A James Family Line with an Interesting Twist!

#52Ancestors  Week 3 – Long Line

Columbus and Mary ann grave 001

While thinking of which of the long lines of ancestors I would like to explore next, I decided to research more on the ” James” line.   The James family line is on my father’s side of the family and started mainly with Columbus Ashlin and his wife, Mary Ann James who are my second great-grandparents.  The curious thing about this couple is that they were actually cousins of a sort!

First, let’s look at the maternal line for Columbus.  Columbus Perry Ashlin, born 5 September 1830 in Sugar Grove, Smyth, Virginia, was the son of Chesley Harrison Ashlin and Phoebe Byrd James – Yes, his mother was a James!  Now Phoebe James was born in 1797 in Virginia to Spencer James and Frances Davis.   So, to review, Chesley and Phoebe were my third great-grandparents and Phoebe’s parents, Spencer James and Frances Davis James were the fourth great-grandparents.    And, just to add to the lineage, Spencer James’ parents, Samuel James and Mildred Taliaferro, are the fifth great-grandparents.  Here’s how is works out on the pedigree chart below.

Columbus pedigree 001

Now, let’s look at the paternal line for Columbus Ashlin’s wife, Mary Ann James.  Mary Ann, born 18 June 1838 in Smyth County, Virginia, was the daughter of Thompson B James and Susannah Porter who are my third greats.  Thompson B James was the son of Ezekial Beriel James and Frances Baker James.  Thompson James’s parents, Ezekial and Frances would be my fourth great-grandparents.  So far, so good.

Now it is getting a bit dicey as I discovered that Frances Baker James’ parents are Spencer James and Frances Davis – the same couple that are parents of Columbus Ashlin’s mother, Phoebe Byrd James.  Research proved that Phoebe Byrd James and Frances Baker James were indeed sisters and daughters of Spencer James and Frances Davis!  This is where the cousin relationship comes in for Columbus and Mary Ann.  Of Spencer and Frances’ daughters, the older daughter, Frances Baker, was born in 1791, married Ezekial James when she was but 16 years old.  Her sister, Phoebe, was born in 1797 and did not marry Chesley Ashlin until she was 25 years old.

However, recall that Spencer James and Frances Davis are my 4th greats according to Columbus’ lineage.  Now let’s look at Mary Ann’s pedigree and when we find her connection to Spencer and Frances, they are actually my 5th great-grandparents in her lineage!  So Spencer and Frances are my 4th AND my 5th great-grandparents!  This makes Spencer’s parents, Samuel James and Mildred Taliaferro my 5th AND my 6th greats depending on which pedigree chart you are following!  Take a look at Mary Ann’s pedigree chart!

Mary Ann's pedigree 001

So you see, researching the very long James lineage can and will be challenging!  I have to keep in mind that each person was one of my unique ancestors and look for their individual stories!  I will certainly have to minimize their dual relationships to myself and my family and focus more on researching their lives and telling their tales.  More to come in future posts as I share what I find on this long line of the James family!

If you would like to see what I have already written on the James Family Line, you can check out the following posts!

Can a Cemetery be Awesome? This one is!

A Soldier’s Story: Col. Waddy Thompson James

Portrait of a Strong Woman

Are We Related to Jesse and Frank James?

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