BORN:(1802) DIED:(about 1875) BURIED:(?)
Home States:( West Virginia / California / Arkansas / Kansas
0-1-7 James Plymale was born
In 1802 and died about 1875. He married a lady whose first name was Mary. 1830
Census shows he had one daughter under five years of age. When he was a young man,
he moved to what is now Wayne County, West Virginia where he visited his brother, 0-1-3 John Plymale, and decided to settle
down. He purchased two tracts of land. In 1825, he purchased 26 acres from
Edmond McGennis, located on Twelvepole Creek near his brother John's plantation.
This transaction is recorded in the Cabell County Courthouse Book 4 Page 130. Later
he purchased 43 acres on the Guyan River, which was near his brother Gabriels home,
from a man named Soloman Thornburg . The records show that James and his wife Mary,
sold these two tracts of land to Thomas Shelton for $500 cash on June 15, 1839. For
some reason Mary did not sign the deed then, but some three months later, on September 28,
1839 she did sign a quit claim deed. It was witnessed by Allen McGennis and Benjamin
Drown. For the next eleven years there is no record of their whereabouts, but during
the gold fever of 1848, he went to California and was one among the many who were
successful in locating a paying claim.
From here, there are two conflicting stories about his
experiences. I will tell them both as I have learned them, and will have to let the
you decide the truth:
Fred 0. Plymale from his "NOTES AND TREE OF THE PLYMALE FAMILY from 1730 to
Passed on to an Ada Plymale by 0-1-13-7-2 Naomi Plymale.
While a young man, 0-1-7 James Plymale moved to the mid-west, and then
during the gold fever of 1849, went to California and was one of the many that hit a
paying claim. In 1849, he was returning home, accompanied by two companions, when
they were attacked by robbers, resulting not only in the loss of all their gold, but the
death of his two companions. His right arm was cut off during the fight and he lost
consciousness and was left for dead by his assailants. He managed to survive and dress his
wounds and continue his Journey back to Virginia. He did not stay there long however. He
supposedly left on a raft down the Ohio River. We next hear of him being near Little Rock,
Arkansas where he settled after he married a Spanish-Mexican lady, and became a slave
holder and planter of repute. 0-1-13
Hugh Plymale is said to have visited James in the early 1850s, from whom we
learn this story of James later life.
0-1-7 James sold all his land and moved west. During the
gold rush of 1849, he went to California. He wrote to his brother 0-1-3 John stating that he had struck it rich, and
wanted John to send one of his sons to California.
The rest of this story comes from a LIFE Magazine article (April 27,
1959) The following was taken from the diary of a gold prospector named "Alfred
Doten" from Plymouth, Mass. who later moved to Nevada where he died in 1903.
Sunday-December 21, 1851:
In the evening when I was just
commencing a letter, I was aroused by a sudden cry of, "To arms, to arms, get your
rifles". I took my gun and joined party of some fifteen or twenty of my comrades,
well armed, who were preceding up over a hill to the head of the gulch to the Mexican
camp. The reason of this out cry and excitement was this: Mr. Jacomb Chinn and Alexandra
McDonald came over from the ranch on horses and went up to the Mexican camp where Charles
Everbeck, James Finn and Mr. Dixon, George Christman, James Plymale (Old Uncle James) and
Alex McDonald asked them all up to a Mexican tent to drink. As they stepped up to the bar,
some Mexicans were standing there talking. Alex asked one of them, "Are you going to
drink?", he answered, "No Sabe". Alex then said, "Well, if you are not
going to drink, we are, so just stand back." But as the Mexican did not move, Alex
took him by the shoulder and pushed him to one side not roughly at all, but merely made
him stand aside. Where upon, the Mexican and another who stood by his side started out of
the tent, and in a moment, they returned armed with pistols and swords, and one of them
attacked Chinn and the other one attacked Alex. Alex tried to fend off the sword with his
hands, as he was entirely unarmed, and got an awful gash on his left arm, near the wrist.
He said to Chinn, "Shoot him, Jake," as Chinn had a revolver, but Chinn was hot
pressed by the other Mexican who backed him right through the side of the tent before he
could get his pistol out. He then followed him up striking at him until Chinn fired at him
and wounded him on the hip and he fell. At the same moment, another pistol fired and Alex
fell just outside of the tent saying, "Oh God, I'm shot, I'm shot."
All this occupied a very short space of
time when the lights were put out, and all was darkness. It seems that old Uncle Jimmie
(Plymale) was just outside of the door, and just as Alex fell the Mexican came at him and
because he was a white man, he commenced cutting at him. Uncle Jimmie held up his hands to
fend off, and he got three fingers cut off of his left hand. He, then, received a cut on
the left side of his head which felled him senseless.
We were not long getting up there where we
found the whole camp deserted by the Mexicans except for two women and a few men. Dr.
Brown got there and was examining Alex's wounds. He found he was shot in the middle of the
back near the spine. Some of us went out and brought in Uncle Jimmie (Plymale). Myself,
Dr. Brown and a few others stayed all night, armed, on guard over the wounded ones. The
next day, Alex died.
They formed a posse the next day and
caught the two Mexicans, called a jury, tried and convicted the two Mexicans and hung them
both on the same rope to a pine tree, which they described as a double neck tie party.
End Of Story
Regardless of which story is correct, 0-1-7 James Plymale is thought to
have eventually ended up in Kansas where he lived until his death in about 1875. At
present, we have no records of his descendants.
Click above to see a scan of the actual article mentioned in story #2,
and a picture of Alfred Doten.
Updated On May 04, 2004 12:53 AM