Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taddy Owen James (1863-1934)

Portrait from the Chronicles of Oklahoma,  Vol. 14, No.1, 1934.

   The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906-07 could boast of a few oddly named delegates, and following yesterday's profile on Delphos Green Harned we highlight the life of Taddy Owen James, a delegate to the aforementioned convention from Oklahoma's 1st district. Born in Dodgeville Wisconsin on January 15, 1863, Taddy O. James was the son of the Rev. William Eynon and Hannah (Edmund) James, both natives of Wales.
  Taddy O. James married in 1897 to Mary Elizabeth Maughan (1862-1926), with whom he had two children, William Edmund (1899-1981) and Elsie Mae (1902-1989). Following his resettlement in the Oklahoma Territory in September 1897 James purchased a ranch near Guymon, where he raised stock. In 1904 he became secretary of the newly established Stockmen of Northwest Oklahoma, an organization that aimed to keep "the range free in that locality." James would also help draft the by-laws and rules of that group and it completed permanent organization in March 1904.
   James entered the political life of the territory for the first time in July 1904, when he received the Democratic nod for County Commissioner for Beaver County's 3rd district. He would win the election that November and in 1906 was President of the County Board of Commissioners. That same year James continued to raise his public profile by serving as one of Beaver County's delegates to the 14th National Irrigation Congress in Boise, Idaho.
   In November 1906 Taddy O. James was elected as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention that would convene at Guthrie. He resigned his position on the board of county commissioners that December and during the convention proceedings served on the committees on Agriculture, Privileges and Elections, Revenue and Taxation, Salaries and Compensation of Public Officers and State and School Lands.
   Following his time at the constitutional convention James returned to his ranch in Beaver County and in October 1907 added the title of railroad director to his resume, becoming one of several directors of the newly chartered Guymon and Southern Railroad Co. In the early 1920s James sold his ranch and removed with his wife Mary to Des Moines, New Mexico. Widowed in 1926, James spent the remainder of his life in Des Moines, dying there on July 8, 1934 at age 71. He and his wife were both interred at the Des Moines Cemetery in that town.

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