Reuben Henry James and Delila Holley James

From the files of Legacy Keeper Donna Thompson.


BORN: 05 July 1784, Pitt County, NC 1783 in North Carolina

MARRIED:  Delia/Delila A. Holley in 1810 in North Carolina.  Her father was Absalom Holley. 

DIED: 4 July 1862, in Union County, NC 

FATHER: Henry James 

MOTHER: Nancy Norcutt 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Reuben James was born in North Carolina. There was a Reuben James listed on the 1810 census in Bertie County, NC; in Pitt County, NC in 1820; in Anson County, NC in 1830 and 1840; and in Union County, NC in 1850 and 1860. (Union County was formed from Anson County around 1842.) Reuben James’ occupation was listed as saddler on the 1850 and 1860 Union County, NC censuses. He was 65/75 years old. (An interesting note: On the 1850 census, there is a check mark beside Reuben’s name in the column for “deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict” – probably deaf or blind.)

There were many Jameses in the area. Other names mentioned were: (Pitt County, NC) John James, Jr., Thomas James, Sr., Thomas James, Jr., Joshua James, Matthew James, Henry James, William James, Daniel James. They were all, most likely, related. However, there was a Reuben James listed on the 1810 census living in Bertie County, NC, in a household with three other whites and one slave. Next door neighbors were Allen James, Jonathan James, and John James.

He left no will. He and his wife, Delila, are buried in the James Cemetery in Union County, NC, about six miles north of Wingate, on Wingate and Tarleton Old Mill Road. They both have grave markers.

We have no information on Delila Holley James except that it was noted on the 1850 census of Union County, NC, that she could neither read nor write. [In the early 1800’s there was a Josiah Holley in Anson County, NC who willed $1,000 plus property to “the half-breed.” We don’t know the relationship, if any,of Josiah to Delila.]


(Note:  Although we have records of only six children, we feel sure there were more.  Reuben and Delila’s son John Langley James was said to have been a seventh son.

  1. Jordon James (b. 1811) m. Lucinda Griffen
  1. Marshall James(b. 21 February 1809, probably in Bertie County, NC; d. 21 July 1871 in Monroe County, AR) m. Mary Harton (b. 24 June 1814 in Anson County, NC; d. 1 October 1873) in South (?) Carolina about 1832.  Marshall is our ancestor.
  1. James L. James (b. 1821; d. after 1852) m. Ann Marie Poole
  1. John Langley James (b. 20 December 1824 in Anson County, NC; d. 3 April 1914 – said to be the seventh son of Reuben and Delila H. James) m. Jane Louisa Trull on 1 February 1854 in Union County, NC. She was the daughter of Jonathon and Dorcas Trull. John enlisted in the Confederate Army on 20 March 1862 at age 37 as a corporal in the 53rd Infantry, Company I. He was discharged as overaged in May 1862, and re-enlisted as a private on 19 June 1863. He was wounded in the right cheek in Washington, D.C. on 12 July 1864, and was hospitalized in Charlottesville, VA. He was furloughed for 30 days and returned to duty November 1864. He was hospitalized in Richmond, VA on 24 February 1865 for an unspecified cause, and was captured in the hospital on 3 April 1865. He was released at Newport News on 30 June 1865 after taking the Oath of Allegiance. The 1860 Union County, NC census listed John L. James, age 35, as a cabinet maker. He lived on a farm in Montgomery County while his children were growing up. He later lived in Troy, NC and was buried in Darlington, SC.
  1. Salina James (b. 1828) m. James Madison Dunn.
  1. Julia Ann James m. John W. Holm (or Helms) in 1851.
Deed records show the following transactions of Reuben H. James:

Pitt County, NC – May 1817, bought 42 acres from Issac Knox; adjoins Jonathan Albritton.

March, 1822 or 1824, sold 100 acres to Ormond Cherry; adjoins Will Cherry. N. side of Tarr River,  S. side of Glen Creek.

February, 1826, sold 42 acres to Elijah Langley; adjoins Jonathon Albritton, John Spears; N. side 

of Tarr River.

Anson County – October 1824, bought from Ben May; Jones Creek, October, 1825, bought from Andrew Polk’; adjoins William Rickett.

March, 1826, bought from Holden Liles; Wadesborough, January 1827, bought from Isaac Gallop. No description.

December, 1827, sold to Holden Liles; Wadesborough.

July, 1818, sold (by shf) to W. Little; Edward Mill Rd.

Union County, NC – (Union County was formed from part of Anson County in 1842), 1831, bought 112 acres; Richardson Creek; from O. Cutler.

1839, bought 84 acres; Bull Branch; from Marshal James.

1843, bought 248 acres; Big Creek; from O. Cutler.

1843, sold; Big Branch; to John Wooten.

1845, bought 100 acres; Mill Creek, adjoining Jordan Marshall, near Preslars’ Creek; by government grant.

1846, sold; Richardson Creek; to Jno. James.

1851, sold; Bull Branch; to Jno. C. Bass.

1853, bought 34 acres; Big Branch; bid on goods of James L. James.

1856, bought 17 acres; Bearshin Creek, government grant.

1869: et all jurors; Homestead acres property; to C.P. Stewart (disposal of estate).

PARENTS AND SIBLINGS: Henry James and Nancy Norcott James were the parents of Reuben James.

Hosea James (b. 1774-1804; d. 1828-1888), William James, Margaret James (m. Nathaniel Bivens), and “Peggy” James (m. John Rodgers), were brothers and sisters of Reuben.

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