Sunday, March 29, 2009

Indian Info Tidbits

Matriarchal Society

The Cherokees had a matriarchal society whereby descent was traced strictly through the mother's side of the family. A person belonged to his mother's clan and the most important and powerful man in a child's life was not his father, but the mother's brothers. The maternal uncles had responsibility for discipline of the child and taught him about hunting and warfare. The women owned the dwellings and were in control of all the property.

Clan affiliation was inherited through the mother's line and marriage within a clan was strictly forbidden. The household was the basic unit of the Cherokee social organization and a newly married couple usually lived with the wife's family.

What type of clothing did the Cherokee used to wear?

The Cherokee wore clothing made from animal skins before the Europeans introduced cloth to the tribe. Even into the 1800's the men wore the leggings made of deer hide in order to protect their legs from thorns and underbrush.

The introduction of the turban indirectly came from the Muslim people. When a Cherokee delegation went to visit the Royal Family of England, the men were thought to be very frightening with their tattooed heads and bodies. It was decided to cover their upper bodies with the English smoking jacket, which became our hunting jacket and cover their heads with a shorter version of the turban of the Muslim house servants of the Royal Family. These introduced styles were well received among the men of the Five Civilized Tribes and continue to be a part of our cultural dress styles.

Chief Moytoy of Tellico 1687 - 1741 My 8g Grand Uncle

Great Tellico was a Cherokee town at the site of present-day Tellico Plains, Tennessee, where the Tellico River emerges from the Appalachian Mountains. Great Tellico was one of the largest Cherokee towns in the region.

The Warrior Path— a branch of the Great Indian Warpath— passed through Great Tellico, linking it to Chota in the north and Great Hiwassee in the south, via Conasauga Creek.

The Trading Path became the main route of trade between the British and the Cherokee during the 18th century.

Chief Moytoy My 8g Grand Uncle
Full blood Cherokee-Wolf Clan -Chief from 1730-1760 - Son of Amatoya Moytoy

Moytoy of Tellico was a Cherokee leader from Great Tellico, recognized by British colonial authorities as the "Emperor of the Cherokee"; the Cherokee themselves used the title "First Beloved Man". His name is derived from Amo-adawehi, "rainmaker," although it is unclear whether this was his personal name or a title he held.

In 1730 Sir Alexander Cuming, a Scottish adventurer with no particular authority, arranged for Moytoy to be crowned emperor over all of the Cherokee towns. He was crowned in Nikwasi with a headdress Cuming called the "Crown of Tannassy."

Cuming arranged to take Moytoy and a group of Cherokee to England to meet King George. Moytoy declined to go, saying that his wife was ill. Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) volunteered to go in his place. The "Crown" was laid at King George's feet along with four scalps.

On his death the British recognized his 13 year old son Amouskositte as Emperor. He had little real authority among the elder-dominated Cherokee, and by 1753 Kanagatucko (Old Hop) of Chota had emerged as the leader.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chasing Indians

Some Cherokee Background:

The Cherokee are a people native to North America, who, at the time of European contact in the sixteenth century, inhabited what is now the Eastern and Southeastern United States. Most were forcibly moved westward to the Ozark Plateau in the 1830s. They are one of the tribes referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, they are the largest of the 563 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

The Cherokee refer to themselves as Tsa-la-gi ( pronounced "Zah la gee" or "Tsa lah gee" in the eastern Giduwa dialect or pronouced "ja-la-gee" in western dialect) or A-ni-yv-wi-ya (pronounced "ah knee yuh wee yaw" (western) or "Ah nee yuhn wi yah" (Eastern dialect), literal translation: "Principal People.

The English first had contact with the Cherokee in 1654.By the late seventeenth century, traders from both Virginia and South Carolina were making regular journeys to Cherokee lands, but few wrote about their experiences

The trade was mainly deerskins, raw material for the booming European leather industry, in exchange for European technology "trade goods" such as iron and steel tools (kettles, knives, etc), firearms, gunpowder, and ammunition. In 1705, these traders complained that their business had been lost and replaced by Indian slave trade instigated by Governor Moore of South Carolina. Moore had commissioned people to "set upon, assault, kill, destroy, and take captive as many Indians as possible". These captives would be sold and the profits split with the Governor. Although selling alcohol to Indians was made illegal by colonial governments at an early date, rum, and later whiskey, were a common item of trade.

The Cherokee people never lived in tipis. The Plains Indians lived in these, as they were able to be moved when following herds and hunting. The Cherokee people historically lived in houses made of mud and clay with roofs of brush and river cane. In the winter time, they lived in even smaller clay and mud houses which included the construction of the roof, as well, in order to keep warm. By the late 1700’s, many Cherokees were living in log cabins while some even lived in clapboard houses like their non-Indian counterparts.

The Cherokee Nation is a 7,000 square mile jurisdictional area located in all of eight counties and portions of six counties in Northeastern Oklahoma. It is not a reservation. As a federally recognized Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation has both the opportunity and the sovereign right to exercise control and development over tribal assets which include 66,000 acres of land as well as 96 miles of the Arkansas Riverbed.

Cherokee Clan Names - English Clan Name
Ani-Wa-ya -Wolf Clan
Ani-Wa-di -Paint Clan
Ani-Ka-wi - Deer Clan
Ani-Tsi-s'qua - Bird Clan
Ani-Ga-ta-ge-wi - generally "Blind Savannah" but more likely "Wild Potato"
Ani-Gi-la-hi - Long Hair Clan
Ani-Sa-ha-ni - Blue Clan
Sources: Cherokee Registry and Wikipedia

A Indian Trail From Amatoya Moytoy to My Mother

Amatoya Moytoy 1640 - 1730 Founder of a Family of Chiefs

My 9g-Grandfather
Amatoya Moytoy of Chota (pronounced mah-tie) was a Cherokee town chief of the early eighteenth century in the area of present-day Tennessee. He held a prominent position among the Cherokee, and held the hereditary title Ama Matai (From the French matai and Cherokee ama--water), which meant "Water Conjurer."

His father was a European, Thomas Pasmere Carpenter, who was descended from the noble Anglo-Norman family of Vicomte Guillaume de Melun le Carpentier. Thus, Moytoy's European lineage can be traced to the Frankish Duke Ansegisel of Metz Meroving, Peppin II, and Charles Martel. This ancestry also makes the Cherokee Moytoys cousins to the Carpenter Earl of Tyrconnell, and thus related to the current British royal family.

The Carpenter family of Devonshire & Plymouth England were small sailing ship owners, many of which were leased out to the East India Trading Company, an affiliation dating to the formation of that company December 31, 1600. Documented ownership of fifteen different ships owned by the Carpenter family, those of which were involved with moving furs between the Gulf Ports & Glasgow, or Dublin, and trade goods for North America. These ships usually made stops both directions at Barbados where the family had banking connections set up. These ships were small and fast, often able to make the crossing from Scotland and Ireland in less than thirty days. They were shallow draft ships, capable of handling shallow water ports with ease. The first documented trip made by Thomas Pasmere Carpenter occurred April 1640, sailing from Maryland to Barbados aboard the Hopewell, and returning on the Crispian in September 1640. He made another trip in March 1659 departing Charleston South Carolina aboard the Barbados Merchant, returning on the Concord in August 1659.

Twenty year old Thomas Pasmere Carpenter came to Jamestown, Virginia from England in 1627, living in a cave near the Shawnee. Thomas was called "Cornplanter" by the Shawnee, derived from their sign language that matched as near as possible to the work of a carpenter. He married a Shawnee woman named "Pride" and bore a son around 1635 named Trader Carpenter.

Amatoya was taught by his father to “witch” for water with a willow stick. He had become so adept at water witching that the Cherokee called him "water conjurer" or Ama Matai (Ama is Cherokee for water). Ama Matai eventually became pronounced as Amatoya. It was later shortened to “Moytoy”, so he is known as Moytoy I. He ruled the town of Chota sometime between the beginning of the eighteenth century and 1730.

In 1680, Amatoya married Quatsie of Tellico. Many of their descendants went on to become prominent leaders, founding a family that effectively ruled the Cherokee for a century.

Notable members include:
Moytoy I, Chief of Chota; born around 1640 and probably died in 1730; was leading chief at the time of his death
Moytoy II, Emperor of the Cherokees and Chief of Great Tellico; son of Moytoy I; born around 1687; leading chief from 1730 to 1760
Moytoy III
Moytoy IV, Raven of Chota
Kanagatucko, Old Hop; leading chief from 1760-1761.
Attacullaculla, Prince of Chota-Tanasi; born around 1708, died around 1777; leading chief from 1761 to around 1775
Oconostota, Warrior of Chota and Beloved Man of the Cherokee; born ca. 1710 and died in 1783; was war chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1775 to 1780
Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee and granddaughter of Moytoy I
Major Ridge, grandson of Oconostota and of Attacullaculla
General Stand Watie, great-grandson of Oconostota and of Attacullaculla

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Norman James - The Little Shack on the Prairie - Part 4


The availability of potable water was a continual problem for us. There was a shallow, hand-dug well just across the creek that ran behind the barn, but the well and creek were connected, so the water was unclean. We used that water for laundry and bathing, but we carried water from a deep well for drinking and cooking. There was a drilled well with a windmill pump at Clyde Brown’s place, about three-quarters of a mile away. There we filled our drinking-water jug, a large brown clay jug covered with a thick blanket of burlap. The burlap was kept damp to cool the jug by evaporation. There is something about such a jug, with the dank odor of wet burlap, that makes the water taste better and quench the thirst better than any other source, or so it seemed to me.

Later on, Clyde put a powered pump on the well at the old Garrett James place, which he owned, and built a well-house over it. From that time we carried our drinking water from there, since it was a little closer. This water had a very strong sulphur (hydrogen sulphide) taste and odor, and took some getting used to. Later, when I drank water anywhere else, it seemed weak and tasteless! Since Dad was gone much of the time, Mother was left with the job of walking after water. We boys did help out when we got older.

After rural ice delivery began, we used an old baby buggy to carry a 25-pound cake of ice from the road (the ice truck stopped at Granddad’s place) to our house, a distance of about one-third mile. During those times that we had a car, ice was carried from town. A 25-pound block of ice cradles nicely in the back bumper of a Model A Ford.

Mother used a wash tub for an ice box. She wrapped the ice, along with the food to be cooled, in a quilt and set it in the tub. The ice had to last a week, for that's how often the ice truck came. The tub sat in the floor near the back door. A special treat that we enjoyed in the summer was "milkshake", made from milk, sugar, vanilla, and some ice, shaken together in a quart fruit jar. Cool and tasty!

Dad dug a well just behind the house. He hoped to find good water so we wouldn't have to walk so far to get water. He started with a shovel and dug away the topsoil and subsoil. A few feet down he hit the solid limestone that underlies that area. He used a sledge hammer and a drill to bore holes in the rock, then blasted it loose with dynamite. When the well was eight or ten feet deep water began to seep in, so Dad quit digging. When the well had filled with water, a few drowned earthworms were found floating in it, so Dad pronounced the water unfit to drink. We were all disappointed, as this meant that we would have to continue carrying drinking water. However, water for laundry would be close at hand, for up to this time it had been carried from the well across the creek. Sometime later Dad put a pitcher pump on the well, so we no longer had to draw water with a bucket on a rope.

As did all farm women in those days, Mother hand-washed our clothes and hung them on a line to dry. Water was heated on the kitchen stove and carried out to the washtub, which sat on a stand behind the house.

The clothesline ran from the corner of the barn to a persimmon tree about fifty feet away. One windy day the nail holding the line to the barn pulled out, dumping a full load of wet clothes and sheets on the dusty ground. Mother had to gather them up and wash them again.

We usually kept a cow, and so had plenty of milk for drinking, cooking, and making butter and cheese. We had no churn; we made butter by shaking the cream in a fruit jar until the butter formed. Mother made cottage cheese from clabbered milk by first putting it into a cloth sugar sack and hanging it on the clothesline to drip. When it was fairly dry she added salt, pepper, a little sugar, and chopped onion tops. Nobody makes it that good anymore.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Norman James - The Little Shack on the Prairie - Part 3


The little creek that flowed through “our” place, close behind the barn, was the focus of much of our activity. In the spring we would fish in it for perch. In summer we would wade and swim in it, or paddle about on it using washtubs for boats. We floated toy boats in it. We caught crawdads. When the flow ceased in the heat
of summer, we would seine the pools of standing water. In our nets we found many interesting life forms that inhabited the muddy creek bottom. When the creek was completely dry, we ran the length of it in games of Cowboys and Indians. In winter it would sometimes have ice of sufficient thickness to support our weight for
play. We had no skates, of course, but we could run and slide on the ice. I fell down a lot.

For all it meant to us as a place for fun, our creek was not without hazards. Snapping turtles lurked there, and, though none of us was ever bitten, they constituted an unknown threat beneath the murky water. Cotton-mouth water moccasins were sometimes seen, although they never seemed enough of a danger to inhibit our play. There may have been copperheads, too, since they are usually found near streams, but I never saw one as long as we lived there.

There was a sandy spot on the creek bank north of our house where the digging was easy, and redworms that were nearly a foot long and as big as a pencil could be dug up there. Near this spot there was a large elm tree that shaded a bend in the stream. We called it “The Big Tree”. This was at the widest and deepest spot on the
creek as it crossed our property, and where we did most of our fishing.

These were the years of the Great Depression, the worst depression (so far, but hold your breath) in our nation’s history. The economic depression was made even worse for the farmers of this area by several years of severe drought, and by invasions of grasshoppers.

Record-breaking temperatures marked the summers of the mid-1930’s. Dust from the great dust bowl of the panhandle appeared in the western sky as a light-brown haze. It seemed to me that summer was just an interminable series of blazing hot days. We grasped at any sign of rain, no matter how slight: a large, dark cloud was watched hopefully; the cry of the raincrow was occasionally heard with hope, but the raincrow lied.

Whirlwinds, which are miniature tornados, were frequent. We made a game of trying to get inside one before it dissipated. An amazing sight is a whirlwind going through a dry cornfield. The long leaves are carried high into the air.

One particular night Dad was unable to sleep because of the heat. He got up, found a gunny sack and cut it open so it formed a single sheet of burlap. He then wet it and hung it outside the south window, which was beside the bed where he and Mother slept. The idea was that the evaporation of water would cool the breeze coming through the window. It did not work, unfortunately, because there wasn’t enough breeze to penetrate the wet burlap.

There were many stories of the damage that grasshoppers inflicted on crops, and other stories, possibly exaggerated, of how, after the crops were consumed, the hungry insects would eat fence posts and hoe handles. I do recall seeing stalks of corn and other plants covered with grasshoppers. One year Mother raised about a dozen turkeys for food, and as long as the turkeys lasted, they kept the grasshopper population in check on our place.

Sometime during the 30’s a dirigible balloon airship came over, perhaps 200 or 300 feet above us. It loomed large in the sky, and we were very much in awe at the size of it. As it moved from west to east, Terrence tried to run and keep up with it. I shouted at him to come back, and cried, as I was afraid it would fall on him.

Grandmother James had a neighbor named Meta Leary. She was a shy, quiet German girl, who sometimes came to visit Grandma. She hardly said anything while she was there, but Grandma was certainly up to filling in for her. My brother Gobel, when he was about 5 years old, was visiting Grandma at the same time Meta was there. Gobel's stomach suddenly rumbled loudly. He turned to Meta and said, seriously, "That's gas. It'll be coming out pretty soon." This sent Meta into a fit of laughter.

Dad didn’t work all the time, so there wasn’t always money for groceries. In those days it was common practice for poor folk to buy groceries on credit, and pay up when a crop was harvested or, in our case, when Dad came home from a pipeline job with a pocketful of money. We bought all our groceries at the White and Harper grocery store. At one time our grocery bill had reached $600, which was more than two year’s pay on WPA wages. I don’t know how much Dad made on pipeline jobs, but since he had to live in hotels and eat at restaurants, I doubt that he brought home enough at the end of each job to pay off the accrued debt. However, things were always much better, almost like a celebration, right after his return.

In the spring, we took advantage of the variety of edible wild plants that grew on our place. We gathered “greens”, the leaves of various plants such as poke, dock, and lamb’s-quarter. These were mixed together and prepared in the same way as spinach. We gathered blackberries (as well as chiggers) every summer, and wild
plums. All these things were eaten fresh, of course, but Mother also canned some for winter use. Once in a while we would eat a rabbit or other wild game that Dad or someone had shot.

Our neighbor, Clyde Brown, had a flock of sheep. When it came time to crop the lambs’ tails, he got Dad to help him. Dad brought the tails home for Mother to cook for our supper. I don’t remember whether they tasted good or bad, but it was meat. It was much like eating very long, thin chicken necks.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Norman James - The Little Shack on the Prairie - Part 2

The Little Shack

At some time in the early thirties Mother decided to improve the house by papering the walls. This would look better than bare boards, and would help keep out the wind. Unable to afford wallpaper, she obtained a large quantity of old newspapers and used them to paper over the walls and ceilings. Some of the papers were the Denver Post. There was a rotogravure section with the story about the astronomer Lowell who had studied the moon with a powerful telescope and had seen cities, roads, and people living there. There were pictures based on his descriptions. I remember that the people on the moon were hairy and had wings. Mother didn't use this section on the walls. On the ceiling right over my bed was a Van Dyke cigar advertisement. I will never forget the bearded face that I gazed at every night before falling asleep.

There was a small, tin-roofed barn behind the house. The east half was divided into a small granary and a larger hay storage area. The west half, a lean-to, was divided into two spaces for animals. One room had a long manger. The barn was a good place to play on rainy days.

Behind the barn was a small manure pile. The soil around this was rich and soft, and loaded with earthworms. It was a good place to find fishbait.


At first, we had only two kerosene lamps, but after we boys started to school, in 1932, the folks decided we should have a better light to study by. They went to a store in Miami to buy the lamp, and learned that they could get a dollar or two trade-in for a kerosene lamp. They found one in a nearby second-hand store for twenty-five cents, and traded it in on the new lamp.

After being accustomed to the dim, yellow light of the kerosene lamp (we called it a “coal-oil” lamp), the brightness of the gasoline lamp was dazzling. I believe it was at least five times as bright as the old lamp. The hiss took some getting used to, though. Hardly anyone else that we knew had gasoline appliances, and many people expressed fear of our use of the explosive fuel in the house. I don’t think we ever had a hazardous mishap with any of these things, but they required more maintenance.

About the same time that we got a gasoline lamp, my grandparents James got an Alladin lamp. This was a kerosene lamp with a mantle that was heated by the flame on a circular wick. It had a tall, glass chimney to create the draft necessary to make the mantle white hot. This lamp put out as much light as a gasoline lamp, and with less noise, but with a lot more heat.

In winter the heating stove might be either in the front room or in the kitchen. Dad was too poor to buy a good stove. We had more than one “King Heater”, a cheap, sheet-metal stove made to last one season. Dad once made a stove from an old 55-gallon steel drum and the cast-iron parts of another old stove. It, too, probably lasted only one or two winters. Dad cut trees along the creek for fuel. I “helped” him some when I was older, holding one end of the big cross-cut saw as we cut the trees into firewood. My interest was held, in part, by looking for familiar shapes in the section of the dark heartwood, much as one sees castles in the clouds.

Although bathing was more frequent in summer, it was but a weekly ordeal in winter. A laundry tub was placed by the heating stove, and water was heated in the tea kettle on the stove. The boiling water was poured into the tub, then cold water was added. A couple of inches of water in the tub was enough for a child’s bath. Mother would scrub us vigorously and wash our hair, to the tune of much yelling and complaining.

Dad once built a rabbit trap, hoping to put some meat on the table. I don't remember how the trap was made,but he did catch one rabbit. He declared that it was too old to use as food. That was probably the only time the trap was used.

On another occasion he made a sling-shot to kill a rabbit. It was a very large nut (for a bolt) on the end of a strong cord. I followed him as he carried this weapon out into the pasture. Soon he saw a rabbit crouching in a clump of grass. He whirled the device like a sling, and released it, but the nut missed the rabbit, which then left in a hurry. Dad never tried his invention again.

I don't remember that we ever went hungry, but Mother said that one winter when Dad was away on a pipeline job, the only food she had in the house was flour. For six weeks we lived on bread and gravy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Norman James

I began researching my James genealogy in 1962, when many of the family who were born in the 1800s were still living. I interviewed many of the "old folks", who told me stories of life in the pioneer days. How fortunate that I started so early!

Norman wrote that in his biography for this blog. I immediately asked him if I could interview him. He sent me a magical treasure chest in the guise of a PDF file. And I only hope there is much more to come.

Norman James - The Little Shack on the Praire

A pen-and-ink drawing of the shack we lived in, which I did many years ago, working from measured dimensions. My mother used the drawing as the basis for a painting of the place, shown above.
I wouldn't take a million dollars for the experience of growing up when and where I did, but I really would prefer not to repeat it.
The Little Shack on the Prairie

Although it contained only the barest necessities, our house was quite crowded. Its overall dimensions were sixteen by twenty feet. The exterior walls were of vertical boards nailed to the framework, covered with black tar-paper held down by thin wood strips. There was no wallboard on the inside. When we moved in, there was nothing whatever on the walls...just bare, weathered boards and exposed 2x4’s.

The “front room”, on the east, was the living room and bedroom. Against the north wall was the double bed in which we three children slept. I slept on the outside, since I was the oldest and had priority. Gobel had breathing problems, so he slept on the inside, next to the window. Even in cold weather, the window was raised slightly and Gobel’s nose was close to the opening. Dad and Mother slept on a wire cot that was placed against the south wall of the room. It was really too narrow for two, but they were young. The sides were folded down during the day, making a couch for sitting. There were also the piano, the sewing machine and a chest of drawers in this room.

We didn’t have many clothes, so we didn’t need much storage space. Four of the five drawers of the chest contained clothes. The top drawer, which we always called “the top drawer”, was the repository for important papers, medicines, and odds and ends. Dad had made this chest from parts of another chest of some sort, while he was working at the lumber yard in town. It was not a thing of beauty, but was the only thing I know of that Dad ever built.

There was a closet in the northwest corner, which Mother had made from three orange crates stacked on end, and a broom handle for a rod. A curtain, made from an old sheet, covered the front of the closet. The rod was less than three feet long, yet it sufficed for all the hanging clothes we had. The bottom three sections of the orange crate stack were allotted to us boys for toy storage.

The narrow lean-to addition across the west side was the kitchen/dining area. The ceiling at the west wall was too low for Dad to stand up there. The roof was rather flat, and often leaked. During most rains we had to place buckets and pans under the drips. After the rains Dad would get out the can of tar and repair the roof. Once, he brought home a big chunk of road tar to melt for repairing roof leaks. We kids would cut off pieces to chew.

At the south end of the west room there was a table with four chairs plus a high chair. There was a tall cabinet against the east wall for miscellaneous storage. Mother’s trunk, in which she kept all her treasures such as certificates and old letters, sat on the floor under the west window. The kitchen cabinet, in the northeast corner, was a rectangular table with about three shelves above it for the dishes. A white cotton curtain covered the front of the shelves.

Between the cabinet and the door between the two rooms was the shelf that held the water bucket and the wash pan. We all drank out of a long-handled dipper that stayed in the bucket. We dipped water from the bucket and poured it into the wash pan when we wanted to wash up.
Under the shelf was the “slop bucket”, into which we emptied the washpan and where we threw table scraps. When we were raising a hog, the contents of the slop bucket were part of its diet. The gasoline-fueled cookstove, with an oven and three burners, was angled across the northwest corner of the room. Mother ironed with a Coleman gasoline iron.

The kitchen floor was not very smooth. I once ran across the room barefoot and skidded my feet on the floor. A large splinter went through the calloused ball of my foot, out of the skin and back in at the heel. They had me soak my foot in kerosene, a common remedy used in those days to prevent infection.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eileen Allana James

This post is in response to my cousin Eileen Hardy's interest in my Aunt Eileen who she believes she was named after as I was too.

Eileen was born March 4, 1906 in Oklahoma and died in Kingman, Arizona, in July of 1981. Her first husband was Albert Price. The 1930 census shows my mom Thelma living with Eileen and Albert in Washington DC. He was a golf pro and a veteran of WWII . My sister remembers hearing that his family had a good bit of money. The census shows Eileen working as a salesgirl and my mom as a stenographer. They were renting a house in DC that they paid $40.00 a month for. There was not a radio noted on the census.

Eileen's second husband was Walter Elgin. Eileen was on the Dawes Roll #2837 and on the Miller Roll 15245.

Eileen was quite a peppery character. She had a quite a range of cuss words which she used apparantely quite frequently. My favorite story about her: Some kids had done some kind of mischief in her yard in Arizona. She chased them, and one of them climbed a tree to get away from her. She got the hose and gave him a good a good bath.

She was also a hunter with little respect for hunting season. She went when she wanted to. No question she was her own person and a free spirit. My Aunt Jean lived with my family and my grandmother for a while and then she moved out to Arizona and lived with and then near Aunt Eileen.

Eileen lived with, but we don't think married, Omer East for a long time in Arizona. But we do not know what happened to her first 2 husbands. We think they divorced but we are not sure. I am going to send an email to 2 other James cousins who might know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009



I was born 6 December 1925 in Fairland, OK, the first of the four sons of Euchalata and Erna James. During the 1930s we lived on a dry, dusty farm in a two-room shack that was previously used to store cattle feed. My elementary education was in a one-room, red country schoolhouse that was almost three miles away.

During WW2 I served in the Infantry, where I learned to walk and shoot.

After college I worked for oilfield service companies, learning to cope with heat, cold, fatigue, and sleep deprivation.

I now run a firm that markets software which allows a composer to use a computer instead of ruled paper for creating music. The software was originally written by my son, Dennis.

I began researching my James genealogy in 1962, when many of the family who were born in the 1800s were still living. I interviewed many of the "old folks", who told me stories of life in the pioneer days. How fortunate that I started so early!

I am pleased that many of you youngsters are interested in the family history, so that in my old age I can pass on what I learned and it won't be lost.

Co- Author Sharon Eileen Reed (Starr) Bio

I was born 6 Aug 1944 in Atlanta, Ga . to Howard Reed and Thelma Roxanna James. My Grandparents were Lucinda Miller and Albert Blunt James. My great grandparents were David Solon James, Tennessee Almira Lane, Andrew Jackson Miller and Martha Ann McCullough.

At 18 I left Atlanta to go to the University of GA. I married my first and last husband in 1963, and we now have 3 fabulous children, 3 great spouses they married, and 5 gorgeous and smart grandchildren. I am rooting for more from my son who recently married and isn't producing yet.

My husband was in large construction management so we moved 19 times in the first 22 years of our marriage. We loved the moving adventures and lived outside the US in Belgium and Saudi Arabia. We have now lived in Greenville, South Carolina, in the same house for the past 22 years. We have a mini-farm, and my husband Hal is keeper of the animals who he loves, and it keeps him entertained. We have 2 dogs (1 is 140 lb Greater Swiss Mountain Dog), 2 cats, 2 llamas, 1 miniature donkey, and 2 horses.

One month ago I opened an account with, and I have gotten hooked on this quest - rarely leaving my computer except to eat and sleep. I hope I don't get a leg embolism.

One of best parts has been getting to know some cousins who I hope will agree to be Co-Authors so we can all reap the benefits of what they have found out about our ancestors.

Since the present slips quickly into the past. I would like to request that each Co-Author we are able to recruit to this blog write a little bio so we can get to know each other.

This is the first post of this blog and here's hoping there are many more by my cousins.