Samuel James, a prosperous farmer and esteemed resident of Lincoln township, can claim citizenship in this section of southeastern Kansas for about as long a time as any of his neighbors or acquaintances. He well recalls how the country appeared when he arrived at Fort Scott one day in October, 1857, and it has been his lot to witness it develop from the primitive conditions existing at that time until southeastern Kansas is now considered to be one of the most advanced sections of the entire state and of the middle west. Mr. James has lived a useful, varied and successful life, and the prosperity which has favored him is of his own making and thoroughly deserved.
Mr. James has the honor of having served in a Kansas regiment during the war of the rebellion. After the war broke out he enlisted at Fort Scott in Company D of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, his leader being Captain Jewell, who later became colonel and was killed at the battle at Cane Hill, Missouri. The regiment saw plenty of rough service all along the Kansas and Missouri border, fighting principally bushwhackers and guerrillas, but also met at different times Price's troops and came into conflict with Quantrell's band. Mr. James proved his fidelity to his country and his courage as a soldier, and received an honorable discharge at the close of his service.
Mr. James was born near Jacksonville, Morgan county, Illinois, November 4, 1835, being a son of one of the early settlers of that part of the state, Robert James, who was born in Virginia, of an old Virginia family, and who was married in that state to Eleanor Pease, a native of Ohio. These parents moved to Morgan county about 1831, settling upon a farm of prairie and timber land, and became prosperous and substantial citizens of that locality. The father, who was a man of wonderful physical powers, standing six feet and one inch and straight as an Indian, attained the age of eighty years. He was a Whig in his political sympathies. His wife, who also attained to good old age, was a devout member of the Methodist church. The following children are named as comprising their family: William, John A., Elizabeth, Martha, Nathaniel, Riley, Samuel, Mary, Levi, Harriet, Susan, Robert F. and Emily, of whom Samuel and Emily are the only ones now surviving, Emily being a resident of St. Louis.
Reared on the home farm in Morgan county, Illinois, Mr. James learned first of all the valve of industry. His remembrance of his school days shows how primitive the country was at the time, for the schoolhouse which he attended was a log cabin, fitted up with slab seats resting on rough pins, a fireplace supplied the heat, greased paper let in the light, and "reading, ritin', and rithmetic" were the intellectual food which the young pupils were fed upon. He continued to live in that locality of Illinois until 1857, when, with a team and wagon, he drove across the country to Kansas, reaching Fort Scott at the time already mentioned. He settled on a piece of land in that vicinity, living in a log cabin until the fall of 1863, when he came to his present place in Lincoln township, where he has thus been a permanent resident for over forty years. It was Indian land when he took it up, and he has developed his hundred and sixty acres from virgin soil to its present productivity and agricultural value. On his place there is the best grove of oak and walnut timber to be found in the county, and from these native trees was cut the lumber with which his beautiful, large and comfortable residence is finished off. His fine meadow land is the result of his early work at clearing off the trees. He has two excellent bearing orchards, and his entire farmstead forms one of the most desirable homes in Lincoln township.
Mr. James was first married in 1858 to Miss Elizabeth Hagerman, who was born in Illinois and died a few months after her marriage. March 20, 1862, he wedded Miss Margaret Odom, who was born and reared in Missouri and who died on the Crawford county farm in 1897. She was a member of the Baptist church, and a woman of unusual strength of character and kindness of heart. She left four children: Eleanor Cullison, Sarah E. Farmer, Genevieve Reynolds, and Robert, who is a prosperous young farmer engaged in operating his father's farm. On March 3, 1901, Mr. James married for his present wife Mrs. Susan E. Kirby, who was born at Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, being a daughter of Henry and Maria (Messick) Goble, the former a native of New York state and the latter of Kentucky, both now deceased. Mr. James is identified politically with the Democratic party, being a Democrat of the Jackson stripe. Fraternally he is a Free Mason, and his cordial manners and his proved personal worth and fine character make him a very popular and influential citizen of his township and county.Pages 387-389 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Sean Miller and others at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in April, 2003-November, 2003.
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