PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM
page 485, 486, 487
JAMES FLEMING has for many years been prominently identified with the civic life of Clark County, and of Springfield at various times, and for a period of twelve years he has held the responsible office of Superintendent of the Clark County Infirmary, a position for which his executive ability, calm judgment, resolute will, tempered by a kindly spirit, eminently fit him.
Our subject is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Westmoreland County, April, 18, 1825, but, coming here while in his childhood, he was reared amid pioneer influences to a stalwart and self-reliant manhood. Archibald FLEMING, his father, was born in Virginia, and went to Pennsylvania with his parents, who located in Indiana County, and there he was married. After that important event in his life he moved to Westmoreland County, and buying a farm devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He dealt extensively in stock, which was driven to the Philadelphia, Baltimore or New York markets, as there were no railways in those days. In 1833 he determined to try life in the more newly settled regions of Ohio, and with his wife and five children made his way to the Ohio with a team, and at Wheeling embarked, team and all, on a flatboat, and floated down the Ohio to Cincinnati, and from there proceeded with the team to Logan County, where he died a few months later, while yet in life’s prime, and the pioneers of that section of Ohio were thus deprived of the aid of a capable, shrewd, far-sighted man. By this serious blow to the family the mother of our subject was left a widow with the care of five children, but she was a noble type of the resolute, self-sacrificing, capable pioneer women who aided their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers in the upbuilding of this commonwealth, and she bravely shouldered her burden and kept the little band together till they were all able to support themselves. She came to Clark County, and located in Springfield Township, where she rented land, and with the aid of her children tilled the soil, and by various means contrived to support the family. She spent her last years an honored inmate in the home of our subject, dying here in 1875, at a ripe old age. Her maiden name was Margaret WALKER, and she was born in Indiana County, Pa. She was the mother of six children, five of whom grew to manhood and womanhood as follows: James, Eliza, Priscilla, Robert and Andrew.
The son, of whom we write, was a child of eight years when he came to this county, and at nine years of age the sturdy, bright, self-helpful little lad began to assist his mother in supporting the family, and from that time went out to work on a farm till he was twenty years old, except in the winter, when he attended school, and by hard study gleaned a good, practical education. There were no free schools here then, so he was obliged to earn the money to pay his way in the subscription schools. At the age of twenty he apprenticed himself to a plasterer to learn that trade, and then carried it on in this city on his own account till 1853, when he was elected constable, and had to devote his time to maintaining order among the unruly element of the place. In 1855 he was obliged to resign the office on account of ill-health, and he went to California, hoping to recuperate under the influence of its salubrious climate. He went by the way of New York and the Isthmus, landing at San Francisco, and making his way to the mountains, where he spent a year in mining. But his health did not improve, and he returned to this city, and subsequently established himself as a contractor in the line of his trade. He engaged in business till 1860, when he was elected Sheriff of the county, on the Republican ticket. He held that office four years, making a very efficient and popular official, and was a potent factor in preserving the peace, in enforcing the law, and bringing offenders to justice, besides these onerous duties, those of Civilian Provost Marshal devolved upon him, as he held that office at the same time. In the winter of 1865 he was appointed Mayor of Springfield, to fill a vacancy, and in the following spring was elected, and so able was his administration of civic affairs that his fellow-citizens would have liked to retain him in the office, but the state of his health obliged him to decline renomination, and he was compelled to resign his position before the expiration of the term for which he was elected. He went to Northern Minnesota to recuperate, and was there seven months, and then was appointed paymaster at Hastings, Minn., of the Hastings & Red River Railroad, and served in that capacity one year, and then took charge of a passenger train as a conductor, and held that position until 1869. In that year he returned to Springfield, and soon after was appointed Assistant United States Marshal, to assist in taking the United States census for 1870. In the spring of 1871 he was appointed Chief of Police of Springfield, and under his vigorous and wise management this branch of city government became remarkably efficient. He remained at the head of the force five years. He subsequently accepted a position as one of the general agents of the Superior Drill Company, and was with them till 1878, when he was appointed Superintendent of the Clark County Infirmary, and is still an incumbent of the office. He is found to be the right man in the right place in this position, as under his careful supervision the institution is always in good shape, and he looks carefully after the comforts of the inmates, among whom he maintains perfect discipline, as they understand that his word is law.
Mr. FLEMING was married in November, 1845, to Miss Sarah MCINTIRE, a native of this city, and a daughter of Samuel and Margaret MCINTIRE, pioneers of Springfield. In his wife, our subject has an invaluable coadjutor in his work, and one to whom he may justly attribute a part of his success in its prosecution. They have one son, James. Mr. and Mrs. FLEMING are members of the High Street Methodist Episcopal Church, and generously contribute to its support, and are interested in all its good works. Mr. FLEMING is identified with the Masonic order, as a member of Clark Lodge, No. 101; and of Palestine Commandery, No. 33, K. T.; of Springfield Chapter No. 48, R. A. M.; Springfield Council, No. 17, R & S. M.; and also of the Society of A. A., Scottish Rite, 18th degree.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio
Chapman Bros., Chicago. Copyright 1890.