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Cherokee County Biographies

S.G. James

S. G. JAMES was born in Monroe County, New York, January 20, 1819.  His parents were Samuel B. and Anna (Bailey) James, natives of Rensselaer County, New York.  He is the youngest of four children: his eldest brother is the widely-known Amaziah B. James, who represented the Ogdensburg District in Congress for two terms as successor to Hon. W. H. Wheeler, when that gentleman resigned to accept the nomination to the Vice Presidency. He had early become an able attorney, and was elected a justice of the Supreme Bench of New York about 1852.  He filed that position faithfully and honorably for nearly a quarter of a century.  It was his son, Henry R. James, a publisher of Ogdensburg, who nominated Mr. Wheeler Vice President at Cincinnati in a forcible and telling speech.  Edward C. James, a prominent attorney of New York City, is the only living son of Judge James.  After two terms in Congress Judge James chose to retire from public life, and the remainder of  his days were passed pleasantly at Ogdensburg in his elegant home, where he died July 6, 1885.  His widow, who also comes from a remarkable family, still survives him.  One sister, Mary L., was the wife of James G Wilson, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she died three  years since.  The remaining sister, Ann, wife of R. J. Marvin, resides in Garden City, Minnesota.  The family is of Welsh origin and settled at an early date in Rhode Island, where Amos James, S. G.'s grandfather was born.

The subject of this notice S. G. James, lost his mother when he was three years of age.  He was taken by his grandfather, Amos James, to Rensselaer County, New York, where he remained until he was fourteen years old. He then went to Ogdensburg where his brother, Amaziah, was publishing a a paper called the  North Light, an anti-Masonic organ.  Entering this office he learned the printer's trade and remained there seven years, the last four  years being foreman.  His brother had sold out meantime, and the paper became successively the Ogdensburg Times and Advertiser and the Ogdensburg Sentinel.  He then returned to Rensselaer County, New York, and July 16 1844, was united in marriage to Miss Emma C. Lewis, a native of that county.  Mr. James engaged in farming and lived mainly in St. Lawrence County until 1854, when he emigrated to Wisconsin, settling in Fond du Lac County.  He farmed fro eleven years and then was in the grain trade at Brandon, and about eight years in the lumber business at the same place.   In the summer of 1876 he discovered that there was land beyond, and chose Iowa for his future home.  He bought his fertile farm and began his improvements upon it.  His place adjoins the town limits of Aurelia, and is situate upon a ridge of ground making it a most desirable tract of land.  Mr. James and his excellent wife have reared a family of four children: Lewis M, the oldest , is an engineer, residing in New York City; Anna B., wife of Henry E Durland; Fred S. and Charley E.  Fred S. holds the responsible position of Train dispatcher at Fort Doge, on the Illinois Central Railroad.  He is the youngest train dispatcher in the country, and h is friends may well be proud of his rapid rise in this profession.  He was but twenty years of age when called to fill this position.  S.C. James cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and has missed but one Presidential election sine that time, always supporting the Republican party.  He has twice passed all of the chairs of the I.O.O.F. Lodge.  Respected by all who know him, he stands for what he is: plain in speech, earnest in convictions of right and wrong, be it said to his praise that there should be more like him.


Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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