Born in St. Louis County on 16 September 1817, the son of John and Julie (Creely) James, Samuel James died in St. Louis on 15 July 1898 with burial at St. Ferdinand Cemetery. On 17 February 1838, in St. Louis, Samuel married Virginia Robertson, daughter of William and Sarah (Baber) Robertson.

St. Ferdinand, now Florissant, was the home of Samuel James all of his life. His grandparents migrated from Maryland to Kentucky and then to St. Ferdinand before Missouri statehood. Samuel and Virginia attended St. Ferdinand Catholic Church, which was also the location for the baptisms, marriages, and burials of their children and some grandchildren.

Samuel and Virginia (Robertson) James had twelve children all born in St. Ferdinand: Emilie Julia, Mary H., Patrick Robertson, Mary Kate, William Griffith, Josephine Emilia, Edrina, Virginia Lind, Isabella, Alphonso Clemons, Sarah Laura, and Jessie May.

Samuel worked as a fur trader and farmer and raised livestock. He served as a town trustee, judge, and city treasurer. In addition, in 1850, Samuel left his family in St. Louis while he traveled to California for the Gold Rush. Along with his brothers and brother-in-law, the group went to Independence via steamboat and then spent the next month on a stagecoach en route to California. The James men stayed in California panning for gold for one year before returning to St. Louis.

Samuel James

Signature of Samuel James

Photo in the collection of Ann Carter Fleming
Used with permission

Virginia James

Signature of Virginia (Robertson) James

Photo in the collection of Ann Carter Fleming
Used with permission

During the Civil War, the government of Missouri required those working in a professional capacity to sign an oath of allegiance. As a judge and city treasurer, Samuel signed the oath of allegiance to the Union. Those who did not sign the document were barred from working.

“I Samuel James, a County Commissioner of St. Louis County, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Missouri, that I will not take up arms against the Government of the United States, nor the Provisional Government of the State of Missouri; nor give aid nor comfort to the enemies of either during the present civil war.”

Historians, William Hyde and Howard Conrad, wrote, “Judge James has always maintained an unblemished character for integrity, and is a respected and influential citizen.”

(Documentation includes: baptismal records, cemetery records, census, county histories, court documents, land records, manuscript collections, marriage records, oath of allegiance, obituaries, newspaper articles, probate records, and wills)

Written by Ann Carter Fleming
December 2016

© 2016 St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:32