Thompson James

In July of the previous year, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Crittenden Resolution, declaring that the war’s objective was not to interfere with slavery. The resolution required the Union take no action against the South’s “peculiar institution.” The bill’s sponsor, John Jordan Crittenden of Frankfort, Kentucky wrote, the war’s objective was to “defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.”

Two weeks later, Congress passed the First Confiscation Act which emancipated slaves who served the Union during the war. In August, Gen. John C. Fremont ordered the emancipation of slaves in Missouri though Lincoln requested Fremont alter his decree. The following month, black troops were recruited in Kansas. By December, the Secretary of War issued a report authorizing the use of former slaves by the Army. At the same time, bills were introduced to abolish slavery.

The day after George Carter James enlisted, Abraham Lincoln requested Congress to pass a joint resolution urging for compensated emancipation. On March 10, 1862, President Lincoln met with Border State congressmen about the matter.

George Carter James compared with his cousin Jesse Woodson James
George Carter James compared with his cousin Jesse Woodson James

That very day on March 10th, two older brothers of George Carter James enlisted in Stafford’s Rangers, together with their brother-in-law. Edmond Thompson James joined with his brother John W. James. With them enlisted Richard Mortimer Crittenden, the husband of their sister Lucy Ann. Another sister, Sarah, married William T. Crittenden Jr.

Edmond Thompson and John W. James served Quarter Master duty. By December, Edmond was made a Sargent. After serving little more than a year, John W. James died on March 23, 1863, of an “inflammation of the bowels.” Edmond was severely ill the same month, but survived. Shortly afterward, Crittenden was assigned to detached service as a wagon master, a role he fulfilled through the end of the war, when he was paroled on April 15, 1865.

Through their service, Edmond was absent in March and again April of 1864. In July, as Confederate General Jubal Early got within five miles of Washington D. C. but was repelled, and again in August as Sherman began his march on Atlanta, Edmond was absent again. In this time, his brother George had gone AWOL. Edmond may have been sent to return George to duty. Both returned in August. On February 5, 1865, George was paroled, as Sherman scorched Georgia and South Carolina, and Jefferson Davis sued for peace. As Richmond fell, Edmond was paroled on April 18th together with George Mortimer Crittenden.

They all returned to Plainview to rebuild their lives in Fauquier County. George Carter James lived to 1890. Roger Mortimer Crittenden died in 1894. Edmond Thompson James lived well into the 20th century, dying in 1920 in his 85th year. John W. James gave his life to the war and to the Confederacy while on duty with Stafford’s Rangers.

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STAFFORD’S RANGERS

The Ninth Virginia Cavalry – Company A
Stafford Rangers – Stafford County

JAMES, EDMOND THOMPSON: Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. Promoted to Sgt., 12/1/62. Absent sick, Dec. 1862. Absent on QM duty, March-April and July-Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Paroled at Blacks and Whites, 4/18/65.

JAMES, GEORGE C.: Enl. 3/5/62 in Co. A. AWOL, Nov.-Dec. 1863 and July-Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Reported to the Bureau of Conscription on 2/5/65 as being AWOL in Fauquier Co.

JAMES, JOHN W.: Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. On extra QM duty, Sept. 1862 thru Feb. 1863. Died of “Inflamation of the bowels,” 3/21/63.

CRITTENDEN, RICHARD MORTIMER: b. 9/30/1825. Enl. 3/10/62 in Co. A. On detached service as wagon master, March 1863 thru Aug. 1864. Present at 10/6/64 final roll. Paroled in Va., 4/15/65. d. 4/2/1894 in Stafford Co. bur. Grove Church, Fauquier Co.
(ed. Brother-in-law, spouse of Lucy James.

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PEDIGREE

John W. James 1824-1863                                                                              Edmond Thompson James 1835-1920                                                                 George Carter James 1842-1890
. James Carter James & Martha Lee Tiller
.. Capt. Joseph James & Clarissa Brown
… George James Sr. & Mary Wheeler
…. Thomas James & Sarah E. Mason
….. John James, the Immigrant & Unknown