Category Archives: James in the News

Route 80 Expansion in Pulaski County Dead

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

i-66-louisville-courierThe planned Route 66 expansion over Route 80 through Somerset east to Shopville and beyond is dead. This road cuts through the historical lands of Pulaski County’s first judge-executive and founder John M. James (1751-1823). The Louisville Courier-Journal reported yesterday, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has halted work on the highway, concluding, “There is little prospect that construction funds will be available in the foreseeable future.”

For a couple of years, I was a consulting party for I-66, representing The James Preservation Trust and the historical interests of the James family. I’m pleased the project’s been rendered comatose.

Particularly distressing during the review process was the despicable practice of the Transportation Cabinet to rename historical properties in the road’s path, despite panel objections. Long historic names were removed. Historical properties were re-identified by the names of current occupants. This corruption was intended to avoid potential mitigation for historical properties. Panel objections voiced during public hearings were voided by the Transportation Cabinet.

Also, a construction permit was granted at Route 80 & James Rd. for a gravel pit and mine on a site where enslaved where known to have been interred. This location was for former site of the James mansion house, once occupied by Rev. Jeremiah & Betsy James Vardeman, Rev. Daniel Fields James, and Sen. Jack Griffin. This site was planned for a roadway interchange linking Route 80 to a newly constructed by-pass around Somerset.

As a 4th great grandson of Pulaski County’s first judge-executive & founder, John M. James, I don’t believe John would have objected to this road through his historic lands, where the road truly needed. Traffic projections, however, concluded the road isn’t needed at all, now nor in the foreseeable future.


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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less

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