Andrew Jackson James was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, six miles from Somerset on June 14, 1817. His father was Daniel Fields James of Lincoln County and his mother was Eleanor (Evans) James. His father’s family came from Virginia to Lincoln County in 1784 and moved to Pulaski County in 1797. Andrew James had three brothers and five sisters.
At the age of fifteen, Andrew James was placed in the office of the clerk of Pulaski County until he was twenty-one years of age. He read law with Fountain T. Fox of Somerset and was admitted to the bar in 1838. He then began his law practice in Somerset. He was a candidate for elector for Martin Van Buren in 1840.
He married Mary Allison Beattie of Pulaski County on March 16, 1841. The couple had six children. Two of his sons, John B. James and Daniel James, were also attorneys.
A lifelong Democrat, James was a State Representative from Pulaski County in 1855-56. In 1859, he was elected state Attorney General. In 1871, he was appointed Secretary of State and served one year in the administration of Governor Preston H. Leslie, 1871-72.
James had an extensive law practice, first in Somerset and then, beginning in 1880, in Frankfort. Highly regarded by his professional colleagues, he was described as “a man of strong character.” He died on his farm in Fayette County of tuberculosis on April 4, 1883.
"Biographical Cyclopedia of Kentucky," (1878), pg 314;
L. Frank Johnson, "History of the Franklin County Bar, 1786-1932," (1932), pgs 55-56;
Franklin County, Ky., 1880 census;
Obituary, "Weekly Kentucky Yeoman," [Frankfort], April 10, 1883;
W. H. Perrin, ed., "History of Fayette County, Kentucky," (1882), pg 844;
"Index of the Frankfort Cemetery with Daniel Boone and Friends," (1999), pg 152.