Biography of Ralph L. James

Ralph L. James. A comparative newcomer to Kansas, Ralph L. James has been identified for the past six or seven years with the city of Independence, where for a time he was connected with the First National Bank and is now assistant to the general manager of the Petroleum Products Company.

He comes of a New York State family. His grandfather, John Hugh James, was born in Wales in 1815, came to this country at the age of ten years with his parents, and grew up in Oneida County, New York, on a farm. He became a farmer and died at Farmersville, New York, in 1888.

In Franklinville, New York, Ralph L. James was born February 8, 1886. His father is R. E. F. James, who was born in New York State in 1860, and now lives at Scio, that state. For many years he conducted a cheese factory at Franklinville, and in 1906 began conducting a creamery and condensed milk factory. From Franklinville he moved to Belfast, New York, and in 1913 to Scio. He is a republican, and has served on school boards in his home state and is an active Methodist, having been trustee of the church at Belfast. He is affiliated with the Knights of the Maccabees. R. E. F. James was married to Marcia Carpenter, who was born at Farmersville, New York, in 1865. Their children are: Ralph L.; Lee T., who is associated with his father in business at Scio and is a graduate of the high school of Portville, New York; and Margaret, now a senior in the high school at Scio.

Educated in the public schools of Franklinville, graduating from the Tenbroek Academy and in 1902 taking a business course in the Westbrook Academy at Olean, Ralph L. James began his business career with ample equipment in the way of practical training. In 1903 he was employed in the civil engineering department of the Erie Railroad Company at Cuba, New York, and remained there until 1909. In that year he came to Independence, Kansas, and was made secretary to Mr. R. S. Litchfield, then president of the First National Bank. In 1911 he was promoted to assistant cashier, but on account of poor health and the confining nature of his duties, he resigned in September, 1915, and has since been with the Petroleum Products Company as assistant to the general manager.

Mr. James is a republican, has served as trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Independence, and is affiliated with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, and St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar. He is also active in the Commercial Club and the Country Club of Independence, and was formerly connected with the Wayfarers’ Club, a flourishing organization until the need of its existence diminished. It was organized in order that young men who had no homes of their own might have a wholesome environment and meeting place.

At Paola, Kansas, September 6, 1911, Mr. James married Miss Nelle Numbers. She was born at Paola, was educated in the public schools there, graduating from high school in 1903, and in 1907 finished the course of the State Normal School at Emporia, receiving a life teacher’s certificate. While pursuing her studies and afterwards she taught in the Paola schools five years, and for three years was connected with the public schools of Kansas City, Kansas. In that time she was an active member of the Kansas Teachers’ Association. Since her marriage she has identified herself with local organizations at Independence, is a member of the Country Club there, is treasurer and a member of the year book committee of the Ladies’ Library Association, and in the Presbyterian Church is a teacher in the Sunday School. She was one of the organizers and is actively connected with the Philathea, a national organization for young women.

Mrs. James is eligible to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution through her maternal ancestry. Her maternal grandfather was W. P. Finney, who was born in 1832, and is now living retired at Galion, Ohio. W. P. Finney married Almyra Chambers, who was a daughter of Andrew and Isabel (Marshall) Chambers. Isabel Marshall’s father was Captain John Marshall, who was commissioned March 4, 1776, as captain in General Miles’ regiment, serving with that organization two months, nineteen days, and later was commissioned captain in Colonel Walter Stewart’s Thirteenth Pennsylvania Regulars. He fought in the battle of Brandywine, where he was wounded. He was retired in December, 1778, and was given a pension May 8, 1818. He died upon the Marshall homestead in Richland County, Ohio, and is buried in a private cemetery on that homestead. Mrs. James is also a cousin of Warren G. Harding, who is a member of the Ohio State Senate from Marion, and was recently chosen to “sound the keynote” at the Republican National Convention to be held in Chicago in 1916. Mrs. James is a daughter of Charles T. Numbers, who is a resident of Paola, Kansas. He was born at Galion, Ohio, May 1, 1858, was reared and married there, and in 1885 became an early settler on a farm in Miami County, Kansas. From his farm he moved to Paola where for fifteen years he was in the mercantile business and for the past ten years has been a real estate and insurance man. He is a stanch republican, and has served as county clerk and as justice of the peace in Miami County, and in Paola has been a member of the city council, and on the school board. He is trustee and treasurer of the Presbyterian Church, with which he has been actively connected for many years, and has also been superintendent of its Sunday school. He is a Master Mason and an Odd Fellow. Charles T. Numbers married Flora A. Finney, who was born in Galion, Ohio, June 1, 1859. Their children are: Dr. D. M. Numbers, who graduated from the Paola High School, the State Normal School of Emporia, and the Western Dental College of Kansas City, Missouri, and is now a practicing dentist at Paola; Mrs. James, the second in age; Lela May, a graduate of the Paola High School and in music from the Ursuline Academy, and is still at home with her parents; Hazel Vera, who is a graduate of the Paola High School, took vocal instruction in the Ursuline Academy, and has also finished a commercial course.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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