#52Ancestors: Week 6 Theme: Same Name
The prompt for week 6 was “Same Name” and, at first, I was thinking of the Cole family in which there were three Hugh Cole’s as direct ancestors but they need more research. Then I thought of Thomas Thomas my fifth great-grandfather – yes, that was his real name but I have already written about him. While I was researching Phoebe James and her family last week, I came upon her brother named James D James, my fourth great-uncle. Wow, they actually gave him a first name to match his surname!
Now if I met James James and asked him his first name, he would say “James.” Then I would have asked his surname and he would say “James.” I would probably say, “Seriously, you are James James?” How confusing that would have been! No wonder most of his records have his middle initial of D. However, he did have an interesting story!
James D. James was born in 1789 in Franklin County, Virginia, the fifth child of Spencer James and Frances Davis. Another source states he was born in Jamestown which was James City County at the time, but I found no record of Spencer James ever living in Jamestown. Amazingly, I found out that his father, Spencer James’ name was really James Spencer James- another James James! Luckily, James Spencer James mostly dispensed with the first name and most of his records are under just “Spencer James.” Why he decided to name one of his sons “James James” is not for us to know!
One 13 March 1817, James D. James married Mary Foster who was born about 1799 in Jamestown, Virginia. Mary was half Cherokee Indian. They settled on a farm in Patrick County, VA and raised ten children. They were a busy couple! The first child was Foster James, born around 1818 and the second child was Spencer T. James, born c1820. After them followed four girls and four more boys with the last child born about 1843. One of the sons, unnamed, died young. The two oldest sons married and had families by 1844 and one lived in Patrick Co. VA and one in Franklin Co. VA.
The year 1844 was a turning point for the whole family. James, Mary, the two married sons and their families, and all the rest of the children packed up everything along with the two family dogs and left Virginia! They traveled by covered wagons and one of the wagons carried a complete blacksmith ship – very handy for farmers! Where were they headed? Heard County, Georgia! Perhaps they heard of better opportunities there or had a land grant but we don’t know the real reason for the drastic move of about 500 miles in covered wagons!
The family first settled in Ridgeway Community, then nearer to Texas Community near Cedar and Town Creeks. The Creek Indians were in this area. During the building of their log houses and getting settled, the dogs disappeared. It was thought the Indians had killed them. Two years later, a relative named Daniel Arrington came from Franklin County, VA with the two dogs! The dogs had made the long trip back to Virginia by themselves! I have heard of dogs traveling back to old homes so there could be some truth in this story!
Here’s some more family stories but they can’t be verified. One day, the James’s found two sacks of seed corn hanging in a tree and another time they found a wild, dressed turkey in a bag hanging in a tree. They took it as a sign that they were accepted by the local Indians. During the wagon trip to Georgia, daughters Amanda and Lucinda rode “shotgun” on horseback. Lucinda broke a tree limb to use as a riding whip and when she got to Georgia, she stuck it in the ground. It rooted and grew to be an apple tree! The family settled and lived their lives in Georgia.
James D James died January 1870 in Heard County, Georgia. I found a record of his death in the mortality schedule for Heard County, Georgia. (see below) He died of old age according to his entry which is the third line down. He was 81 years old. His wife, Mary Foster James also lived to about 81, dying 10 years later in 1880. They are buried in unmarked graves in Almon Cemetery in Heard County, Georgia.
- Trimble, David B (David Buchanan), 1922 (Main Author); Montgomery and James of southwest Virginia; Austin Texas: D.B. Trimble, c1992; Pages: 10, 16.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Federal Mortality Census Schedules, 1850-1880, and Related Indexes, 1850-1880; Archive Collection: T655; Archive Roll Number: 9; Census Year: 1870; Census Place: Heard, Georga; Page: 160A.
- Ancestry.com, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
- Find A Grave, database and Images (https://www.findagrave.com), memorial page for James D. James (1789-Jan 1870), Find A Grave Memorial Number: 161277365.
- Google Maps, googlemaps.com