MAJOR, James Earl, state's attorney of Montgomery County, and one of the most fearless prosecutors this section has ever possessed, as well as an able and forceful lawyer, is living at Hillsboro. He was born at Donnellson, this county, January 5, 1887, a son of Charles and Emma (Jones) Major, natives of Missouri and Minnesota, respectively. They had seven children. namely: James Earl, who lives at Hillsboro; Edgar, who lives at Norman, Okla. ; Joseph, who lives at Hillsboro; Russell, who lives at Donnellson and Mary, Charley and Samuel, all of whom are at home. The father was reared in Montgomery County, being brought here from Missouri when a child, by his parents, who located in East Fork Township, and there he grew to manhood, and has always followed farming, owning a farm of 140 acres, which he has improved, and on which he has reared his family, still making it his home. The mother died in 1906, aged forty-two years. He is a member of the Christian Church, and she was a member of the Methodist Church. A man of some importance he is serving his township as supervisor.
Taken From: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Vol II - Montgomery County (1918)
The paternal grandfather of State's Attorney Major was James Major, and his wife bore the first name of Catherine. They were natives of Kentucky, but moved to Missouri when young, and at the close of the Civil War came to Montgomery County, where they later died, he when about sixty-six years, and she at the age of eighty-two years. They had eight children, as follows: John, Allen, Joseph, Benjamin, Charles, Mary Dunham, and Hattie Major. The maternal grandfather was Joshua Jones and he married Mary Keel. They came to Montgomery County soon after the close of the Civil War, and located in Grisham Township, where they engaged in farming, and both died in this county at an advanced age. They had four children, namely: Stephen, Horace, Reuben and Emma.
J. Earl Major was brought up on his father's farm in Grisham Township, and attended the district schools. Later he took a commercial course at Brown's Business College, Decatur, Ill., and a law course in the Illinois College of Law, at Chicago, from which he was graduated in 1909, being admitted to the bar in December of that year. He began practicing early in 1910, at Hillsboro, and has been here ever since. A Democrat, he was elected state's attorney on his party ticket in 1912 and was re-elected in
On August 13, 1913, Mr. Major was married to Miss Ruth Wafer, a daughter of C. Lewis and Nettie (Ross) Wafer. They have one child, Dorothy Jean, a girl, born April 4, 1917. Mr. and Mrs. Major are members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he is a deacon. He belongs to Mount Moriah Lodge No. 51, A. F. & A. M., and to the Montgomery Lodge of Odd Fellows, and the Litchfield Lodge of Elks. Mrs. Major was born in Bond County, Ill., near Donnellson, January 20, 1889. Her parents were natives of Bond County, Ill., and both are now living on a farm in Bond County. They have four children, namely: Dwight, Clare, Ernest, and Ruth.