Friday, January 29, 2016

52 Ancestors – James C. Lankford (73-2016)

Marker at Penfield Cemetery
James C. Lankford, son of James Meriweather Lankford and Caroline B. Hobbs, was born in November 1849 in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. He was the second child of seven—Mary F. Lankford, James C. Lankford, Emma S. Lankford, Emerette R. Lankford, Nathan Lankford, Laura J. Lankford, and Marion Lankford. He went by Jim.

On August 14, 1850, an infant James lived with his family in the 14th District of Greene County. His father was a farmer. The family lived three doors from his grandparents Nathan Augustus Hobbs Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Lankford Hobbs.

On July 21, 1860, 11 year old James lived with his family in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. His father was now a “stock trader” with real estate valued a $1,500 and personal property valued at $4,000. I imagine they lived pretty well.

At the young age of 12, James was most likely thrown into the role of “man of the house” after his father left home to serve the Confederate States of America during the period May 1861 to May 1865. His father, James, served in Company C of the Third Regiment Georgia Infantry, or the Dawson Grays, and then in Company C of the Georgia State Troops Regiment.

James married Mary Ann Wilson, daughter of Oliver Porter Wilson and Jane Elizabeth Johnson, on January 5, 1868 in Greene County. The marriage ceremony was performed by Lucius C. Broome, Justice of the Peace. James and Mary were pioneer citizens of Greene County. Together they had 10 children—Homer J. Lankford, Alice Beman Lankford, Julia Lee Lankford, Jessica Corinne Lankford, James Vason Lankford, Mary Corrine Lankford, Nathan Lawrence Lankford, Vincent Thomas Lankford (Langford), Oliver Wilson Lankford, and Lillie Della Lankford.

Greene County, Georgia marriage license of James C. Lankford and Mary A. Wilson

On June 8, 1870, 22 year old James and 20 year old Mary lived in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. James was a butcher and Mary was keeping house. His sister Emma and her husband James Wilson, also a butcher, lived four doors away. Sometime before 1880, Emma died and was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield.

On June 10, 1880, James, Mary, and their children Homer, Alice, Julia, and Jessie lived next door to his parents in Falling Creek, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. James was now a blacksmith.

On May 12, 1883, The Atlanta Constitution via the Oglethorpe Echo ran the following news article: “A few weeks ago while Mr. J. C. Lankford was plowing along down on Dr. Janes’s home place he plowed up the frame of some person who had been buried there in the past. It was lying due east and west and was in its natural form. The contents were gathered up and carried to Dr. Janes for examination and he pronounced it to be an Indian child between 8 and 12 years old.” This is significant to me because it shows a connection to Dr. Thomas P. Janes and the Lankford family. You’ll find some history on this connection from my blog post about my great-grandmother, Alice Beman Lankford.

It appears that James liked to fish. On March 12, 1886, a news article ran in a Greene County newspaper stating “Vase McWhorter and J. C. Lankford are the champion fishermen and they will soon begin to try their hand.”

James’ father died in Lithonia, DeKalb County, Georgia on October 29, 1887. I have yet to find where he was buried.

By June 1, 1900, James and his family had moved back to Woodville. James and Mary had celebrated 31 years of marriage. His nephew, Julius C. Wilson, son of Emma S. (Lankford) Wilson, lived next door with his wife Elvie and son Julius. James supported his family as a farmer.

James’ mother died on January 8, 1906 in Baldwin County, Georgia. James filed an “Application for Pension Due to a Deceased Pensioner” on February 14, 1906 to pay her funeral and last illness expenses. I have yet to find where Caroline was buried.

Widows Indigent Pension Roll with James' signature

Just two years later, James died on January 21, 1908 in Greene County. He was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield. His obituary reads “Mr. J. C. Lankford. At 1 o’clock Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, 1908, Mr. J. C. Lankford’s spirit passed to the great beyond, in the sixtieth year of his age. Mr. Lankford was a busy man, with boundlis energy but never to busy with his own affairs to lend a helping hand to those in distress, and need of help. He was a good neighbor, a faithful and enthusiastic friend, and a man who will be missed in the community. He leaves a large family, a wife, five sons, and five daughters and three sisters, who with a host of other near relatives and friends deeply mourn his untimely departure from our midst. The funeral was conducted by Rev. J. S. Callaway and the interment was in our city cemetery. E.B.R.”

I was happy to learn that my 2nd great-grandfather was highly regarded by his family and community.


  1. I am Paula Hill Brock and live in Woodville, GA. I live in a home I think was lived in by James C. Lankford. My husband and I have lived in our home here since 1973. On April 30, 2015, a 186+ year old oak tree fell on our home, The entire front of our home and half of the middle room of the home had to be torn completely off to the ground and rebuilt. Once torn off, we found several old, old items, one being what looks to be a marble footstone of a grave, with the initials J C L. Our former nextdoor neighbors, who are now deceased, were Saralu and Howard Lankford. I do not know who Mr, Lankford's parents were, but he had a sister, whose name was Mary Alice Lankford. Mr. Lankford passed away several years after his wife, in the early 1980s. He and Miss Saralu never had any children. Our houses on what is now Apple Street, the first street on the left down East Peachtree Avenue, from the caution light in the middle of town. Julius and Bertha Wilson lived around the corner and two houses down from Apple Street on East Peachtree Avenue in Woodville. I would like to know if you know anything about the homes, which are on what is now Apple Street. The original cyprus shingles are still on part of the back of our house on an original roof, which we had a new roof built over when we added on to our home. Thank you very much.

    1. Howard and Mary Alice Lankford's parents were Nathan Lawrence Lankford and Olivia Callaway. Nathan's parents were James C. Lankford and Mary Ann Wilson. Julius Hamilton Wilson was the son of Julius C. Wilson who was the son of James L. Wilson and Emma S. Lankford. Emma was sister of James C. Lankford. All connected! Unfortunatey, I don't know anything about the houses. My father grew up in Greene and Oglethorpe counties and might have known but he passed away in 2019. He once sent me a picture of a cluster of trees with a note that said this is where James M. Lankford's (father of James C) house stood. He was so proud of it but it just looked like trees and I eventually threw the picture away. I wonder if the stone was a house cornerstone? I have estate papers from James C Lankford's wife Mary. At the time of her death, their home was in Penfield, not Woodville. It only mentions land though, not a house. From my research, James C Lankford was a well respected member of the community. I would have been very excited to find something like that. Thanks for sharing.