Tuesday, October 16, 2012

James James aka "Double Jimmy"

Dodge City Times
April 20, 1876

Born in 1764. James James, or "Double Jimmy," as he is more familiarly called, lives on a farm twelve miles south of Weatherford, Parker County, Texas, with his daughter, Mrs. Nancy Wheat, 63 years of age. This old gentleman was born near the Red House, in Prince William County, Virginia, May 10, 1764. His father resided on a plantation near the Potomac, adjoining Lawrence Washington's. Mr. James has seen Washington often at his father's house. He and his brothers were in the war of 1812. Mr. James was a "jack of all trades," as he says he learned to be a carpenter, bricklayer, stonemason, blacksmith, painter and tinsmith. During his long life he has never been one month in bed with sickness. Mr. James was married in Virginia soon after attaining his majority, and raised a family of ten boys and five girls. Leaving his native State some years after the war, he settled in Roan County, Tenn. From that place he moved to Lauderdale County, Ala., thence to White county, Ark., and in 1848, came to Dallas County, Tex., in his 84th year. He continued his residence there until 1872, when, in his 108th year, he selected, as he says, Parker County to spend his old days in. in his 109th year he cultivated an acre patch of watermelons in Parker County, and raised the finest brought to market. He realized $125 from this crop. Mr. James talks very well and his hearing is pretty good. ~Galveston News

Galveston Weekly News
January 6, 1879

Weatherford Times: James James, a resident of Parker county, died at the residence of his daughter, in Young county, on December 2d. He is believed to be the oldest citizen in Texas, or perhaps in the United States. He was born near the Red House, in Prince William county, Va., May 10, 1764, and consequently lived to the age of 114 years, 6 months and 22 days. James James, or “Double Jimmy,” as he was familiarly called, was a hard-working man all his life. In his 100th year he cultivated an acre patch of watermelons in Parker county, and raised the finest brought to market. Smythe's Historical Sketch of Waterford and Parker Counties says that his acre crop realized him $125.

From the Prince William County Historical Marker Guide:

Colonial Roads (78)
Fayette Road and Washington Street, Haymarket
The town of Haymarket, chartered in 1799, owes its location to the
junction of the Old Carolina Road and the north branch of the
Dumfries Road at the site of the Red House. The Carolina Road
developed from the Iroquois hunting path which was abandoned by
the Indians after 1772, when they were forced by treaty beyond the
Blue Ridge. The Dumfries Road was in use as a major trade route
between the Potomac and the Shenandoah Valley before 1740.

[“Double Jimmy” is buried in Gooseneck Cemetery in Young County, Texas. The “Red House” referred to in the newspaper articles was an ordinary erected by William Skinker, son of Samuel Skinker, built of large red brick . Thomas Jefferson's 1787 map of the region names the locality “Red House.” Today it is better known as Haymarket.]


  1. I loved the story about Double Jimmy. What a great name. You might have guessed that my name is Jimmy as well. At the time near his death, he must have been one of the oldest living men on the planet.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    1. It's a wonderful story, isn't it? I often find such newspaper claims to be a bit exaggerated after checking census records, but it does seem as if Double Jimmy was indeed one of the oldest living men on the planet. :) ~Carolyn