My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN C. JAMES. Among the many valuable farms of Greene County, none presents a more attractive appearance than that on section 27, Sugar Creek Township, that is in the possession of Squire James. It has been his home since 1853, and he has expended upon it much energy and hard labor. It consists of one hundred acres, seventy-live of which are improved, the rest being devoted to timber, and twenty acres of it were cleared by his own hands. A full line of well built farm structures meets the eye of a visitor or passer-by, and every portion of the estate evinces the care of one who is a master of husbandry. The personal character of Mr. James is such as to win the respect of his neighbors and acquaintances, as he is strictly honest, generous, and religious, living a blameless life in their midst for lo! these many years. Being gifted with sound sense, and almost infallible judgment, he has been a power in the community.

A few words regarding the ancestors of Mr. James will not be amiss, before proceeding with his own life history. His grandfather was William James, a native of Wales, who was brought to America when three years of age, and lived in Loudoun County, Va„ until 1801. On October 1, 1772, he married Miss Jane Williams, who bore him ten children, not one of whom is now living, although eight survived his own death. In the year above mentioned, he and his family came to the Buckeye State, settling in the northern part of Warren County, where he remained until his death. That event took place at Columbia, September 30, 1804, in the fifty-fourth year of his age. His wife survived him, reaching the extreme age of ninety-four years.

The oldest member of the family of William and Jane James was born in Loudoun County, Va., November 11, 1773, and was christened John. He came with the other members of the parental household to Ohio, and was the first member of the family to locate in Greene County. He came hence in 1808, settling on the northwest quarter of section 35, Sugar Creek Township, where he built a log cabin and opened up a good farm. He was not only a farmer, but a practical surveyor, and well educated. He departed this life September 18, 1841, having prior to that time placed his estate in an advanced state of improvement. Politically, he was not tied down to any party, but gave his suffrage to the man he thought most worthy. He was Township Clerk and Justice of the Peace for thirteen years. He was Trustee in the Baptist Church, and a leading member, his wife also belonging to that denomination. The estimable woman whom he married in the early part of 1801, bore the maiden name of Nancy Whiteford. She was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, her parents being early settlers in Maryland, where she was born in March, 1780. Her mother died when she was scarcely twelve years of age, and she kept house for her father, having no educational advantages, never attending school but one day when eighteen years of age. Although uneducated, she possessed native intelligence, and common sense, and a character which renders her memory a pleasant one, not only to her own relatives, but to all who knew her. She was taught to read the New Testament by her youngest child, our subject. Her marriage took place in Virginia, and she died in this State, May 2, 1851, being buried beside her husband in Middle Run Baptist Cemetery.

Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. John James, of whom we note the following: Rachael, born November 15, 1801, became the wife of John Berryhill; she died August 26, 1846, leaving eleven children. Evan B., born November 16, 1803, died January 25, 1831; he married Miss Sarah Sanders, who bore him two children. David W., born November 3, 1805, married Rebecca Austin, and was the father of eleven children; his death occurred July 9, 1875. Sarah, born April 15, 1808, became the wife of William Wilgus, and the mother of four children; she breathed her last August 5, 1851. Joshua C., born March 11, 1810, died April 28, 1867; his wife was Maria Burr, who bore eleven children. Lydia J., born January 8, 1813, became the wife of Jacob Smith, and the mother of three children, dying March 2, 1849. Catherine, born March 9, 1816, married Jackson Smith, and became the mother of seven children; John C., of whom we write, is a twin to Catherine.

The early education of John C. James, was obtained in a log schoolhouse, and he completed his studies in a brick school building in an adjoining district. At the age of eighteen years he began his career in life by becoming a clerk in the store of Jeremiah Gest, then the leading merchant of Bellbrook. There he remained four years, after which he formed a partnership with William Shumaker, and they purchased a stock of goods at Mt. Holly, carrying on business there for ayear, when our subject sold out, and returning to the home farm, occupied himself with tilling the soil for two years. He then returned to Bellbrook, where he resided four years, removing thence to a farm on which he lived five years. Returning again to Bellbrook, he entered into partnership with Mathew Berryhill, with whom, for two years, he was connected in a mercantile business. Selling out at the expiration of that time, he bought and removed to the farm where he now lives, devoting his time and attention from that day to the pursuit of agriculture.

On April 26, 1838, Mr. James and Miss Susan Brown, of Montgomery County, were united in the bonds of holy wedlock. The bride was born in Montgomery County, October 28, 1821, and was one of the five children, three of whom are now living, who comprised the family of Enoch and Mary (Davis) Brown, The parents were probably of Welsh descent. Mrs. James was the chief counselor and helpmate of her husband for nearly fifty years, performing the duties of wife and mother in a conscientious manner, manifesting a deep affection for her own family and neighborly kindness for those about her. Her death occurred January 16, 1887. She was the mother of nine children, of whom the following may be noted: Evan was born February 4, 1839, has been twice married, and is now a widower with one daughter, Edna; Permelia was born November 11, 1840, married Josiah Lamme, and has one child; Benjamin A., was born June 6, 1843, and died twelve days later; Harriet was born November 9, 1844, became the wife of John Marshall and has seven children; Rebecca was born January 6, 1847, and died June 1, 1884; she was the wife of John Soward, and the mother of one child. Catherine was born October 5, 1849, and is now the wife of Charles Chase, to whom she has borne two children; she was formerly the wife of John Dunham, by whom she had three children, two of whom are living; Isaac was born September 6, 1852, is yet unmarried, and lives in Arkansas; William was born November 2, 1854, and married Sadie Howells, by whom he had four children; his wife died in January, 1883, and he married Miss Schaffer, having three children by the second union; Mary was born September 22 , 1858, is the wife of Edward Whitaker, and the mother of two children. She lives upon the home farm, being her father’s housekeeper.

Squire James has been a member of the School Board for several years, and has been Trustee of of Sugar Creek Township fifteen years. Prior to this he served as Township Clerk for a couple of years, and also held the office of Supervisor of Highways. He was elected Justice of the Peace, and served in that position three years. He has been an active member of the Grange, and Master of the society in Bellbrook. He has taken an active part in politics, and has frequently made public speeches in the interest of his party. In general elections he has always voted the Whig and Republican tickets, his first Presidential ballot having been cast for William Henry Harrison; he has voted for each Whig or Republican candidate in the successive campaigns from that day to the present. He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in February, 1868, and has been Steward for several years, and also a Trustee. His deceased wife was a member of the same denomination. When he began life for himself as a clerk in Bellbrook in 1834, the village contained five hundred inhabitants. Of that number the only ones now living in the corporation are Mrs. Miriam Hale, R. D. Rowsey, Mrs. Laura Miller, and Mrs. Mary Seal.

In August, 1889, the descendants of William James and their connections by marriage, met at the home of Jackson Smith on section 34, Sugar Creek Township, and formed an organization of which our subject was elected President. He is the oldest living member of the family, which includes many prominent citizens.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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