Vice-Presidential Debate Vid Highlights James Family Places

Two geographical sites, important to the James family, are shown in the following video about the Vice-Presidential debate 2012, held in Danville, Kentucky.

The video’s opening sequence highlights Constitution Square in Danville. In a log cabin there in 1784, John M. James attended the Danville Convention. Under Judge Harry Innes, the convention met to address the grievances of Kentucky’s frontiersmen against the Burgesses in Virginia who governed the western district. After multiple meetings spanning many years, the Convention decided to seek separation from Virginia to become its own independent commonwealth. John M. James stood at the side of Harry Innes as Innes drafted Kentucky’s petition. Later, the James married into the Innes family. So began the political career of John M. James that lead to his founding of Pulaski County, Kentucky, and to his service of three terms in the Kentucky State Legislature.

Also featured in the video is the site of the Boyle County Courthouse, built by Isaac Hite, a James family cousin. The park adjacent to the courthouse was the site of the St. James Hotel, owned & operated by Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames. The original hotel on the site was built in the late 1700s by Jeremiah Clemens, a relation of Sam Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. First called the Black Horse Inn, then as the Old Clemens House, the hotel was branded by Joseph McJames as the St. James Hotel. When the hotel burned down, Joseph McJames rebuilt a larger hotel, constructed of brick. He invited Jeremiah Clemens Jr., who was born on the site, to christen the new building.

In 1877, Joseph McJames traded many of his Danville properties for a bundle of ranches in Kansas. He then removed to Coffeyville, where his son Ephraim James was captured in the Dalton Gang raid on the Condon Bank.

The politics that became such an integral part of the James family’s character, though first generated in Colonial Virginia, matured at Grayson’s Tavern, also featured in the video. There, the Danville Political Club met to plot Kentucky’s course of governance. Numerous James family members have served in governments since.

The story of John M. James, as an early Kentucky pioneer, is told in Volume II of Jesse James Soul Liberty, to be published in 2013. The story of Joseph McJames ni Danville appears in Volume I, now in publication.