Benton County


James Jeffreys, a surveyor of customs at Memphis, Tenn., was born in Clinton county, Ky., April 7, 1853. His early life was passed on a farm. He received a common school and academic education, studied law and medicine, but never practiced in either profession He devoted most of his time to farming until 1876, when he became a traveling salesman, his work taking him through many states, with Nashville, Tenn., as his headquarters most of the time.

In 1880 he made Camden his home and headquarters, was married there in 1886, and entered the mercantile business the same year. In 1888 he organized a newspaper company and commenced the publication of the Vidette, a Republican weekly. In 1889 he was appointed deputy United States marshal, but held the position only a few months, resigning to accept a position in the internal revenue service. In 1892 Mr. Jeffreys was elected secretary of the Republican state central committee of Tennessee, which position he held for several years. In 1894 he was elected to the state senate from the twenty-fourth senatorial district, and was a member of the memorable Evans-Turney gubernatorial contest committee, and in 1896 was a delegate-at-large from Tennessee to the Republican national convention at St. Louis. In the following year President McKinley appointed Mr. Jeffreys to a position in the land department, as allotting agent. He shortly afterward resigned this to accept the position of chairman of the Ute Indian commission, with headquarters in Utah. Here, in 1898, he opened the Uncompahgre Indian reservation for settlement. In July, of that year, he tendered his resignation as chairman of that commission to accept the position of surveyor of customs, at Memphis, to which he had been appointed by President McKinley, and so enjoys the distinction of holding three commissions from President McKinley during his first administration. In July, 1902, President Roosevelt reappointed Mr. Jeffreys as surveyor for another four-yearS term.

From the book "Notable Men of Tennessee"

Senate, 49th General Assembly, 1895-97; representing Benton, Decatur, Hardin, and Humphreys counties; Republican. Born in Clinton County, KY on 7 April 1853. Attended "common schools"; studied law and medicine but practiced neither profession. Married Eva McElyea on 1 June 1886 in Benton County, daughter of F.G. and Mary McElyea. Children -- James Lowell and Reba. Farmer and became a traveling salesman in 1876 with headquarters at Nashville, Davidson County, TN; returned to Camden in 1880 to enter merchandising business; publisher and manager of the "Veddette", a Republican. Appointed deputy U.S. Marshal in 1889, resigned a few months late to accept position with U.S. Internal Revenue service; appointed by President William McKinley in 1897 allotting agent in Bureau of Public Lands; later became chairman of Ute Indian Commission, with headquarters in Utah; later accepted appointment by President McKinley to position of Surveyor of Customs at Memphis, Shelby County, TN; appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 to same for four years. Member and secretary in 1892 of State Republican Executive Committee; delegate-at-large to Republican national convention in 1896. Member Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Died at Memphis, Shelby, County, TN on 13 March 1908; buried in the Camden City Cemetery, Camden, Benton County, TN.

Biographical Directory Tennessee General Assembly 1796-1969 Preliminiary No 13 Page 8