I was reading Thomas Crocker’s Braddock’s March: How the Man Sent to Seize a Continent Changed American History and came across the name James Innes. It seems that in 1755 General Braddock named Innes governor of Fort Cumberland right before he left on that fateful march leading to the ambush many point to as the start of the French and Indian War or Seven Years’ War in America whichever you prefer. Now, I know the name James Innes from being a Colonial Williamsburg employee as he is one of the characters that you can encounter on the street when you visit. The age didn’t seem quite right, however, as I believed that the James Innes I was familiar with was too young to have participated in the French and Indian War. So I did a little digging.
Turns out I was indeed correct. The James Innes that Braddock made governor was born in Scotland (maybe around 1700) and arrived in North Carolina in 1733. He spent some time in the British Army but by the mid 1740s had returned to civilian life in North Carolina. At the beginning of the French and Indian War, Innes, now with the North Carolina militia, found himself in the Virginia theater of the war. He left the militia in 1756 returning to his plantation until his death in 1759.
The James Innes that I was familiar with from Colonial Williamsburg was born in Virginia in 1754 – making him 1 year old when the other James Innes was made governor of Fort Cumberland. He attended William and Mary and took a prominent role serving Virginia during the American Revolution. He fought at Trenton, Princeton, and Brandywine and returned to Virginia helping with recruitment and training. Innes would serve in the House of Delegates representing Williamsburg. He would pass away in Philadelphia 1798 serving as commissioner surveying damage claims under the Jay Treaty.
So is the tale of James Innes x 2.
For more on the North Carolina James Innes see: http://ncpedia.org/biography/innes-james
For more on the Williamsburg James Innes see: http://www.history.org/almanack/people/bios/biojinnes.cfm