I recently posted HERE about my two James Jolletts who signed the petition to form Greene County, Virginia. For several years I wondered whether my one confirmed James (who married Nancy Walker) was the Junior or the Senior of the duo. Was James the son of another James? Did James have a son named James? Maybe they were uncle and nephew. Census records and tax records gave me no clue, so I was resigned to leaving big question marks in my research.
Then Shirley Ziemer of Indiana came into my life by way of an inquiry at my now-defunct Jollett website at the now-defunct Geocities. She is a Sampson researcher looking for more information on John Sampson who in 1813 married my Clarissa Jollett, daughter of James. During our correspondence, Shirley casually mentioned she had a picture of Clarissa’s brother’s tombstone.
Clarissa’s brother?!?!? What brother?
You can’t read it, but James Jollett’s inscription is on top of the tombstone. There he is, buried with his sister and brother-in-law. The “James Jollett JUNIOR” of Greene County fame! It turns out I couldn’t find him because his name never appears in a Virginia census. In 1836 he left Virginia along with his sister Clarissa and her husband John Sampson and others to help settle the Northwest Territory. From 1850 to 1883, James was a resident of Clay County, Indiana, working as a carpenter. He never married.
The story of the younger James Jollett is short and sweet. Without Shirley, I might never have known for sure that he even lived. Her request for more information prompted me to do some research. After all, she handed me an ancestor plus a fuller picture of Clarissa. I needed to give her SOMETHING. I noticed Clarissa and John’s daughter Louisa was married to Andrew Casebolt. Maybe researching him might lead to some good Sampson information. Instead I stumbled upon a land deal dated 1832 in which Andrew partnered with none other than James W. Jollett to buy land in a newly formed town called Rifesville, which today is Dayton, Virginia.
Look at that James Jr. – he helped form a new county AND a new town. Go James Go!