Oscar C. James 1861-1906

Oscar C. James, a well-known liveryman, ended his own life with a gunshot wound to the head after an unsuccessful attempt to kill his sister-in-law.

In 1888 after Democrat Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college to Benjamin Harrison, jubilant Republicans in Waterford held a boisterous “jollification” that included cannon fire and guests from as far away as Lovettsville. Most local Democrats simply gritted their teeth—but one man finally snapped.

“As the last of the Lovettsville celebrants were about to leave, Oscar seized the bridle of a horse and refused to let go, even when the rider brought out his whip. In the melee that followed, James struck the visitor on the head with a club, opening a severe wound; several others were bruised and battered. James’s friends finally got him into an oyster saloon and held him there while he struggled to get out, vowing vengeance on the visitors. Hearing of the fracas, the whole company of Lovettsvillians quickly returned and were about to raid the saloon after James, but better judgment finally prevailed.”

After Oscar's wife Susan died in 1903, Susan's sister Blanche Brabham moved in to help care for Oscar and his daughters Maud and Clara. On August 5, 1906, Oscar apparently became jealous and enraged when Blanche attended a bush meeting with Thomas Myers, who lived nearby. When Blanche returned home, Oscar confronted her at the supper table. He pulled out a pistol and fired four shots in her direction. One of the bullets slightly wounded Blanche in the ear. She managed to get out of the house and run away. Oscar then put the gun against his head and fired a fatal shot into his right temple.

Family Members

Susan F. Brabham James
Cloyd Lester James