Senator Ollie M. James
Ollie M. James was born July 27, 1871, in a double-log cabin two miles or so
southeast of the village of Sheridan in Crittenden County.
He was the son of Lemuel H. and Elizabeth Braley James.
His father, L.H. James, was a noted lawyer in Marion.
Ollie received a thorough and excellent education to the standards of his day in
the common school and the Marion academy.
He was chosen one of the Kentucky House of Representatives Pages in 1887, and was Clerk of the Cloak Room
for the Kentucky
Senate of 1889.
His naturally deep and resounding voice which he could bend to catch the desired emotion
at the proper time plus the
mastery of parliamentary procedure and legislative action made
the legal profession and its usual subsequental entrance into the field of politics almost a
"must-case" for young Ollie.
Young James studied law in his father's office at Marion, and was admitted to the bar in 1891.
Ollie then went into partnership with his father, and the firm of James and James was soon
one of the best known and highest respected law combinations in Kentucky.
Ollie James first won statewide attention when he was one of the successful attorneys in
Goebel's bid for the Kentucky Governor's Office.
Ollie James soon gained high esteem within the Kentucky Democrats. He was selected to go to
the National Convention at Chicago in 1896, and to the same in Denver in 1908, and was elected
chairman of the Kentucky Delegation both times. Ollie gained recognition of the National
Democratic Party by his brilliant seconding speech to
W. J. O'Bryan's nomination.
He was elected Chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party's Convention in 1900.
Ollie James was elected to the United States House of Representative to serve in the 58th
Congress, and was re-elected to the same position in the 59th, 60th, and 61st and 62nd
He won the nomination for United States Senator in the 1911 Democratic Primary,
and was elected to the Senate by the Kentucky Legislature for a six-year term beginning March
Ollie James was elected Permanent Chairman of the 1914 Democratic National Convention. He was
considered the Party's outstanding orator, and many thought him to be the favorite for the
Democrat's 1920 Presidential Nomination.
His death in 1918 at John-Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was taken after collapsing at
his post in the United States Senate, cut short a most brilliant career. His death was from an
incurable kidney disease.
He is buried in the Mapleview Cemetery, Marion, Ky. His monument is the tallest one in the cemetery.