Claude Thomas James, second son of William and
Alice James, was born
on February 18, 1896, in Carrollton, Texas. His early life was spent on
the James farm north of Carrollton, near the present Woodlake Addition,
where he helped his father and brothers raise cotton and stock. After
graduation from high school in 1915, he went to work at Ray Degan's
Grocery on the Carrollton Square as a grocery clerk and buyer.
On June 1, 1918, Claude was called into wartime service, where he
served in the Army Medical Corps. After his discharge January 1, 1919,
he returned home to Carrollton and began farming and raising stock
again. In 1922 he went to work for Mr. Jess T. Bynum in the wholesale
oil and gas business as a truck driver. In 1922 he bought the business
from Mr. Bynum and brought his brother Ernest James in as a working
partner. They started out working for Simms Oil Co., and in 1931 changed
to City Services Oil Co. His route took him all over Dallas County,
including Love Field, where he once delivered fuel for the airplane of
Admiral Richard Byrd, the explorer. Also during this time he married
Miss Mildred Moore of Celina, Texas.
In 1936 he turned the oil and and gas business over to his brother
Ernest and went to work at the old Dallas County Jail. He worked there
for twenty-seven years years under three sheriffs: R. A. "Smoot"
Schmidt, Steve Guthrie, and Bill Decker. During his career he worked as
an elevator operator, juvenile officer, turnkey, and was appointed Chief
Jailer under Bill Decker. Claude was noted or his good hearted
sense of humor and his humanitarianism, toward both fellow officers and
inmates alike. It was not uncommon to find him engaged in a game
of checkers or conversation with an inmate, and more than once he
brought an inmate into his own home to try to help him find his way back
into society. He was also active in community functions, giving eighteen
years service to the Carrollton City Council, and serving as a deacon
and Sunday School teacher at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton.
Claude T. James passed away on July 26, 1963, and was buried in
Furneaux Cemetery. He
is survived by his wife, Mildred; one daughter, Mrs. Betty Schwegler;
and two grandchildren, James and Deborah Schwegler.