Family:Whitney, James (1835-1918)

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James Whitney (Jacob M., James), son of Jacob M. and Nellie (Freeman) Whitney), was born 9 Aug 1835, Andes, Delaware Co., NY, and died 7 Dec 1918, Osborne, Osborne Co., KS. Burial was 11 Dec 1918, Hollenberg, Washington Co., KS.

He married 27 May 1857, Ogle Co., IL, Emily Aurelia Haynes, daughter of William and Nancy (Wood) Haynes. She was born 22 Dec 1836, Andes, Delaware Co., NY, and died 1 Mar 1892, Highland Twp., Washington Co., KS. Emily's great-grandfather, Joseph Haynes, Sr. (1715-1801), was a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.

James was the eighth child of thirteen born to Jacob and Nellie Whitney. Of all the children, he could be considered a pioneer in the westward movement of America. In 1844, at age 9, he left home with family friend Hiram Dustin Wood, who was headed for Lafayette Township, Ogle County, Illinois, to purchase government land. Ogle County had only been organized in 1836. (James's brother, Dustin Wood Whitney, born the same year that James left home, was named in honor of Hiram Dustin Wood.)

James worked alongside Mr. Wood until 1853, when he moved to Buchanan County, Iowa, to farm government land for himself. Thereafter, he farmed and raised cattle in several places farther west until settling in Washington County, Kansas. He remained there for the rest of his life.

In 1884 James's oldest brother, William R. Whitney, and his wife Margaret and daughter Mary arrived from Delaware County, New York, to live with James and his family. They were listed in the 1885 Kansas State Census with James and his family, but a few years later moved to Holyoke, Colorado.

Another brother, John L. Whitney, and his wife Caroline had planned to move to a farm adjoining James's in Washington County, Kansas. An 1889 deed recorded in the County Clerk's office of Washington County shows the purchase of real estate by Caroline D. Whitney in the amount of $2,300. James managed both his and his sister-in-law's farms for a few years, but in 1891 and 92, snow, wind, or rain ruined much of the hay crop. James's wife also died in 1892. The following year John and Caroline Whitney sold their family farm in Union Grove, Delaware County, New York; but they changed their minds about moving to the farm in Kansas and decided to remain in New York.

James Whitney was one of the subjects in Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay, and Riley Counties, Kansas. The article, briefly chronicling his life and family, states that Mr. and Mrs. Whitney were active members of the community and the Methodist Episcopal Church.

James Whitney died of influenza in the 1918 epidemic. Brothers John and George also died the same year.

Residences for James Whitney (approximate dates):

1844 Lafayette Twp., Ogle Co., IL
1853 Buchanan Co., IA
1855 Flagg Twp., Ogle Co., IL
1861 Pine Rock Twp., Ogle Co., IL
1865 Dement Twp., Ogle Co., IL
1879 Osborne Co., KS
1880 Newton Precinct, Jefferson Co., NE
1882 Highland Twp., Washington Co., KS
1891 Steele City, Jefferson Co., NE
1895-1918 Highland Twp., Washington Co., KS

Children of James and Emily Aurelia (Haynes) Whitney (all born Ogle Co., IL):

i. Emily Whitney, b. 7 Jul 1859; d. 21 Jul 1862.
ii. James Clarence Whitney, b. 1 Feb 1860; m. Laura I. Pickering; d. 6 Apr 1942, Portland, OR.
iii. Calvin Thompson Whitney, b. 1 Jan 1862; m. Ida M. Southworth.
iv. Rosetta Blanche Whitney, b. 23 Sep 1863; m. 15 Nov 1882, Johnathan Charles Lee; d. after 1930.
v. George H. Whitney, b. 1868; d. 1870.
vi. Ida Florence Whitney, b. 23 Oct 1868; d. 30 Sep 1869.
vii. Frances Myrtle Whitney, b. 5 Apr 1870 ; m. Christian Hansen; d. 21 Dec 1954, Lincoln Co., OK.
viii. Arthur Freeman Whitney, b. ca.1873; d. 1883, Washington County, KS.

[Emily, George, and Ida, who died as young children, are buried Chapel Hill Cemetery, Lafayette Twp, Ogle Co., IL.]


  • 1850, Lafayette, Ogle Co., IL, as James W. Wood, 13, in household of Henry [Hiram] D. Wood
  • 1855, Illinois State Census, Pine Rock, Ogle Co., as a male 16-20, in household of Hiram Wood
  • 1860, Flagg, Ogle Co., IL:

177 168 James Whitney 24 M - Farmer 1400 125 New York Emily 23 F - do Emily L. 2 F - Ills. James 4/12 M - " Margrett Wood 68 F - New York

10 10 Whitney, James 33 M W Farmer $8000 $1000 New York Male citizen over 21 -----, Emiley 33 F W Keeping house do -----, Clarence 10 M W Ills. Attended school -----, Calvin 8 M W do Attended school -----, Rosetta 6 F W do Attended school -----, George 2 M W do -----, Myrtle 2/12 F W do Born in Apr Chubbuck, Emily 20 F W Domestic Servant Ills.

30 33 Whitney, James W M 44 mar Farmer New York N.Y. N.Y. -------, Emily A. W F 43 Wife mar Keeping house New York N.H. N.Y. -------, James C. W M 20 Son sgl Works on farm Illinois N.Y. N.Y. -------, Calvin T. W M 18 Son sgl Works on farm Illinois N.Y. N.Y. -------, Rosettie B. W F 16 Dau sgl At School Illinois N.Y. N.Y. -------, Francis M. W F 10 Dau sgl At School Illinois N.Y. N.Y. -------, Arthur F. W F 7 Son sgl At School Illinois N.Y. N.Y.

  • 1885, Kansas State Census, Highland, Washington Co., KS: James - 49, Emla [Emily] - 48, Calvin - 22, Mrytle - 14, William Whitney - 62, Margaret Whitney - 64, Mary L. Whitney - 19
  • 1895, Kansas State Census, Highland, Washington Co., KS: James - 59, A. W. Hanes - 21
  • 1900, Highland, Washington Co., KS:

Hanscorn, Eugene Head W M . . . Whitney, James Brdr W M 62

  • 1910, Highland, Washington Co., KS: James - 72
  • 1915, Kansas State Census: James - 76

[Note: James Whitney's age in last three censuses not correct.]


  • Certified copy of death certificate from State of Kansas shows Osborne, KS, as place of death. Informant J. C. Lee was James Whitney's son-in-law (wife was Rosetta Whitney). Most likely, James was living with them in Osborne at the time. Mr. Lee gave James's birth date as Aug. 9, 1836.
  • Some members of the Haynes and Wood families, along with a few other Delaware Co., NY, families moved to Ogle Co., IL, in the mid- to late 1840s.
  • Letter from James Whitney, Steele City, NE., Dec. 12, 1892, to his brother, John L. Whitney, relates unfortunate climatic events affecting cattle, pastures, and hay crops. Also contains financial and business details for both brothers' farms. (Letter in possession of Sally Whitney Goodfellow.)
  • Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay, and Riley Counties, Kansas. Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1890, pp. 899-900.

Copyright © 2009-2011, 2013, 2020, Helen Rogers, Robert L. Ward, Sally Whitney Goodfellow, and the Whitney Research Group.