Benjamin James

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Benjamin James

Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Brandon, Division No. 7, Manitoba, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. John James and Dinah James
Husband of Elizabeth James and Choctaw Woman
Father of John W. James; Thomas Parr James; William M. James; Adam James; George James and 2 others
Brother of Sarah Hitt; Ann Tullos (James); Thomas James, Sr.; Hannah Hume; John Thomas James, (Lt/ Capt/Justice) and 5 others
Half brother of john James; Elizabeth Winston Kennerly; Samuel James and John James

Managed by: Ryan Fournier
Last Updated:

About Benjamin James

1760's Paths to a Middle Ground - Charles A. Weeks published 2010 (from Spanish archival sources) Page 52 has Benjamin James, a licensed Spanish trader and an agent for Georgia. Fully part of Choctaw society since his arrival in the region in the late 1760's and marriage to a Choctaw woman. Also pages 55, 73, 80, 82, 93, 96, 108, 109, 110 Other traders and interpreters mentioned: Turner Brashears, Ebenezer Folsom, John Pitchlyn and Chickasaw traders Hardy Perry, John Turnbull, Benjamin Fooy,

Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, Volume 2, 1907 Page 796 has a mention of the Choctaws being fortunate in their private traders and white inhabitants including: Major John Pitchlyn, the brothers Lafluer and Charles Juzant, Frenchmen, were very worthy men, Benjamin James, a Virginian, was a good man; William Riddle, a Scotchman, and John Garland, an Irishman, were honest and well-disposed.

{ Note: On the Adam James letter (Benjamin's son) it says Adam was a white man and a Scotchman. On the notes below it has Ben James as a wealthy Englishman}

1771 A concise natural history of East and West Florida - Bernard Romans dated 1776 Page 59 has a Mr. James in the Chickasaw Nation in the winter of 1771-1772. Said Mr. James has been a prisoner of the Kickapoos for 3 years and made his escape to the Chickasaws. {Who is this Mr. James?}

1777 Dinah James and sons Thomas James, Benjamin James and John James are executors of their fathers Will in 1777 in Fauquier, VA 1779 Census Natchez District Benjamin James

1780 - 4/15/1780 Fighting in the Battle of Pensacola? Possibly was there with Alexander Frazer?

1780 - 12/20/1780 NATCHEZ [Adams County, MS] PRISONERS & DEPONENTS Papeles Procedente de Isla Cuba Records in the Archives of Seville, Spain relating to U.S. History in the Spanish Provinces of Louisiana, Illinois and Florida Occidental [West Florida]. Microfilm Edition.

From the latter part of 1780

This file was contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by: Houston Tracy, Jr.

(Fo. 458-459, Deposition of William Wall, 20 Dec 1780) William Wall, alias William Buckwall; James Fry; Abidnego Lewallen; Charles Allen; Thomas Basses; Thomas Holmes; Joshua Howard; William Joyner; Benjamin James; Fulsom and Loyd; Robert Whelch; John Brown; Philip Alston; Elijah Routh

1785 See John McGillavary, Esq., of West Florida, against Thomas James, in a plea of trespass on the case. dated 4/6/1785 (copy in file)


Benjamin James, Esq., Agent Choctaw Nation. Augusta, Ga., 27th August, 1786.

Sir: I have the pleasure to transmit your commission as agent of the Choctaw Nation, and at the same time to inform you that the Legislature have revoked and made null and void the powers granted to John Wood to act in that office. It affords me pleasure to be informed of your abilities and great influence in the aforesaid Nation, by which means I am hopeful your well directed exertions may terminate favorable to the present views and designs of this State. The Legislature in consequence of murders and depredations committed by the Creek Indians have directed fifteen hundred men to be embodied immediately to attend Commissioners appointed to treat with the Creek nation, and to demand satisfaction, and assurance of peace, and thereafter should it become necessary the aforesaid men are to be joined by another body to carry immediate and vigorous operations against the said Indians. The intended bodies of men in case of need will be in readiness to march about the first week in November next. I have desisted from entering into a minute detail of this business in the talk herewith sent. On a presumption it will be more expedient that you in conjunction with Robert Dixon and Stephen Jett, Esquires, make such communication to the head men and warriors of that nation on this subject, as you may deem best calculated to cultivate the good and friendly disposition of that nation, and to make them otherwise useful to this State. In the event of War with the Creek Nation I shall look forward to making a supply of ammunition for the service of Choctaws; in case you give me full assurance, that the force of such supply will be directed to the proper object. I am sir, E. T.

William Davenport, Esq., Commissary Choctaw Nation. Augusta, Ga., 27th August, 1786. Sir: The General Assembly during their late session appoint- ed you Commissary of the Choctaw Nation with a salary of twenty-five pounds Sterling, in pursuance of which you'll receive your commission. I have now to give you in special charge to cultivate the good and friendly disposition of the said nation in behalf of this State and to use every prudent measure to render them beneficial in case of open hostilities with the Creek Nation. I shall on this subject refer you to Robert Dixon, and Stephen Jett, Esquires, Commissioners of this State in that department, and also to Benjamin James, Esq., Agent in the aforesaid Nation. I am sir, E. T.

11/28/1786 Correspondence of the Executive Council of Georgia - has a mention of a letter from Telfair to Benjamin James regarding him being appointed as agent to the Choctaws replacing John Wood. This had to do with the treaty of Shoulderbone and the Creek Indians.

1787 Papers of Panton, Leslie and Company - (I do not have these actual letters) James, Benjamin. Letter (English). Choctaw Nation. 1787, Jul. 23 To: Mather and Strother; Abstract: Maintains he is still a friend of their house and the Spanish, regardless of any rumors contrary to this. State of Ga. appointed him to act in Choctaw nation. Reports of the Indians attacking whites and killing Wm Davenport and others. Reports that 15 days before the whites of Cumberland killed some Indians, and French traders. There were reports that goods the French traders talked of selling cheap were to come from Detroit; Source: AGI PC 200; ETHS, XI, p. 85-87. Reel: 3 McGillivray.Letter (Spanish). Little Tallassie. 1787, Jul. 25 To: Miro, Estevan; Abstract: Reports of the Indian attack on the Americans, including Davenport, the American representative to the Chickasaws. The Americans had been constructing a fort. McGillivray claims that Benjamin James, a Choctaw trader, sent the message to the Americans informing them of the approach of the Indians. He sent to the Seminoles to get a favorable reception for Bertucat at St. Marks. Also reports that he is awaiting an answer from the Georgians before retaliating for the murders they committed. He has demanded satisfaction of the Georgians; Source: AGI PC 200; ETHS, XI. p. 88-89. Reel: 3

1788 Folch., Official Letter (English). Mobile. 1788, Apr. 26 To: Miro, Estevan; Abstract: Folch is outlining the requirements for a new trading house at Mobile. He reports that the present warehouse of Joyce and Turnbull are unwilling to give credit. Suggests including in the company some wealthy Englishmen, such as the traders Fraser and Ben James; Source: AGI PC leg. 52; ETHS, XIV, pp. 100-101. Reel: 3

1792 Folch.Official Letter (Spanish). Mobile. 1792, Mar. 28 To: Carondelet, Baron de; Abstract: Folch is concerned about the Americans suddenly strengthening their borders. They want the Mississippi and Tombecke rivers and Mobile Bay. Complains that he lacks the necessities to defend the fort (e.g. gunpowder). Says Bowles' information re. American settlements is incorrect, and that Benjamin James, a friend of the Spaniards, has established one. Reports on other American settlements too; Source: AHN, Seccion IX, Papeles de Estado Leg. 3898. Reel: 7

American State Papers 07, Indian Affairs Vol. 1; Page 284 Choctaw Nation - 6/30/1792 Letter written by Ben James to Gov. Blount, among other things he had issues with Alexander McGillivray

Forbes, John. Letter (English). Mobile. 1792, Jun. 30 To: McGillivray; Abstract: Choctaws report that American emissaries there from Cumberland promising presents etc. The Baron (Carondelet) ought to send a Spanish commissioner to live with Chickasaws. Says Panton can advise who the best people are. Gives suggestions as to who might be good: Ben James, & McIntosh (whom Panton once proposed); Source: GHQ 23, #1 pp. 77-78; ANC legajo 1, #12. Reel: 7

James, Benjamin. Letter (English). Choctaw Nation. 1792, Sep. 28 To: Forbes; Abstract: Reports that Ballew came asking for a recommendation. He found out that he is a bad sort. Mr. Turnbull is still supplying Indians to the hurt of Panton, Leslie and Company, and lately set up a Wm. Riddle in that town. Turnbull has been in the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations trying to win Indian trade; Source: ETHS, Pubs. XXVIII: 129; AGI PC 203; West Papers. Reel: 7

King of Spain. Bill (English). Choctaw Nation. 1792, Nov. 10 To: James, Benjamin; Abstract: Asks for Spanish Crown to pay him through Panton, Leslie and Co.; Source: West Papers, Reel 1; Stetson Collection; PC 203. Reel: 8

Forbes, John. Letter (English). Mobile. 1792, Nov. 29 To: James, Benjamin; Abstract: Says McGillivray fears a disturbance from the Chickasaws; Source: ETHS Publ., XXVIII, 141. Reel: 8

1793 Panton, William. Letter (English). Pensacola. 1793, Jan. 2 To: Carondelet, Baron de; Abstract: Answering letter of 13th ultimo; late Creek depredation upon Choctaws; Indian tribal, Spanish and American relations; Piomingo; affairs at St. Marks; Dunmore; McDonald; Benjamin James; the direct of indirect supplying of the Chickasaws; Fort Detroit and the Northern Indians; Source: ANC, leg. 1, Exp. 5, #37, pp. 201-02; Wh. p.; W.P. Reel: 8

Villebeuvre, Juan de la. Official Letter (English). Boukfouka. 1793, May 25 To: Gayoso; Abstract: Refers to arrival of letter from Panton to Ben James asking him to convoke an assembly in the village of Franchimastabe; Source: ETHS Pubs XXXII, 89-92. Reel: 8

Panton, William. Letter (English). Pensacola. 1793, Oct. 15 To: Carondelet, Baron de; Abstract: Answering letter of 19th ultimo; need of supporting Indians in view of possible Franco-American alliance; McDonald; Ben James; the trade at Walnut Hills; commercial act; question as to establishing a house in New Orleans; John Forbes; Source: AN Cuba, Fla. Leg. 1, Exp 5, No 50, White Papers. Reel: 9

1797 May 28, 1797 Benjamin left the Choctaw Nation and went back to Virginia and married again to Elizabeth Parr and had several more children. So he left his children and grandchildren in Indian Territory. Now I know that he was summoned back to Virginia by his mother to help her with her business matters. Oct 1797 - she gives Power of Attorney to son Benjamin James (a copy can be found online at Virginia Memory) She signed her name to it and these were the witnesses: Charles Day, Peter Conway, Benj. Tulloss, Christopher Conway.

People Mentioned in the Writings of Benjamin Hawkins 1796-1816 James, Benjamin - an inhabitant of the Choctaws who left "that nation the 28 May [1797]. He has three sons, halfbreed, men grown; one a man of some learning, the other capable of managing his commerical concerns, and all of them, in a situation to know the temper and disposition of the nation, as well as the intrigues . . . [of] the Spaniards." 1797.

1799 Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940 marriage 14 May 1799 Fauquier, Virginia Benjamin James & Elizabeth Parr

I found this on Rootsweb - James Resources - I now have a copy of the original Will from microfilm at the family history library

Will of Benjamin James 1746 - 1803 In the name of God amen I Benjamin James of the County of Fauquier and State of Virginia being weak and sickley of body but of sound mind and memory do constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following after my just debts and funeral expenses be discharged and paid

Item it is my will and desire that my loving wife Elizabeth shall possess and enjoy the tract of land I now live on during her life and at her decease to be equally divided among the children she has by me also I give and bequeath to my wife the negroes hereafter mentioned Anthony, Winny, David, George, Mary, Agga, Adam and Lewis to possess the said negroes during her life and after her decease to be equally divided among the children she has by me but the increase of the said negroes she may dispose of as she may think proper.

Item I give and bequeath to my son Benjamin two young negroes one by the name of Tom and the other by the name of Polly children of Mary which he is not to possess till the first day of October 1805. I give the said negroes to him and his heirs forever. Also I give my son Benjamin one negroe man by the name of Tom which is now in the Indian Country. Also one horse bridle and saddle which said horse he has now in possession but not to be at his disposal till he comes of age which will be the first day of October 1805. Also I give my son Benjamin all that tract of land I purchased of John and William Scott {Lott} which said tract is situate and lying on the Tombigba River a little below the falls of said river, I give the said tract of land to him and his heirs forever. Also I give my son Benjamin all that tract of land situate and lying on the Big Black Creek a branch of the Massesipa River containing 600 acres. I give it to him and his heirs forever.

Item I give and bequeath to my son Thomas two young negroes one named Jack the other Lucindia but it is my will that he is not to possess them until he comes of age.

Item I give and bequeath to my son John two young negroes one by the name of Lucy the other Judy but not to possess them until he comes of age. It is my will that my sons Thomas and John shall also possess the increase of the said negroes when they come of age I give them to them and their hiers forever

Item it is my will and desire that my wife shall give both my children she has by me one feather bed and furniture at the time they come of age. Also it is my will that at her decease all the stock of every kind household and kitchen furniture and plantation utensils shall be equally divided among the children I have by her.

Finally I constitute and appoint my cousin Joseph James and my son Benjamin Executors and my loving wife Elizabeth Executrix of this my last will and testament hereby and making void all other will or will heretofore by me made and declare and pronounce this to be my last will and testament.

In witness where I set my hand and seal this 27th day of September, 1803 Benjamin James Peter Conway George Settle

Proved January 23, 1804.

{Note: Benjamin James, Sr. had cousin Joseph James as an executor, witnesses were his son Benjamin, Jr., Peter Conway, his brother-in-law by his sister Mary James, George Settle could be the husband of his niece Francis James who is the daughter of his brother Thomas James because she married a Suttle according to the Will of Thomas James} {Note: 1,000 pound Guardian bond to John James, Guardian to Joseph, Daniel and Henry James, orphans of George James, with Anthony Strother and Charles Bruce, securities (this was found on Libby Baker's tree on Worldconnect called "Twelve Generations" So John James (Ben's father) became the guardian of the youngest children of his brother George after he was killed. So I think it is pretty likely these two Joseph's are the same.}

See Simpson letters in Carter, Territorial Papers, Mississippi, 6:128, 160. "Indeed among the Choctaw patrons of the St. Stephens factory there were very few debts allowed, and strict business practices were followed by the factors there. It is important to remember that Jefferson was in the midst of negotiating a cession of land from the Choctaw tribe in order to repay debts due to the house of Panton, Leslie in Pensacola and Mobile. These debts definitely were not American in origin, but had been accumulated mainly by the old trader and countryman Ben James and his family over a period of years."


See also: Biographical and historical memoirs of the early pioneer settlers of Ohio: with narratives of incidents and occurrences in 1775 (Google eBook) In 1773 it has Thomas James as an Indian Trader residing at Grand gulf who spoke the Indian language. Three mile above Mr. James' station is the mouth of the LaFourchetto or the Big Black River. It mentions Capt George, a Chickasaw Chief who has their towns on the Yazoo.

{Note: This Thomas can't be the son of John James because he was busy in Virginia having children at this time. Capt George must be George Colbert. While looking through the plat maps of this area I found a James Creek 11N 1E, there are 2 different plat maps that James Creek can be seen dated 7/21/1829. It is an off shoot of Bayou Pierre. I have seen some say this Thomas James was also married first to Anna Sturnes who died 1797, but I have not seen any other mention of the wife or any children by Anna, wonder what happened to them?}

There is a connection to this Thomas James.(see file regarding slave incident) This Thomas is the one that was born 11/12/1744 in Culpepper County, Virginia and died and is buried in Nashville, TN (see story about tombstone that is now stolen and missing) He may be a descendant of Benjamin James' fathers brother Joseph. Joseph James died in Culpeper County, VA before 1783. Thomas James appeared in Mississippi Territory and received several British land grants dating as early as 1775.

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Benjamin James's Timeline

Virginia, United States
Age 20
Age 21
March 27, 1783
Age 37
October 1, 1784
Age 38
Mississippi, United States
Age 53
Virginia, United States
Age 54
Virginia, United States
September 27, 1803
Age 57
Brandon, Division No. 7, Manitoba, Canada
Age 57
Virginia, United States
late 1760's - Choctaw Nation