Born in St. Louis in 1843 to Samuel and Virginia (Robertson) James, William Griffith James died in 1905. William married twice, first to Virginia Patton in 1864 at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church in Florissant. After Virginia died in 1891, W. Griff James, married Mary E. Elliott in St. Louis.

William worked as a farmer, butcher, and census enumerator in Florissant. William’s job as an enumerator evidenced his ability to read and write. He made the rounds of his 1880 enumeration district utilizing his horse and wagon, acquainting himself with his neighbors as he recorded the citizens in the community. The community had certainly grown since his great-grandparents settled there about 1805.

Before 1884, William and Virginia moved to Texas County, Missouri, to live on land purchased by Samuel James, William’s father. After about ten years in Texas County, they sold the land and the couple and their children moved back to St. Louis. The family apparently made trips to St. Louis, as baptismal records at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church identify their children. By this era, the railroad connected the two locations.

William Griffith James
Signature of William Griffith James
Photo in the collection of Ann Carter Fleming
Used with permission

William and Virginia had nine children; however, only six children are known: Joseph Griffith, James Farrer, Jesse Robert, Ann Elizabeth, Grover Cleveland, and Michael C. It is believed several children died young before 1870. From William’s second marriage, he had two children: Alphonso Clemens and Clara A.

This family is known for using a variety of names. William Griffith James was known as Griff James. Virginia (Robertson) James married as Virginia; however, she also used the names Pattie and Jenny. Son Joseph Griffith James was called Ernest according to the 1870 census.

(Documentation includes birth register, cemetery records, census, church records (baptisms, marriages, deaths), death certificates, deeds, obituaries, and probate records))

Written by Ann Carter Fleming
December 2016

© 2016, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:47