James family outside their cabin,
circa 1895, of Pogo (Franklin Co.), Alabama
Confederate veteran, Elias W. James (holding grandson on lap) and wife, Cynthia McGary Richardson. They settled at Pogo, just West of Pleasant Site, where they resided in a log cabin that had a "beautiful cold water spring" and a "milk house where milk was kept cool in the running water". This is at the base of the Freedom Hills, overlooking the beautiful valley. The buildings are now gone but the James cemetery is still there, hidden in the woods above where the cabin once stood.
Back Row left to right: Daniel James holding rifle, Joe Gardner James, Nancy Catherine "Kate" Grissom (nee James), Neoma Samantha "Dobe" George (nee James), Marthie Melisey "Mattie" James (nee Culligan), "Lula" James (nee Thomas), Jennie Burton James (Enoch James's daughter), Lula James (nee Grissom). Front Row left to right: Modena Alice "Dena" James (nee James), Elias holding unidentified grandson, Cynthia Richardson, Cynthia (behind), Nannie, Amos James holding Elmer, Letha James (back), Mollie James (front), Elias "Shug" James, Tom (Thomas Enoch) James holding Floy James, Edna James, John James holding Myrtle James, Lillie James and Bertha James.
Elias James, private, Co E 4th Alabama
"Roddey's" Cavalry, CSA
Born Feb 4, 1836, Franklin Co., AL, died 24 Jan 1917, Franklin Co., AL
Elias was serverely wounded on Dec 24, 1864 in a battle North of Decatur, Alabama. A Yankee shell exploded near his horse, a piece of shrapnel struck him in the head, knocking out a piece of his skull. (Surgeon placed a metal plate over hole). Elias' brother Enoch James, also served in the same unit.
Cynthia McGary Richardson, (b. Mar 4th, 1841) She was the daughter of John Richardson and Nancy Hester. Cynthia had two brothers that served in the Confederate Army, but they never returned home following the war, their fate remains unknown. Cynthia's mother, Nancy Hester was daughter of William "Buck" Hester (b. 27 Jan 1780, NC) and Amy Malone (born 17, 1789), who married Oct 18th 1805, Person Co., NC. The Hester's came to Alabama in 1818.
We "were poor, yet we were happy, and content with our lot. My birth place was a one room log cabin in the well known Freedom Hills. It was located at the foot of a mountain which broke into a beautiful plain in order to give space for the big Cedar Creek that carried the water from the many hills and springs to the Alabama River. This home was near that of grandmother and grandfather’s…When I was not fishing or playing I would grout [the cabin] and help grandfather make boards. When quiet young I was taken from these pleasures, the rocky hills and mountains, …clear flowing springs, mountain breeze, and brought to Union County, Mississippi. …We settled down on a little place, papa sold his mule and wagon, and made three crops on halves. He then bought a horse and managed to pay for it. After this we moved to Lee County, where we have gained through hard labor, what little property we now possess." -- Joe C. James (1896-1985)
Elias was the son of Thomas A. James and Polly Bonds. Thomas A. James was the son of Elias James, sr. (b. abt 1775). Family tradition states Elias was a distant cousin of Jesse and Frank James. When the Federal payroll was robbed in nearby Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Jesse and Frank, hid out on Elias' farm in Pogo. A relationship of 2rd cousins has been claimed, but is undocumented. In any case, the James gang was known, while in unfamiliar country, to seek out pro-Southern James families, knowing that they could depend on relatives, no matter how distant, for support and protection.
Background music, "Rose of Alabamy", MIDI file thanks to Barry Taylor.