Garth “Wilkie” James, a brother of the famed novelist Henry James, is buried in Milwaukee’s Forest Home Cemetery. Carl A. Swanson photo
The five children of Henry James Sr. include some of America’s greatest thinkers.
Henry’s oldest son and namesake, Henry James Jr., wrote 22 novels, hundreds of short stories, and many volumes of biographies, travel writing, art criticism, and memoirs. A second son, philosopher and educator William James, is considered the father of American psychology. A third son, Robert, a promising artist and writer, was plagued by alcoholism throughout his adult life. Sister Alice taught history but suffered from psychological and physical illness much of her life. Alice’s sharply observed and insightful diaries, published after her death, are still widely read and admired.
Then there is the fourth son, Garth Wilkinson “Wilkie” James. Born in New York City in 1845, Wilkie was an undistinguished student, experienced many failures and died young and penniless.
Of all the James family siblings, guess who ended up in Milwaukee.
St. James Episcopal Church occupies an enviable site in downtown Milwaukee. Located on Wisconsin Avenue opposite the public library and the Wisconsin Club, construction of the church involved removing a pioneer cemetery. Carl Swanson photo
The spirits of Milwaukee’s early pioneers may have said, “You can build your church over my dead body.” And that’s just what the founders of St. James Episcopal Church did. The historic church at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave., is squarely atop the Spring Street Burial Ground, once the resting place of many of the city’s first European settlers. (more…)