James Irwin Calhoun
1735 - 1795

BORN: 1735, Orange County, North Carolina
         1760, Guildford County, North Carolina
DIED: January 1795, Guildford County, North Carolina

James Irwin Calhoun was the fourth child born to Alexander Cahoon and his wife Easter. He married Janet Johnston of Guildford County when he was 25 and they had 12 (by some accounts 14) children.

On 15 March 1781, the Battle of Guilford Court House was fought not far from the Calhoun home. While technically an British victory, the English lost a quarter of their men in the fight leading their Secretary of State for Foreign Affiars to remark that "Another such victory would ruin the British Army". Cornwallis' losses led him to give up his pursuit of Nathanial Greene's southern colonial army and he retired to the coast for resupply. Cornwallis then led his force north into Virginia, where that fall his army was surrounded, besieged and forced to surrender at Yorktown.

While the births of Nancy in 1780 and Alexander in 1782 place the Calhouns in Guilford County at the time of the Battle of Guilford Court House, I have found no evidence to suggest that James participated in this battle or was a member of the militia.

The last testament of James Irwin Calhoun reads as follows:

In the name of God amen. I, James Calhoun, of the County of Guilford in the State of North Carolina being of sound and perfect mind, memory and understanding (blessed be God) do, this nine and twentieth day of January 1795 make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following (that is to say).

First, I desire that all my just debts and funeral charges be paid. Secondly, I leave unto my wife Janet Calhoun a horse and saddle, two cows, two of the sheep, and what stock of hogs there is, dishes, bed and bedding, and house furniture to dispose of at her death and likewise her maintenance on the land during her natural life.

Thirdly, I give and desire unto my beloved son John Jonstone Calhoun the land on which I now live and him to pay unto my son Samuel Calhoun or his heirs the just sum of fifteen pounds. Fourthly I give unto my beloved daughter [unrecognizable] Calhoun two hundred acres of land lying on the head of Hog ... Creek. Fifthly, I give and desire unto my beloved son James Calhoun or his heirs the young [one word garbled]. Sixthly, I give and desire unto my beloved children Elizabeth Calhoun, Mary Calhoun, Ann Calhoun, Robert Calhoun, Sarah Calhoun, else ...man Calhoun, Nancy Calhoun and their heirs to be equally divided among them all my other estate that is not ablve mentioned. Seventhlly and lastly, I do hereby [garbled] and [garbled] by beloved son John Jonstone Calhoun and my beloved son Samuel Calhoun executors of this my last will and testament hereby utterly disallowing and dismantling all and every other former testament, will, legacies, bequeaths and exactors in any wise before named wills and bequeaths ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness thereof, I have here unto set my hand and seal [garbled] and years above written.

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and [garbled] by the said James Calhoun, the test... of his last will and testament in the presence of us who were present at the time of signing and sealing thereof.

Abner Bowen
James Calhoun
Samuel Calhoun

State of North Carolina
Guilford County, February court, 1795


Ten years after the death of James Calhoun, the last will and testiment of his wife, Janet, lists 10 of their children by name (Ann, Alse (Elsie), Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Nancy, John, James, Samuel and Robert) suggesting that any others had, by this time, either died or had been disenherited.

WIFE of James Irwin CALHOUN:
    Janet JOHNSTON


    Alexander COHOON

    Easter Esther

   1. Ann (HOLLADAY)
   2. John Johnston CALHOUN
   3. James Irvin CALHOUN
   4. Samuel CALHOUN
   5. Elsey (THARP)
   6. Robert CALHOUN
   7. Elizabeth (FLEMSON)
   8. Sarah (LOVE)
   9. Eleanor CALHOUN
   10. Mary (WHEATLEY)
   11. Nancy (REED)
   12. Alexander CALHOUN