James Van Zandt Payne
Birth: Jan. 19, 1821
Death: Dec. 26, 1877
James Van Zandt Payne was born in Fleming Co, Ky and is the 9th child of Zadok and Mary Van Zandt Payne. He moved to Indiana with his first wife, Sally Meyers, where she died and he returned to Fleming Co, Ky. He married Amanda Freeman and they went to Missouri where he became a master mason & taylor. He became homesick but had no money to get back to KY so the Master Masons gave him the money he needed. He was married 3 times and had 10 children altogether. He took office as a sheriff in Fleming Co, Ky. as a sheriff and was also a Tax Collector but he didn't press people for their taxes & got behind in his personal debts. As a result, he committed suicide. An article in The Weekly Rambler of Flemingsburg, Kentucky Jan 3, 1878.
Suicide---It is our painful duty to record the death of our esteemed friend James V. Payne, Sheriff of Fleming county, which occurred at his residence in this county on Wednesday morning, December 26th. His death is doubly sad when we recall the circumstances attending it. On the morning of the 26th he arose as usual in apparently good spirits, and after breakfasting he walked out on the porch, and pulling a pistol from his pocket, he placed it to his head and sent the deadly messenger through his brain. He fell and almost instantly expired. Mr. Payne was one of our best and most highly respected citizens. He had been twice elected Sheriff and had always held the confidence of his people. He was regarded as a strictly sober and honest man. It is reported that he has failed to collect the revenue and consequently executions from Frankfort have been sent here against him and his securities, and it is thought by many that this is the cause of his taking his own life. He is behind in his taxes. He has not collected as promptly as he should have done and this is all. He has not squandered or disappropriated any of the funds which came into his hands. He died as he lived---an honest man. His friends everywhere regret his death and deplore the manner of his taking off. He was buried on Thursday by the Masonic fraternity of which he was a good member.
From: "History of Fleming County, Kentucky : The First One Hundred Years 1780-1880" by Robert S Cotterill
by Renee Schaeffer