From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Schooler, James W.

(born: 1865  -  died: March 12, 1918) 

James W. Schooler, from Nicholasville, KY, was admitted to practice in the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1888, becoming one of the first African American lawyers in Kentucky. He also became a notary public in 1890.

Many of Schooler's cases are mentioned in the Lexington newspapers. In 1891, Schooler was the lawyer that defended Lilly White, the daughter of Peter White. Lilly was accused of killing her step-uncle Dan Frazier and his wife, and for poisoning her father Peter and her step-mother Eliza, both of whom recovered.

Schooler was present the day R. C. O. Benjamin was killed in 1900; Schooler had led Benjamin away from polling Precinct 32 in Lexington, KY, after Benjamin challenged precinct worker Michael Moynahan's right to call into question Harvey Jackson's right to register to vote.

Moynahan had suspected Jackson, an African American, of being a vote floater, and Benjamin had intervened on Jackson's behalf. Moynahan struck Benjamin in the face. Schooler led Benjamin away from the polling precinct.

Benjamin and Schooler, both lawyers and civil rights leaders, were at the precinct to support African American voter registration. According to one newspaper account, though Benjamin had been led away from the polling precinct by Schooler, he later returned and was killed by Moynahan.

Schooler was the son of Johns and Myra Lemuel Schooler and the husband of Nora Schooler (b. 1878 in KY), according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. James Schooler's exact birthday was not known at the time of his death; his age was estimated at 53 on his death certificate. Schooler died in Lexington and is buried in African Cemetery No. 2.

For more see "A Negro lawyer in Kentucky," New York Times, 6/06/1888, p. 6; "From All Over The City: Made a notary public," The Kentucky Leader, 10/01/1890, p.5; "Held over," The Kentucky Leader, 01/20/1891, front page and p.5; and "R. C. O. Benjamin shot dead as the result of a petty election quarrel," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/05/1900, p. 5.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jessamine County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Nicholasville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Schooler, James W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-22 18:12:03