James Thomas Sampson 1877-1959 & Clara May Kelly 1879-1956

Married 28 April 1906  in Franklin Mines, Houghton County, Michigan, USA.

James Thomas Sampson

Fourth child of William and Elizabeth Noel Sampson

Born: 8 Aug 1877 Ludgvan, Cornwall

Died: 17 Dec 1959

Buried: Flint Memorial Park, Mount Morris, Genesee County, Michigan, USA

Siblings: William Curnow 1865 , John 1868, Elizabeth Jane 1871?

Occupation: Miner, mine boss and then automobile factory worker

Clara May Kelly

Thirteenth child of Thomas and Mary Kelly

Born: 29 May 1879 Franklin, Houghton, Michigan, USA

Died: 7 Feb 1956 Flint, Genesee, Michigan, USA

Buried: Flint Memorial Park, Mount Morris, Genesee County, Michigan, USA

Siblings: Thomas John 1860, Samuel 1861, Mary “Polly” 1863, Bessie 1865,
Stephen 1866, Amelia 1870, William 1871, Annie 1872, Isabelle 1872, Harriet 1874,
James Henry 1876, Willie 1878, Rosy 1881,  and Lucy 1883.




James was about 7 when his mother died (Elizabeth is thought to have died in childbirth). This may have influenced his decision to move overseas. James  had a choice to migrate to Australia, South Africa or Michigan and choose the later.  At the age of 21 James migrated to the US in 1899 on board the ship SS Campania which left Liverpool on 8 Apr 1899 and arrived at New York on 15 Apr 1899. His shipping record is given below. The 1900 US Census reveals that James was staying with his cousin William John Sampson. Perhaps communication with his cousin was an influence on James moving to Michigan.

1900 US census indicates that soon after arriving in the US, James was boarding with his cousin William J. Sampson in Franklin Township Michigan

James Thomas Sampson in middle with two other gentleman to be identified. The man on the right could be a brother or cousin? This photograph was taken in Michigan. James does look slightly younger when compared to his wedding photo so this would mean the picture is taken somewhere around 1900-1906? If this time frame is correct then James brothers were still in England? If anyone can help with identification then please contact
Some of Clara’s siblings.

Their marriage took place in the home of Clara’s parents in Franklin Township. At the time of marriage Thomas was residing in Quincy Township. After marriage James and Clara settled in the small mining town called Franklin Mine, which is near Hancock. James was determined that his sons not mine for a living. So in 1924 James moved with his sons to Flint, Michigan where they obtained work at the Buick car factory. It is not known how long it took them to obtain work at that factory.They probably stayed some time in this area to make sure the jobs were going to be steady.When they went back for Clara and the two girls Clarissa and Noal it was a very big move for them. They loaded everything they owned onto the train. Their furniture, dishes, clothes and even the family car went on the train (It was thought that the upper peninsula roads were not good at that time.).When they arrived at the Straits of Mackinaw, the train had to be put on a boat to cross to the lower peninsula and then they came the rest of the way by rail.
The move was especially difficult for Clara. She had never lived in a city the size of Flint. She told James that many funeral processions had passed their house that day.  She was worried that something was making people sick and killing them. Come to find out, there was a traffic light not too far down their street and it was what caused the groups of cars to pass on and off all day. She was also very distrustful of the telephone. One day someone was on her line (they had 2 and 3 party lines). She thought someone was spying on her. James T. had problems like this to deal with every day after work for a while. He was always very tolerant and supportive of Clara.  She was a dedicated wife and mother. They were married about 49 years. Very often when they were sitting they were holding hands. James with a twinkle in his eye.