Not an Election Day passes without reminders of the numerous James family who served in elected or appointed pubic office. Subverted by the reputations of the wartime guerrillas Frank & Jesse James, or the vote riggers among their James family, Sam Ralston & Samuel Hughes Woodson, most all who were duly elected or appointed served honorably.
Some still serve today with distinction, without being elected or appointed. Like the family feminists Rev. Mollie Paine-McGreevy, an Episcopal priest serving the LGBT community, or Gail McGreevy-Harmon, who still fights today’s political battles as an attorney for Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.
All trace their roots to the soul liberty of John M. James and his band of rebel preachers, people forced into self-exile for their belief in the personhood of liberty.
In the elections of today as well as those in the future, liberty always will need guardianship. And be assured, there always will be a James – man or woman – to keep the freedom of each person.
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.
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.
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.
On November 20, 2011, Kansas City native Col. Stewart Boone McCarty Jr. died. Like the grandchildren of Jesse James, Col. McCarty was a direct descendant of Kentucky explorer Daniel Boone, making him a cousin to the grandchildren of Jesse James, who also are directly descended from Daniel Boone. (See Pedigree below.) Unlike the outlaw’s grandchildren who suffered under the stigma of their heritage, Col. Boone suffered no such stigma. He actively pursued his family history to the joy of reveling in it.
Little joy came, though, to Joan Malley Beamis, who was the first of the Jesse James family to pursue the James family heritage. Joan was a great granddaughter of the infamous outlaw’s uncle, Drury Woodson James. Joan sought her own membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Her family strictly warned Joan to avoid any contact with her cousins in Missouri. Writing to the New York City Library, instead, Joan was dismayed to learn that the great repository of east coast history knew nothing about her family and nothing whatsoever about the family of Frank & Jesse James.
Col. McCarty had no such difficulty. For many years he served the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) as President General. Out of its membership of 28,000, Col. McCarty was one of six to receive the Society’s Minuteman Award. He had graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles with an AB in Economics. At George Washington University, he completed an MA in Management and Personnel Administration; and then he completed graduate studies in Archaeology at Worcester College of Oxford University and the Catholic University of America.
Despite receiving an excellent education herself, Joan struggled for years simply to make contact with her family of cousins who didn’t even know of her or her kinship with them. Joan wrote a number of times to Lawrence Barr, the outlaw’s grandson. He ignored her letters. Finally, his wife, Thelma Duncan Barr responded to Joan, but only after Thelma had been urged to do so by a cousin in the Mimms family, who already was a member of the DAR.
Joan Beamis learned her cousins in the Jesse James line of her family knew little, if nothing at all, about their family history and lineage. Joan was left to perform the difficult research that took years to restructure the skeleton of her James family genealogy. What little she learned, Joan published as a book titled, Background of a Bandit, through the Kentucky Historical Society.
Col. Stewart Boone McCarty Jr. pursued a lifelong career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He commanded units from platoon to battalion, in combat and in garrison, interspersed with staff assignments and attendance at military schools. He was awarded the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medals with combat “V” in Korea and Vietnam; the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal; and other United States and foreign military awards.
He retired from military service in 1974. Knowledge of his family history merited him membership in multiple lineage societies in which he avidly participated.
General Society of Colonial Wars (past Deputy Governor General and past Governor of the Washington D.C. Society)
National Gavel Society (past President)
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (past President General; Minuteman Award Recipient; Patriot Medal Recipient)
One Hundred Living Descendants of Blood Royal
National Society Americans of Royal Descent
Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America
Order of the Merovingian Dynasty
Hereditary Order of Descendants of Loyalists and Patriots (past Governor General)
General Society Sons of the Revolution (past President of the Washington D.C. Society)
Huguenot Society of Washington D.C. (past President)
St. Andrew’s Society of Washington D.C. (past President)
Society of the War of 1812 (past President of the Washington D.C. Society)
Society of Descendants of Knights of the Garter (Treasurer of the American Friends)
Ancient Heraldic and Chivalric Order of Albion
Baronial Order of the Magna Charta
Society of Boonesborough
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (Officer Companion)
Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (Grand Cross, former Grand Prior, Priory of St. King Charles the Martyr, Washington, D.C.)
Knight of Grace of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem
Joan Beamis finally achieved her membership in the DAR. Her lineage link to the American Revolution came through her ancestry descended from the Patriot Robert Poor. Joan also learned she was eligible, if invited, for membership in more lineage societies. Among them are:
The Sons & Daughter of the American Revolution
The Daughters of the American Colonists
The Daughters of the Colonial Wars
The Jamestowne Society
In all her research, Joan never did identify the Patriots among her James lineage. They existed, as the new history of the James family will show in Jesse James’ Soul Liberty; but they eluded her.
Eric James, Danville, Ky. January 6, 2012
Pedigree of Col. Stewart Boone McCarty Jr.
. Stewart Boone McCarty Sr. & Vivian Myers Simmons
.. Ernest P. McCarty & Elizabeth Josephine Stewart
… Samuel L. Stewart & Delila L. Boone
…. Daniel Boone Jr. & Mary Constance Philabert
….. Daniel Morgan Boone & Sarah Griffin Lewis
…… Daniel Boone & Rebecca Ann Bryant
Pedigree of James Randall Ross
James Randall Ross
. Ronald Munro Ross & Josephine Frances James
.. Jesse Edwards James Jr. & Estella Frances McGowan
My mother (ed. Susan Prudence James-Smith) and her brother, R. W. James (ed. Robert Woodson James 1838-1922), were first cousins to the James Brothers. The Jesse in my name was taken from Jesse James.
He paid some special attention to me when I was a small boy and made occasional visits to our house until the law was in such hot pursuit they hardly dared to visit among their kin. On one visit to Salt Springs Jesse gave me a one dollar gold piece. I lost it playing in the dusty road. Had plenty voluntary helpers looking for it but it was never found. Jesse told my mother he was going to give me a horse and bridle and saddle when I became of age – his idea about a perfect gift for a boy. He gave my father a fine riding mare with a bullet wound in her neck and a pair of spurs he was wearing and father used them as long as he was riding horses. Then he gave them to me and I am passing them on to my son, Arnold (ed. Edwin Arnold Smith b. 1903), a lover of horses, who wants them as a keepsake.
Shortly after Jesse’s death in 1882, when he was shot in the back by Bob Ford, one of his men, his wife (ed. Zerelda Amanda “Zee” Mimms-James 1845-1900), who was also a relative of mothers, and Uncle Bob James (ed. R.W. James previously mentioned), came to our farm home at Shackleford, with her small son, Jesse, and daughter, Mary, and spent several days with us. She was a sad and broken-hearted widow and I believe she was dressed in full mourning as was the custom for widows in that day.
Father (ed. John Wesley Smith) sold his blacksmith shop in Salt Springs and moved to the Thompson farm at Shackleford in the spring of 1877 or 1878. Mr. Thompson lived in the East, Boston, I think, and we only saw him once a year. He would come about the time of year to collect the rent and would stay several days or a week. He brought his son whom he wanted to learn something about farming as he was to be the owner of the farm at some future date.
The Chicago and Alton Railroad was constructed through the Thompson farm while we lived there. I remember something about the construction work. No tractors, no bulldozers, no hi-loaders. All done with horses, mules, plows, scrapers, picks and shovels. The laborers chewed tobacco and smoked pipes; no cigarettes. We saw the first trains operated on that line.
We moved to Butler, Missouri, in 1888 where father had a Livery, Feed, and Sale Stable. After Frank James had been acquitted of all criminal charges for which he was tried, we saw or heard from him occasionally.
Frank was in Butler one fall and was official starter for the races at the County Fair, a job he had performed at other tracks all over the country. He proved to be about as much attraction as any other feature of the fair. Again he was in Butler with Cole Younger, when they were traveling with a Big Circus as drawing cards. They rode together in a street parade, and, of course, they drew lots of attention.
– Historical Notes from the Bates County Museum, by Reva Stubblefield; Bates County News, Feb 8, 1973
– Special thanks to Sandy Kassem, a cousin of Jesse Edward James, for providing this article.
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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