James Fea was born at Falkirk on the 29th September 1847 and immigrated with his family in 1853, arriving eventually in the Potosi, Missouri area. That portion of Missouri was rich in various minerals including lead and mining was abundant. Apparently James had a talent for such work and in the 1870 probate records for his father, Thomas Brown Fea, he was documented as prospecting in Arizona. The 1870 Pima County census lists him in Tucson as a sawyer and on the 1880 census he is a prospector in Harshaw, Arizona (not far from Tombstone and the infamous Earps and Clantons of the 21st October 1881 OK Corral shootout). However, in 1880 he resided in a boarding house along with family friend or adopted brother, John Crabb. James interests in several silver, copper and gold mines proved substantial for the times and he returned to Missouri and wed Nannie Silvers of DeSoto on 14th October 1880. They had one son:
James Fea Snr was killed in an accident on 17th April 1881, never living to see his child's birth. He was buried in the Potosi, Missouri Presbyterian Cemetery.
|A telegram from Dr. Volker of DeSoto to Mr. John R. Higgins of this place announced the sudden and unexpected death of James Fea, well known in this town and county. James was born in St. Louis (incorrect, born in Scotland but lived for awhile in St. Louis), but while quite young his parents removed to Washington county. |
After he became of age, he left for the gold and silver lined mountains of Arizona. In the last few years he was very successful in mining operations and accumulated a competency. He still had several interests in paying lodes in the territory which were yielding him a comfortable living. Some seven months ago he returned to this State and on the 14th October, 1880, he was married to Miss Nannie Silvers of DeSoto. He resided at DeSoto until death overtook him last Sunday. He leaves a widowed mother, several brothers and sisters, a loving wife and a host of friends to mourn his untimely demise. His remains were brought to this place and interred by the Odd Fellows in the Presbyterian cemetery. We sincerely sympathize with the grief-stricken relatives in their hour of sore affliction. His death was caused by a locomotive knocking him down and running over his body.
Unidentified Newspaper, Washington County, Missouri
|Mr. James Fea, a gentleman well known in this portion of Arizona who accumulated quite a fortune in mining operations at Washington Camp and went East last summer, was killed at Potosi, Missouri recently. His many warm friends here will grieve to learn of his untimely demise.|
Unidentified Arizona Newspaper