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Alexander McKee Family

Randolph County, Illinois, United States of America

Jane Minerva (Campbell) James

1.5.3               Jane Minerva Campbell

                      b. 5 Oct 1853 Coulterville, Randolph County, Illinois

                      d. 10 Jun 1936 Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico

                      m. 19 Mar 1878

                      William H. James

                      b. 5 Sep 1844 Coulterville, Randolph County, Illinois

                      d. 9 Jun 1930 Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico


  Mary Edna James

                      b. 25 Dec 1878 Coulterville, Randolph County, Illinois

                      d. 10 Sep 1969 Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas

  William Campbell James

                      b. 11 Sep 1884 Blue Hill, Webster County, Nebraska

                      d. 28 Feb 1926 Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico

  Esther Jane James

                      b. 26 Jul 1890 Blue Hill, Webster County, Nebraska

                      d. 1 Aug 1976 Amherst, Lamb County, Texas


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Photographs by Delma Ingram on Find A Grave at All grave are located in the Hagerman Masonic Cemetery, Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico.

Jennie's adult life starts with her marriage on 19 March 1878. She marries William H. JAMES.

William is born in Coulterville in 1846 to the family of Robert and Elizabeth (RUSSELL) JAMES. At 22 William starts his life by going west to Webster County, Nebraska. According to an interview with a county pioneer: Three bachelor brothers—William, Alexander, and Adam—start out in the spring of 1872. They ford swollen spring rivers without incident, and take up homesteads with land claims registered in the land office in Bloomington.

The Andreas History of Nebraska provides details of the settlement of Webster County. When the JAMES brothers enter Webster County in 1872, they are part of a large immigration into the county. Immigrants in this group established extensive settlements on the more fertile sections of land. According to a pioneer interview: William homesteads the southeast quarter of section 12, township 4, range 10, across the road from his brother, Alexander. The homestead includes a small grove of native trees—an orchard that is good bearing. The brothers also engage in business.

The following additional details come from a 1937 excerpt from the obituary of Alexander JAMES, which is published in the Blue Hill Leader:
"…Mr. James came with his brother, William, to Webster county in 1873, each of whom located on homesteads four miles east of Blue Hill. That was before there was any Blue Hill, and the two brothers established a hostelry where they lived, for travelers who came from the south to Hastings, which at that time was the provision point for a large number of new settlers coming into the country who had located to the south and west. The horses of these travelers were fed and cared for here while the men who traveled by that means found hospitable surrounding and a place to eat and sleep…"

By 1878, 28-year-old William's Blue Hill homestead is well established, because he returns to Coulterville, marries Jennie, and they have their first child—Mary Edna JAMES—at Coulterville in December 1878.

Sometime between 1878 and 1880, the JAMES family removes to their Blue Hill homestead. This fact is confirmed by their appearance on the 1880 census in Potsdam (Blue Hill), Webster County, Nebraska.

The Andreas History of Nebraska describes the years 1872 through 1879 as ones of steady growth in Webster County. By the time Jane arrives in her new home, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad has established stops in the Blue Hill area. The sod houses, dug-outs, and occasional log cabin are being replaced by frame houses. An award-winning fall county fair is already an established annual event. According to a pioneer interview: William and Jane join the Presbyterian Church and William belongs to the Farmer's Alliance.

On 11 September 1884 William Campbell JAMES—the James' only son—is born in Blue Hill. Esther, their youngest child, is born in Blue Hill in 1890.

The community into which Esther is born is prosperous. The Business Directory and Farmers List for 1890-1891 reports that Blue Hill has a population of 1,200. The town is the site of large shipments of cattle and grain. Blue Hill has three banks, a real estate investment company, and two weekly newspapers…one of which is publishing to this day. The town has blacksmiths, dressmakers, jewelry stores, bakeries, grocery stores, meat markets, barbers, saloons, and drugstores. They even have a local photographer.

The JAMES family continues living in Blue Hill until sometime in 1900 when they sell their homestead. According to a pioneer interview: the family moves south because of the Jennie's health. By 1910, the JAMES family is living in Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico. Hagerman is just south east of Roswell. William JAMES is again farming.

In 1911, the JAMES family celebrates a happy event. Mary Edna JAMES marries Louis Reginold BURCK. Louis, son of John and Hannah P. (Teague) BURCK, is born 5 February 1881 in Llano, Llano County, Texas. According to Louis' obituary, the BURCK family moves from Llano to Hagerman in 1892. Louis grows up in Hagerman. Edna and Louis provide William and Jane with four grandchildren: Louis James, William Joseph, Mary Edna, and Hannah Jane.

William and Jennie are on-hand in Hagerman to greet each of their grandchildren; they appear on the 1920 census in Hagerman, Chaves County, New Mexico along with their unmarried children, William and Esther.

Son William, age 41, dies in 1926. According to the book
Meeting the Train: Hagerman, New Mexico and Its Pioneers, William was severely crippled from having contracted infantile paralysis at nine months of age.

William H. James dies in Hagerman on 9 Jun 1930. He is survived by his wife Jennie and daughters, Mary Edna and Esther James. Jennie continues on in Hagerman, dying there on 10 June 1936. For a lady of delicate health, she enjoys a long life, dying at age 82.

Additional family details are also included in the book
Meeting the Train: Hagerman, New Mexico and Its Pioneers. The book also includes a photograph of the family home in Hagerman.