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Hon. John M. James, a native of Cannon County, Tennessee, born in 1816. His father, William James, was a native of North Carolina, and died May 20, 1840. His mother, Clara (Smith) James, was born in Suffolk, Virginia. His great-grandfather was one of Lord Baltimore’s colonists in Maryland, and his grandfather emigrated to North Carolina. Our subject is the next to the youngest of a family of seven children. He was married March 14, 1837, to Elizabeth LeMay, of North Carolina. She was of French origin. Two years after his marriage he moved to Arkansas, where in 1842 his wife died. February 8, 1846, he married Miss M. H. Johnson, of Missouri, and by her had eight children. She died in 1883, and in 1885 he again entered the marriage relation, choosing this time Mrs. Disa A. Francis, who comes from a prominent family in Virginia.
On April 17, 1852, Mr. James left Arkansas for California, and after a slow and tedious journey of seven months his ox teams brought him in safety to Los Angeles County, where he lived until 1857, near El Monte. He worked there as a millwright and carpenter, then moved to San Bernardino, and was for several years engaged in lumbering from the mountains. He hauled lumber to Los Angeles, a distance of seventy miles, and sold it for $42.50 per thousand feet. He paid $15 per thousand feet for hauling it from the mountains. In 1867 he was elected to the Legislature on the Democratic ticket, and represented the county in that body during the term of 1867-’68; he is now retired from active service and lives quietly in his new home one and one-half miles northeast of San Bernardino city.