A Guide to the James Family Papers, 1865-1927
Henry and Eliza (Wills) James of Richmond, Virginia, had three sons who became prominent in Texas history as educators, soldiers, lawyers, and bankers. These were Charles Albert James (1841-1875), John Garland James (1844-1930), and Fleming Wills James (1847-1918).
John and Fleming were students and later graduates of the Virginia Military Institute while Charles attended the University of Virginia. John and Fleming were with the cadet battalion that fought at the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864 and all three brothers fought for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
R.P.T. Allen organized the Texas Military Institute at Bastrop, Texas, in 1858 and John James became its president in 1868. He moved the institute to Austin in 1870 where it remained until its demise in 1879. He became the second president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M) in November 1879, a position he held until 1883. By 1884, John was president of the Panhandle National Bank. He died in Dallas in 1930 and is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery at Austin, Texas.
Fleming was the commandant of cadets and taught engineering and military tactics at the Texas Military Institute. He was a founder of the Texas Volunteer Guard. Governor Oran Milo Roberts appointed him to Major General on April 6, 1880, and gave him command of this organization. Fleming was a lawyer and a judge. He eventually moved to Abilene, Texas, where he was prominent as a banker and financier until his death in 1918. Fleming had also been a poet during his younger years. His greatest effort in this field was a long poem on the death of General Albert Sidney Johnston, written in 1864. Some of his works have been published.
Charles taught modern languages at the Texas Military Institute and also practiced law. He contracted tuberculosis in a northern prison camp during the Civil War and one of the reasons he came to Texas was for his health. He traveled extensively in Mexico during the years 1871-1872 and kept a diary of his experiences. He died of tuberculosis in 1875 at the age of 34.
The Texas Military building, known as the Texas Military Institute Castle, still stands near 11th and Blanco Streets in Austin.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "James, Fleming Wills,"http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/JJ/fja37.html (accessed June 8, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "James, John Garland,"http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/JJ/fja18.html (accessed June 8, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Texas Military Institute, Austin,"http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/kbt17.html (accessed July 9, 2010).
The James Family Papers, 1865-1927, contains correspondence, diaries, a memorandum book, clippings, broadsides, pamphlets, photographs, invitations, military orders, certificates, legal documents, financial papers, literary productions, scrapbook, invitations, military orders, certificates, legal documents, financial papers, literary productions, and a scrapbook concerning the James family, particularly brothers Charles, John, and Fleming. The papers relate to several personal accounts, including John Garland James’s account of post-Civil War life at the Virginia Military Institute, Charles Albert James’s account of life in Kendell County, records of the Texas Military Institute, records of the Texas Volunteer Militia, a proposed expedition against Mexico (1880's), the diary of Charles Albert James while traveling in Mexico to recover from tuberculosis, and business affairs of Fleming Willis James.
This collection is open for research use.
James Family Papers, 1865-1927, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers