Reverend John Joshua James (1814-1892)
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John Joshua James (1814-1892), buried at the First Baptist Church of Yanceyville. Believed called as pastor in 1842. Possibly the first official pastor. However, what role did Elder John Kerr play? Also, John Joshua James died in 1892 and is buried at the First Baptist Church of Yanceyville. Why did he return to Yanceyville? Did he serve as pastor more than once at this church?
Trinity Baptist Church historical sketch from Caswell County Historical Association (CCHA):
In 1840, some residents of southwestern Caswell County left the Yanceyville Baptist Church (Yanceyville, North Carolina) to from the Trinity Baptist Church, which was nearer their homes. Members also came from Wolf Island, Lick Fork, Dan River, Pleasant Grove, and other churches. William Pleasants was the first pastor; Calvin Graves, the first clerk; and Alexis Howard, the first treasurer. Alexis Howard, William Dupree, and John Stamps were elected deacons. Azariah Graves, Alexis Howard, and William Slade were trustees of the church property. Calvin Graves, William Dupree, and Alexis Howard were delegates to the Association held 1840 in Yanceyville. R. W. Lawson offered a site for church and school. In 1842, Zachariah Neal from Bethesda Presbyterian Church joined Trinity Baptist Church and applied for a license to preach, which he received in the fall of 1842.
Also in the fall of 1842, Trinity, in association with the Yanceyville Baptist Church, called John Joshua James as pastor. The Association was held at Trinity in 1843, and a revival was held in connection with the Association that lasted twenty days. At this time, Judge Thomas Settle made a profession and joined the church on August 13, 1843. About this time, Hosea McNeil made a motion to organize a church at Sycamore Grove near Major Kerr's home. The name of this church eventually was changed to Kerr's Chapel Baptist Church. In 1844, the Milton Baptist Church was organized as an arm of the Yanceyville Baptist Church, and Reverend John Joshua James served three churches. At this time, Thomas Settle was Reverend John Joshua James's assistant and held services at Trinity Baptist Church each month.
The first Sunday School organized in this section of the state was at Trinity 10 April 1844, with twelve officers and teachers and forty pupils. Many slaves were members of Trinity Baptist Church.
The Milton Female Institute under the joint control of our Baptist Associations, the Beulah and Flat River in North Carolina and the Roanoke and Dan River in Virginia, was chartered the day before Christmas by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1844. This was a landmark academy for the Baptists, because beginning with it, in the next fourteen years, they founded and maintained more than a dozen such academies, one or more in every section of the state. The trustees, not all of whom were Baptists, named in the act of the legislature was, among many others, Joshua J. James and his relative (by marriage) Willie P. Mangum. A number of the trustees lived outside Caswell County, but they helped establish and support the Milton school. The institute opened on January 1, 1845. In 1849 the charter of the Milton Female Institute was amended to establish a male classical institute in Milton, too. This became the Beulah Baptist Male Institute but it was moved in the summer of 1857 to the centrally located town of Madison, merging the school with another one of the same denomination that was already there.
Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 368-369.
The Papers of Willie P. Mangum. Vol. 5, 1847-1894,
Page 208, "...Is a Circular Oxford Female College (May 1851)"...this printed circular states that "this institution is located at Oxford, Granville County...." "Oxford Female College was established by the Baptist in 1851 but because of debts it was sold to J. H. Mills in 1859."
Page 210, "By order of the Board. J. J. James, President."
At the bottom of page 210, (20), J. J. James married Mary L. Mangum, the daughter of Priestly H. Mangum. For several years James was editor of the the Biblical Recorder. Weeks, "Willie Person Mangum, Jr.," Biog. Hist. of N.C. V, 258
He became editor of the Biblical Recorder in 1854.
Ironically, a delegate to the May 1867 meeting of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, Rev. J. J. James, said, "We shall have a mighty struggle in this Southern country with the Catholics. No denomination can consistently oppose the Catholics but the Baptists. All others are founded, in part, on tradition." Religious Herald, 30 May 1867, 2.
1860 United States Federal Census
Name: J J James
Age in 1860: 45
Birth Year: abt 1815
Home in 1860: Raleigh, Wake, North Carolina
Post Office: Raleigh
Occupation: Editor and Minister
Value of Real Estate: $6,000
Value of Personal Property: $11,000
Household Members: Name Age
J J James 45
Mary James 26
Rebecca James (one month old)
1870 United States Federal Census
Name: Joshua James
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1815
Age in 1870: 55
Home in 1870: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
Post Office: Yanceyville
Household Members: Name Age
Joshua James 55
Mary James 37
Rebecca James 10
John James 7
Anny James 4
Lin James 1
1880 United States Federal Census
Name: John James
Home in 1880: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1815
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse's Name: Mary
Father's birthplace: Virginia
Mother's birthplace: Virginia
Marital Status: Married
Household Members: Name Age
John James 65
Mary James 46
Bebecka James 19
John James 17
Annie James 12
Leonard James 11
Frank James 7
Annie Bowe 60
Thomas Meredith (1795-1850) was arguably the most important leader among North Carolina Baptists during the first half of the nineteenth century. During his almost thirty years in North Carolina, Meredith pastored two churches on the East Coast, assisted in the formation of the state convention in 1830, and helped charter Wake Forest College in 1834. Despite these accomplishments, perhaps Meredith’s most important contribution to North Carolina Baptists was the Biblical Recorder, the religious periodical he founded in 1834 and edited for over fifteen years. The periodical served the Baptists of North Carolina (and for a time South Carolina) as an unofficial denominational organ, shaping Baptist theology, piety, and identity, as well as fostering interchurch cooperation.
That the following letter was authored by the John Joshua James of this entry has not been confirmed:
1862 Slave Letter
December 24, 1862
Messrs. McGee & Williams
I drop you a line about the negroes I now have in Raleigh, which you will oblige me by arranging as follows: Armstead can go on as heretofore per monthly payments. It seems that he ought to return $15 per month instead of $12 as money is less valuable and more easily made. The price of negro hire however should determine what is right for him to pay. I think it best for you to let Friday keep Millie and the three girls now with her if he will pay their hire monthly until I make a more permanent arrangement. For more than one reason I do not wish to hire them out by the year. Friday wanted me to make an arrangement with him shen I was down but I declined to make any.
In case it should become necessary for me to remove them out of the way of the Yankees, I don't wish any hinderance and should you judge such a measure judicious at any future time please let me know know but say nothing to Friday or any of the others about it as I have not much confidence in his fidelity.
Find A Grave Memorial
I thought Calvin Rogers hired the oldest girl the past year, but it turns out that Friday really hired her and her mother and two little ones. The notes for this year's hire I left with you. When paid you can remit by check the price of the woman and her three children per month you can fix according to the hire of other negroes. If Friday won't take them and pay monthly, please let me know and I will make other arrangements.
Let the negroes know that I put them under your control. See if they are well clad. I got all my furniture with but little damage. Glass and crockery not broken at all.
I am glad to hear that the Yankees who threaten Goldsboro have take the back track.
With the compliments of the season I remain as ever,
J. J. James
PS If Mr Williams is as I suppose from home, Mr. McGee will be so good as to attend to the above. Enclosed is a note for Mr. Jas. King which please hand him or his father first opportunity. If Mr. J. King applies please hand him five dollars for me and charge to my account and oblige. JJJ