James Nicholas Beadles, son of Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan, was named for his maternal grandfather Nicholas Vaughan of Amelia County, Virginia. He was born on March 6th, 1825 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, before the Beadles with their extended family migrated to Kentucky's Jackson Purchase area around 1830.
Upon first arriving in Graves County, the Beadles' family along with the Wingo and other associated families settled around the area of the town of Wingo which was named for J. N. Beadles' brother-in-law Jerman J. Wingo. Reportedly, as a young man James began work in Mayfield, Kentucky in retail.
On September 19th, 1850, he married Macerina L. Eaker. A little more than a year later on November 8th, 1851, Macerina died, leaving an infant daughter Margaret. Thirteen days later on November 21st, six month old Margaret also died.
Besides his involvement in merchandizing, James Nicholas Beadles, also served as acting cashier of the Mayfield branch of the Bank of Ashland. On April 27, 1858, he was married to Catherine Chappel Mayes of Caldwell County who died on January 10, 1862. James and Catherine Beadles had one son, Robert Mayes Beadles, born on 26 July 1859 in Graves County.
On May 29, 1861, what is referred to as the "Mayfield Convention" took place at the Courthouse there. The extensive notes of the proceedings kept by James N. Beadles who was a Unionist, were later published in the Louisville Daily Journal. Secession was the primary topic and many Jackson Purchase residents favored a sectional military alliance with Tennessee. The final decision made at the convention was that, at least for the immediate future, the western Kentucky counties would follow the rest of the state and maintain neutrality.
His third marriage on the 28th of August 1866 was to the young widow of Col. Albert Perry Thompson, Mary Elizabeth Mayes, probably a cousin of his deceased wife Catherine Mayes. Col. A. P. Thompson served in the 3rd Kentucky Infantry of the CSA organized at Camp Boone, Tennessee in July of 1861. In 1864, the 3rd Kentucky Infantry was ordered to report to General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Col. A. P. Thompson was placed in charge of the 8th Kentucky Infantry during Forrest's assault on Paducah. Col. Thompson was killed by cannon fire while leading his troops through the streets of Paducah during that unsuccessful offensive.
In December of 1866, James N. Beadles went to New Orleans where he was recorded as being a commission merchant in census records. The 1870 census lists his household as including his widowed sister Letitia Beadles Slayden and her children. His own wife and children apparently remained in Kentucky for they are not listed with other members of the household. The ability afforded by the Mississippi River to travel easily between New Orleans and Kentucky appears to have allowed him to maintain residences in both locations throughout the 1870's. He was recorded in Mayfield in the 1880 census and is reported to have returned there permanently in Feburary of 1882. At that time, with other associates he organized the Bank of Mayfield, of which he became the cashier.
He and Mary had four sons - Lewis, James Nicholas Jr., Wiltz William and Locke Beadles. James Nicholas Beadles died in Mayfield, Kentucky on September 30th, 1894 and is buried there in the Maplewood Cemetery.
The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".
Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.