Who was James A. Washington? I first heard of James while searching the 1880 census record. He was the son of William and Susan Washington. He was listed as mulatto and a 7 year old who attended school. The census was taken on June 9, 1880.
I knew very little of James. I learned that he my Great Grandmother, Anna Laura (Washington) Allen Walters’ brother. I tried to trace him on the 1900 / 1910 censuses and other records. He never showed up. I assumed that he passed. But, when?
I searched the death records. I came across a James Washington, colored who drowned on July 8, 1889. I thought that he was that person. But, I needed proof. I didn’t know where to look.
About 4 years ago, I started to explore old newspapers. I didn’t think that the news wouldn’t record his death. I never thought to look. But, one day, I came across a notice of a James who did drown. I was amazed that I stumbled across the news of James’ passing.
As I kept searching, on Feb 27, 2017, I found the evidence that James was William Washington’s son. The article mentioned where they lived. One thing I noticed that his race wasn’t mentioned. James “Jim” drowned on Sunday, July 8, 1889 at 10:30 am. His body was found on the next day.
The article mentioned that James was swimming. He went out to the middle of the stream near the bridge where it was deep. He had a cramp. There were people were trying to help him. They couldn’t get to him.
The searchers couldn’t find his body on Sunday. But, they recovered the body by using fish hooks on that Monday. What a horrible sight to witness.
As I look back over my search for my Great Uncle James. I thought I wouldn’t find anything on him. I wondered: What became of his life? I’m thankful that I found out what I did.
Indeed, James lived a very short life. He was born about 1873 in St. Joseph, MO. Apparently, he liked to swim. He was in school. Tragically, he drown at the 102 river at the age of 16.
I believe that James is with Jesus. God had a purpose for his life. Though James lived 16 years on this earth, he is not forgotten. He left a mark on those he touched. ~ R.I.P Great Uncle James.
Thanks for reading.
God bless you