James Family Archives


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Children of Isaac James (1777-1874) of Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania and Henrietta Potts (1780-1832):

1.   John Fletcher James:  born January 16, 1802 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; first married August 10, 1837 by Reverend Henry M. Maison in Compton, Talbot County, Maryland to Sarah Elizabeth Stevens (-1842), daughter of Samuel and Eliza Stevens; second marriage April 2, 1845 in Compton, Talbot County, Maryland to Henrietta Louisa Stevens (-1867), also daughter of Samuel and Eliza Stevens; died February 5, 1871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; buried at Laurel Hill; known children include:  Henrietta James.

2.   Thomas Potts James:  born September 1, 1803 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married December 3, 1851 at Christ Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts by Reverend N. Hoppin to Isabella Batchelder (1810-1901), daughter of Samuel and Mary Batchelder; died February 22, 1882; buried under a tree at the west end of Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts; known children include:  Mary Isabella James, Montgomery James, Clarence Gray James, and Frances Batchelder James; see Biography of Thomas Potts James.

3.   David James:  born March 14, 1805 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married October 10, 1883 by Reverend George Sheetz, rector of Oxford Church to Amanda Worthington, daughter of Benjamin and Ann (Walton) Worthington; died June 7, 1873 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; known children include:  Anna Rebecca James, Bushrod Washington James, Mary Ellen James, William Henry James, John Edwin James, Henrietta Maria James and Melinda James; see Biography of David James.

4.   Anna Potts James:  born February 21, 1807 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died 1879; buried at Radnor United Methodist Church, Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; no issue.

5.   Mary Ann James:  born May 6, 1808 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died November 27, 1808 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; buried at Radnor United Methodist Church, Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

6.   Isaac Griffith James:  born November 20, 1809 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died June 8, 1822 in Trenton, New Jersey; no issue.

7.   Samuel Nutt James:  born July 4, 1813 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died November 19, 1881; buried at Radnor United Methodist Church, Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; no issue.

8.   Henrietta James:  born February 5, 1816 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died January 30, 1832 in Radnor Township; buried at Radnor United Methodist Church, Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; no issue.

9.   Martha Haskins James:  born August 19, 1819 in Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; died February 13, 1880; buried at Radnor United Methodist Church, Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania; no issue.



Isaac James (1777-1874) was the son of Griffith James (-1812) and Mary Gyger (-1825) of Radnor Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

John-Fletcher James (1802-1871) was fitted for Nassau Hall, Princeton but circumstances prevented him from obtaining a collegiate education.  He however received the honorary degree of A.M. from Cannonsburg College in 1834.  He early developed a fondness for mathematics, and, when quite a young man, was made actuary of the Girard Life-Insurance Company of Philadelphia.  For this institution he calculated a set of tables upon the basis of the average of life in this country, being at that time the only person except Nathaniel Bowditch, of Boston, who had attempted this elaborate work.  He was a member of the American Philosophical Society for twenty-three years.  He died suddenly in Philadelphia February 5, 1871 and was buried near his two wives in Laurel Hill.

Thomas-Potts James (1803-1882) was a internationally recognized botanist.  Thomas was named after his maternal grandfather, Thomas Potts, the father of Henrietta Potts, mentioned above, who attained the rank of colonel in the Continental Army and was active in public affairs at the time of the formation of the new American government.  A few years after his marriage in Radnor, Thomas’ father Isaac moved his family to a place near Trenton, New Jersey, where there were better facilities for educating Thomas and his brother David who both received there early education there.  Financial reverses prevented Thomas and David from attending Princeton, as had been planned, and the two brothers began early to support themselves.  Thomas and his brother studied pharmacy, and in 1831 started a wholesale drug business in Philadelphia, which they continued for thirty-five years.  Thomas studied medicine also, and was for many years professor and examiner in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.  Thomas probably found his first notable interest in botany while studying the material medica, and soon saw in the higher cryptogams (mosses and liverworts) a fertile field for original investigation.  Thomas’ wife Issabella had a natural interest in botanical science and proved to be entirely sympathetic and helpful in all of her husband’s work.  In 1866 Thomas was able to sell out his share of the drug business and move to Cambridge, where he lived the remainder of his life, devoting all his time to his study of mosses.  His earlier works included a section on mosses and liverworts in Dr. William Darlington’s third edition of “Flora Cestrica” (1853); an article on the flora of Delaware County, Pennsylvania in Dr. George Smith’s history of that county (1682); “An Enumeration of the Mosses Detected in the Northern United States, which are not Comprised in the Manual of Asa Gray, M.D.,” in “Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia”, vol. VII (1856); and a list of mosses in J.T. Rothrock’s “Sketch of the Flora of Alaska” (Smithsonian “Report” for 1867).  He published a catalogue of western mosses in Vol. V (1871) of the “Report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel” and in Vol. VI (1878 of the “Report of the United States Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian in Charge of Lt. George M. Wheeler.”  These papers set a high standard of excellence and contained a vast amount of pioneer work.  Soon after beginning his studies he started a correspondence with Charles Leo Lesquereux [“q.v.”] which later led to their collaboration.  To restore his broken health he made a journey to Europe in 1878, during which he spent many profitable hours with the great European student of mosses, W. Ph. Schimper, making comparisons of American and old-world species.  He was soon recognized as the foremost specialist on American mosses, and undertook, with Lesquereux, the preparation of a “Manual of North American Mosses.”  At his death he left his share of this labor in such a condition that it could be finished by other workers, and it was published in 1884, a classic in the Bryology of the new world.  Thomas-Potts James was a modest, retiring individual, generous and self-denying, spending little on himself except for instruments and books with which to carry on his work.  He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; secretary of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for twenty-five years; treasurer for twenty-seven years and one of the founders of the American Pomological Society; and an active member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Pharmaceutical Society, and the Boston Society of Natural History; sources – See Mary Isabella James Gozzaldi, “Thomas Potts James, “ “Bryologist”, Sept. 1903; J.T. Rothrock, in “Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society”, vol. XX (1883); Asa Gray, in “American Journal of Science” April 1882, and in “Proceedings of the American Academy” n.s. IX (1882); Isabella B. James, “Memorial of Thomas Potts, Jr.” (1874) page 285-286; “Boston Transcript,” February 27, 1882.  The collections of Thomas-Potts James are housed in the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany at Harvard university, and his letters, including his extensive correspondence with Lesquereux, are in the library of that herbarium.

David James, M.D (1805-1873) was a prominent physician of the homoeopathic school of medicine.  He had been in active practice for forty-five years.  For twelve or fourteen years he practiced the allopathic system of medicine; but, becoming convinced of the merits of the new system from studying and prescribing it for such patients as were willing to try it, he at length resoled to administer northing but the homeopathic medicines to any of his patients.  So great was the confidence in him as a man and physician, that almost the entire circle of his extensive practice adopted it at once.  He was a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1828 and soon after graduating became associated with Dr. Worthington, residing in Byberry Township, in the northern part of the then County of Philadelphia, now the Twenty-third Ward of the city.  About seventeen years prior to his death he removed with his family to his last residence on Green Street where he lived in the enjoyment of a large and remunerative practice.  In 1822 he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was regarded as a consistent, active, working member in the denomination of his choice.  He soon became a local preacher, and a more zealous, deeply pious Christian was not to be found.  He had a most cheerful, hopeful disposition, was always happy at home and abroad, and his routine life was truly an exemplary one.  His perception was quick and discerning, his judgment very clear and accurate; he was naturally generous and openhearted, and actuated by high and noble impulses.


Memorial of Thomas Potts James Who Settled in Pennsylvania, by Mrs. Thomas Potts James, 1874, page 285-287.

Autobiography of Reverend Isaac James, M.D. (1869) Transcribed by Reverend Joseph F. Di Paolo, February 2006.

Obituary of David James (1805-1873) as reported in the Philadelphia “Evening Bulletin” June 9, 1873.