James F. Jaquess

Scholar, Soldier and Private Agent for President Lincoln


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About the Book

Tall, handsome and charismatic, James Jaquess impressed men and charmed ladies who knew him as a preacher, a college president or colonel of an Illinois regiment. In 1864 he and James Gilmore talked to Jefferson Davis about terms of peace. Lincoln recognized his many abilities and invited Jaquess to serve as one of his personal agents. But after the Civil War ended, this biography reveals, Jaquess’ life changed for the worse. He was tried in Kentucky for the death of a woman and failed as a carpetbagger in Arkansas and Mississippi. Then he convinced his family and friends in Indiana and numerous residents of New York to invest in Lawrence-Townley bonds and share in a fortune waiting in England. This venture ended in poverty for him and a sentence in a British prison. When he returned to America for his final years, Jaquess still held the respect of the men of the 73rd Infantry and the affection of the women who knew him as president of their college in Jacksonville. His misadventures having turned his black hair to white, he still possessed the charisma that had led to his national fame.

About the Author(s)

The late Patricia B. Burnette was a college professor and was Executive Director of Prairie Council on Aging for 25 years. She lived in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Patricia B. Burnette
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7358-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0200-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Prologue 5
1. The Early Years, 1819–1848 7
2. Jacksonville, Illinois 21
3. Quincy, Illinois 36
4. Chaplain, 6th Illinois Cavalry 49
5. Colonel, 73rd Illinois Infantry 63
6. Private Agent for President Lincoln 79
7. Trial for Murder by Abortion 95
8. Carpetbagger in Arkansas and Mississippi 111
9. Townley Fortune in England 122
10. Trials in London and Time in Pentonville Prison 136
11. Return to America for His Last Years 153
Epilogue: A Review of James F. Jaquess’ Life 165
Chapter Notes 167
Bibliography 186
Index 195

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Well-written”–Civil War News
  • “Burnette has done her research and she offers up the results in a clearly organized and well-written volume”–Indiana Magazine of History
  • “Jaquess has clearly fallen into the shadows of history, and Burnette has done a remarkable job bringing his story into light. Burnette has done a great service by bringing an intriguing personage back into the light of historical examination”–Journal of the Illinois Historical Society