There has been a lot of information published in Floyd County, Kentucky Historical Society Books about Samuel James and how he was the son of William James and Mary Hines, was from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, had three wives including Elizabeth Cornell, grew up in Rowan/Surry County, North Carolina, and was related to Jesse James. Unfortunately this information has permeated the internet and it is incorrect.
I have done substantial research on this family including two trips to North Carolina to collect documentation about Samuel James and the James families in Surry, Rowan, and Orange County, North Carolina to try and figure out the truth. All of this information is documented on my website www.deyoungmatson.com.
Mary Hines and William James were not Samuel James' parents. William James and Mary Hines were from Virginia, not Pennsylvania where supposedly Samuel James grew up as part of the Bucks County Jameses. In the 1880 and 1900 census records from Samuel's children, none of them say Samuel was born in Virginia. The two most popular choices from Samuel's children were Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
In the 1880 Census the children who are still alive list the following as Samuel's birth state:
Abner - Massachusetts
Sarah James McCoy - blank
Malinda James Roop - Pennsylvania
Tamsey James Russell - Pennsylvania
David (born 1827) - Massachusetts
Mahala - North Carolina
Samuel Jr. - North Carolina
Pernina - Massachusetts
I think the most telling is that Pernina who is living with her Mother - Peninah and puts her Father's birth State as Massachusetts. So both Abner (the oldest living child) and Peninah (his 2nd wife) put his birth state as Massachusetts. Peninah his wife and Abner, who probably knew his Father the best of all these children, wrote Massachusetts.
According to the 1810, 1820 and 1830 census Samuel James was born between 1770 and 1775. Also he grew up in Orange County, North Carolina. Mary Hines and William James never lived in North Carolina. Samuel’s Father was Samuel James who starts showing up in the Orange County, North Carolina records about 1778.
Elizabeth Cornell was not married to this Samuel James. According to Pennsylvania marriage records in 1785 there was an Elizabeth Cornell who married a Samuel James in Bucks, New Britain Township, Pennsylvania. She supposedly was born in 1767 and died after 1822. He was born in 1760 and died in 1848. They married in 1785. They had seven sons. His parents were Isaac James and Sarah Thomas. We know from census records that the Floyd County Samuel James was born between 1770 and 1775. If the Floyd County Samuel was born in 1775 he would have been 10 years old in 1785 when he supposedly married Elizabeth Connell. Plus Elizabeth Cornell didn't die until after 1822. The Floyd County Samuel James only had 5 sons between two wives. Where was Elizabeth when Samuel was married to Sarah Charles and Peninah Dean and they were raising her children? Finally, the probate of Michael Charles' estate in 1828 in Orange County, NC states that "Sarah Charles a daughter of the said Michael Charles enter-married with Samuel James now of the County of Floyd and State of Kentucky and that the said Sarah James wife of Samuel James aforesaid late Sarah Charles had the following children by the said Samuel James her husband (to wit: John James[,] Isaac James[,] Abner James[,] Daniel James[,] Selea James[,] and Elizabeth James now Elizabeth Justice, and died previous to the death of the said Michael Charles decd her father of Orange County[,] North Carolina aforesaid leaving her children aforesaid as her legal heirs and lawfull representatives who are entitled to inherit on the part of the said Sarah James late Sarah Charles". You can go to my website at www.deyoungmatson.com to see the original documents. Samuel James had two wives Sarah Charles and Peninah Dean.
Samuel James did not grow up in Surry County, North Carolina. There is no proof than Samuel James grew up in Surry County and knew the John Dean family. My website has an analysis of all the Jameses who lived in Surry County during that period. There is proof that Samuel James grew up in Orange County, North Carolina and knew the Michael Charles family. My website also has an analysis of all the Jameses that lived in Orange County during that time period.
Samuel James was not related to the outlaw Jesse James. If Samuel James was not related to William James and Mary Hines then he was not related to Jesse James, the outlaw. Nowhere in any of the official family trees on the Jesse James family do they show William and Mary Hines James having a son Samuel. Go to Genealogy.com or any of Jesse's websites. There was a Jesse James living in North Carolina in the late 1700s that probably was related to Samuel. I think the researcher Frederick James hired conveniently inserted Samuel into his family to make the family stories that they were related to Jesse James work. They just had the wrong Jesse James.
All of this is documented on my website and I would appreciate any questions or comments.
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