Born on 1 January 1788 in Maryland, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Austin) James, John Griffith James died on 14 February 1834 in St. Ferdinand with burial at Old St. Ferdinand Cemetery. On 4 February 1812, in St. Ferdinand, John married Julie Creely, daughter of Jean Baptiste and Elizabeth (DeLisle) Creely.

Family lore says the groom, John James, only spoke English, and the bride, Julie Creely, only spoke French. One would assume that their children were fluent in both languages. They lived together until John died in 1834. Their eleven children, all born in St. Ferdinand, were: John Baptiste, Henry W., Cecile Griffith, Samuel, Edward, Victoria, Leonora, Lewis P., Elizabeth Griffith, Mary, and Joseph.

A few of the children moved to Tehama County, California, after the 1850 Gold Rush, eventually taking Julie (Creely) James with them, where she found her final resting place.

Many men from St. Ferdinand, including John, volunteered to serve in the War of 1812. John served under Captain Musick, one of his in-laws.

John James and Julie Creely
Signatures/Marks of John James
and Julie Creely

Photo in the collection of Ann Carter Fleming
Used with permission

John worked as a farmer and bought and sold parcels of property in St. Ferdinand Village, now Florissant. Transactions included deeds from Julie’s father and uncles, as well as John’s father, Joseph James. In 1817, John built his family home on the corner lot at St. Louis and St. Peter Streets in St. Ferdinand. Most city lots were 150’ by 300’ at that time.

In 1821, John traveled to Santa Fe with his brother Thomas James and John McKnight. The journey is chronicled in a book by Thomas James, Three Years Among the Indians and Mexicans.

The 1830 federal census, first federal census for the new state of Missouri, showed St. Ferdinand had a population of 340 residents, many of whom were John and Julie’s family members.

(Documentation includes census, county histories, church records, land records, marriage records, newspaper articles, and probate records)

Written by Ann Carter Fleming
December 2016

© 2016, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 10:02