Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
THE JAMES FAMILY. This is one of the earliest pioneer families in Greene county, where, for a period of three-quarters of a century its members have been active in various circles, doing their full parts in the upbuilding of the locality and leading public-spirited and exemplary lives, so that they have ever borne the best of reputations and have in every way deserved the material success they have been blessed with, as well as the high esteem in which they are universally held.
We first hear of David James, a native of Wales, who, when a child, crossed the Atlantic ocean to the New World in an old-time sailing vessel, the trip requiring many weeks. He located in Virginia, from which state he moved to South Carolina, thence to North Carolina, from there to Tennessee, later to Kentucky, then to western Tennessee, where his death occurred. It is believed he was married in South Carolina to Nancy Atchison. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, was wounded in battle and he carried the bullet in his arm the rest of his life. He was a blacksmith by trade. One of his near relatives settled in Ohio, and he also had a brother, Enoch, and it is believed that the Mr. James of President Garfield's cabinet was one of the Ohio branch of the family. It was in Henry county, Tennessee, that David James spent his last days and died in 1842. His wife, Nancy Atchison, was born in Ireland, but when an infant, was brought to South Carolina and there grew up and married. Her brothers were Sirgenner, John, Robert and William Atchison. In later years most of the Atchison family moved to Arkansas, some going on to Texas. Mrs. Nancy (Atchison) James died on the old homestead in western Tennessee, about 1840. To David and Nancy James these children were born, Thomas; Polly, who married a second cousin by the name of James, from the Ohio branch of the family; Mrs. Parmelia Wadkins of Kentucky; Mrs. Malinda Hall of Kentucky; Mrs. Aurelia Good, Joseph, John and Robert, all of Tennessee; David was killed when a boy, in Kentucky, by lightning, which struck a tree under which he took refuge during a storm which came up while he was out hunting.
Thomas James was born in South Carolina, December 21, 1792, but he grew up and was educated near the Kentucky and Tennessee line. He served as justice of the peace in Madison county, Tennessee, before removing to Missouri. He was a life long farmer, clearing and developing a good farm from the wilderness. It was in 1835 that he removed with his family to Greene county, Missouri, and his death occurred in Missouri while returning from his old home in Tennessee, on November 9, 1837, when a comparatively young man. He married Nancy Gately and their family consisted of nine children, all of whom are now deceased, namely: Mrs. Parmelia Wallace died in Greene county: Irwin David died when young in Tennessee; Levi also died in early life in Tennessee; Mrs. Minerva Putman died in Greene county; Winfrey died in Oregon after the family moved to Greene county; Aurelia died in this county, November 6, 1844; Jason Robert, born February 25, 1827, in Madison county, Tennessee. Jason R., seventh child in order of birth, was about eight years old when he removed with the family in December, 1835, to Franklin township, Greene county, Missouri, and here he grew to manhood and was educated and when only ten years of age assumed charge of and farmed the homestead after the death of his father. His mother also died on the homestead here, April 11, 1863, aged about seventy. During the Civil war, Jason R. was a soldier in the Union army under Captain Jenkins, in the Missouri State Militia, and took part in the battle of Springfield, January 8, 1863. After the war he continued farming here until his death at an advanced age, March 21, 1908. The eighth child in order of birth of Thomas and Nancy (Gately) James was Susan Jane, whose death occurred in Greene county, February 1, 1845; Thomas, the youngest child, died April 14, 1858; he was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church, South. He married Elizabeth Patterson, by whom one child was born, Nancy Arbelia, who now lives on the old James homestead in Franklin township, this county, operating the entire James estate of two hundred acres, and she has one hundred and two acres of her own which she farms with the assistance of her cousin Robert James, the son of John and Martha (Futrell) James. Nancy James was educated in the township schools and has lived on the home place most of her life. Winfrey James, mentioned above, was a Methodist minister, having preached all over Greene County, where he was widely known in pioneer days, but later moved to the state of Oregon, where he continued preaching and where his death occurred September 17, 1897. He became a presiding elder of a conference of his denomination in that state. He married Sarah Jenkins, first, and later married Jane Williams, after the death of his first wife. The first union was without issue, but four children born of the second marriage, namely: Charles Wesley, who lives in Oregon; John Fletcher lives in that state. Sarah Jane, who married Thomas Bailey, is deceased; for his third wife he married Malinda Baisley and by this union had two children, both living in or near the state of Oregon. Thomas died in early life. Parmelia James, mentioned above, married John Wallace, by whom one child was born, Henry James Wallace, who married Tina Harkness, of Franklin township, Greene county, and three children were born to this union, namely: Blondville, Mrs. Flora Vaughn is deceased; Mrs. Lellian Bryan. Blondville Wallace married Pearl Logan and they have two children, Chesney and Flora Lee. Lellian Wallace married Bert Bryan and they have one child, Helen. Minerva James, mentioned above, married Mansel Putman, a farmer, late of Franklin township, and to this union one child was born, Mary Jane Putman, who married Ammon Knighten, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this volume. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mansel Putman are deceased.
Little is known regarding the Gately ancestry. The great-great-grandfather Mercer seems to have been stolen when a child from his home, possibly in the British Isles, and reared by seafaring men, taught when a child, to assist on a sailing ship, especially in tying knots in the rigging. When he was supposed to be about twenty-one years of age he was given his freedom and a fine cup (silver, lined with gold) was presented him, and he took his own name. It is believed that he eventually located in the state of Tennessee. His daughter Jemima, married John Gately, an Italian. In North Carolina, the great-great-grandfather Mercer was living with great-grandfather Gately sometime after the year 1793. The former hid a considerable sum of money and could not remember where he put it, and thinking his son-in-law, John Gately had stolen it, finally killed him, but afterward found the money where he (Mercer) had hidden it. Mercer had a son who was at one time a Congressman. The son helped his father out of his trouble without punishment. Great-grandmother Gately later moved to Kentucky, where she settled. Her children were John, James, Polly, Susan, Nancy, Crecy, Jemima and Phoeba.
John married Rebecca Watt and one of his sons was named John Gately also. Polly married William Atchison, a brother of great-grandmother James. Susie married William Jenkins. Nancy married Thomas James. Crecy married William Tedford. Jemima married Sam Bradshaw. Phoeba married Jesse Grace.
Springfield-Greene County Library