Lee County Biography


Peleg Miner James, practicing law at Amboy since 1882, came to Lee county in 1874 and taught that year in the Austin district in Sublette. He came to Amboy the next year as a teacher where, excepting for the year 1876-77 when he was superintendent of the El Paso, Illinois, schools, he has remained ever since.

He is a native of New England, being born in the town of Exeter, Rhode Island, July 14, 1850. His parents were Peleg W. and Sally A. (Lewis) James, both of Rhode Island. He traces his ancestry back to Allen James of Providence, then Thomas Allen James of West Greenwich and his grandfather, William James of Exeter, all of Rhode Island. His father died January 22, 1888, and his mother September 1, 1893 and both are interred in Wood River cemetery, near Wyoming, Rhode Island. The James family is of English lineage and came to New England in an early day but at the present time are well scattered throughout the United States.

P. M. James received his secondary education in Providence Conference Seminary at East Greenwich, Rhode Island, the high school at Mendota, Illinois, at the University of Illinois and by private study. He was a teacher for many years,?was superintendent of schools at El Paso and Amboy and county superintendent of schools of Lee county, all in Illinois. He was admitted to the bar in 1881 and in 1882 he resigned his position in the Amboy schools and opened a law office in the Vaughan block in Amboy, where he has since remained. He is a director in the First National Bank of Amboy, president of the Sanitary Creamery Company, vice president of the Jones-Berry Lumber Company and of the Colson Clothing Company.

At Amboy, on December 25, 1878, Mr. James was married to Miss Lottie L. Vaughan, a daughter of C. D. and Louise M. (Balch) Vaughan of Amboy.

Mr. and Mrs. James are the parents of six children; Harold D., born April 12, 1881, who has the degrees of A.B., University of Illinois, and LL.B., Illinois College of Law, and who is practicing law at Freeport, Illinois; Leonard V., born June 9, 1884, who has the degrees B.S., M.S. and E.E., University of Illinois, and is at the present time a member of the faculty of the University, with the rank of associate in electrical engineering; Herbert M., born February 13, 1886, who has the degree B.C.S., New York University, and at the present time is engaged in audit work in New York city; Louise A., born April 22, 1890, who has the degree of A.B., University of Illinois, and is the wife of Chester H. Forsyth, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who is a member of the faculty of the University of Michigan; Edward A., born February 5, 1893, and at the present time a junior in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois; and Harriet L., born November 18, 1895, who is at the present time a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois.

In politics, Mr. James is a republican; in church affiliation a Baptist and he is secretary of the board of education. He is past master of Illinois Central Lodge, No. 178, A.F. & A.M., past high priest of Amboy Chapter, No. 194, R.A.M., a member of Dixon Commandery No. 21, K.T., and a member of Green River Lodge, No. 999, I.O.O.F.

Aside from his professional work, Mr. James has always taken a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the development and betterment of his adopted city. He has never aspired for social honors but can always be found among the workers in all efforts for improvement and higher standards in politics, morality, and education and he believes that thorough preparation is the best equipment of the young for the duties of life.

Transcribed by Karen Holt History of Lee County - Frank E. Stevens 1914


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