Tag Archives: Elizabeth

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

Marion and Daniel Ephriam James Chose a Guardian

Francis Marion & Daniel Ephriam James Select Their Guardian


In August of 1860, Francis Marion James Sr. and his brother Daniel Ephriam James entered open court at Boyle County Courthouse in Kentucky, to either declare their father Joseph McAlsiter James as their guardian or to declare themselves as independent of their family. They chose to remain with their father.

The boys’ mother, Elizabeth Vardeman James had died sometime about 1846, a year after D. E. was born. She probably died giving birth to a stillborn child. Their father promptly remarried in October of that year to Margaret Wood. By the time Marion and D. E. appeared in court, the boys had five additional siblings, Thomas William, Mary Ellen, Martha Jane, George Thomas, and John Robert James who would become a respected Baptist minister.


Francis M. James, a minor over 14 years of age…into open Court and made choice of Joseph McJames, Guardian, which is certified by the appointment of…Guardian aforesaid by the Court. And said Joseph McJames…pon took the required oath and together with Thomas Barbee…surety entered in and acknowledged a bond to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, conditioned according to law which…proved by the Court.

Daniel E. (Ephriam) James, a minor over the age of 14 years this day…into open Court, and made choice of Joseph McJames, Guardian, which is ratified by the appointment of…James as Guardian aforesaid by the Court. And said Joseph McJames thereupon took the required oath and together with Thomas Barbee his surety, entered into and acknowledged a bond to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, conditions according to law, which is approved by the Court.


Joseph McJames in Coffeyville, Kansas

Joseph McJames in Goodland, Indiana

D. E. James & the Dalton Gang Raid on the Coffeyville Bank

Marion James Family of Goodland, Indiana

The Final Sermon of Rev. John Robert James

Indiana Cousins of Zerelda Elizabeth Cole-James

John B. Cropper
John B. Cropper 1825-1916, great-grandson of Richard James Cole & Anne Huabbard+
Candace Hollingsworth
Candace Hollingsworth-Cropper 1830-1910

A new line Cole family cousins have been found in Indiana. Before Lucy Cole of Woodford County, Kentucky married Jonathan Sebastian Cropper, the Cropper family’s ancestry reached back to 1685 and the birth of Ebenezer Cropper in Snow Hill, Worcester County, Maryland. After Lucy Cole Cropper died, Sebastian Cropper married Provey Dorsey of New Castle, in Henry County, KY.

Sebastian & Lucy Cole Cropper’s son, Joseph Yates Cropper born in Woodford County, married Rebecca Pollard of Shelby County. Their family lived briefly in Shelby County before moving northward to Augusta in Marion County, Indiana, John B. Cropper was born and married Candace Elizabeth Hollingsworth

The daughter of John B. and Elizabeth Hollingsworth Cropper is Goldie Edith Cropper. Goldie married William Owens of Bedford, Indiana. Their family moved to Indianapolis.

Goldie E. Cropper
Goldie Edith Cropper-Owens 1889-1965
Matthew Cleveland Cropper, Brother of Goldie Edith Cropper
Willard Owens 1922-1979

Their son, Willard Owens, served in World War II and returned home to work for General Motors until his retirement. His work for GM led him to become a painter in his retirement for the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Donald Robert Owens & Kathy McHaffey


Willard’s son is Donald Robert Owens. Donald’s wife, Kathy McHaffy, who has documented her husband’s genealogy which links him to the Cole ancestry of Frank & Jesse James.






Donald Robert Owens & Kathy McHaffy

. Willard Owens & Virginia Elizabeth Hankins

.. William Owens & Goldie Edith Cropper

… William B. Cropper & Eliza Ward

…. John B. Cropper & Candace Hollingsworth

….. Joseph Yates Cropper & Rebecca Pollard

…… Jonathan Sebastian Cropper Jr. & Lucy Cole

……. Richard James Cole Sr. & Ann Hubbard

…… Richard James Cole Jr. & Ann Yates

….. James Cole & Sarah Lindsay

…. Zerelda Elizabeth Cole & Robert Sallee James

… Jesse Woodson James / Alexander Franklin James


Cole Descendant – Thomas Jesse Cole of Landers, Wyoming

Cole Descendant – Film Star Gloria Stuart

Cole Descendent Ermina Jett Darnell

Cole Family Historical Sites

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.


Dr. Samuel Evans James Office in Frankfort, Kentucky

Campbell E. James Takes Bashi-Bazouk to Victory

Burial of Dr. Samuel Evans James