Roosevelt was born on July 16, 1828 in Hyde Park, New York to businessman Isaac Daniel Roosevelt (1790–1863) and Mary Rebecca Aspinwall (1809–1886). Isaac's parents were businessman Jacobus Roosevelt III and Catherine Welles. His maternal grandparents were John Aspinwall and Susan Howland.
In 1847, James Roosevelt graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York. Roosevelt's business interests were primarily in coal and transportation. He was vice president of the Delaware and Hudson Railway and president of the Southern Railway Security Company.
Marriage and Family
1st Marriage: Rebecca Howland
Before his marriage, Roosevelt was considered an eligible bachelor: tall, slender, and wealthy, with considerable society connections. In 1853, he married his second cousin, Rebecca Brien Howland, (January 15, 1831 — August 21, 1876). Together they had one son:
- James Roosevelt "Rosey" Roosevelt.
2nd Marriage: Sara Ann Delano
Four years after Rebecca's death, he met a sixth cousin named Sara Ann Delano at a party celebrating graduation of his distant cousin Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858–1919) from Harvard University. James and Sara were married on October 7, 1880, and became the parents of:
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) - US President during the Great Depression and WWII.
James was reportedly a good father to Franklin, however his recurring heart problems eventually made him an invalid. Franklin reacted by becoming fiercely protective of his father.
James died twenty years after he married Sara and left the bulk of his estate to her, with only a modest inheritance for Franklin. He is buried at the churchyard at St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park; his grave is flanked by those of his wives.
|Offspring of James Roosevelt and Rebecca Brien Howland (1831-1876)|
|James Roosevelt Roosevelt (1854-1927)||27 April 1854 Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York||7 May 1927 New York|| Helen Schermerhorn Astor (1858-1893)|
Elizabeth Riley (1869-1948)
|Offspring of James Roosevelt and Sara Ann Delano (1854-1941)|
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)||30 January 1882 Hyde Park, New York, United States||12 April 1945 Warm Springs, Georgia, United States|| Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)|