IV. William A. James, a hypothesis

A. William A. James

On 21 January 1814, a William James was appointed to take the list of taxable property and polls in "that part of Jackson County lately attached to the County of White" (Jackson County was on the northwest side of White County). William James also served often on juries in White County. William James swore to a plat and certificate of survey of 50 acres recorded on 21 April 1814 in connection with a suit between Wm. Boatman and the heirs of William Nowland.

In 1820, a William James was listed in White County (p. 360):

2 males <10 2 females <10
  1 female 10<16
1 male 26<45 1 female 26<45

William James was one of the hands under road overseer Samuel Driskell appointed on 7 May 1821 to work on the road from the Forks of Iron Works road to the mouth of Jone’s cave (cove?). While Linda Anne Watson indicates he does not appear in the tax lists, another source indicates he appears on a tax list in White County in 1825. [early White County records have not been exhaustively examined; nor has it been determined that all the William James records relate to the same man].

In 1830, a William James was listed in White County (p. 10):

2 males <5 1 female 5<10
1 male 5<10 1 female 10<15
2 males 15<20 1 female 15-20
  1 female 20<30
1 male 40<50 1 female 40<50
  1 female 70<80

No William James or Jones is in the 1840 White County census, but a William A. James was enumerated in the 1850 census in District No. 10, White County (p.70B; 15 Sep 1850):

William A. James 68 Farming Pennsylvania  
Syntha " 62   S. Carolina  
Eliza Petty " 35   Tennessee CRW
Mahala James " 32   "  
Martha Jane " 22   "  
Manerva A. " 16   "  

William A. James was an eligible voter in District No. 9 in White County as of 1 January 1851.52

The family seems to have removed to Buchanan County, Missouri sometime prior to 1860, by which time William A. James may have been dead. Manerva Adeline James was married to Theodore Ehlers on 13 May 1860 in Bloomington township, Buchanan County. It was probably her mother Cynthia James who was a head of household enumerated on 31 July 1860 in Bloomington township, Buchanan County, Missouri (P.O. DeKalb), p. 80:

Cinthia James 67 PE - 200 SC
Catherine " 36   Tenn
Martha J. " 34   "

B. Analysis

John L. James was born in 1810 in North Carolina and married Cynthia Whitley (b. c1818). Henry James seems to have been about the same age, but his exact age has not been determined due to his death prior to the 1850 census. Henry married Cynthia’s sister, Elizabeth Whitley (b. c1821). The names of their children were as follows:

John and Cynthia   Henry and Elizabeth  
Elizabeth 1837 Martha Jane 1838
William Henry57 1840 Manerva C. 1839
John R. 1841 Eliza Ann 1841
Tabitha Ann 1843 Mary Elizabeth 1843
Boling G. c1845 John Henry 1845
Mary E. c1848    
Samuel 1855    
Eugenia c1855    
Morganna 1859    


It is not certain that John L. James and Henry James were brothers, but that seems very likely.58  Aside from their being both named James and being resident in the same tax district of the same county and of a similar age, they married the sisters Tabitha and Elizabeth Whitley.59 John L. James also assisted Henry's widow in obtaining a pension after Henry's death in the Mexican War and also served as guardian of Henry's children, although that could have been due to his wife having been their aunt. John also named a son "William Henry" and Henry named a son "John Henry."

The preponderance of the evidence also points to John L. and Henry James having been sons of William James.

• The only male names occurring among their children other than John and Henry were William, Boling and Samuel. Of these, a William James of an appropriate age to be their father was in White County certainly by 1820 and probably by 1813.

• William James' household in 1820 contained two males under 10 and his household in 1830 contained two males 15 and under 20. Such males appear to fit John and Henry. John L. James was born in October 1810 and so would have been 9 and 19 at the time of those two censuses. Judging by his having married a wife three or so years younger than John's wife, Henry James may have been the younger of the two.

• William James having given John L. James a power of attorney in 1851 suggests a familial relationship between them, although unfortunately the subject of the power is not stated. Perhaps William James was leaving White County.

• At least the elder Cynthia James, and perhaps William James also, followed the same migration path as John L. James, having removed to Buchanan County, Missouri by 1860, at least four years ahead of John.

• Henry James had daughters named Martha, Manerva and Eliza, also names of daughters of William A. James. Particularly with respect to Manerva, this suggests a connection.

• Henry had another daughter Mary Elizabeth, while John L. James had a daughter Mary E.

Any such preponderance of the evidence case, however, would be better evaluated once an exhaustive search of the potentially relevant records has been completed.

If this theory is correct, then there should be three younger sons in the family, one born 1820-25 and two born 1825-30.60 The William James, b. c1823 in Tennessee, with daughters named Cynthia and Catherine, living in 1850 in Rush township, Buchanan County, Missouri is a good candidate to be one of these sons. It is not clear who is the John James, age b. c1825 in Tennessee, who apparently came to Missouri about 1863-64, living in Crawford township in 1860. There should also be a daughter born between 1804 and 1810, and an oversupply of candidates for the three remaining daughters in the 1830 census:

1 female born 1810-15  Eliza b. c1815
1 female born 1815-20  Mahala b. c1818
1 female born 1820-25  Catherine b. c1824
   Martha Jane b. c1828/c1826
   Manerva b. c1834


C.    Genealogical Summary

WILLIAM A. JAMES was born about 1782 in Pennsylvania, according to his 1850 census entry in District No. 10, White County, Tennessee. His wife CYNTHIA ____ was born about 1788 in South Carolina and was living in Buchanan County, Missouri in 1860. The birthplaces of the children shown in his household in 1850 suggest that he was in Tennessee by 1815. If John L. James was his son, then he would have been in North Carolina in1810, as John was born in that state in that year.

William may have been the William James listed in White County in the 1820 and 1830 censuses, although the female in his household aged 26 to 45 in 1820, would be older than Cynthia's age as given in 1850 and he does not appear in White County tax lists in much of the intervening period. William may have left White County about 1851, when he gave a power of attorney to John L. James. Cynthia was listed in Bloomington township, Buchanan County in 1860.

The children shown below are all in his household in 1850, except for John, Henry and William, who are surmised to be sons, based largely on similar naming and residence patterns.


i. probably JOHN L. JAMES, b. 4 Oct 1875, N. C.; d. 16 Mar 1875; bu Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery, Halleck, Buchanan Co., Mo.; m. CYNTHIA WHITLEY, about 1837, probably in White Co, Tenn. Cynthia b. abt 1818 in Tenn, a dau of Sharp R. Whitley. John was in White Co. in 1850 & 1860; left for Buchanan Co., Mo. during Civil War, c1863+; not located in 1870 cen.

Ch: Elizabeth; William Henry; John R.; Tabitha Ann; Boling G.; Mary E.; Samuel; Eugenia; Morganna

ii. probably HENRY JAMES; b. say 1813; d. 5 Mar 1848, Mexico City, Mexico; m. ELIZABETH WHITLEY, 25 Dec 1836, White Co., Tenn. Elizabeth was b. abt 1821, a daughter of Sharp R. Whitley. Elizabeth m2 David Graham, 14 Feb 1852, White Co., Tenn

Ch: Martha Jane; Minerva C.; Eliza Ann; Mary Elizabeth; John Henry

iii. ELIZA JAMES, b. abt 1815, Tenn; d. aft 1880; m. ____ PETTY; res. fa. hshld White Co, 1850; in son's hshld Jefferson Co, Kan 1880 [age 35, 1850; age 65, 1880]

At least one ch: William Petty/Pittie, b. abt 1849, Tenn, but not located in 1850 cen; abt 1878, he m. Louisa ____ ; they were in Rural twp, Jefferson Co., KS 1880; same 1885 (PO Williamstown); he later rem. to Chautauqua Co, Kan

iv. MAHALA JAMES, b. abt 1818, Tenn; in fa hshld White Co, 1850; res w/ sister Eliza & nephew Wm Pittie in Jefferson Co, Kan 1880; farmer Jefferson Co in 1885; res w/ Theodore Ehlers, Eldorado, Butler Co, Kan 1895 & 1900 [age 32, 1850; age 62, 1880; age 67, 1885; age 77, 1895; age 67, b. Jun 1832, 1900 "Maley"] [both pa b. Tenn 1880; W Va, 1900]

v. possibly WILLIAM M. JAMES, b. abt 1823, Tenn; m. LOUISA FIELDS 1846, Buchanan Co, Mo; she b. abt 1828-30, Mo; in 1850, farmer, Rush twp, Buchanan Co, Mo (RE $1600); in 1870, prob blacksmith, Sherman twp, Leavenworth Co, Kan (PE $150); in 1880, 3 youngest ch were in hshld of son-in-law & dau Dilwood R. & Minerva Fields, Delaware twp, Wyandotte Co, Kan [age 27, 1850; age 47, 1870]

Ch: Cynthia, Catherine, Minerva, Thomas J., John F., Madison M., Mahala J., Robert E.

vi. CATHERINE JAMES, b. abt 1824, Tenn; probable dau, although poss dau-in-law; not identified in 1850; in Cynthia's hshld Bloomington twp, Buchanan Co, Mo 1860

vii. MARTHA JANE JAMES, b. abt 1828, Tenn; m. IRA HALE, 27 Oct 1867, Jefferson Co, Kan61; he b. abt 1826, Ky; Martha in fa hshld White Co, 1850; in mo hshld Buchanan Co, Mo 1860; 1870, res Sarcoxie twp (PO Perry), Jefferson Co, Kan, w/ ch ages 21, 16, 14 & 11 (by hus 1st m62); Martha res. w/ Theodore Ehlers, Eldorado, Butler Co, Kan 1895 & 1900 [age 22, 1850; age 34, 1860; age 42, 1870 [Jane]; age 48, 1875; age 52, 1880; age 69, 1895; age 75, b. Jun 1825, 1900] [pa b. Va, SC 1880; both pa b. W Va, 1900]

viii. MANERVA ADELINE JAMES, b. abt 1834, Tenn; d. 13 Jun 1886, age 52/5/9; bu Belle Vista Cem, ElDorado, Kan; m. THEODORE EHLERS, 13 May 1860, Bloomington twp, Buchanan Co, Mo63; he b. Jun 1832, Hannover, Germany; Manerva in fa hshld White Co, 1850; they were in Sarcoxie twp (P.O. Perry), Jefferson Co, Kan in 1870; in Prospect twp (P.O. Pontiac) in Butler Co, Kan 1875; in Eldorado twp, Butler Co, Kan 1880 [age 16, 1850; age 35, 1870; age 41, 1875; age 46, 1880] [fa b. ?, mo b. SC, 1880]

Ch: William Henry, b. Mar 1861, Mo; m. Mary H. ____ c1891; in Butler Co, Kan 1900; to LA Co, Cal by 1910; Ch: Grace, Nina, Fred L.
Thomas J., b. 7 Jun 1862, Mo; d. 28 Mar 1899; bu: Brownlow Cem, Butler Co, Kan (consistently Thomas in census, but Theodore in gs)


52. The Upper Cumberland Researcher, XVII, #3, p. 103 (Upper Cumberland Geneal. Assoc. 1992).

53. Burials in Jefferson County of potential relevance include:

                James, John, Jr.       29 Jan 1818 – 2 Aug 1896          02WK cem

                James, E.S.              1828 – 1908                              PLVW cem

                James, G.W.            23 Aug 1834 – 18 Dec 1916        FTVF cem

                James, J.H.              1844 – 1932                             GRTV cem

            James, John               15 May 1841 – 2 Aug 1896        MRDN cem

54.  Index to Jefferson Co., Kansas 1885 Census (Jefferson Co. Geneal. Soc.).

55.  Mr. Huffman formerly maintained a webpage, now available on the Way Back Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20010429023322/www.geocities.com/Heartland/7230/

56.  Research done by Sharlene K. Miller, July 2003 (photocopies furnished).

57. The name "William Henry" has been inferred from the reference to "William H." age 10 in John L. James' household in the 1850 census and the reference to "Henry" age 20 in his household in 1860.

58.  While Strader and Benbow, in Our Wandering Whitleys, p. 37, state that "John L. James was a brother of Henry James," the basis for that statement appears to be reference to a Mrs. Tabithia Jones having taken on a trust having something to do with a petition to sell land, heard in court on 20 Nov 1872,  naming John M. Whitley as a defendant, he having since died leaving a minor heir (see p. 148).  Strader and Benbow identify this Mrs. Tabithia Jones with John L. James' daughter, Tabitha James; however, she had been, since 1865, Mrs. Charles August Carsh, and was resident in Nebraska.  Moreover, even if she had been the petition's Mrs. Jones, that would not tend to establish that John L. and Henry James were brothers.

59. Both Elizabeth Graham and J.L. and Sinthia James, formerly Sinthia Whitley, joined in a petition, dated 16 Jun 1866, of John M. Whitley, administrator of the estate of Sharp R. Whitley, concerning sale of land owned by the estate.  Helen Whitley Strader and Routh Whitley Benbow, Our Wandering Whitleys, p. 145 (1974).

60.  While Henry James' precise age is unknown, he was married in 1836, which would seem to rule out a birth after 1820 (although Elizabeth Whitley appears to have been very young at her marriage).

61.  Jefferson Co. Genealogical Soc., Marriage Licenses of Record, Jefferson County, Kansas, 1855-1930, p. 206.

62.  The oldest child in 1870 was Sarah Hale, age 21, b. Ky.  Ira is probably the Ire Hale listed in 1850 in District No. 1, Lewis Co, Ky.  He was then age 24, b. Ky, with wife Rebecca, age 23, son James E., age 3, and dau Sarah, age 1.

63.  Buchanan marriage recs., B:363 (by Thomas Crumpacker, JP) (photocopy furnished by Sharlene K. Miller).

Return to James base page

Bill Utermohlen, 1916 Windsor Road, Alexandria, VA 22307;