Horace Greeley James, editor and owner of the "independence Daily Reporter," of Independence, Kan., is a conspicuous representative of the characteristic Kansas press, that immeasurable force which has exercised such potent influence in molding public opinion and shaping political policy in the Sunflower State, in the social, economical, industrial and political renaissance through which the nation has been passing in the last few years. He was born in Titusville, Pa., Dec. 31, 1869, oldest son of Obed Sansbury and Elizabeth C. (Russell) James. His grandfather, Edwin James, manufactured ropes for whaling vessels, on Nantucket Island, Mass., and there Obed James was born and reared. Naturally, he followed the sea in youth as a whaler, traveling over much of the world. After three years in the Civil war under Admiral Farragut, he went to Titusville, Pa., attracted there by the oil business then just starting. Soon after he went to South America and drilled the first oil well in that country. His knowledge of the oil business caused him to make many trips to South America and Europe. Elizabeth Russell, a descendant of Lord Russell, was born in Cattaraugus county, New York, eldest daughter of John and Harriett Russell. The family soon removed to Pennsylvania, where all of her married life was spent. Horace James has spent his life in the atmosphere of crude oil and natural gas. His parents sent him to Nantucket for his first schooling. Returning to Pennsylvania he attended the rural schools at Franklin until he was fifteen. The previous year, by chance, he began writing district correspondence for a Franklin newspaper. One evening, in his fifteenth year, he saw a printer "sticking type," and life was never the same again. The next morning he applied at every newspaper office in Franklin for work, but without success. Finally, he asked the privilege of a corner in the office of the "Penny Press," where he might set type without pay. The privilege was granted and for six months he worked without salary, setting type and feeding a press, receiving in that time for his labor a pair of shoes. From there he went to the office of the "Evening News" at the "princely salary" of $1.75 a week. Determined to work at the case only long enough to learn the trade he always "wrote up" and handed to the editor such news events as came under his notice. Twitted for his ambition by a fellow worker the youth replied that some day he would earn as much a week as his companion did a month. He realized his ambition in fifteen years. From Franklin young James went to Bradford, Pa., to work as an oil reporter on the "Daily Oil News," published by oil producers in opposition to the Standard Oil Company. When that paper suspended, in 1888, he went to Omaha and worked on the "Daily Bee." In 1889 he returned to Bradford, but soon after went to Erie, Pa., as city editor of the "Morning Dispatch," in which office the case still stood at which Horace Greeley used to set type. While in Erie young James came to realize his great handicap in the lack of education, and, resigning his position against the opposition of his employer, he went to Denison University, Granville, Ohio, where he took a brief elective course with reference to journalistic work. Then, with a short study of like character in Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., he returned to Bradford, Pa., upon an invitation to become city editor of the "Daily Record," published by Senator Lewis Emery in opposition to the Standard Oil Company, and which played a conspicuous part in defeating George W. Dalamater for governor of that state. He remained with that paper five years, and then became editor and business manager of the "Bradford Evening Star," which he turned from financial failure to a conspicuous success in two years. While in Los Angeles, Cal., he saw an opportunity in the "Herald" and there organized a company, which took over that Democratic daily and converted it into a Republican newspaper. The paper at once made great strides, but strife in the company caused Mr. James to retire and for three or four years he gave his attention to the oil business in that state. In the spring of 1904 he came to independence expecting to remain only a short time. But he liked the place and soon after purchased the "Daily Reporter," which has been a pronounced business success under his ownership, and ranks among the first papers of the state. The paper is recognized as an authority on oil and gas matters and is most uncompromisingly Republican, along regular lines, but a consistent advocate of sane progressive measures. Mr. James claims personally to have compiled detailed oil reports in more states than any other oil authority. He has been accused of being pro-Standard, but all of his newspaper experience except one year has been with anti-Standard Oil newspapers, and his loyalty to these papers was never questioned.
Mr. James has never laid claim to cleverness nor exceptional ability; if he has acquired any degree of success he boasts that it has been at the expense of the candle at both ends and because he was too stubborn to quit when his day's work was done. In modernized language he is a "hustler" and a "booster." He is ambitious for Independence and Kansas, and thinks this state ought to become the Inland Empire of Americaif the sons of Kansas will so elect.
On Aug. 6, 1905, Mr. James married Ruth Valjean Murray, daughter of Alfred Murray, in Chicago, Ill. They have no children. Mrs. James is an ardent member of the Episcopal church. He is a Baptist.Pages 70-72 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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