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.
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.
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.
In Victorian Frankfort, Kentucky, high society held washtub boat races on the Kentucky River. In once race, Campbell E. James took his competing craft Bashi-Bazouk to victory. From the Turkish, Bashi-bazouk translates as “damaged head,” and as “disorderly,” and as “leaderless.” The term originated when applied to different soldiers in the Ottoman Army who fought as irregulars. The intent of Campbell E. James to characterize his prospects for victory was evident in his irrepressible humor.
In her book Filling the Chinks, Ermina Jett Darnell wrote about everyday life in Frankfort at the time. As a descendant of the Cole family ancestors of Frank & Jesse James, Darnell was their 3rd cousin. Campbell Edmundson James, or C. E. James, was the son of Judge A. J. James & Mary Allison Beatty, and also a relation. In Filling the Chinks, Darnell recorded the following story of Campbell E. James taking his Bashi-Bazouk to victory.
On September 1, 1877, the local paper announced that there would be a tub race on the river at 5:30 on the following Tuesday. The writer said: “The course selected is from Herndon’s wharf to the boathouse below the upper bridge. All tubs other than the regulation wash-tub will be ruled out.”
“Herndon’s wharf” was back of the site of the present Southern Hotel. “The regulation wash-tub” was a heavy affair made of wooden staves held together with metal hoops.
The contestants were: E. H. Berry, C. C. Todd, Jacob Evans, Ed Grant, M. H. Malone, Dudley Watson, Campbell James, Clarence Drane, Howard Jett, W. C. Dudley, M.P. Gray, John W. Milam, John Pendleton, Robert Franklin, Peter Dudley, T. L. Crittenden, F. C. Hutchinson, Willoughby Rodman, Albert Crutcher.
New announcements were made in such an edgy, eager style that it is hard to see how anyone in Frankfort slept the night before the race. No contestant could be under eighteen. There were to be no paddles, but each man steer and propel with his hands. The winner would become the proprietor of all the tubs. There would be boats in attendance to pick up the crew of any capsized tubs. Crews would not be allowed to swim by the side of their tubs, and no tubs could go ashore until the end of the race.
Then came the great day, and all Frankfort turned out. The bridge was crowded, and both sides of the river were lined with people.
But of the twenty entries, only sixteen started, and of these, only three reached the goal. The Bashi-Bazouk, paddled by Campbell James, came in full two tub lengths ahead of Ocean Wave, paddled by Dudley Watson. The Undine No. 2, by Albert Crutcher, was capsized, alas, about ten feet from the string!
C. E. James was twenty-seven years old when he authored this short history of Franklin County, Kentucky. The work was Kentucky’s response to the resolution of the U. S. Congress encouraging celebration of the nation’s Centennial Anniversary of the American Revolution.
His father, the esteemed jurist A. J. James, already has served in the Kentucky State Legislature, was elected Attorney General under Gov. Beriah Magoffin, and had served as Kentucky’s Attorney General under Gov. Preston Leslie. He also was a former Mayor of Frankfort. Electing not to run for the governorship himself, A. J. James was president of the Farmer’s Bank in Frankfort.
In 1887, C. E. James authored a sketch of Frankfort and Franklin County for the Commonwealth’s publication of the Seventh Annual Report from the Bureau of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Statistics of the State of Kentucky.
This week, when fact checking a chapter from the epic new history being written about the James family where Dr. Samuel Evans James and John E. Miles both appear, Russell Hatter offered us this photo from the archives of his Frankfort Heritage Press. The image of the building owned by Dr. James in Frankfort, Kentucky in which Miles operated a flour store formerly was donated by Steve Moore and has never been made public before.
To the left of the John E. Miles Flour Store is a plaque that says, “Dr. S. E. James, Entrance Upstairs. “
This building stood on St. Clair St., in Frankfort opposite the Franklin County Courthouse. As Dr. James conducted his medical practice, across the street his father, the eminent jurist Judge Andrew Jackson “A. J.” James practiced law as lawyer, Commonwealth Attorney General, and judge. This building was torn down about 1900.
John E. Miles was distantly related to the James through his wife, Annie Hawkins. The James, Hawkins, & Miles descendants share many common ancestors in colonial Virginia, among the Dabney, Strother, Keith, Willis, Thornton, & Randolph families.
Dr. James and his wife, Sallie Jouett Taylor, made their home at 418-420 Anne St. in Frankfort, seen here today with its separate business entrance on the far corner of the home.
Sallie was born at 210 St. Clair St., a short distance from the upstairs office of Dr. James.
The Taylor’s family’s residence was next to her father’s Farmer’s Bank, where A.J. James also had served as bank president.
The residence of A.J. James stands at the corner of Main & Wilkinson Streets, and is now occupied as lawyers offices.
For more about A. J. James, and Dr. Samuel E. James, click HERE.
The Frankfort Heritage Press maintains an excellent website, that also sells their fine books about Frankfort’s early history.
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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