I am grateful to an uncle of mine who wrote an unpublished autobiography, entitled "A Load of Codswallop", as he shed some light on James's personality when he said that "he had a number of hobbies and pursuits which, at that time, probably branded him as eccentric. He drew and painted reasonably competently and had a number of professional artists as friends. He dabbled in horology and electricity." Not sure how you were able to dabble in electricity in the middle of the 19th century without doing yourself a mischief, but he did !
In June 1841, 30 year old James married a minor, 19 year old Charlotte, in Chelsea, London. Their first child was born nearly a year later and they went on to have at least five children - all girls.
My uncle's writings say that James also read for the bar and although he was wealthy enough not to have to practice as either a surgeon or a barrister, he kept up with medical developments and contributed to various medical journals. Apparently he even published a treatise on poisons and antidotes, although I haven't been able to trace this myself.
Why the connection to cattle thieves ? Well, I inherited some fish knives and forks with a crest on them (see left) and have discovered that this is the crest of Clan Johnson (see right). This Clan were border raiders and pretty much stole cattle from land owners on both sides of the England / Scotland border. They were apparently excellent horsemen who dressed in metal helmets, reinforced leather jackets and high riding boots. They carried a long lance, a cutting sword, and a set of pistols.
It was after his death that electricity turned from being a scientific curiosity into an essential tool which enabled the industrial revolution to take place, so I am intrigued as to what dabbling my 2 x great grandfather may have been involved in !