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DAVID M. JAMES. There are few features of business enterprise which contribute a larger quota to the convenience of the residential and transient public than the well-appointed livery stable, and a valuable acquisition to the town of West Plains, Missouri, is the establishment of this kind owned and conducted by David M. James. This gentleman owes his nativity to Henry County, Kentucky, where he was born in 1833, a son of Dr. Beverly W. and Matilda (Day) James, natives of the old State of Virginia and Kentucky, respectively.
When a young man Dr. James removed to Kentucky and was there married to Mary Eubank, who died soon after, and after this event he moved to Kentucky, where he eventually married Miss Matilda Day. He was a man of more than ordinary intellectual ability and learning, and as a physician was very successful and well liked. Prior to the birth of the subject of this sketch he lived for a time in Bloomington, Indiana, where he taught school, but afterward returned to Kentucky and lived in several different counties. He at one time edited a paper in Newcastle, Kentucky, and then one in Charlestown, Indiana, and was for some years associate judge of the Charlestown, (Indiana) Circuit Court. He was a strong Union man during the war, but took no part in the struggle; was a Democrat in politics and socially was a member of the A. F. & A. M. He died at Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1879, at the ripe old age of eighty-eight years, having long been a worthy member of the Christian Church. His father, Thomas James, is supposed to have been of Welsh extraction. He died in Virginia many years ago, a farmer. Nothing is known of the maternal grandfather, Morgan Day, further than that he was a wealthy slave owner of Kentucky. The wife of Dr. James died in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1878, also a worthy member of the Christian Church. She bore her husband twelve children: Mary, widow of Isaac Goodwin, of Jeffersonville, Indiana; Martha, widow of Dr. Willis Wallis Goodwin, of Jeffersonville; William deceased; Mariah, the deceased wife of Robert McGill; Hannah, wife of Daniel M. Austin, of Jeffersonville; Matilda, who died young; David M.; Pleasant, a prominent banker of Los Angeles, Cal.; Lucetta and Melissa were twins and died young; Eliza J. is the wife of Dr. Chamberlain, of Jeffersonville. Another child, Presley, died before the subject of this sketch was born.
The subject of this sketch was principally reared near the town of Jeffersonville, where he received a limited country-school education. He left home when quite young, joining a United States geological corps, and spent some time in Kentucky, where he was taken sick and sent home. After his recovery he clerked in a country store in Clark County, Indiana, for about six months, for which he received $50, after which he followed the same occupation in New Albany and Jeffersonville in various establishments for some time. He then embarked in the confectionery business in Jeffersonville, but in 1857 went to Johnson County, Kan., and took up a claim, conducted a store and was deputy postmaster three years. He then removed to Nebraska and in 1860 crossed the plains with an ox team and took the first cattle train from Denver to Central City. After some months spent in the West, he returned to his parents, who lived in Kentucky, and a year or two later went to Nevada and California, where he spent several years engaged in mining. At one time he and several others crossed a seventy-five-mile desert in southern Nevada and California without water, and for thirty-six hours were without food. Mr. James returned by stage to Kansas, where he continued his journey by rail to his home in Indiana. Later he went to Iowa, thence to Missouri and was married in Clay County of this State in 1868 to Mariah J., daughter of David and Marian Morris, who removed to that section from Mason County, Kentucky, in 1854, and spent the rest of their lives there, where they became well known and prominent. Mrs. James was born in Mason County, Kentucky, and has borne her husband five children: The eldest died in infancy, Charles (deceased), Edward, Pleasant, and David (deceased). Mr. James resided in and farmed in Clay County, Missouri, until 1881, when he came to West Plains, where he has since successfully conducted a livery business, being now the oldest man engaged in that line of business in the place. He is well known and extremely popular, and his well kept establishment is liberally patronized. He is a member of the K. of P., Crotonia Lodge No. 137, at West Plains, and is a public-spirited, law-abiding and useful citizen.