|Death: ||Nov. 23, 1960|
James (Jr.) was born in Lexington, KY, the son of an ex-slave (James Emory) who took care of horses. His father won his own freedom around the time of the Civil War. James's mother is not known.
James and his father most likely came to Baltimore around 1874, and it is thought that his father might have worked at the Marburg Estate, located on Reisterstown Rd. (taking care of the horses or grounds). In 1875, my grandfather, James Henry ("Harry") Riefle, and his parents moved from their home on North Ave. to Reisterstown Road, nearby vicinity of the Marburg Estate. My grandfather and James were playmates.
James was a humble man. He had only enough education to roughly read and write, but he knew how to take care of farm animals, grow crops and modestly survive. Being friends with my grandfather all those years, James became a caretaker of a property owned by my grandfather located at 4228 Reisterstown Road (bulldozed in 1965). At that address, James lived in a tiny, dark 2-room apartment in the back of the house, at ground level. It is remembered that James had a kitchen area and an area for a rocking chair and a poster bed which had a big picture of Abe Lincoln hanging above the headboard. The rooms also had dirt floors, which James kept tidied. James had style - he always wore a modest suit when working.
For a little while before and after WWII, my parents lived in that home on Reisterstown Road. During the war, my father, Leonard Marion Bahr, was stationed in FL and my two siblings would write to James because they missed him, and James would write them back.
My father painted James's portrait [see photo reproduction] in his studio in the back of the house, next to James's apartment. It was one of the most touching portraits my father ever painted.
My grandfather taught James how to save his money in a bank because James never cashed his checks -- he just pinned them to his apartment walls. James also taught my father how to cut grass with a scythe, and my father filmed home movies showing James shoveling snow. My Reilly cousins are pictured with James [see photo].
James had a common-law wife in Pimlico who called him "Emory." On his death certificate, James is listed as "separated," but James was the father of one or more children, who are otherwise unknown at this time - except the informant on his death certificate: Robert G. Emory of 3437 Paton Ave., Baltimore City, who was most likely his son.
Before his death, James was living at No. 15, 4240 Reisterstown Road and was a janitor for an apartment house.
At 9:30 a.m. at Maryland General Hospital, James died at age 90 of bronchial pneumonia aggravated by pulmonary emphysema. After surgery, a staff physician signed the death certificate. James rested at the Holland[?] Funeral Home located at 1631 Druid Hill Ave. Though St. Thomas Cemetery is unmarked, it is located behind Union Bethel AME Church off of Liberty Road in the Randallstown area.
James was one of those people in life whom it was truly a privilege to meet. He will not be forgotten.
Saint Thomas Cemetery
Created by: msb
Record added: Aug 20, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11573295