James Monroe Case

 

 

 

 

James M. Case, son of Thomas Case and Martha Emaline Payne, was born July 25, 1855. He died 5-31-1925 and is buried in the Dana Methodist Church Cemetery, also known as the "Blue House Cemetery", in Dana, North Carolina.

James, known to many as "Happy Jim" married Elizabeth Adeline Stepp, daughter of Thomas Jones Stepp and Nancy Elvira Taylor, on August 6, 1876. They were the proud parents of Luther Baxter, Eura C., Thomas Arthur, Nancy Ella, Minta Leora, Bertha Bell, James Franklin, and Lawrence L."Jack" Case.

James was the Head Ranger on the Biltmore Estate Game Preserve, Camping Ground which belonged to George Vanderbilt. That area in now known as the Pisgah National Forest.
Gifford Pinchot, the forester who was in charge of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Forest, mentioned James in the book he had written, 'Breaking New Ground'. Pinchot said in that book, "My special pal was a little man named Jimmy Case. Jimmy and I covered many a long mile with our packs on our backs, and made many a camp together where night found us".

Dr. Carl A. Schenck, founder of the first forestry school in America, mentions James Case in his book, 'The Birth of Foresty'. He tells a wonderful story of how he, Dr. Schenck, was preaching a Sunday service in the little church in the "Pink Beds". That particular morning, Dr. Schenck spoke from the 4th Chapter of St. Matthew. He spoke of the Devil, claiming that there was no exterior Devil, but that the tempter lives within ourselves in the form of lust or fondness for liquor, for the other man's wife, for loafing, for lying, etc.
When he had finished with his sermon, James Case stood and said, "Dear Brethern, this is the last time I shall be praying with you. I cannot live any longer with Dr. Schenck who does not believe in the veracity of the Bible. There is a living Devil and I can prove it from one hundred sayings of the Holy Book". With that, he began reading a number of passages referring to the Devil. There was a great commotion. Dr. Schenck had obtained a result entirely different from that intended that Sunday morning. After James Case finished reading from the Bible, all that was left for Dr. Schenck to do was to confess openly that he had erred, and to admit that James Case knew the Bible better than he, and told the church that he would cease to preach to the good folk so as not to mislead them by any further errors of his.

As the Head Ranger for the vast territory, owned by George Vanderbilt, now known as the Biltmore Estate, James and family, lived first in the ranger's house in the shadow of Mt. Pisgah, adjacent to "The Lodge" where the Vanderbilts spent their summers. Later, when the School of Forestry was organized, he took his family to live in the rangers dwelling in the Pink Beds which Vanderbilt had bought from Hiram King.

That house still stands and has been restored by the U.S. Forestry Service in the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest.