James family papers, 1841-1986  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
James family
Title
James family papers
Dates
1841-1986 (inclusive)
Quantity
.42 cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 package)
Collection Number
3575 (Accession No. 3575-005)
Summary
Papers of a family of immigrants from Cornwall, England, who lived in Wisconsin before travelling by wagon train to Oregon and Washington State in the early 1850s.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

The papers are open to all users.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Samuel James, his wife Anna (Foxwell) James, and their four sons left Cornwall, England, for America in 1842. In England they were successful farmers and landowners, who emigrated more for political and philosophical reasons than because of economic hardship.

The James family first stayed in a Cornish settlement near Racine, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1842. They lived there for seven years, but it is clear from the name they chose for their fifth son, Richard Oregon, born in 1846, that the Oregon country had already caught their fancy. The extremes of climate in Wisconsin, which caused the children to be ill much of the winter, as well as published accounts of the good life (and mild weather) in Oregon, eventually motivated the famly to journey westward.

The journey was undertaken in two stages. Setting out in October, 1850, the family spent the winter in Dudley, Iowa. There they prepared for their Oregon Trail journey. They resumed travel in April of 1851 and arrived at their destination on September 9 of the same year.

The family's first Oregon homestead was on the Clackamas River near Milwaukie, Oregon. Damp weather, poor pasturage, and a return of the illness experienced in Wisconsin encouraged them to seek a better location the following year. On October 12, 1852, they settled at Grand Mound Prairie on the Chehalis River, northwest of present-day Centralia, Washington.

The family prospered at Grand Mound Prarie and got along well with the native Chehalis Tribe. During the Indian wars of 1855 and 1856 (which involved tribes other than the Chehalis), they found it necessary, with other local white settlers, to construct a stockade, which was called Fort Henness.

In 1859 Samuel and his grown sons established new homesteads at Lone Rock (now known as James Rock) on Grays Harbor, at the mouth of the Chehalis River in Washington. They travelled frequently between the homesteads.

Samuel James died in 1866 at the age of 61. Anna Maria died 13 years later at the age of 73. Their children and descendents continued to live and prosper in the settlement which became known as Jamestown, situated between the present-day Washington towns of Rochester and Grand Mound.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

These papers represent some of the earliest documentation of pioneer settlements in Washington Territory. The collection consists primarily of the correspondence of Samuel James and his wife, Anna Maria Foxwell James, with their relatives in the U.S. and Cornwall, along with letters exchanged among their descendants. The letters, along with a diary (photocopy), a writing, several publications, a photograph, and a program, provide glimpses into the family's thoughts and actions over a period of 70 years.

Also included are several later family histories (1980, 1986) that were written or co-authored by one of the donors of the papers, David James. These vivid accounts provide details of the family's movements and discussions of their motivations, as well as photographs, maps, drawings, and family trees.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The creators' literary rights have been transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Personal papersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Correspondence
Box/Folder
1/1
Foxwell, John to William James
1842
1/2
James, Samuel II to Thomas Foxwell
1856
1/3
James, Thomas to his fiancée, Harriet Bullen
1867
1/4
Laity, Eliza James to Washington Territory register, Vancouver, regarding land claim and reply
1888
1/5
Gartrell, Harry to his cousin Samuel James II
1888
1/6
Shephard, Lulu to father Ellis Shephard
1895
1/7
James, John Rogers to his sister
1896
1/8
Shephard, Louise Engelker to Ellis Shephard
1901
1/9
James, John Rogers to William James
undated
Box/Folder
1/10
Birth record for the James children
1834-1842
package:oversize
3
Marriage certificate of John James and Lottie Carroll
1904
Box/Folder
1/11
Diary - Samuel James (copy)
circa 1830-1851
1/12
Photograph
1870
1/13
Program - presentation of memorial at Fort Henness, Washington
1926
1/14
Covers
circa 1874 or 1877
1/15
Writing - "Family Stories as Told at Foxwell Family Reunion"
1983
Publications
Box
1
James, David A., From Grand Mound to Scatter Creek
1980
1
Todd, A. C. and David A. James, Ever Westward the Land
1986

James, Anna Maria (Foxwell)Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming letters
Box/Folder
2/1
Unidentified
From a friend in England.
undated
2/2
James, Samuel, husband of Anna Maria James
1863
2/3
Mitchell, James
1872
2/4
Stocking, Eliza James, daughter of Anna Maria James
1862
Outgoing letters
Box/Folder
2/5
Foxwell, John, brother of Anna Maria James
1842
2/7
Foxwell, Elizabeth, sister of Anna Maria James
Original and copy.
1852
2/8-9
Foxwell, John
1860
2/10
Brother
1864
2/11
Brother
1870
2/12
Foxwell, Elizabeth
1870
2/13
Foxwell, Mrs. Thomas
1870
2/14
Foxwell, John
1875

James, SamuelReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming letters
Box/Folder
2/15
James, Anna Maria Foxwell, wife of Samuel James
1848
2/16
Johns, William
1848
2/17
Mitchell, James
1847
2/18
Mitchell, James
1850
2/18a
Foxwell, Thomas, brother of Anna Maria James
1851
2/19
Roundtree, J., neighbor of Samuel James
1854
Outgoing letters
Box/Folder
2/20-21
Foxwell, John
1841
2/22
Foxwell, Thomas
1850
2/23
Foxwell, John
1870

Shephard, Mary Ann Frances (James)Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming letters
Box/Folder
2/24
James, Samuel II, brother of Mary Ann Frances Shephard
1903
2/25
Shephard, Ellis, son of Mary Ann Frances Shephard
1907
2/26
Shephard, Lulu, daughter of Mary Ann Frances Shephard
undated
Outgoing letters
Box/Folder
2/27
Shephard, Ellis
1912
2/28
Shephard, Kathryn and Marjory, grandchildren of Mary Ann Frances Shephard
1912

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • British Americans--Washington (State)--Archives
  • British Americans--Washington (State)--Correspondence
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Washington (State)--Grays Harbor County
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Washington (State)--Jamestown
  • Frontier and pioneer life--West (U.S.)
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Pioneers--Washington (State)--Archives
  • Pioneers--Washington (State)--Correspondence
  • Women pioneers--Washington (State)--Correspondence
  • Personal Names :
  • James, Anna Maria, 1806-1879
  • James, Samuel, 1805-1866
  • Family Names :
  • Foxwell family--Correspondence
  • James family--Archives
  • James family--Correspondence
  • Geographical Names :
  • Grays Harbor County (Wash.)--Description and travel
  • Grays Harbor County (Wash.)--Social life and customs
  • Jamestown (Wash.)--Description and travel
  • Jamestown (Wash.)--Social life and customs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Publications
  • writings