Born in Richmond, January 17, 1841, James Henry Dooley was the son of John and Sarah Dooley, who came to America from Ireland. They settled in Richmond, where they made a comfortable home for their nine children. John Dooley, Sr. became a prosperous hat manufacturer.
Dooley began his career as an attorney during the immediate postwar years when Richmond was beginning to rebuild its business district, which had been destroyed by fire in the last days of the Confederacy. Well-known for a brilliant legal mind, a keen business sense and superior oratorical skills, James Dooley soon rose to prominence in the community and was elected to the Virginia Legislature serving from 1871 to 1877.
In 1856, James Dooley enrolled at Georgetown College (now Georgetown University), where he distinguished himself as the first student to rank at the head of his class during each of his four years as an undergraduate. He graduated in 1860. Soon after, James and his brother John enlisted in the Confederate Army, joining their father’s unit, Company C of the First Virginia Infantry, also known as the Montgomery Guard. James, a private, was wounded at the Battle of Williamsburg, captured and confined until August 1862. Incapacitated for further service in battle, he worked in the Ordnance Department. In later life he was referred to by the honorific “Major.”
In 1869 he married Sallie May, daughter of Dr. Henry May, a descendant of Nathaniel Harrison of Brandon Plantation and Sir Edward Digges, one of the early royal governors of the colony (1655-58). Her mother, Julia Jones, died when she was no more than seven years old.
Major Dooley died on November 16, 1922 at Grace Hospital at the age of 81. He first was buried with his former Confederate comrades in Hollywood Cemetery, and later reinterred upon completion of the mausoleum at Maymont.
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Categories: United States of America, Notables | Notables | Wounded in Action, Confederate States of America, United States Civil War | Prisoners of War, Confederate States of America, United States Civil War | 1st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Williams Rifles), United States Civil War