John James – Immigrant Cavalier to the New World

The children and grandchildren of John James, the Immigrant, secured the footing of the James family in the New World for all the generations to come.

4 – The Two Generations After the Immigrant

Thomas James, Second Generation Colonist

“THOMAS JAMES, son and heir of JOHN JAMES, lived on Potomic Creek. He patented land there in 1699 about which time he married SARAH [MASON], widow of ANDREW BARBEE. THOMAS JAMES died testate circa 1727 leaving GEORGE JAMES (circa 1702-1753) his eldest son and heir-at-law.

Wealth Expanded by Patent Grant of Lord Thomas Fairfax

“MARGARET [Van Hesse]LADY CULPEPER, THOMAS [5th] LORD FAIRFAX AND KATHERINE [Culpeper] HIS WIFE, PROPRIETORS OF THE NORTHERN NECK OF VIRGINIA – to all and Know ye that we for and in consideration of the composition paid us do Give and Grant unto THOMAS JAMES of Stafford County 100 acres of land situtate lying and being in the said county and beginning at a white oak stading on the south side of the run of Potowmack Creek at or near the branches of the said run and on the North side of Cedar run and extending up the said Branch North west 127 (poles) to a Scrubby Oak thence North East 127 poles to a red oak thence South West to the beginning being surveyed and laid out for 100 acres together and Royall Mines Excepted and to have and to hold and yielding and paying and provided – dtd the 11th day of March 1699.”

Source: Virginia State Land Office, Northern Neck Patent BK 2, p. 312

Interlocking Marriage with George Mason Family of Belle Grove

In the Virginia colony, the interlocking of two families in marriage was a means of producing and developing wealth. This occurred with the marriage of Thomas James to Sarah E. Mason-Barbee, the daughter of George Mason I, “the Cavalier” and progenitor of George Mason IV of Gunston Hall, at Overwharton Parish in Stafford County on September 11, 1699.

Enslaved of Thomas James & Sarah E. Mason-Barbee

Some slaves owned by Thomas James and his wife Sarah E. Mason-Barbee are known and identified. They are accounted elsewhere on Stray Leaves.

George James, Third Generation Colonist

“By inheritance, purchase, and marriage GEORGE JAMES became a wealthy land holder in Stafford, Prince William and Spotsylvania counties; he died testate in Fredericksburg in 1753. He married MARY WHEELER, only child of JOHN WHEELER, Gentleman, (1684-1746) a vestryman in Overwharton Parish and had ten children, viz: (1) THOMAS (circa 1729-1776) of Fauquier County, married MARY BRUCE; (2) GEORGE (circa 1730-1755); JOHN (circa 1732-circa 1794) married in 1763 ANNE STROTHER; (4) ESTHER, born circa 1734, married HENRY FIELD of Culpepper County; (5) MARY (1736-1822) married first in 1754 ANTHONY STROTHER, Gentleman, (1710-1765) and secondly in 1771 Colonel HENRY SMITH; (6) DIANA born circa 1740; (7) MARGARET (1742-1748); JOSEPH born 1746; (9) DANIEL born 1748, married on April 5, 1773 in Orange County, LUCY DAVIS; and (10) HENRY JAMES, born circa 1750, and his brother JOSEPH were living in Fauquier County, 1774. ”

Source: King, George Harrison Sanford, The Register of Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA, 1723-1758, p.59; pub. by Southern Historical Press Inc., 1961, p.55

Enslaved of George James & Mary Wheeler

Some slaves owned by George James and his wife Mary Wheeler are known and identified. They are accounted elsewhere, on Stray Leaves.

George James & The Long Ordinary

The reference to the land and lots in Fredericksburg “commonly known as the Long Ordinary” is a colonial reference to what today might be called a country inn. The concept arrived in America from England.

The term ordinary stemmed from the Latin meaning regular or orderly. In America, a consideration for the welfare of travelers, a desire to regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors, and a place for the exchange of news, announcements, and opinions, converged to create the public house, known as an ordinary.

Profitable as they were, ordinary keeping was not an occupation of choice. Courts, which ordered and licensed ordinaries, offered great inducements to keep one, for instance, land, pasturage for cattle, and exemption from taxes. Many were kept by widows, of whom there were many.

Prices inside Virginia ordinaries were set. The rate for dinner was 6 pounds of tobacco or 18 pence. As food became more plentiful, the price dropped to 6 pence.

A traveler wrote, “Ordinaries are easily identified by the great number of miscellaneous papers and advertisements with which the walls, doors, and full-length porches of these public houses are plastered. In this way, the traveler is afforded as many-sided entertainment and can inform himself as to where the taxes are heavy, where wives have run away, horses have been stolen, or a new Doctor has settled.”

The Long Ordinary – Formerly The Race Horse Tavern

The Fredericksburg Agriculture Fair was established in 1738. The Virginia House of Burgess authorized and directed that “fairs should be held in Fredericksburg twice a year for the sale of cattle, provisions, goods, wares, and all kinds of merchandise”.

Entertainment was plentiful. In 1752, a Company of Comedians from the new Theatre of Williamsburg performed at the June Fredericksburg Fair. Horse racing was very popular. In 1751, a purse of 50 pistols was offered by Charles Coulson, proprietor of the Long Ordinary on Caroline Street. By 1774, the Fredericksburg Jockey Club’s race meets were held during the June and October fairs.

There were no fairs in Fredericksburg from 1881 to 1886. The Fair was brought to life again in 1887 and by the turn of the century, there were circuses, hot air balloons, and thousands of entries.

Source:, Retrieved Feb 3, 2010

Deed – From Charles Coulson to George James

Nov. 5, 1752 CHARLES COLSON and ELIZABETH, his wife, of St. Geo. Par., Spts. Co. to GEORGE JAMES of Stafford Co. 500 pounds curr. Lotts 41 and 43, in town of Fredericksburg, ANTHONY STROTHER, ANDR. ROSSE, JNO. BATALEY, THOMAS JAMES. Novr. 7, 1752

Source: Deed Book E, 1751-1761; Virginia County Records, Spotsylvania County, Crozier, p. 191

The Neighborhood of The Long Ordinary

“Coulson was bought out in 1752 by George James, who enjoyed a very brief ownership owing to his unfortunate demise. He [George James] was the victim of an irate customer who dealt him a mortal blow with a chair. His widow Mary [Wheeler] moved across Caroline Street and occupied the tavern that had been owned by Thomas Dowdall.”

Source: “Early Taverns Livened Up Fredericksburg,” a Newspaper Account

Deed – From Thomas Dowdall to Mary Wheeler-James

Sept. 14, 1753 THOMAS DOWDALL of Spots. Co. to MARY JAMES of Fredericksburg, Innkeeper. 65 pounds curr. Lot No. 18, in the town of Fredericksburg, JOSEPH STEWARD, CHARLES COLSON, ADAM PAVEY. Octr 2, 1753

Source: Deed Book E, SOURCE: Deed Book E, 1751-1761; Virginia County Records, Spotsylvania County, Crozier, Crozier, p. 194

Deed of Lease – To Various James Family

June 3, 1755 THOMAS JAMES of Prince William County, eldest son and heir of GEORGE JAMES, late of the town of Fredericksburg, deceased, and JENNY, his wife, of the first part; HENRY FIELD of Culpeper County, gentleman, and ESTHER, his wife, of the second part; MARY JAMES, widow, late wife of said GEORGE JAMES, deceased. of the third part, and MARY JAMES, DIANAH JAMES, JOSEPH JAMES, DANIEL JAMES, and HENRY JAMES, youngest children of said GEORGE JAMES, deceased of the fourth part. Deed of Lease. Lots of land and tenements in town of Fredericksburg, commonly known as the Long Ordinary, etc, etc, consideration and conditions, etc. Witnesses, JOS. STEWARD, GEORGE JAMES, ANN ( x ) KENNY. June 3, 1755

Source: Deed Book E, 1751-1761; Virginia County Records, Spotsylvania County, Crozier, p.199

February 4, 1760 MARY JAMES of Spotsylvania County to PETER MARYE of the said county. 180 pound currency. Lot No. 18 in town of Fredericksburg. Witnesses, JOHN SEMPLE, HENRY FOOTE, WM. MURRAY. August 5, 1760

Source: Deed Book E, 1751-1761; Virginia County Records, Spotsylvania County, Crozier, p.216

Deed Between Mary James & Thomas James

Oct. 4, 1754 MARY JAMES of Spotsylvania County, widow, and THOMAS JAMES, eldest son and heir at law of GEORGE JAMES, deceased, late husband of the said MARY. Articles of Agreement. Said MARY to release her dower in lands, etc., in Prince Williams County. 900 acres on Deep Run to said THOMAS JAMES. Said THOMAS JAMES to execute to said MARY a deed for lots in Fredericksburg, which said GEORGE JAMES purchased from CHARLES COLSON, etc, mentions MARY JAMES, DIANAH JAMES, JOSEPH JAMES, and MARY his wife. Witnesses, Z. LEWIS, WM WALLER, JOS. HAWKINS, FRANCIS ( x ) KERTLEY June 3, 1755

Source: Deed Book E, 1751-1761; Virginia County Records, Spotsylvania County, Crozier, p.199

Significant Bloodlines To Watch For in Coming Generations

The children of Thomas James and Sarah E. Mason-Barbee represent the fourth generation of progenitors of the James family. Those children are:

Capt. John James & Dinah Allen, fourth-generation progenitors of:

  • Thelma Duncan, spouse of Lawrence Henry Barr, a grandson of Jesse James;
  • Gov. Brereton Chandler Jones of Kentucky, a cousin of Jesse James;
  • Benjamin James Esq., the Indian trader who sired a line of Chickasaw, banished to the Trail of Tears;
  • Also Benjamin James “of the Choctaw Nation,” founder of the James Native-American line of the Choctaw.

George B. James Sr., fourth-generation progenitor of:

  • Christopher Columbus “Kit” Carson, pioneer of the West;
  • Jefferson Gilbert “Jeff” James, California banker, and pioneer;
  • John Stobo James Esq., pioneer of the James in South Carolina and Texas;
  • Sen. Burton Allen James, Indian agent of Missouri and Kansas;
  • J. Danforth Quayle of Indiana, U.S. Vice-President.

Joseph James, the Elder, fourth-generation progenitor of:

  • Col. William Henry Williams James, a leader of Buffalo Soldiers in the West;
  • James descendants living in Nashville and Hyde’s Ferry, TN, places later occupied by Frank and Jesse James;
  • the slave traders in Natchez, MS, David Daniel, Thomas Green, & John Duke James;
  • their father Thomas James, a charge d’affaires to Spain, Indian trader, and southern banker;
  • John M. James, supplier to the American Revolution, Kentucky pioneer, founder of Pulaski County, Ky., and grandfather of Frank & Jesse James;
  • Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA.;
  • the “talented, but erratic” Baptist preacher Rev. Joseph Martin James, and his “bastard bunch;”
  • Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames, financier and community builder;
  • Andrew Jackson “A.J.” James, Kentucky Secretary of State;
  • John James “of Alvarado,” Texas pioneer.

All of these bloodlines, and others, represent a significant host of preachers, teachers, politicians, bankers, public office holders, and community builders within the James family of Stray Leaves. They have been instrumental in weaving the fabric, culture, and identity of a diverse and dynamic the United States of America.